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Ombré Hair Colour

Do you get your Ombré mixed up with your Sombre? And what about Balayage? It was so much easier understanding foils, right? But perhaps not as dramatic a look!

Ombré is a term applied not only to hair, but also fabric printing, and basically means 'shade', or fading from dark to light.

She probably wasn't the first, but it was US singer and model, Aaliyah, who first brought the look to our attention in 2000. By 2010, all the celebrities were onto it, and we mere mortals were discovering salons that could also give us this amazing look.

Ombré vs Sombre

Initially, Ombré was the gradual lightening of the hair from dark at the roots, to light at the ends. The trend then evolved to include hair that was 'natural' at the roots, and then faded to an unnatural colour - like lavender - at the ends.

Sombre is a more subtle version of Ombré. It looks more like a natural lightening of the hair from the roots to the ends, as if caused by the sun. And by keeping the roots more natural, it's quite a low maintenance style.

Hair professionals say this type of fade adds depth and dimension to hair, whilst giving the impression that it is all natural.

What's What in Ombré?

To understand how it works, it's worth taking a refresher on other highlighting techniques, like foils. Foil highlights and lowlights are generally quite uniform and defined. You choose from a half-head or full-head and, done well, the look can be quite natural.

Balayage is quite different again, with the stylist hand-painting in your highlights. There is no set line of colour, so the look is gentle and sun-kissed, and the results last for a long time.

Ombré is more of a style than a colour. And whilst it appears so easy and carefree, it can go horribly wrong if you try and DIY. It's not just the application of colour that is tricky, but also the choice of shades. Your professional hair stylist will be able to advise on which colours best suit your hair and skin tone.

And Even There's More to Ombré

As with any hair colouring, the aftercare is crucially important. A good shampoo and even better conditioner is essential.

The Ombré look comes in many variations, such as babylights, colormelt & ecaille. Similar to ombré, we now also have babylights - like highlights, only smaller! You may also know these as 'fine foils'. Then there is Colormelt - pretty much an Ombré, and ecaille, which blends multiple colours to create a tortoiseshell effect.

There's so many ways to talk about Ombré, but with a skilled and experienced stylist by your side, you can achieve the look you want without having to worry about the vocabulary.

Three Rules of Ombré.

Rule # 1

Colour choice: As we mentioned earlier, it is really important to get the right colour for your complexion and natural hair colour. But it goes far deeper than that. The correct use of toner is essential.

Let's say you've got dark hair with reddish undertones. The chemicals used to lighten your hair could turn it very brassy without the use of a corrective toner.

SOLUTION: Find a skilled professional stylist (we know a few!)

Rule # 2

Lines: The goal is for the colour to look naturally faded. Severe, straight lines are just not acceptable, and will look terrible. This could be why the DIY Ombré hasn't really caught on.

SOLUTION: Find a skilled professional stylist (unless you're into the look of lines of course)

Rule # 3

Conditioning is everything: We all know lightening your hair can be a lot more damaging than simply applying a darker, all-over colour. So hair care is very important. Keep your locks healthy by getting a regular trim and using a good quality conditioner, specifically created for coloured hair.

SOLUTION: Ask a professional for advice on the best way to care for your gorgeous new colour!

Ombré is here to stay, so if you want to try it for yourself, look for a colour professional right here on Bookwell.