Traditional Ombre and Beyond
Typical ombre hair is wavy, long, and fades from brown to blonde, dark blonde to light blonde, or dark brown to light brown, but there are lots of variations on the trend. Hair length, color, and texture don't matter as much as you may think they do. The most important thing to remember is that these shades are best done by a professional stylist who can ensure that the colors are even all the way around, and that the fading occurs gradually.
Dark blonde hair looks gorgeous and naturally highlighted when a brighter, buttery shade is painted on with a heavier concentration toward the front and ends. If you have been considering going darker all over but felt nervous, using ombre-inspired highlights like the ones shown here could be the perfect compromise.
Curly Girl Ombre
Curly ombres are cute and give off a fun vibe. There's another bonus, too: Curly hair carries off the ombre look very well because the line between the two colors involved are even more blurred than they are in slightly wavy hair. The effect is natural and looks kissed by the sun.
Long Ombre Style
If your hair is long and straight but you want a gradual ombre look like this one, it's especially important to have a professional paint the highlights on by hand. This careful placement will ensure that you get the most natural, sun-kissed effect.
Not Always Natural
If natural's not exactly what you're aiming for, you can have fun with any color you'd like. Try a reverse ombre, with platinum blonde at the top and a funky color--like pink--at the bottom.
Darker Ombre With Color
Maybe you're not thrilled with the idea of bleaching your hair to a platinum shade, but you'd love to give the colorful ombre look a try. No problem! Keep your own hair color on top and use a vibrant shade on the ends. You get the reverse ombre look without the potential damage. This style demonstrates just how well ombre works on short hair, too. Choose a color that flatters your skin tone and you may inadvertently give the illusion of a brightened complexion.
Face-framing light blonde highlights on brown hair can give an angelic, romantic look. It's no wonder so many Victoria's Secret models sport this type of ombre look - the effect is both glamourous and casual, very sexy, and works with almost any outfit for any occasion.
Dark Brown Ombre
Not every woman dreams of the perfect blonde highlights. Some don't want the upkeep, some just prefer darker shades, and some don't feel blonde is flattering on their skin tone. If this sounds like you, that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the ombre style. If you have dark hair, try fading into a beautiful, rich red or auburn at the ends instead of blonde.
Not So Subtle
While models have been sporting the light brown and blonde lit-from-within, beachy and carefree type of ombre for what seems like forever, dark haired girls were able to get in on the action a bit more recently. Actress and fashionista Rachel Bilson's ombre style--dark brown at the top with "bronde" (a combination of brown and blonde) ends, similar to the image here--were not subtle in appearance or their mark on the beauty world.
Who says you have to stick to just two colors when you try on the ombre trend? Rules are meant to be broken, and traditional ombre placement and colors are simply starting points for expressing your creativity. Add in pink, red, blue--whatever you like! This particular color combination plays well off of the layers in the haircut. Because of the layers, more colors are easily visible.
Ombre on Short Hair
Because there's not a lot of length to play with here, the stylist was able to get creative and still give the ombre effect. This color placement actually embraces the return of chunkier highlights that extend from root to tip and the ombre trend all at once, making this one fashion-forward style.
Ombre in Red Shades
Redheads often seem to be left out when it comes to ombre hair, but they don't have to be. Lighter shades of red play off of a dark red or auburn base beautifully and brighten the face. The lighter ends can be as bright or subtle as you'd like. The wavy texture shown here makes the red even more playful.
Wear Your Favorite Color
Have a favorite color and an interest in bold ombre? Determine how far up you'd like your favorite color to go, bleach the ends, and apply your bold hair dye of choice on the bleached sections. While going to a professional in any hair coloring situation will give you the best results, this is one of the easier styles to do at home because you're only working with the ends and you don't have to paint on specific highlights at varying heights and thicknesses. Have a friend help if you tend to have trouble coloring the back on your own.
If you want a spunky hairstyle, a short red bob with ombre highlights is the way to go. Keep a streak of bright red near the face (this goes against the traditional ombre, which places the brightest and thickest blonde or other lightest shade there) for an unusual, vibrant--and sometimes more flattering--twist.
Regardless of the length of your hair, the ombre technique is especially flattering on side-swept styles. Inform your stylist of where you normally part your hair before he or she begins painting on the highlights. If you haven't gotten your hair cut yet and will be doing so after the color is applied, take pictures of the look you're going for to the salon. The stylist can use that as a reference so your cut and color match up with your expectations.
Ombre With Bangs
If blunt bangs are more your style than side-swept, you can still enjoy the ombre technique. Because the bangs generally end at a higher point than the highlights begin, just leave them dark and have the rest of your hair highlighted as usual. If you want to add a little blonde or light brown to the bangs for a more sun-kissed look, just be sure to make the highlights there very thin.
Natural Ombre Effect
Dark brown to light brown ombre is stunning whether your hair is long or short, straight or wavy. For the most natural effect, skip the kits sold in drugstores and have a professional do it. Darker hair has a tendency to turn brassy (or even orange, in some cases) and the careful placement of the bleach is what gives this style that beautiful grown-out look.
Anyone Can Rock the Ombre Look
Brown hair looks pretty with warm caramel tones scattered throughout the ends. Ombre highlights like this work well for brunettes who want to go lighter but feel that the warmth in an allover caramel or coppery shade would overwhelm their skin tone. The highlight placement can allow the darker shade to stay prominent near the face while the ends get an updated color.
Forget about the "rules" of ombre. You can enjoy this carefree effect regardless of the length of your hair, your base color, or the texture of your hair. For best results, see a professional colorist, especially if you want a gradual fade from dark to light (or even blonde to pink).