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What Color Is Ombre Hair?

Angela Farrer
Angela Farrer

Ombre hair has a distinctive color pattern that is dark close to the scalp and light further down the hair's length. The dark base typically ranges from medium brown to black. This color is generally solid from the roots to the midsection that is roughly parallel to the middle of the face. Lighter ombre highlights make up the bottom half of the hair color, and these can be shades of light chestnut, auburn, or golden blonde. Ombre hair color is usually done only on long hair that falls below the shoulders in order to completely achieve this unique finished look.

This two-toned hair color pattern is sometimes considered an alternative style originating from the appearance of naturally dark hair that has been colored a lighter shade and then allowed to grow out. Due to noticeable lines of demarcation, many people have this dark outgrowth regularly lighted to match the rest of the hair. Electing to have ombre hair color involves leaving the dark section to grow while blending it into the lighter hair with various highlighting and hair coloring techniques. An advantage of this look is that it requires less upkeep than hair color applied to the entire length of the hair, and some clients even touch up their own ombre color at home after their initial salon color service.

Ombre hair is a two-tone coloring pattern.
Ombre hair is a two-tone coloring pattern.

Achieving this kind of graduated hair color often involves adding dimensional color to the lower half of the hair to prevent unnatural-looking contrast. Black outgrowth with an abrupt change to blonde in the middle of the hair length is generally not as flattering as blended ombre highlights. Different hair stylists usually have a favorite color application procedure for ombre hair. Some like to weave in color with foil techniques, while others prefer to use a free-form method called balliage to paint color on individual strands of hair. The exact colors of lighter ombre highlights depends on a client's preferences, natural hair color, and the stylist's recommendations.

Visiting a professional hair salon is the safest way for a person get ombre hair.
Visiting a professional hair salon is the safest way for a person get ombre hair.

Many people trying the look of dip-dyed hair usually like to have more than one shade added to this hair color pattern. Most hair stylists advise against bleaching strands too light for ombre hair due to the greater chances of damage. Platinum blonde ombre strands can also be more difficult to properly maintain. Recommended alternatives are often deeper golden blonde highlights mixed with pieces of lighter brown. Ombre hair color options with even more dimensionality include pieces of auburn mixed in with the blonde strands.

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Discussion Comments


I have had ombre hair before, but not by choice. My hair has been ombre a few times because I love to dye my hair different natural colors, but I don’t always have the money to touch up my hair. Sometimes I do not even have the money to cut it. I am sure quite a few people have ombre hair because they do not have the funds to change it.

I think it is kind of neat that this hairstyle goes in and out of style, because it makes me feel better about not always having the money to touch up my hair! I think in a way this ombre hair is kind of a tribute to the less financially successful people out there!


@shell4life - I agree with you. I do not understand the ombre hair trend. I do not know why anyone would pay any type of money to have their hair look like this.

I think the best way to make this hair look decent is to have the ombre hair as close to the root color as possible.

For instance, if a person has black hair, the best ombre hair color would be dark/deep brown.

For brown hair, golden brown or light brown would be a good choice. And so forth.

This is just my opinion though, so do whatever you want with your hair.

Professional hairstylists should be able to help you make the best decision for you and your hair based on different aspects of yourself. For example: your personality, and how high or low maintenance you are or want to be should be taken into account. Your face shape is another thing stylists should take into account.


@Azuza - I personally think most hair coloring should be done at the salon. Hair dye can look awful if you mess it up, so I think most people should leave it in the hands of a trained professional.

I actually never dye my hair, but I've been thinking about doing something to change up my hair style. I've seen a few pictures of some nicely done ombre hair, and I think I might give the style a try. I hope it turns out OK!


I've never actually seen ombre hair before today in picture or in person! I heard the term mentioned a couple days ago though, and I was curious about it. From all the pictures I was able to find doing an Internet search, it looks like the key to ombre hair is subtlety.

I saw a few pictures of ombre hair that looked really, really nice. The color change was very graduated and there wasn't a visible line where the color changed.

However, I also saw a few pictures of ombre hair that had been done at home, and it looked terrible! The colors the person had used were so different from one another it just looked garish. Also there was a distinct line where each color changed.

I think the key to this hair style is getting it done in the salon!


Ombre hair can look really good on people with super healthy, shiny hair. It can look awful on people with processed or damaged hair.

When I see someone with sleek, straight hair that glimmers in the light with ombre color, it appears flattering. Golden brown hair with platinum highlights looks best, but anyone with good hair could get away with whatever shades they desire.

However, when someone has put their hair through the ringer, ombre color looks trashy on them. I know several people who look like they are trying to grow out both a bad perm and old highlights, but it’s actually ombre hair. It makes a bad hair situation worse.


The good thing about ombre hair is that it allows you to change your mind without drastically changing the length of your hair. I got this type of hair color because I wasn’t sure about putting highlights all over my head. I ended up hating the highlights, but instead of having to color my whole head to cover them up, I only had to trim a few inches off the bottom.

I have had bad experiences with hair color in the past. My hair was so damaged one time that I had to cut it short. I looked like a boy for awhile.

Before I tried the ombre color, my hair was nearly waist length and in need of a trim, anyway. So, I didn’t mind having to cut about five inches of it off. It looked better after the trim.


I have seen a lot of celebrities with ombre hair, and to me, it just looks like they got lazy about maintaining their color. I know this hair trend is all the rage right now, but I’m not sure why.

I will say that it looks better on people with dark blond hair up top and light blond on the bottom. The highlights can be woven into the hair in a way that looks flattering.

The kind I don’t understand is when people who have dark roots get their ends highlighted. It really looks like they couldn’t afford to keep bleaching their hair, so they just let it grow out. This does not seem like something a celebrity would have to do.

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    • Ombre hair is a two-tone coloring pattern.
      By: jb325
      Ombre hair is a two-tone coloring pattern.
    • Visiting a professional hair salon is the safest way for a person get ombre hair.
      By: gemenacom
      Visiting a professional hair salon is the safest way for a person get ombre hair.
    • For a dramatic ombre effect, bleach should be used to lighten hair.
      By: Valua Vitaly
      For a dramatic ombre effect, bleach should be used to lighten hair.