Ombre Hair: What You’ll Need
•Bleach or a Highlighter/Lightening Kit like Revlon Frost & Glow
•Gloves (though most kits usually come with gloves)
•Some hair clips (butterfly/sectioning/styling)
•Foil/Aluminum sheets, cut into large squares
•An old t-shirt you don’t mind getting dirty and an old towel to drape around your neck
•A clock or timer
•Leave in conditioner or moroccan oil (Or any kind of moisture product)
Ombre Hair: The Process*
1.First things first, read the directions on your box, even if you think you’re a seasoned pro with hair dye! Do an allergy test to double check that you aren’t going to be bothered by the ingredients.
2.You don’t want to have freshly washed hair. If you showered in the morning and you’re doing it late at night, then you should be ok. Second day hair is best. Most boxes have directions for what to do if you have a lot of oil build up in your hair.
3.Use the vaseline to protect your skin around your hairline. Get a little bit on your fingers and put it all around your hair line and your ears.
4.Part your hair in the middle and brush out any knots. If you have thick hair, like I do, then it might be easier for you to clip the top half of your layers up (hence the clips), dye the bottom layer, and then quickly let the rest of your hair down and dye the top layer. Don’t use a hair tie or a clip to try to mark where you want your ombre to come up to. It’s ok if it comes out a little uneven and messy – that’s kinda the point of the style, you wouldn’t want to have a straight line of bleach blonde. Just try to eyeball it as you apply the dye. My hair is about down to my collar bones, so I take the dye up to my chin, and then my cheekbones.
5.Mix your bleach and activator cream when you are ready to begin – don’t do it and then go get all of your stuff ready because after 90 minutes the bleach stops working.
6.Use a dye applicator, the mixing stick, or your fingers (like I do) to begin applying the bleach to your hair tips in 1-2 inch sections. Make sure you work the bleach into your hair and work it up to where you decided to take the lightest color to – like your chin. Continue until the entire bottom portion of your hair has dye on it.
7.Wrap these sections of your hair in foil. This helps the bleach work. If you don’t know how to foil your hair, you can look up a video on youtube if you want. Don’t stress out over the foiling, you really just wrap all of your hair that’s covered in dye in the foil.
8.Set your timer or check your clock and leave the dye in your hair for 20-30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes or so to see how your hair is taking the bleach. Pull out a tiny strand and scrape off the dye with your nail or the applicator to see how much your hair has faded. If it takes the bleach very quickly and is already close to the color you want it to be, then you can continue the process whenever you are ready.
9.Remove the foil and continue your dye process by adding the second round of dye, moving the bleach further up your hair to your next marker – like your cheekbones. Use your comb, or an old toothbrush or your fingers, to comb the bleach through your hair to make the fade line more natural. I like to even pull on pieces of hair and on my bangs for some subtle highlights. Remember, no straight lines!
10.When you’ve finished applying the second dye application leave the dye in for another 15-20 minutes. Do not exceed the time your kit says on the box. My kit says 90 minutes because after that the bleach stops working.
11.When your time is up rinse all of the dye out of your hair. Then use the shampoo and conditioner that came with your kit. After I’ve washed and conditioned my hair with the little packets, I will do another round of conditioner and leave it in for quite a while. Bleach dries out your hair and makes the ends very brittle, so you have to be sure to take good care of your hair. If you have it, use some leave in conditioner.
12.If you have somewhere to go, you can blow dry your hair. Since I usually do this at night I just let my hair rest after putting it through the dye process and let it dry naturally. When my hair is dry I like to put a little bit of moroccan oil (something I never use on my hair otherwise because I have hair that gets oily very fast and doesn’t need the extra moisture that this oil provides) on the ends of my hair and I’ve found it really helps to maintain the ends and keep them moisturized and helps prevent breakage.
13.And that’s it! Take a selfie and enjoy your new look!
*Note: I am NOT a certified beautician, hair stylist, dye expert, or otherwise. I’m just a girl who knows people that are/were, and who has experience using at home dye kits and an avid DIY-er always trying to save some money. This is what works for ME, and it may not work for you.
Ombre Hair: Troubleshooting
•If your hair turns our more brassy orange than blonde, you’ll need purple or blue shampoo (or any cool colored shampoo, look for it at beauty supply stores and ask an employee to help you find it) to counteract it. I naturally have some blonde in my hair, so I don’t have any problems with this.
•If your hair is not as light as you pictured it, but you left your dye in for the maximum amount on your kit box don’t fret! It’s ok, mine didn’t really turn out as light as I wanted the first time around. I waited about 6-8 weeks before touching it up and the second time around it came out much lighter!
•If your hair is fading after a few weeks, that’s ok! It’s normal for semi-permanent dyes to fade after washing your hair for a few weeks. Just make sure you remember what color dye you used and go through the whole process again. If you want to touch up your hair, but it’s still pretty light, try not leaving both portions of the dye in as long and do strand checks every 5-10 minutes.
I hope this helped those of you who wondered how to go about the process and who have asked me about it on Instagram and Facebook! If you still have questions, shoot them over to me! And if you’ve ombre’d your hair, send me a picture! If you’re still on the fence about ombre hair and you’re in the research process, take it from me and the other girls on youtube that I listened to: Just do it!