A foray into Ombre hair

A new hair color effect that has gained tremendous momentum and is most likely not going away is Ombre hair.  ‘Ombre‘ is French for ‘gradation’. It comes from the fashion industry, they use the term ‘Ombre‘ to describe that gradation of color in fabric.  In the world of hair, Ombre is the gradation of dark to light hair color. So roots are darker and gradually blend into a lighter shade at the ends. Ombre hair isn’t really ‘visible roots’, it’s less harsh and more natural looking. Well, it can look natural like Camilla Alves or a little more unnatural a la Lady Gaga’s version:

Getty Images

Getty Images

Celebrities can pull it off, but is Ombre right for a regular joe like me? Ombre is fascinating, and I was intrigued at the possibilities. So you can imagine that I was beyond excited when my good friend Kim Porth, hair stylist extraordinaire, asked if I wanted to be her test puppy for a little Ombre. Hmmm, let’s see…an opportunity to get a first class hair cut, plus multi-dimensional hair color with no lines of demarcation between the shades?  Well…ok.  YES!

I drove about an hour to Kim’s salon in Brighton, Michigan. Her business is called Angel Hair, and there couldn’t be a more apt name for it. Kim is gorgeous. She is this amazingly sexy blonde who creates supernatural alchemy with hair. She has a breathtaking intuition about color, one look and she can create exactly the right shades to unleash your highest beauty potential. She really is magical.

The stunning Kim Porth

The stunning Kim Porth

Kim sat me in her chair and took a look at my 3 1/2 week old roots and limp, shaggy bangs. She said, “Well, I told you this would take two hours, but it looks like it might be a little longer!” She then colored my roots and gave me probably the best hair cut of my life, trimming those bangs and then putting in long layers, and trimming the sides to frame my face better.  Two hours later, it was time to get on to the Ombre! 

She put three or four colors in my hair, teasing the strands before applying the color to make the shades hold better. I ended up with more aluminum on my head than it would take to build a robot, and we sat and chatted for about 45 minutes. I spent about 5 minutes under the hair dryer to really seal in the color, then the foils came off and Kim was thrilled with what she saw. She gave me another wash and condition, then blew my hair dry with large round brushes that she left in to sort of set the curl as she dried other sections.

from the back

Ombre from the back

And here is how it turned out. It’s a beautiful deep brown that gradually goes into these various caramel shades…it is really striking.

side shot - indoor lighting

Ombre side shot – indoor lighting

I think that longer hair is probably a better medium for the Ombre style and I definitely appreciate how long layers work with this style.

side shot - outdoor lighting

Ombre side shot – outdoor lighting

I remember back in the ’80’s, my mom had her hair ‘frosted’. I was sort of afraid that was how Ombre would turn out – big chunks of blonde hair half way through my dark brown shade. I was wrong, that’s for sure.

front with flash

Ombre – front with flash

If you decide to venture into Ombre land, be sure you go to a very experienced stylist. In fact, ask for the senior stylist in the salon, because this is a rather complicated technique that can easily go awry. Ask for photos of previous clients to make sure your stylist can create the look you want.  I have seen some real horror stories of Ombre-gone-wrong, or OGW.

front no flash

Ombre front, no flash

Ombre isn’t cheap either – this style will probably cost you anywhere from $100 to $200, depending on where you live. Kim says, “It likes to boast low maintenance care, but that doesn’t include those who still need a root touch-up every 4-6 weeks!”

front outside

Ombre from the front, outside lighting

And I have to say, with all the ‘fads’ that just don’t really work on real people (super short bangs? reverse mullet?) the Ombre style is really pretty and extremely wearable.

I follow Kim on Pinterest, she has the most amazing, inspiring hair shots. Check out her Pinterest HERE. So what about you, will you be taking the Ombre plunge?  – Lisa

Kim Porth info