Celebrities like Jessica Biel and Lea Michele have recently dipped into the trend. And now at-home hair color is also getting in on one of the most-coveted looks. This month L'Oréal Paris introduces the first kit on the market for creating ombré strands—without a trip to the salon—with its L'Oréal Paris Féria Wild Ombré. “Ombré isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,” said Christophe Robin, L’Oréal Paris's global consulting hair colorist, of the technique that features a subtle lightening or darkening of the hair, resulting in roots that are a visibly different shade from the ends. Robin gave us the scoop on how to use this system, and the four different methods to achieving perfect color gradation.
The first step to creating ombré hair at home is to pick out your kit. Féria Wild Ombré comes in three different shades: for medium to dark brown hair, dark blonde to light brown hair and light to medium blonde hair. The kit includes instructions, a mixing bottle with developing cream, a packet of bleaching powder, a tube of lightening cream, a tube of conditioning shampoo and a patented applicator brush that is the kit's true secret weapon.
You will need to pour the contents of the bleaching powder and lightening cream into the bottle, and shake well to kick off a look that involves strands that are lighter on the ends than at the roots. But any number of dramatic colors can be used with the applicator brush, and painted onto lighter hair. Purple, pink, red or blue—the sky is the limit when you have the brush included in this kit.
Comb and detangle strands when you're ready to get started, as you’ll need smooth hair to brush through the product. For those with longer hair, ombré looks best when it's further away from your face, Robin says, "so start a little more than midway down the hair shaft in line with your mouth.” For shorter hair, he advises starting more in line with your cheekbones.
The Horizontal Ombré
The horizontal ombré is one of the most dramatic of the ombré variations, featuring a stark contrast between the top and bottom of your hair. “For a more intense look, wield the brush horizontally to cover more ground,” Robin says. The longer the lightener sits on the hair, the more stark the contrast will be.
The Piecey Ombré
The piecey ombré is the horizontal ombré’s subtler sister. For this effect, Robin advises turning the applicator brush vertically, which yields more natural-looking color. Allow the color to develop to the desired level of contrast.
The End-Only Dip Dye
The end-only dip dye is similar to the horizontal ombré, with the only difference being that the color is concentrated at the ends of the hair. "For bright tips, leave the lightener on for a full 45 minutes,” Robin says.
Ombré highlights are the alternative to traditional salon highlights, and are much more easily attained. Simply load the kit's brush with the lightener, and brush on the color for face-framing highlights.
Photo: Courtesy of L'Oréal Paris