Love it or hate it, the ubiquitous gradient hair colouring technique known as Ombré doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
Despite the fact that the trend's been kicking around for quite some time and has repeatedly been declared "over" (including by Michelle!), celebs like Rihanna, Rachel Bilson, and Lea Michele are still going steady with their two-tone locks.
So, while it's clear that the trend is alive and well among celebrities, I have a theory that the reason so many of us lesser mortals are embracing Ombré is because it's not only on-trend, it's economical. Yep, one of the best parts about Ombré colour is that it grows out really well. It looks natural months after first having it done. In fact, I managed to make mine last for almost a full year without one touch-up! Even after four haircuts that clipped off the lightest ends, it still looked pretty decent.
But here's the thing about maintaining an Ombré hair look (or creating it in the first place). Until recently, there's only been two options: spend big bucks having it done professionally... or experiment on your own with this DIY technique. But now L'Oréal Paris has released Féria Wild Ombré, an at-home Ombré hair kit:
L'Oréal Paris Féria Wild Ombré collection, C$13.99/US$12.99 each; click here to learn more and purchase.
Celebrity colourist Christophe Robin, who collaborated with the company to create it, believes Ombré is the new way to do highlights. It's certainly a lot fresher than foils or a cap (yikes), and is customizable based on your taste since the free-hand technique gives you free reign with the colour placement. It comes in five shades:
- 050 for dark to very dark brown hair
- 060 for medium to dark brown hair
- 065 for light to medium brown hair
- 070 for dark blond to light brown hair
- 080 for light to medium blond hair
Shades 060, 070 and 080 are in stores now, and shades 065 and 050 will be released in May and July respectively. You choose the shade based on your natural colour, or—if you've already got colour going on—the colour that's currently on your hair.
I thought it could be fun to try it out and extend my Ombré just a little bit longer. I used the 080 kit for light to medium-blonde hair, which is somewhere in between my natural light brown colour and the honey blonde colour of my grown-out ombre. This shade was a pretty good match for me, though if you want more dramatic results, you can choose one of the kits for a shade darker than your natural colour. The kit includes a handy expert brush, which you use to distribute the colour evenly through your hair, wherever you want to lighten.
The kit comes with instructions that include helpful images that show you how to place the dye.
How to use L'Oréal Paris Féria Wild Ombré
When I originally went Ombré at the salon, I noticed my colourist using a few tricks, so I decided to try them this time around and I think they really helped! Here's how to work this kit like a pro:
1. Work in sections.
Divide your hair into three or four layers, pinning the top sections up while you start on the bottom layer underneath. This will mean that the dye stays on the bottom layer the longest, lightening it the most. This intensifies that graduated look, creating a more natural-looking peekaboo effect. It also gives you a little leeway in case you mess up even a bit while doing the bottom section first. Honestly, it's pretty hard to mess up with this kit. If you accidentally apply the colour unevenly, just use your gloved fingers to smooth out the application, blending the dye downwards where it's the most concentrated.
2. Tease it.
Work with sections about as wide as the brush (1-2 inches). Before you apply the colour, grab a comb or brush and backcomb your hair towards your roots. This pulls some of the hair upwards, and helps create the most natural-looking graduated effect. The majority of the colour should be on your ends, so make sure you fully saturate them.
3. Use a light hand.
When applying the colour with the brush, you want to avoid a harsh line between your natural colour and the lightened section. I would recommend starting from the bottom, applying it heaviest there, and then once you've used some of the product from the brush, start gently combing downwards from wherever you want the Ombré to start. Your goal should be to get a perfectly graduated colour. Make sure you reload the brush evenly before applying colour to each strand.
4. Leave the top layer natural.
When you get to the top layer you've clipped up, you might want to consider not dyeing it at all. By leaving it natural, you allow it to fall over the dyed layers, naturally shading the lighter parts. This will help to visually blend the colour even better.
5. Check and rinse.
Once the colour has been on for 25 minutes, wipe the product off a strand with a gloved hand. If you're happy with the lightness, you're done. If you'd like it to lighten a bit more, reapply colour to the part you just wiped, and let it process for a bit longer. Check it every five minutes until you're happy with the colour, but don't leave it on any longer than 45 minutes total processing time. Once you're pleased with the colour, rinse it out with warm water, and then use the kit's conditioning shampoo to thoroughly remove the dye. Dry and style as usual.
Bonus tip: I have a little secret to share. To make my colour look more natural, I applied a semi-permanent, ammonia-free dye over top of the Ombré. You can find a selection of semi-permanent colours at any drugstore. I used Clairol Natural Instincts, but you could also use L'Oréal Paris Healthy Look creme Gloss Color. I chose a dark blonde shade that was very similar to my natural colour. After the Wild Ombré colour was washed out, I towel-dried my hair, used a hairdryer to dry it about 80 per cent, and applied the semi-permanent colour on top. After rinsing that out, conditioning and styling, I have to say I was pretty pleased with how natural-looking it came out. It's definitely not as perfect as it would have been in professional hands, but for a consumer product, it worked shockingly well!
From the back:
And the front:
Overall, I would give this product a very high rating. It's easy to use, dramatic enough to give you noticeable results, but gentle enough to be pretty much foolproof. The instructions were super-clear and I was impressed with how well the brush worked for applying the product.
Would you try the Wild Ombré kit at home (or have you already)?
Are you still loving Ombré—or are you ready to move on to the next trend already?
Which celeb do you think does Ombré the best?