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How to Do Your Own Ombré Hair Colour at Home

Why yes, it IS possible, with these tips from a celebrity colourist.

Thinking about trying Ombré hair? That means a deliberate graduation of colour from the roots (darkest) to ends (lightest)—which is quite handy if you're trying to cut down on trips to the salon to get your re-growth touched up. It can also be super-pretty in an imperfect, beachy, Surfer Girl way, as Rachel Bilson demonstrates above.

While Rachel, along with fellow Ombré poster children Alexa Chung, Ashlee Simpson and Jessica Biel no doubt had the help of professionals, I'm gonna show you how you can DIY the look in the comfort of your own home. Yes, really. And don't worry. These instructions come straight from Luis Pacheco, consulting colourist for Clairol. (You've seen his work before, remember?)

From The Styling Edit Archives

He's very subtle, so don't worry that you're going to end up looking like this:

Provided you choose the right shade (more deets below), it should end up closer to this:

I've actually got TWO how-tos for Ombré hair at home: one for hair that's already been highlighted and the other for natural, virgin hair.

How to do Ombré colour on hair with existing highlights

1. Determine your natural hair colour level and choose a colour that either corresponds to it or is one shade darker, in a neutral to golden shade. If in doubt, go for the golden shade.

Luis recommends using a demi-permanent colour such as Clairol Natural Instincts. (Demi-permanent means it fades gradually without leaving any harsh line at the roots.)

2. Part your hair in four sections. (Divide it from ear to ear and from the middle of your forehead to the middle of the nape of your neck.) Apply the colour to your roots and let it sit for five minutes.

3. Take each section and run the colour through to the mid-length of the hair, starting with the back sections and finishing with the two front sections. (Use your fingers or a comb.) Wait another five minutes.

4. Add water to dilute the colour and emulsify the ends (approximately the last third of the hair length). Let the colour sit for about one minute.

5. Wash your hair, condition and style as normal. That's it!

Here's an example of what to expect. Remember Kate from our Clairol makeover challenge?

Her hair was already highlighted, so Luis added the colour to darken her roots for an Ombré effect. Here's a photo of the back of her hair:

And now here are the other instructions, for hair that hasn't been coloured already...

How to do Ombré colour on virgin, natural brown hair

PLEASE do not try this method on already-coloured hair. Colour will not lift colour!

1. Choose a shade of permanent hair colour that is three or four levels lighter than your natural colour, in a neutral to ash tone. (Luis recommends Clairol Nice 'n Easy, which is permanent hair colour.)

2. Part your hair in four sections. (Divide it from ear to ear and from the middle of your forehead to the middle of the nape of your neck.) Using elastic bands, section off the last third of the hair length—the ends of the hair in each section.

3. Apply the colour to the sectioned off ends and let it sit for approximately 20 minutes.

4. Remove the elastic bands and spread the colour about an inch above the pre-sectioned spot, where the elastic bands used to be. Let the colour sit for another 10 minutes.

5. Wash your hair, condition and style as normal. You're done!

This should give you a subtle effect, similar to Ashlee Simpson's:

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