Friday, May 4th, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Ombre Highlights

In all the gossip and fashion magazines we have been seeing a real trend towards “ombre” highlighted hair. Ombre is a french term meaning,”shaded.” In terms of haircolor, it is the slow melting effect of a darker shade gradually getting lighter towards the ends until the entire ends region is the brightest haircolor on the head.

We have seen this trend show up on Lauren Conrad, Jennifer Lopez, Drew Barrymow and now, everyday Seattle gals who come in to Emerson Salon! Here, we advise you on how to have realistic expectations of what getting “ombre” will entail so you can make an informed decision before plunging into a new look.

Pros of Ombre Highlights:

This application does not require a lot of regular color maintenance services. Generally, the darkest shade is within 1-2 levels of the natural hair shade and helps to buffer any growout demarcation line. Once the ombre is achieved, you might only need to schedule regular trims, deep conditioning and a toner for the ends.

If you take care of your hair, it can be absolutely gorgeous! It is soft, modern and looks good with browns and auburns or brown and blonds, or beiges and platinum blonds. Make sure your stylist works within a color palette that works with your skin and eye tones. The ombre looks good curled, flat ironed or beach waved as long as you use a nourishing protectant like Kendi Oil by Alterna Bamboo. It is a miracle worker for split ends and adds shine.

Ombre is becoming ripe for experimentation. We’ve seen Drew Barrymore do a reverse ombre with blond roots- midshaft and black ends. Lauren Conrad just did a ponytail dipped in pink. If you can, think outside the box and make yours especially you!

Cons of Ombre Highlights:

In order to achieve the ultra light blond on the ends, most hair will have to be bleached unless the hair is naturally a medium blond or lighter. Bleaching can cause major damage to the hair as it creates explosions within the hair structure that blows the hair shaft and cuticle layers apart. This damage is permanent. It can be colored over but the damage lives in that hair until it is cut out. IMPORTANT: If you switch back and forth between ultra light, to darker, to ultra light, etc you will get breakage. This means loss of fullness and/or length. The longer the hair and the more checkered the chemical history, the more likely the hair is to break or become a gummy mush that can’t be styled or colored. So be careful what you ask for!

The service can use a lot of bleach and a lot of color and depending on your type of hair, its history, and the desired result this can mean a service that ranges from $100 to more of a color correction that can go upwards of $200-250+.

Once highlighted, it can be problematic to add pigment to the ultra light damaged ends. This also can turn into a color correction if the hair needs to be “filled” or stepped down to the desired darker shade. We recommend committing to an application of ombre for a minimum of 3-6 months with regular trims to maintain the least breakage. That way, you get the trend and bang for your buck.

You will need appropriate support products and appointments to repair some of the damage and keep the color looking its best. A great deep conditioner is the Restorative Mask by Moroccan Oil to be used once or twice a week. Its has moisture and protein that can be applied to damp hair for 15-20 minutes at home. Also, use a great shampoo and conditioner line like Luminous Shine by Alterna that is color safe, sulfate free and eco certified.

Always bring a picture of what you think you want your desired result will look like but always be somewhat flexible due to hair type and hair condition. Your stylist will review what the game plan will be to achieve that look and whether that works within your budget for the service, products and maintenance.

These fashion trends can be so fun to play with but always make an educated decision before you color- Hair is your everyday accessory- make sure it always looks and feels its best!

Post by D’Arcy

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