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An Ombre Hair Color Guide

Karen Marie Shelton - Copyright - All Rights Reserved 
Revised Date:  04/23/11


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Shenae Grimes

Although celebrities often introduce the latest hair color techniques to the world, it doesn't take long for savvy hairstylists and their adventurous clients to embrace the new trend.

What Is Ombre Hair Color?

Ombre hair color is one of the hottest new hair color techniques sweeping the hair color world.  In a sense Ombre is a graduated color fading technique which creates very natural hues. 

Darker roots, known as rootage by some, has become popular over the past five years as a way to show a more natural color progression on hair.

Note:  Check out the Shenae Grimes Hairstyle Gallery

With the Ombre technique, color is graduated from darker at the roots to lighter at the middle of the hair shaft extending down into the ends. 

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Shenae Grimes

How Is Ombre Hair Color Created?

Whereas dark roots used to be a big hair color no-no, due to a variety of factors including the recession and generally busier lives, women have a harder time getting to the salon for constant root touch-ups.  With Ombre color, dark roots are not only acceptable, but desirable.

The Ombre hair color can be achieved in a number of ways by a hair colorist who is preferably schooled in the art of hair painting. 

Celebrity hair colorist George Papanikolas (pronounced papa-nikolas) is one of the hottest go-to color masters in Hollywood today. 

The charming and wildly talented hair colorist is known for his hair painting magic and weaves his color magic at the famous Andy LeCompte Salon (310-273-4100) on some of the most famous celebrities.

Read:  George Papanikolas - Celebrity Hairdresser: Fade To Blonde

Continued below ↓

George Papanikolas Pronounces Ombre As Hottest Trend For Brunettes

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Sarah Jessica Parker

George says "Ombre is the hottest trend for brunettes like 90210's Shanae Grimes" because the color should "fade from dark at the roots to light at the ends." Of course George became famous for his baylage techniques on his blonde celebrities.

He also loved working with redheads and love deep rich auburn hues.  His favorites red haired celebrities?  Allesandra Toressani and Christina Hendricks as she appeared on the cover of Esquire's May issue.

Note: Visit the Sarah Jessica Parker Celebrity Hairstyle Gallery

What Color Is Ombre?

Not everyone loves the Ombre look due to the layered colors and the prominence of dark roots.  Also, some hair consumers are confused about what color Ombre really is.

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Shenae Grimes

In essence Ombre is one basic color which is applied to the hair with more concentration at the roots (darker) and less concentration throughout the middle and ends of the roots (lighter).  In the hair color industry it might be referred to as tonal diffusion or tone on tone hair coloring.

Mixed Reviews On Ombre

While some love the effect of the just back from Summer vacation in the sun, other's think it looks like waiting too long to have your hair touched up or is borderline trashy. 

Some object to the obvious roots which celebrity Jessica Simpson got bashed for a just a few years back in the media.

Some color experts believe the shot of lighter color intermingled throughout the ends adds a more youthful and vibrant look.  Others disagree. 


Ombre can be either soft and subtle with a more natural-looking diffusion, or it can be harder and more progressive.  Some celebrities have adopted a dramatic Ombre look.

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Sarah Jessica Parker

Ultimately Ombre can look best when there are no obvious lines of demarcation or where the tones blend well so that the roots, mid shaft and ends form a soft and gradual rainbow of color. 

When done properly, Ombre can look carefully planned, applied and very natural.  In my opinion Sarah Jessica Parker is a wonderful example of the Ombre tone on tone hair color concept.

Would Ombre, baylage or tone on tone hair color work for you?  Only you and your hair colorist know for sure. 

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Original Publication Date: 10/25/10 - Revised Date: 04/23/11

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