Learn how to get do it yourself ombre hair in five simple steps!
You know that sinking feeling when you leave a hair salon and you don’t get what you asked for (and are also out $150)? Well, I was so sick of that feeling that I decided to take matters into my own hands. Though I leave the haircuts to professionals, I’ve done all of my own color for years — from darkest brown to golden blonde. I’m finally getting exactly what I want AND saving some money. And by saving money, I mean spending it on other frivolous things.
One of the looks I get the most inquiries about is my subtle ombre/balayage look, or as my friend calls it, “the zebra.” I’ve been self-ombre-ing on and off since 2007 using a plain, old
highlighting box that can be found at any drug store (but disregard the finger tip thing, as the only tool needed are your hands and gloves). I pick the color based on the season. I usually go for a more bronze/caramel-y shade in the fall and a champagne-y hue in the summer.
I should note that I’m a daughter of a former hair stylist, so I’m not afraid to treat my hair like a test guinea pig. And surprisingly, my tests usually end with me not going far enough, which is definitely a good thing.
So, here’s my do-it-yourself ombre hair in five steps:
1. Start out with wet hair. Here I am right out of the shower. (A tip within a tip: Do you need to post a picture on the internet and don’t feel like putting on makeup? Use the Mayfair filter on Instagram. Flaws gone.)
2. Brush your wet hair and change into a shirt that you don’t care about getting bleach on.
3. Follow the highlighting kit instructions and mix the kit’s various powders and serums together.
4. Once the color is mixed, scoop up the mixture with your gloved hands and start scrunching upward into the ends of your hair — like you’re adding mousse or gel into your hair.
5. Wait however long the kit’s instructions suggest. Wash out and style.
*I also pick a few random strands onto which I add the bleach for fun.
More often than not, I color my hair at home. Now that it is getting longer, I try not to color my entire head each time, but reds fade fast and blah blah blah.
Part of my problem is that it takes FOREVER for me to section out my hair (which is super thick) to color the roots. When I have tried some of the applicators that come with root touch up kits, the color-depositing doohickeys angled weird and I end up coloring way more of my hair than I had intended.
So when I saw this, I got EXCITED.
Roots Only Color Applicator is the first applicator I have ever seen that looks like this. Instead of angled spiky things, it has ten color applicator bits that make root touch ups FAST.
You don’t have to section your hair and go 1/3 inch by 1/3 inch over your head. All you do is mix the color in the bottle and deposit the color at your roots. You can rake the applicator through your hair and cover your head in two inch swaths. If everything goes right, you can cover your entire head in less than 10 swipes.
Here are some tips for using this. First of all, start by combing or brushing your dry hair straight back and make sure there are no tangles.
Pick a section of hair to start with. Use BOTH HANDS to comb the applicator back through your hair, without releasing any color. Then go over the exact same place again, squeezing with even pressure using both hands. Easy! I suggest using both hands because while it doesn’t take a lot of pressure to make the color come out evenly, you do have to maintain that pressure throughout the entire application. Maybe I have wimpy hands that can’t squeeze that hard for that long? It’s not hard, I just find it easier to use both hands. After you’ve applied the color, take your gloved hands and give your roots a quick scrub, making sure you’ve covered everything. I covered my whole head in less than five minutes. It couldn’t be easier.
If you color your hair at home, you need to try this! Pick one up for $7.99! It’s genius!
It’s no secret that many women love to dye their hair (myself included). It’s also no secret that Paula Wade, founder of beauty blog Older Girl Beauty, is one of the nicest, sweetest people in the world. Seriously, this woman would do anything for you, like pass on sage advice to a couple of newbie bloggers named Anne and Kristin when they were first starting out!
When Paula told me that she made it as one of five finalists in a Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color contest, I couldn’t think of anyone who deserves to win more. Not to mention her before and after photos are pretty outstanding! But to make it happen, we need your help with online votes, BeautyXpose readers!
Here’s how you can give props to Paula:
Voting starts today and goes through 11:59:59 PM ET on 10/14/10.
With her short, naturally-blonde hair, Kelly is practically a professional at coloring her hair at home as she grows it out. With previous good luck with Garnier products, she was eager to try the brand’s HerbaShine Ten Minute Hair Color. But did this new quick fix hold up to her past positive experiences, or did it fall flat?
I color my hair at home. Often. This month, I decided to check out the Garnier HerbaShine Ten Minute Hair Color. I selected a level three ash brown, which basically means that it is a really dark, cool brown. It is the same color I have been using for several months. The big difference is the brand.
Depending what is on sale, I tend to bounce back and forth between L’Oreal and Garnier hair color (and sometimes I use Clairol Professional). HerbaShine comes in 18 colors and includes bamboo extract, which is touted to be the next big thing in strengthening products. (It will show up everywhere, mark my words.) The reason I wanted to check it out is because I do like the ease of the 10 minute hair colors and I generally like Garnier hair color. For this color to be successful for me, all it had to do was cover my roots, in the same cool dark brown tone. For the record, my natural hair (which I haven’t seen in forever) is actually blonde.
Here is how it looked after I dyed my hair for the allotted 10 minutes, rinsed, conditioned and styled.
Huge fail. It didn’t cover the roots at all and now I have to dye my hair again in the same month, which I had resolved to stop doing since I am letting it grow.
This really didn’t work for me and for once, I can’t see an upside of trying it. But if you can, tell me in the comments!
I bought this myself. At least it was on sale.
Photos: Garnier, Kelly Gould
Ever dyed your hair yourself and it came out just a little too dark? One of our own BX staffers recently suffered from this unfortunate beauty blunder. In a panic to find a quick fix (without spending tons of money on professional color correction), she searched high and low for the most effective solution.
Here’s what she found for options*:
Use an anti-dandruff shampoo (they tend to have a stripping quality)
Apply three parts lemon juice to one part conditioner
Try L’Oreal’s Color Zap for an at-home color reversal (but at-home kits didn’t seem to work the first time!)
Mix baking soda into your shampoo
Take it to the salon (but beware – this is going to cost you!)
After thoughtful consideration, our BX staffer decided she did not want to take any action that could potentially further the damage, but she did want results. Here was her plan of attack:
Step 1: Washed hair with Prell shampoo mixed with two tablespoons of baking soda, and left in for 30 minutes. Followed with a conditioning treatment.
Step 2: Wash again immediately after with just Prell shampoo, followed by a moisturizing conditioner as well as a leave-in conditioner.
Step 3: (Next day) Repeat Step 2
Step 4: Washed with Prell (again), followed with conditioner mixed with lemon juice.
Her hair is definitely lighter, but the difference is subtle, and it has not returned to its original shade. Our BX staffer realizes this will only happen with time, many more shampoo treatments, and sunlight, but still believes the Prell/baking soda/lemon juice extravaganza did make a difference and were in fact worth the effort.
Tell us – have you had this beauty blunder? If so, what have you’ve tried? What worked and what didn’t?
*Note: Results vary based on type of dye used (permanent or semi-permanent), and best results are achieved by taking action within the first 24-72 hours. WARNING – we say hitting the salon up is your best option to make sure you don’t have another at-home hair dye disaster!
Think professional real-hair extensions are way too expensive, time-consuming, and otherwise out of reach? Well, in some cases that may be true, but it all depends on what you’re looking to get out of them.
Case in point – my incredibly stylish friend visited today, rocking some hot raspberry streaks that were just barely peeking out from underneath her bouncy brunette locks. My first instincts told me that she had gone the bleach-and-dye route, resulting in some very funky highlights that were also still appropriate for “business” situations because of their staggered, underneath placement.
To my surprise, she said she actually opted for professionally-bonded, human-hair extensions in order to save money.
How did that work?
Clip-on extensions from Hot Topic
Well for her, she had such dark hair (which, truth be told has been dyed, highlighted and re-colored about seven times over the last year…hey – a girl’s gotta stay “fresh”) that it would have required a double process “highlight” with both bleach and then the raspberry color to create the same look. Where she lives, that would be about $80+ for a partial foil. For the extensions (which last around three months), she got the exact same look for $50. So for her, this made sense.
Of course, prices for color/highlighting treatments and extensions vary wildly by salon and the region you live in (it always seems metropolitan areas have much higher prices than their suburban counterparts), so it might not make the same sense in your personal case. And if you’re looking for length, this doesn’t really apply. Of course, if you really want to save some dough but get a new look, you could always opt for clip in extensions (though they don’t have the same staying-power).
But all in all, it was an interesting concept for a girl who always equated professional hair extensions with her monthly mortgage payment.