Ombre seemed a passing fad two years ago, yet it has proven to be a modern classic. It’s here to stay. It will, however, evolve each season, absorbing influences from the runways and the streets to offer a surprising variety of looks. Ombre works by gradually transitioning colors from one shade to the next, providing seamless ways to incorporate different hues into one style. But even before gentle transitions entered the color market, highlights were changing. As Bubba Clinton searched for new uses for big cigars, as Carrie Bradshaw enjoyed Sex In The City, dark roots went from embarrassment to statement. This season, Carrie is back, and so are her roots. Now in revival mode, today’s dark roots make hair look thicker and shinier, provide depth, and give a grungy edge to soft styles. To keep it fashionable instead of unkept, the transition from light to dark should be soft and blended; harsh lines look dated. Get more tips and tricks for achieving this look by clicking through style notes. –– Laura Martin

Step: Go lighter first. Use highlights or hand painting to achieve an even, pale base shade. Highlights and lowlights will give a soft finish while a single process will provide a bolder effect.

Step: Next, apply a color two to three levels darker than the base shade to the root area. Use a demi-permanent color; this type of dye is slightly translucent and will blend more easily with the light color. Thoroughly saturate at the roots, then gently blend out into the lighter pieces, working no further than 2″ down the strands.

Step: Glaze to bring everything together. After the root color has finished processing, apply a semi or demi-permanent color in the same level as your lightest strands. The glaze will create cohesion and balance, tying together light and dark.


Special thanks to Laura Martin, senior educator at ARROJO cosmetology school, for sharing professional hairstyling advice with Style Noted

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