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How Do I Create Ombre Hair at Home?

By Megan Shoop
Updated May 21, 2024
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Ombre hair is a hair color style which is dark at the roots and gets progressively lighter towards the ends. Getting this look at home takes some patience, but it can be done with the right products. The key to dyeing ombre hair at home is allowing the color to set the longest on the tips of the hair, then distributing it gradually to your roots. Since this technique does involve using dye that's lighter than your natural color, aftercare is important to prevent damage.


An important part of dyeing ombre hair at home comes before the dying process ever begins: choosing the right shade of dye will largely determine your success or failure. Look for one that's only a few shades lighter than your natural color. If you go too light on the tips, it may just make you look like your roots need a touch-up. You may want to use a semi-permanent dye instead of a permanent one if this is your first time attempting this hairstyle, just in case of mistakes.

Once you choose a color, mix the ingredients for the dye together according to the instructions included in the box. Don't try mixing two boxes of hair color together, since you could damage your hair. Next, brush your hair out thoroughly from the roots to tips, making sure to get out any knots or snarls, since these can cause the color to go on unevenly. Apply a thin, even coat of petroleum jelly to the base of your hairline, close to the root. Cover your ears as well, so that you won't accidentally get color on them.

After the color has been prepared, divide your hair in four equal parts. You can do this by making center part from the front of your head to the back and then a side part from one ear to the other. Fasten each section with a hair tie to ensure they remain separate.

Dyeing Process

The first step in the dyeing process is to apply the color to the bottom third of your hair, making sure to distribute it evenly so that your hair becomes saturated. Wait about 20 minutes, and then brush or comb dye onto the middle third of your hair. Wait about another five to ten minutes, during which time the layer of dye on the ends will continue to work, while the newly added layer just below that will be beginning to change the color of the middle.

While you're waiting, dilute the remaining hair dye in your mixing bowl with a little water until it becomes runny but not thin. When the waiting time is up, brush the diluted dye onto your roots, overlapping slightly with the middle section. Leave this on for another five minutes. To finish up, wash your hair with a gentle shampoo or just rinse it with water, depending on the instructions that come with your color. If it came with a conditioner, apply it and let it set for at least two minutes. You can also create a reverse ombre hair at home using the same basic technique, but starting with the roots instead of the tips.


To keep ombre hair looking its best, make sure to keep it moisturized and to touch it up every few months, depending on how fast it grows. If it's very dry or damaged after the dyeing process, you can use a hair mask or hot oil treatment to help it get back to normal. You may want to use an anti-brassiness shampoo as well, since lightened hair tends to take on an orange shade.

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Discussion Comments

By candyquilt — On Mar 06, 2013

@anon318051-- I always wash mine after I'm done with all the coloring. I've never seen hair just rinsed after coloring at the salon. They always rinse the color out first, and then shampoo it. Then, they follow up with conditioner.

Don't directly apply the shampoo to your head. First, rinse out the color with water. When the water runs clear off your hair, proceed to shampooing.

By ZipLine — On Mar 05, 2013

@alisha-- Of course, you can't do the same exact thing to get ombre hair for blond and brown hair.

It's a little tougher to get ombre hair from a natural brown at home than it is from blonde hair. I think what you should do is first dye your hair to the color you want your ends to be. And then, after a week or so, use a hair color that's close to your natural hair color and dye the first third of your hair from your scalp. After about twenty minutes, brush the dye down to the second third of your hair to create an ombre effect. I think this is the best way to do it.

For blonde hair, it's easier because the ends are already at the tone they need to be. And then a darker color can be used for the first third of the hair and again brushed down to cover the remaining hair for the ombre effect.

By discographer — On Mar 05, 2013

I tried this method but it didn't work as I thought it would. The ends of my hair lightened up nicely, but there was little to no change with the rest of my hair.

Is it because I have dark hair naturally? Are there different ways to create ombre hair with different natural hair tones?

By anon322127 — On Feb 26, 2013

Just wanted to say this is the best of anything I've read about ombre! I have already very light blonde hair and I wanted to darken the roots, so this should work just perfect.

By closerfan12 — On Feb 07, 2013

@anon318051 -- I've heard it both ways, but I think that you won't go wrong using a gentle SLS-free shampoo. Good luck!

By anon318051 — On Feb 05, 2013

When you say "wash" your hair after all the time runs out, do you mean RINSE or do you actually mean wash? Curious as I don't want to mess it up. Looking forward to hearing so I can get on with my hombre! :) thanks!

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