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.
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.