Chances are, if you're reading this article, you're already an ombre convert. But just in case you're still in the dark about this specially dyed 'do, it involves a highlighting technique that results in dark roots and lighter ends. It's also an easy way to switch up your hairstyle for the summer without snipping your strands, and a style that looks great on just about everyone -- the right color can even enhance your summer glow and make your face look slimmer.
But like traditionally highlighted hair, ombre-colored strands are susceptible to fading, breakage and overall dryness. So whether you've been sporting this style for a few seasons, or are just now ready to give ombre a go, you need to know a few things about ombre upkeep. Here are the basics:
1. Choose Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Avoid stripping your strands of color by choosing a sulfate-free shampoo that's specially formulated for color-treated hair. If you're making the switch from a shampoo that has sulfates or even one that's low in sulfates, you might see less foaming action, but you should experience a gentler cleansing experience.
2. Avoid Hot Tools
You may be aware that excessive use of hot tools can lead to split ends and breakage, but did you know that it can dull your hair color, too? Do your strands a solid and ditch your hair dryer for the summer. If you must curl or straighten, invest in a heat-protection spray.
3. Stay in the Shade
If you're lucky, sun and sand play a starring role in your summertime agenda. But because UVA and UVB rays will break down the natural keratin in your hair (lightening your strands even if they aren't color-treated), ombre-haired gals should pay extra-close attention to sun exposure. Seek shade from harmful rays under a beach umbrella or a wide-brimmed hat.
4. Try Toner(ish) Treatments
Toner is a semipermanent dye that, when applied, cancels out brassy tones. The treatment works, but it can be costly and is a salon-only event. Instead of making the trek to the salon every four to six weeks, try combating the fading process, extending time between touch-ups and helping reduce evidence of brassy notes at home. Just hit your hair with a dose of color vibrancy treatment daily.
5. Work a Wet Head
Consider chlorine the archenemy of hair dye. It dehydrates, leaves hair brittle and dull, and speeds up the fading process. If you saturate your strands with fresh bottled water before you dive (or jump or wade) into the pool, it helps to slow the rate at which your hair absorbs chlorinated H2O. Or you can always stock up on old-fashioned swim caps.