This Modern Ombré Technique Looks Good On Every Hair Color

Truly all of them.

ombre hair color ideas

The changing seasons often signal the need for a hair color refresh. Like shelving your parka for a denim jacket or swapping out your boots for sandals, a new hue can be just the thing to lift your mood as the weather shifts. Instead of diving headfirst into a dramatic new color, though, you may want to consider a softer, subtler change. There are plenty of ombré hair color ideas to give you a natural and effortless look without the commitment of an all-over transformation. Highlights and lowlights have always been ideal for achieving a multidimensional hair color.

“Many people still have a negative connotation with the word ombré as it refers more to the dip-dyed ends of the past,” says Marie-Antoinette Carlo, stylist at FEKKAI Salon at The Mark Hotel in New York City. But these looks are a lot less harsh than those of the 2010s, thanks to a modern technique used to create an ombré effect. “Methods such as balayage are much more preferred because they deliver an organic appearance,” she explains. Today’s ombré highlights are all about blending away harsh lines and adding soft texture to one-note hues. You’re probably most familiar with diffused blonde styles, but ombré has the ability to soften a range of hair colors, including brunettes and redheads. The key is knowing what to ask for before heading to the salon.

Below, TZR spoke with three colorists for the top ombré hair colors and their tips for achieving and maintaining your new shade at home.

Blonde Hair

Wheat Blonde

Despite Beyoncé’s daring platinum shade, natural blondes are having a major moment. This version falls somewhere between wheat and straw, and is perfect for those who want a subtle change. The hue seamlessly blends from one tone to the next to offer dimension without going overboard. By default, ombré techniques add softness, but with this shade, it gives a burnished finish that feels organic. According to Ian Michael Black, global artistic director of hair color for Aveda, hand-painted sections deliver an understated effect at the root of the hair, allowing the color to grow out gracefully.

Golden Sweet Cream

When it comes to blonding, there are a few things to remember. First up is the concentration of chemicals and the damage they can inflict. “For these kinds of blondes, a higher strength of developer is usually required to achieve the desired look,” Black says.

While this can be more damaging to the hair, he notes that incorporating bond-building products into your routine will help maintain the health of your hair. “You need to have a good hair care regimen in place to keep your blonde in the best possible condition,” he says. The pro recommends opting for an intensive bond-repair serum, such as Aveda’s botanical repair, to offset damage in the days following your appointment.


If you’ve been on the fence about going blonde, a blended bronde shade is a good option. The sandy hue combines the best of both colors and offers a distinct look that’s much more manageable. “Blonde can be a demanding hair color to keep up with, whereas a soft ombré adds dimension and is a lot less high maintenance,” says Carlo. To keep your hair from appearing washed out, she suggests refreshing the highlights once a quarter as the seasons change.

Red Hair

Cowgirl Copper

For redheads, ombré tones can be a great way to add texture to your color. Though reds are notoriously harder to lighten than blondes or brunettes, this technique creates the most natural look. Marq, senior stylist of H2 Salon in Brooklyn, tells TZR that the process is even more tedious with a copper shade. He explains that when it comes to red, you don’t want to lighten so much that you lose the warmth of the hue. “The first thing you’ll need to do is have your stylist asses the hair to determine the underlying pigment. From there, they will be able to select the right level of lifting that should be used,” he says. As for maintaining your coppery strands, he recommends following your service with a gloss or toning conditioner for at least 10 to 15 minutes.


According to Carlo, maintaining warmth and vibrancy is the biggest challenge for red hair. “Traditional highlights lighten by taking away the warm undertones, but with an ombré technique like balayage, you have more freedom to create soft dimension,” she says. The key is to blend out the harsh lines for a harmonious hue. Of course, glosses are essential for keeping the color intact. But she also recommends using salon-level products, such as FEKKAI Technician Color shampoos and conditioners, when washing at home.

Cherry Cola

If you want a shade that’s a bit more daring, why not consider cherry cola? A fan-favorite for makeup and lipstick looks, the dark red ombré offers a fun twist for redheads. It effortlessly blends deep brown tones with bright pops of red without feeling at all artificial. For natural textures, Marq mentions that it can add a dimension that’s amplified by the curl pattern.

The overall result is stunning, but needs to be administered by a professional to get the best look. “Balayage is a little different for natural hair, as it calls for saturating the chemical through the curl,” he says. That said, he recommends finding a stylist who is well-versed in curlier textures to ensure you can achieve your desired shade.

Brown Hair

Sun-Kissed Brunette

Ombré highlights are the perfect method for brunettes who want to play with lighter tones. According to Carlo, the method is good for framing the face and lightening the hairline for an illuminating effect. “Depending on your natural base, you can add highlights from milk chocolate to hazelnut and honey tones to achieve the look,” she says. Not only is this color ideal for brightening the face, but it’s easy to maintain at home. Conditioning masks are crucial for your hair care routine, but she also recommends planning for a twice-yearly glossing service to refresh the tones of your highlights.

Roasted Chestnut

On darker brunettes, ombré streaks can have an alluring effect. Instead of bright highlights, a low-toned hue adds a different kind of dimension, giving the color a lived-in feel. Unlike blondes, this is a smooth transition and allows the natural undertones of your hair to shine.

For the best result, Marq suggests requesting the foilyage technique as opposed to the traditional open-air method. This blends balayage with traditional foil highlights, he explains, so you can achieve a more restrained look. As for maintaining the vibrance, the pro notes that toning shampoos and conditioners are ideal, as is limiting your use of heat-styling.

Caramel Drizzle

Caramel streaks give brunettes a decadence unlike any other. Strewn throughout the hair, they can instantly liven up a deeper shade. If you want a look that’s truly seamless, Black mentions that streamlining your highlights will be essential. “Have your stylist paint a few pieces throughout the front of your hairline with an extra emphasis on the part,” he says. Not only will this open up the face, but it will give the natural color a fresh feel.