With gray ombré and silver balayage hues becoming a permanent fixture on our social media feed, many are having the urge to go for a ‘semi-granny look.’ This high concept color can be recreated in shades ranging from silver-tinged platinums and icy tones to blue-grey and deepest slate.
The world borrowed the term ‘ombré’ from the French, which means shading. Basically, ombré hair color is generally having darker roots through the mid-shaft which gradually begin to lighten to the tips of the hair.
Going for a gray ombré look might seem like a fashionable and smart way of side-stepping regular root touch-ups. However, achieving the Instagram-friendly finish will take work to achieve and loads of effort to maintain. So, just like most dye jobs, dyeing your hair gray ombré is unquestionably a look that’s equal parts daring, and undeniably cutting edge. It usually is a two-step process, as the hair should be completely pre-lightened to the pale blonde first, then the gray get overlayed. That is the main reason that going for this look can be a damaging and time-consuming process. But take it or leave it, this ubiquitous gradient hair look doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
It is recommended to let a trained professional color your hair for health and safety reasons. But if you take the right precautions you can try it at home as well. And the stunning effect of a perfect ombré gray? Oh so worth it.
Things you need to know before dying your hair gray ombré
According to Sophia Hilton, a color expert and director at London’s Not Another Salon, gray ombré hair doesn’t work on all types of hair. So, for those who are already blonde, it’s easier to get the shade you want as the gray hair has to sit on a white base. But, if you have really dark hair, you should lighten your hair to a white or almost a white color, which requires time, patience and effort.
Also, she suggests that gray ombré won’t effectively work if your hair has already been dyed. This is due to the stubborn yellow of your hair which you will be in a constant battle to keep it away from your gray hue.
How to dye your hair gray ombré?
If your hair is dark or you want a few shades lighter, before going right to the gray shade you should consider bleaching. So, let’s see below a step-by-step guide on how to bleach your hair:
1. Bleach Powder
3. Toner or Purple Shampoo
4. Coconut oil
5. Dye brush
7. Tin Foil
1. It is always a good idea to start your ‘bleaching journey’ with a two or three-day-old hair because the natural oils on your hair will protect your hair from the harshness of the bleach.
2. You can also apply coconut oil to your head before bleaching. It will help protect and nourish your hair and will result in softer post-bleach tresses.
3. Make sure your hair isn’t tangled and knotted by brushing it thoroughly.
The 1st stage of bleaching: Make sure to do a test strand first, aiming for 20 minutes and check it every 5 minutes to see how you like the color.
Section your hair to make the whole process easier. Start by putting some bleach in the foil, as it helps the color to spread evenly in each strand.
Apply the bleach from your tips and up (about 3 inches up.) Using a brush or your hands, make sure not to leave a blunt or harsh line if you want a natural transition. If you want a more delicate application, wield the brush vertically, to coat only specific strands. Whereas, to achieve a more intense look, wield the brush horizontally to cover more ground.
After finishing, wrap your strands in foil, by folding it. Repeat the same procedure with other hair sections.
The 2nd stage of bleaching: Everyone has different hair types, so the development time depends on your hair color level, texture, and thickness. So, check periodically until your hair is a consistent light-yellow color. If your hair is a darker color, you’ll need to go through the bleaching process a few times.
After your tips have been lightened enough, open the foil and continue putting bleach higher up. Wrap the strands again with foil, and leave them for a couple of minutes.
If you want a lighter shade, you can repeat the application for the third time, going even higher than before. Let the bleach sit for a shorter period of time this time and be ready to wash it off after! Even if you visit a salon, you’ll need multiple salon appointments and a few prayers to the hair gods to achieve the desired Instagram-friendly finish.
When rinsing, always aim for a warm temperature water and don’t forget to use conditioner. After rinsing, let your hair air dry.
According to Cecilia Cuba says in her article, “The Chemistry of Hair Highlights,” bleach or any dye opens the cuticle, so for a better effect, it is recommended to apply a toner right after bleaching. However, if your hair is so distressed from bleaching, you should wait up to two days to tone it.
So, depending on the level of white-gray you want, you’ll have to choose some sort of toner, which is supposed to tone bright yellows into pure white.
You can also use a purple shampoo to eliminate the unwanted yellow colors from the hair. Using the purple shampoo will also help you see if you need to bleach again. So, if your hair is still super yellow, you should probably go for it.
2. Getting the gray ombré shade
The fun part is here! If you don’t want a permanent commitment to the gray shade, for a metallic take on the trend L’Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Spray in Silver is the perfect go-to choice. This product washes out in one shampoo.
To apply it on your hair, make sure to place a towel around your shoulders to protect your clothes from stains. Then, shake the can well and spray the color on from 6-8 inches away on your hair. Enjoy the gorgeous look!
If you are rather a risk-taker and want to go for a permanent look, before coloring your hair gray it’s recommended to get a dusting or a trim to take care of split ends. The next step is to choose the right shade and tone of gray hair.
After you have chosen your favorite color brand, start applying the dye on your bleached hair and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes before washing it out. Here you have your beautiful, shining silver mane ready to take on the world and bright up your look!
Caution: It is preferable to wait 48-72 hours after bleaching to go for the dye.
How to maintain your new gray ombré hair?
If you are already loving your new gray ombré hue, you need to take proper care to maintain the color on your hair. Well, just as you prepped your hair going into the process, it’s a good idea to switch up your hair care routine once you’ve dyed your hair. So, no matter how you dye your hair, you need to be aware of how to take the proper steps to hydrate and care for your hair afterward. Not sure what to do? We’ve got you covered.
1. Choose shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask designed for color-treated hair
After coloring, wait a full 72 hours before shampooing. Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair color from fading. L’oreal has great options for all hair types, so you may consider it as a go-to product. Choose the right shampoo, conditioner and hair mask designed for color-treated hair.
2. Wash your hair less often
Washing your hair every day won’t only wash away the natural oils, but will also wash away your dye. As an alternative option, try dry shampoo.
3. Turn down the water temperature when shampooing
Although we love hot showers, hot water is not that great for your dyed hair. It can make your hair cuticle to open, so the color may wash out easily. To avoid this, try shampooing with slightly warm water and after using conditioner use cold water. Cold water helps the hair cuticle to seal.
3. Don’t use hot tools on a regular basis
Gray ombré hair looks gorgeous when paired with your natural texture, whether your mane is wavy, straight, wavy, or curly. So, put down the heat tools and air dry your hair instead.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The Content is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please ALWAYS seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.
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