This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed-out curls

Sarah Jessica Parker Ombré hair and brushed-out curls

Call me vain, call me shallow, call me overly preoccupied with mascara, lipstick and vanilla-scented body lotion (have you tried Lavanila? It’s amazing). But one thing you can’t call me is timid. Because probably more than any beauty editor I know, I’ve been willing to put myself out there and experiment with all sorts of things in the name of “RESEARCH.”

The latest investigation was into Ombré hair, which we’ve been talking about quite a bit here on BeautyEditor.ca. In case you’re just joining us, Ombré is the term used to describe hair that has a seamless graduation of colour, with the darkest part at the roots and the lightest at the ends.

Although sometimes this can be really extreme, if you’ll recall, I showed you the Ombré I think is most wearable—Ombré 2.0, if you will—back in the summer. I also posted pics of reader Kate, one of the lucky winners in our Clairol Makeover Challenge whose Ombré was perfection and my hands-down favourite look of the day. And then there were the DIY Ombré instructions I posted for peeps who want to get the look at home using Clairol box colour.

WELL—I need to tell you that the man behind both Kate’s hair AND the DIY instructions is none other than Luis Pacheco of Toronto’s Hair on the Avenue salon. Let’s just call him the Ombré King. Because he was doing it long before it even became a trend, and he is really, really good at it.

Also? He is very easy to look at:

Luis Pacheco This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed out curls

Because I am into “self-improvement,” back at the Clairol event in August I asked Luis what he thought of my colour. If you’ll recall, it looked like this:

Before Ombre This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed out curls

And I could tell immediately he Did. Not. Love.

Which I totally get—even though my natural colour is not really THAT dark, there is something not ideal about highlights that start at the root. Especially as they grow out—that’s the number one reason for my ongoing Hair Angst. Whenever I get an inch or two of re-growth, I’m tortured by thoughts of “Am I doing the right thing?” and “Could my hair be BETTER?”

(I told you I was vain. You think you can work in this business and NOT be?)

Anyway, this is why when Luis invited me to his salon, I jumped at the chance—and basically let him have his way with me.  (I will remind you now that my “rule”—which I sometimes break—about not accepting free hair treatments really just applies to cuts. I’m more open-minded with colour.)

So… I won’t bore you with tons of details about the process, but in short:

  • Step One involves covering your entire base with colour—in my case, a medium golden brown. Luis leaves the ends out because…
  • Step Two involves highlighting the ends, using a VERY COOL TECHNIQUE that he learned from Gisele’s colourist (yes, really) involving back-combing each section before painting it with colour. (Do not try at home.)
  • Step Three involves painting some very fine highlights around the hairline just to break up the colour. See: SJP, above.

Because you have to get your hair washed and dried in between each step, the entire process took almost FIVE HOURS (!) But that included a blow-dry, bang trim, and the aforementioned brushed-out curls… which we should talk about now.

chi straightener 300x300 This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed out curls

You know how “Hollywood hair” has been in style for a long time now? You know—those flat iron curls that are sort of dropped-out but kind of too perfect?

catherine zeta jones This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed out curls

They are pretty, but they need to go away now.

What *I* think is way cooler and soon to be a mainstream trend are brushed-out curls. Sarah Jessica Parker sort of has them going on, above (you see, I was challenged to find a photo that demonstrated both Ombré hair AND the curls)… but I think the runway has much better examples.

From the Marc Jacobs S/S ’11 show:

MARC JACOBS SPRING RTW 2011 BEAUTY 010 runway This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed out curls

Another example (not sure which show this is from):

brushed out curls This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed out curls

How you get them (according to Hair on the Avenue “hair artist” Anthony Ingraldi, who agrees with me that they are the coolest thing right now):

Do the flat iron curl as you normally would—but the trick is to start it about a third of the way down the hair shaft. This look is about the hair being a bit flat up top. After you clamp the hair in the iron, turn it just once and then pull all the way through to the end.

Then, IMMEDIATELY after you finish curling your whole head, give the curls a good brush with a paddle brush (I like Mason Pearson).

And now for the big reveal! Here’s the whole look on yours truly. From the side you can really see the colour:

Ombre hair back This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed out curls

And because I look real dorky in the pics Luis took of me at the salon, here’s my iMac version from the front:

Ombre hair This intrepid reporter just tried 2 trends (as seen on SJP): Ombré hair AND the new brushed out curls

I know the lighting’s not so good, but do you like? What I can’t get over is how the colour goes from dark to light completely seamlessly. It’s amazing! I am, however, still getting used to having bangs that are this dark—I’m so used to having the blonde near my face to brighten me up. I have a theory that Ombré works better when you don’t have bangs… at least I certainly like how it looks better when I push my bangs to the sides.

Still—I can appreciate now what Luis meant when he told me my bangs needed to be darker. When you highlight them, they DO look a bit thin and wimpy. But as I am a blonderexic, I cannot guarantee I won’t be tempted by the siren song of highlights. You know how it is…

But I’m gonna try this look for a while.

Do you like the Ombré?
Do you like the brushed-out curls?
Might you copy this look too? It’s okay—you have my full permission.

74 Comments

Jenn
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:13 pm

Gorgeous! Simply gorgeous!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:00 pm

Thanks Jenn!

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Arianne
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:20 pm

Oh. My. God. Your hair is so, so adorbz. Really! I’m gonna try the brushed out curls too!

I’m thinking of colouring my bangs darker too. They are looking a little sparse with my summer highlights still peeking through.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:01 pm

Love love love the brushed out curls! Still not sure about the bangs being so dark. I’m used to the brightness around my face.

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Anupa
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:24 pm

SO good! This looks really great on you :) Love the colour, but especially the texture.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:01 pm

Yeah, I wish it was naturally like that :-)

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Arianne
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:30 pm

Oh. My. Gaaah! Your hair is totally covetable. I am going to try those brushed out curls for a dinner date tomorrow! :)

I am also thinking about going darker with my hair. My summer highlights are still peeking through a little on my bangs, and it’s been looking a little sparse lately. Must remedy that, stat.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:02 pm

I think your comment printed twice! Anyway – answered above!

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laur
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:34 pm

Can I ask how much going Ombre costs in the salon? Ballpark?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:02 pm

Sorry Laur I’m still waiting on a response about this – I’ll follow up again!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, November 14/2010 at 10:54 pm

Hi Laur – heard back from Hair on the Avenue and the cost is $300 for an Ombre appointment. It’s more than regular colour/highlights because of all the extra steps and time involved.

But I think it sort of works out the same or cheaper in the end because you need touch-ups less often.

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Sara
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:36 pm

You looked great before but your new color is absolutely beautiful and makes you look younger.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:03 pm

Younger? Really? Okay – I’ll take it! :-)

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Kate
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:37 pm

Yes!!! I need to get mine redone ASAP

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:03 pm

You were my inspiration!

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Liza
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:38 pm

Love it. You are the cutest (and bravest) lab rat evah! Luis does beautiful colour – so subtly variegated (my favourite word.) It seems lighter in the Luis pic than your computer shot. Must see in person. And brushed out curls – isn’t that just a more stylized and controlled take on beachy waves?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:05 pm

Yep, he’s a technical master. I think the brushed out curls are a bit tighter than beachy waves. (Because once you brush they fall out a bit.)

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Meghan
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:48 pm

I love this look on you! I find the darker color at the top much more flattering. Your eyes seem brighter and your skin has more of a glow. Very nice! I’m so tempted to try this!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:06 pm

Aw thanks! Yeah, I think dark hair always seems to bring out your eyes more and make your complexion look creamier/glowier.

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Jessica Ireland
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 1:52 pm

Love it! I did ombre this summer but my thin hair looked thinner on the lightened ends so I enjoy all over cover. Your hair looks super healthy :D

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:07 pm

I don’t know about that—I’ve put A LOT of colour in it the past few years—but the only cut that I can really get is a blunt one, because it’s so fine and straight. Maybe the Ombre didn’t work on your ends because they were layered?

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Heather
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 2:24 pm

Gorgeous! The darker shade definitely makes your eyes pop. Can’t wait to see it in person!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:07 pm

Thanks Heather! Can’t wait to meet YOU!

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katherine
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 4:14 pm

This is stunning!!!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:08 pm

Thanks K!

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Dallas
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 4:50 pm

I am absolutely in LOVE with your new look. It was well worth the 5 hours! Also, I’m in total agreement about brushed-out curls being a fresher alternative to flat iron curls.

Thanks so much for this post! I loved reading every word of it

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:08 pm

Haha can you believe it took 5 hours! Wow what I do for beauty :-)
So glad you are a fan of both the colour and the curls. I am totally obsessed with the curls now!!

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Elise
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 7:56 pm

Um do I like??? I LOVE it! It looks amazing on you!
ps. Lavanilla Vanilla Grapefruit is pretty much my life.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:09 pm

Okay, did you know they make it in a portable, roller-ball version? So, so good. I love everything Lavanila…but agree, the grapefruit is the best one.

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anya
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 8:53 pm

So pretty!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:09 pm

Thanks A!

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ChickAdvisor
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 8:53 pm

Looks great, Michelle! He did a fantastic job making it look natural and gradual. Thumbs up!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:10 pm

Yep Luis def pulled it off! Def recommend him for colour in Toronto.

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Allie
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 9:35 pm

LOVE it! This is definitely one of my favourite looks…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:10 pm

Thanks Allie!

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Ashley
Thursday, October 28/2010 at 11:14 pm

the SJP pic sorta seems more like roller curls to me. thats more what i do to get that type of curls anyways. is there a difference in effect when they are brushed out?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:13 pm

Oh really? I love rollers but I’ve never been able to get my hair like SJP’s with them – I find they curl more at the bottom than the top. I think with a flat iron it’s easier to get that nice wave at the top.

Probably you could do the look either way – I think the key is doing a curl that’s slightly tighter because when you brush it out you’re going to loosen it up a bit. I think I need to get Anthony to give us a more detailed how-to though… stay tuned!

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Jill D (29secrets.com)
Friday, October 29/2010 at 11:49 am

5 hours!! that is intrepid reporting. I likey. The colour is seamless!
Pls report back re: day-to-day styling. I wonder if it will be tricky since ombre is hard to wear straight (ie need some texture)?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:14 pm

You are correct – I’m finding it needs a bit more styling to look profesh. Not that Luis didn’t do an amazing job – the colour transition is completely seamless…but there’s something about it that I like better with curls vs. dead stick straight.

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Jane
Friday, October 29/2010 at 2:50 pm

O. M. G. You are stunning! I am actually printing this out for my stylist as each time I’ve gone in asking for this I come out as blonde as you were in your before shot (also beautiful I might add).

Wow. I’ve been loving the roller style curls that seem to be back, I loved ‘em in the 80s and I am dusting off my set.

I suppose I could try to book the yummy, I mean talented Luis next time I’m in Toronto.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:16 pm
Gimped
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 8:33 pm

O.M.G. Is that conveniently placed volleyball pic really him?!? Now THAT’S a reason to go get my hair done. Lol!!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, November 22/2010 at 7:31 pm

I know! If only he did hair while shirtless :-)

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Jane
Sunday, November 21/2010 at 10:34 am

Duly noted and *following*

My only concern re Ombre Colour is that my lifetime of blonde highlights have nicely hidden the greys that are creeping in. I feel they are making my highlights lower maintenance as my roots lighten (sigh) whereas going darker may be tricky.

My gorgeous Ottawa stylist Dino told me years ago after an ill advised foray to get back to my “natural” (read: darker) colour that we look best with the hair colour we had as 2 or 3 year olds. So I always say now that I am going “back” to my natural blonde ;)

Maybe a Toronto consult is called for….lol

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, November 22/2010 at 5:06 pm

Jane, you read my mind! Luis teased me for worrying about my “3 gray hairs” but that is one reason I will likely go back to the blonde highlights eventually. I know I only have a few but I feel like they will be so much more noticeable when contrasted against the darker colour.

So yes – Ombre is low-maintenance if your base shade isn’t marred by greys… otherwise you do need to go every 4-6 weeks for a root touch-up. Hmmmm…

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skybluesky
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:38 pm

Beauty isn’t cheap or easy! Five hours is a bit much…but I am really liking you with darker hair around your face! I heart the part where the color changes…but it is so subtle, I was scrutinizing for a while.

Now I want ombre hair! *wails*

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:17 pm

Well they say the thing with Ombre is you only need to go through the 5 hour process once or twice a year… otherwise it actually saves you time as you only need to touch up the colour at the roots, and leave the ends. (unless you cut them)

But I do think if you’re gonna do it you have to choose your colourist very, very carefully. Luis is a rare and talented gem!

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Janine
Friday, October 29/2010 at 9:16 pm

Gorgeous! Love — you look sultry and sunny at the same time. I look forward to seeing the look in person; am expecting your eyes to look even brighter under the darker bangs. Just beautiful.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:18 pm

Thanks J! Just need to break out the curls more often I think. :-)

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Gimped
Monday, November 1/2010 at 11:08 am

I love the Ombre look — too bad you can’t rock it with shorter lengths or I’d be all over it — but I also wonder like Jill D about how this will look on day-to-day straight hair. It looks FAB tho with the waves!!

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t tell if you’re in love with it or not. Your iMac pic looks a little “meh, it’s okay” to me.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 4:20 pm

You’re right… it’s my blonderexia! Still getting used to not having the blonde around my face – basically the blonde I had all over is now only at the bottom 1/3 of my hair. So a big change!
And as I said in my response to Jill above, I do think it’s a tad better on curls vs. straight hair. I’m still playing around with styling and trying to decide if I will keep or give in to the urge to highlight again!

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Ena
Thursday, November 11/2010 at 7:07 pm

Helloo from Mexico!!! Ilove ur hair I´m a fan!!!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, November 14/2010 at 9:16 pm

Hello from Canada! Thank you!

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Paula
Sunday, November 21/2010 at 6:18 pm

Gaaah, I love the new hair. I agree, it totally makes you look younger and fresh! The curls are beeeautifully natural looking. Like you just woke up with that, right? :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, November 22/2010 at 5:07 pm

I wish I could wake up with those curls! I definitely think they set off the Ombre best… with my natural straight hair the effect isn’t quite as dramatic. oh well!

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Emily
Tuesday, November 30/2010 at 7:07 pm

Well done – it looks fantastic. Despite my mother’s disapproval, I have always favored a little bit of root… it just look more natural (unless your ‘root’ is black and your hair is channeling Gwen).
And, I agree with a fellow commenter (is that a word?) that it makes you look even younger than you are. I want me some ombre action!!
Great blog.

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Emily
Tuesday, November 30/2010 at 7:08 pm

Oh, not that roots are the same as ombre… it’s just the not perfect look I favor… Phew, glad I cleared that up.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, December 1/2010 at 7:39 pm

Thanks Emily! I’m with you about the roots… when highlights are right close to the scalp it can look a bit fake. Although they DO help a lot when you have fine hair – they give more body!

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Leanne
Friday, December 10/2010 at 4:06 pm

I LOVE the ombre look and have been trying to find a hair salon in vancouver that knows how to do it, but Ive had no success:( I want to try doing it on my own, I have grown out highlights, so the root colour is nice and dark, but can i use drugstore hair lightener on already highlighted hair?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, December 14/2010 at 5:53 pm
Bree @ The Blog Stylist
Wednesday, December 29/2010 at 6:10 pm

I’m a little late to the party on this post, but this is TOTALLY what I’m having done to my hair next time I get it coloured. Thanks!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, January 1/2011 at 12:46 pm

Cool! I read a few Australian beauty blogs and I think they call this balayage down there? (Whereas here in N.A. I think we understand balayage to mean just painting on the highlights free-hand instead of foils.) So they might not know what Ombre is. If in doubt bring pics!

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Dayana Medina
Tuesday, February 1/2011 at 5:34 pm

We love the ombre look is very popular in Los Ageles.

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Mimo
Monday, March 7/2011 at 4:17 am

I have been gowing my hair into ombre for almost 3 years now I start highlighting my hair for a year then start 2 get darker roots now i am in the prefect place !

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...love Maegan
Wednesday, March 16/2011 at 1:51 pm

um, you are adorable! I do like the end result. and I do love SJP’s hair like that too …I’ve been debating just adding a little strip of blond to the front of mine and leaving the rest the same. I need some lightness around my face or I just feel like I have dirty hair all the time, lol!!!!

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Ana
Wednesday, March 23/2011 at 3:32 am

I know this is an older posting and you already changed your hair back, but I loved the ombre waves on you! So maybe not with the bangs, but you could try to grow them out into long layers in front and stick with subtle contrast.

Stereotypical all over blond highlights are boring and predictable… the darker hair at top gave your light face and blue eyes more pop!
Blonderexia is a serious disorder girl, I too once suffered,
I think you need to see that you’re tone and eyes can handle other color :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, March 23/2011 at 2:23 pm

Oh trust me, I’ve had just about everything under the sun at this point – bangs, no bangs, blonde, red, light and dark brown!
So never say never… but I’m enjoying my current colour (more strawberry blonde and more tone-on-tone than in this ‘before’ pic). Just got it done last week – post coming soon!

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Amber
Thursday, April 21/2011 at 6:26 pm

Hi Michelle,

I was looking around for “ombre hair” pics and came across your site. I’m such a “blonderixic” as you put it and am debating about trying out the ombre look. I had platinum blonde hair with brown peek a boos and loved it. Of course, the insane person that I am, decided to go a little darker blonde all over. My hairdresser left me with orange hair and lots of breakage. Had to go back a few days later to “fix” it. So it has now been 3 months and I’m eagerly looking forward to doing my hair next month. Went for a consultation with a new girl, asking if she can get me platinum with peek a boos again…. then I see Drew Barrymore and her awesome ombre hair. I’m tormented between the two. What do you reccommend?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, May 1/2011 at 3:16 pm

I’m not so much a fan of the peekaboo colour thing unless it’s very, very subtle… I’m more into natural tone on tone looks. Drew recently ditched the Ombre (as did I) – here’s why I got rid of it: http://beautyeditor.ca/2011/01/05/ombre-hair-colour-your-15-minutes-are-up-at-least-on-my-head-heres-why-i-ditched-it/ And my new colour: http://beautyeditor.ca/2011/03/24/double-process-hair-colour-is-doubly-excellent-and-the-reason-why-celebrity-hair-looks-better-than-yours/ And Drew’s: http://beautyeditor.ca/2011/04/27/whoa-blake-lively-just-jumped-on-board-the-red-hair-train%E2%80%94but-does-she-wear-it-as-well-as-drew-barrymore/

So as you can see there is very much a movement toward tone on tone colour… Ombre is still in style but I feel it’s waning a bit. I interviewed Leighton Meester’s colourist here and he says Ombre is still in style as long as it’s subtle: http://beautyeditor.ca/2011/03/23/this-is-why-your-highlights-dont-look-like-leighton-meesters-plus-my-favourite-celebrity-hairstylist-on-how-to-pick-the-right-hair-colour/

Does that help?

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Rachel
Wednesday, June 15/2011 at 6:21 pm

I’ve been investigating on that ombré hair and your article is incredibly useful!
That style looks lovely on you, kind of soft and fashionable at the same time!
Now I’m looking for a good colorist in Paris to get the same as you!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, June 15/2011 at 10:56 pm

Thanks Rachel! Make sure you find someone who does the proper technique… to get the seamless colour transition they need to do the combing thing instead of painting it on freehand (that’s balayage). Good luck!

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Laura
Monday, October 17/2011 at 12:30 pm

Holy crap…I’m learning so much from this blog. I can’t believe I only discovered this fantastic blog today! Now I know the name (Ombre) for the style look I’ve subconsciously wanted and envied when I see magazine after magazine at the salon where I work (I’m an Esthy). This is yet another thing I can’t wait to try out…though I probably will go to my old stylist in the city (Chicago) and not the salon where I work in my small-ish town. Thanks again for a great article!

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mwr
Sunday, November 27/2011 at 4:22 pm

FAB!! I have been trying to get the ombre look where I live in Nashville – so far it has not worked?? I love yours!!! So pretty!!! And I really like your bangs dark!:))))

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Aly
Wednesday, August 22/2012 at 12:19 pm

Very Brave! Looks GREAT! I have Ombre Like you but never tried the Brushed-Out Curls…. Now I will!

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