1. Shade the Root Area
You know the rule with ombre hair: usually, the color starts darker at the roots, then evenly fades to a lighter shade through the mid-lengths and ends. Gray ombre works best when the root area is black or a very dark, cool-toned brown, although you can work with a dark ash blonde when you’re creating gray blonde tips.
If your client’s existing root color is already a match for their desired final look, skip this step. If not? Apply a root shadow in a hue that will complement the color through the ends. Choose from a semi-permanent product, like Color Fresh, a demi-permanent, such as Color Touch, or a permanent hair color formula, like Koleston Perfect and Illumina Color.
2. Pre-Lighten Mid-Lengths and Ends
In most cases (meaning if the hair is any darker than a light blonde) you’ll need to pre-lighten mid-lengths and ends to ensure gray ombre tones show up. Reach for the perfect product first, using Blondorplex on sensitized strands, and Blondor Freelights if you like to apply your lightener in freehand strokes.
Begin sweeping the hair lightener from where you want the fade to begin, then glide down to the tips. Make sure every strand is saturated in the formula for an even lift. It’s important that, during this step, you do not let your Blondor lightener and color to mix together. Remember: color and bleach do not like each other.
3. Tone for an Even Fade
Rinse out your root shadow and lightener, neutralize with Blondor Seal & Care, then rough dry hair before applying your ombre hues. You’ll need two color formulas: one medium tone for the mid-lengths and one lighter tone for the ends. Try mixing up a smokey gray or silver for the mid-lengths, then blending a blonde to brighten the tips.
Apply your medium shade through the full width of the hair, starting where the root shadow ends. Sweep it down to where you want the lighter shade to begin. Repeat through the lower section of hair, applying the lighter shade from where the medium shade ends, right down to the tips. Once it’s developed and rinsed, you’ll have the dreamiest gray ombre.