I remember learning shading techniques as a kid for coloring and drawing.  I loved drawing, even though I wasn’t very good.

Shading isn’t just for drawing, coloring and painting. It’s applied to hair coloring as well.  And that brings us to ombré hairstyles, which is applying a shades that gradual change along the length of the hair.

The shade starts darker at the roots and along the hair it lightens.  The process uses balayage.

Below is our massive gallery of examples showcasing ombré hairstyles and coloring in 2018.

This cherry noir combination of black and plum tones is seriously enchanting. Both tones are just perfectly blended to achieve that fierce look with a bit of class and sass.

Emancipate your inner fairy with this two-toned purple hairstyle. Two different shades of purple is used in this masterpiece: one is on the dark side while the other one is lighter. A little section of the hair is also braided for that extra feminine finish.

「fef70b」 Manic Panic Electric Banana is the best 💛

A post shared by Jaymz Marsters (@jaymz.marsters) on

If you are into vibrant colors, try this bright banana ombre. This hairstyle is a ray of sunshine, it looks really playful and perky.

Grunge waves #pulpriothair #violetthestylist #bouffantbabes

A post shared by Amelia Violet | SD Colorist (@violetthestylist) on

The woman has long hair with grunge waves, painted softly to achieve a raspberry ombre. This shade is more feminine than the other red or violet tones but it has an equally striking effect.

Colocando um pouco de cor #PaulinhoSilvestre

A post shared by Paulinho Silvestre (@paulinhosilvestrecabeleireiro) on

Long, thick hair in a copper ombre. The look is also incorporated with layers of different levels, making it extra voluminous.

Saturdays are for the BRONDES. 😍 @andreadaniellle

A post shared by Melissa Mezzanotte (@hairmezzmerizer) on

A brunette sporting her medium-length hair wih some blonde highlights and subtle layers. The output looks soft and flowy, perfect for women in their 20's.

Who says short hair can't pull off braids ? 🌸🦄😜#tbt ⚡️ @rachelchapogas⚡️ #hairbyelena

A post shared by 🔅Elena Gatzios (@hairbyelena) on

A gorgeous woman with short hair pulling-off the mermaid look with a braided top knot. Her hair is dyed with cool tones of pink and purple, making it quite feminine.

'Trending Style' 😍 For Booking: Traditional Sew-In #sewin #ghanabraids #bun #houston #houstonhairstylist #naturalhair

A post shared by 💎.K A T A H L I A 💙 B L U E.💎 (@katahlia_blue) on

This hairstyle tamed the front section of the hair with some cornrows then surprised us with a voluminous, curly half-bun! Juxtapose the sharpness of tight braids with bouncy curls stacked up top.

Something about this hairstyle never gets old!! We love how youthful and fun it is ✨ #sunkissedandmadeup #skmuTaylor #skmuJenna

A post shared by sunkissedandmadeup (@sunkissedandmadeup) on

A messy and voluminous half bun in a curly, tousled hair. This hairstyle, with its sun-kissed tones, looks really fresh and youthful.

Messy half up kinda day ✨

A post shared by erin (@erinelizabethh) on

This loose top knot hairstyle is made for those with medium-length, thin hair. The messy finish gives it a little volume and texture.

Straight hair in a smoked-out ombre styled with a cute top-knot bun and some straight bangs. This look will rock women with long and straight hair.

Long and straight hair may sometimes look too serious. Achieve a playful look by tying it up into a high ponytail and grabbing a small section of hair to braid.

Why is ombré so popular?

It’s popular because it both looks good and it’s low maintenance.

One problem with dyeing hair is once it grows out, you end up with a stark contrast between your natural hair color and dyed hair.  You either accept it and wait or you trot off to the hairdresser for another dye job.

Because ombré hair is dark at the roots and lightens along the length of the hair, when the hair regrows, you don’t end up with such a stark contrast.  The shading simply starts a little further down the hair and because it’s a gradual shading, it still looks good.

Is ombre the same as balayage hair?

Yes and no.

Ombre uses the balayage coloring technique.  It’s different from balayage in that it’s merely a specific style of coloring technique which is the gradual shading of dark to light.  Balayage doesn’t necessarily have to be a shading technique; it can be solid color throughout the hair.

What are ombré colors?

Ombré hair coloring can be any combination of colors as long as it’s a gradual shading from dark to light.  Dark brown to blonde or sandy is a common combo, but it can be any color.

Is ombré the same as highlights?


Both are different techniques.

Ombré style uses the balayage technique which paints the color directly onto the hair.

Highlights applies color to the hair via foils which bakes the lightener/bleach onto the hair.  Generally, highlights are more intense resulting in lighter hair, whereas balayage technique results in a more subtle lightening of the hair.

Can ombré be used on short hair?

Yes, absolutely.  Not a buzz cut of course because there isn’t enough length for a gradual shading effect, but it works on longer pixie cuts and bob styles.  In fact, we feature many ombré short hairstyle examples on our site.  Just use the filters to drill down to see many ombré examples.