To Ombré Or Not To Ombré


 Every brunette has been there: to lighten my hair or not to lighten my hair? Do I take the plunge into ombré, leave my hair as is, or go even darker?

There are so many questions to ask yourself before making a final hair decision. As someone who has had ombré on and off since my sophomore year of high school (almost 10 years, if you’re counting), I’ve been through it all. When I originally went into a salon to get the look, picture of Alexa Chung in hand, the stylist looked at me like I was crazy, told me I would look like a heroin addict on the streets with grown out roots, and refused to do it. True story. So, I did it myself. Fast forward a year from that, and the style was everywhere. After having it for a long while, and far past when I should have toned it again, I got tired of the look and went dark. But, true to my M.O., I went lighter just a year after that — and the cycle continues. After my most recent affair with ombré last year, I made what (I think?) is a final decision to go a few shades darker than my natural color for a full-on brunette look.  And with that, I finally feel like myself again.

I’ve come to a conclusion with this last back-and-forth process: I like the idea of lighter hair more than the finished product. Let’s face it — we all stumble upon inspo pics of our favorite celebrities who have gone from brunette to bronde to blonde and we’re instantly inspired to do that same. But, guess what? They’re paying insane amounts to achieve the look. If you have all the money in the world to spend on your hair, more power to you. It will probably turn out amazing with the right colorist. But, if you’re like me, with a limited fund for beauty and only high-hopes to show, you might just be better off staying dark.

With that, here’s a few more things to keep in mind if you’re trying to decide whether to go from dark to light:

There is upkeep involved with ombré and balayage. While, yes, new growth should blend in seamlessly with the look, there’s maintenance required for your newly-lightened locks. Not only do you have to take extra care of the bleach-processed pieces, but toning is crucial to keeping the color bright, fresh, and not brassy. And if your hair is like mine, it will get brassy over time.

If you start the journey light, you will always want to go lighter. Maybe it’s just me, but bleach is addicting. Many times, I’ve gone in for subtle highlights just to be back in the salon two weeks later. That’s a pretty expensive and time-consuming habit, especially with my not-easily-lifted hair. If your ultimate goal is 100% to get as light as possible, however, going gradual is the way to go. Personally, time proves that I will end up going back to brunette. There have been many salon trips that I regret when it comes to the money spent.

The season shouldn’t affect your decision. I’m a firm believer in ignoring the weather when it comes to your hair color. No matter what the time of year, if you’re wanting a change, go for it! I’ve gone darker many times during the spring and summer (like this year, for example) and I’ve gone lighter in the fall and winter. If I’ve had regrets, the time of year definitely wasn’t a factor. It’s just not taboo anymore, so do what you’re feeling.

Take your time. Go in for a salon consultation, ask for opinions from close friends, and take your time when deciding what shade to land on. It is absolutely up to you, and no one else, what you do with your hair, but make it a sure thing. If you’re short on cash, hold off. If  you’re not ready for the commitment, wait. If you’re going back and forth, don’t do it. Coming from personal experience, impromptu style changes rarely land in your favor, so opt for the cautious route.

If you’re in the middle of the ombré-don’t-ombré debate, or any back-and-forth hair decision, hopefully this helped a bit. With all of this said, keep in mind: it is just hair. It will grow back, it can be dyed, it can be fixed. Nothing is permanent, so if your wallet can bare it, do what’s true to you.

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