How I Maintain Ombre Balayage Hair At Home

Monday, August 31, 2015

How To Maintain Ombre Balayage Hair At Home

The past few years I've been growing out my hair and settling into an ombre with balayage highlights. The result is a multi-tonal light brown to dark blonde ombre that I adore and really enjoy the process of maintaining.

How To Maintain Ombre Balayage Hair At Home

Ombre balayage hair has a lived in look with a surfer chic vibe and instead of chasing after roots you can let them grow out as long as you want. In public, people often stop me to inquire about who does my hair and how I achieve the look, they're always baffled when I explain how I go about doing it and how maintaining this ombre is incredibly easy and low maintenance. In fact, I let my roots grow out for an entire year before I touched up this time.

Before we get into how I maintain ombre balayage hair at home, knowing a bit of background and how I got to this point will help.

Hair Color Levels


My virgin hair is a natural dark brown level 3, the underlying pigment is red. A few years ago it was full of level 10 bleached blonde highlights throughout the crown with my natural dark brown hair underneath. After tiring of the high maintenance bleached blonde and loving the look of ombre balayage hair, I made it a goal to slowly achieve a light brown to dark blonde ombre with baby blonde highlights towards the ends. My ends were mostly dark brown still, so to pursue the ombre effect, I lightened the dark brown ends to blonde in preparation for coloring. Since my hair was porous and bleached I needed to apply a filler before the dye, to equalize porosity for even color absorption, I used Colorful Neutral Protein Filler (affiliate link). Then I proceeded to dye my hair using two colors, level 6N from roots to mid shaft and level 7N blended mid shaft to ends. Keep in mind, when going from light to dark (especially on bleached hair) choose a lighter level dye than the actual color result you want, because dark dye really grabs onto light hair and it will turn out darker than you intended.

So initially that's what it took for my hair to get into the ombre balayage groove, but now it's simple to maintain.

Understanding Your Hair Level & Underlying Pigment

Understanding hair levels and underlying pigment

Natural hair colors are categorized into levels and within each level is the underlying pigment. As you move through hair levels, your hair must pass through each underlying pigment. What happens if you're going from dark to light and you wash off the lightener too soon? You end up in the orange stage.

Figuratively speaking, it's as if you were traveling from point A to point B but you got off the train too early... It's nothing to cry over or freak out about, you just need to ride a little further until you reach your destination.

The underlying pigment in our hair can be a source of frustration at times but don't be too upset at it, it's only doing it's job... Your underlying pigment has unique reflective qualities which add a multidimensional luster and life to each strand of your hair. It's what makes your hair sparkle and glisten in the sunlight.


Understanding how hair levels and underlying pigments respond... and knowing how tones such as: ash, golden, or neutral will affect them is like reading a road map... It's going to help get you where you want to go and you'll know what to look for when you're on your way.

I want the most bang for my buck with as little work as possible these days. So before doing anything on my hair I try to forecast how the colors will look as it's growing out, how long will the color be wearable without touch-ups, how the will the highlights look as the color eventually fades out due to environmental elements and hair porosity, is the color/tone capable of neutralizing my underlying red pigment? That's really what guides me in choosing the products, dye levels and tones that I do.


Things To Consider Before Getting Started. 


  • Is your hair 100% natural virgin hair?
  • Has your hair been dyed?
  • Has your hair been lightened in any way or bleached?
  • Has your hair been chemically relaxed or straightened?
  • Has your hair had any chemical process done?
  • Will your hair require a filler before coloring?
  • What is your natural virgin hair level?
  • What is the underlying pigment in your hair?
  • What level do you want to attain?
  • What tone do you want to achieve?
  • What is the porosity of your hair? (i.e. low, medium, high)
  • Are you familiar with how your hair type absorbs and reacts to dyes, lighteners, etc? 
  • Is this your first time with the hair coloring process?
  • Have you researched the application technique?

All of these variables will affect your results and you'll want to know how to deal with them beforehand. 

If this is your first time coloring or lightening your hair and you're not feeling confident about doing it yourself... I recommend having your hair done professionally. Try going to a few consultations at salons in your area and choose a hair professional you feel comfortable with, be sure to bring in pics of what you want to attain, discuss your budget and communicate clearly so you'll both be on the same page. After all, hair is one of the first things people notice about you and you'll want to be happy and confident with the results.

Then there are people like myself who started messing with their hair when they were teenagers, back when they couldn't afford anything else, learning by trial and error and any bits of information from pros. Some people have an unwavering determination to do things themselves and just want a little DIY inspiration along the way... That's why I'm here.

Although I've never had my hair professionally cut or colored, I'm not opposed to the idea. I've just never had the opportunity to get to know a good hair colorist in my area and I really do enjoy the process of doing it myself and learning as I go.


My Basic Ombre Balayage Hair Maintenance Routine:
  • I let my roots grow out between colorings for 6 months to 1 year.
  • I use one permanent hair color to touch up the roots/lighten base color and refresh the overall color and tone, in a single process.
  • I add balayage (free hand sweeping) highlights once a year. (This will be in a future video/post)
  • Usually I'll use a purple shampoo to maintain tone. (Though I didn't last year)

Products I Use:


Why:
I use level 8 because I like the light brown/dark blonde color range. I use an ash tone to neutralize my underlying red pigment. Using an ash tone on my hair will not make it ashy, it only cools the unwanted warmth and leaves it a bit more neutral/golden. Ion Color Brilliance is now my preferred hair dye brand because it's vegan, cruelty-free, does an amazing job, it's gentle on my hair, leaves hair feeling soft and healthy, doesn't smell harsh like other dyes, and the color looks very natural. The creme formula is awesome because it's so easy to apply, it's easier to control and isn't as messy. I use Ion Sensitive Scalp 20 Volume Creme Developer, which is also excellent, it's very gentle and 20 volume is all I need to lift my base two levels lighter.


How To Maintain Ombre Balayage On Straight Hair Hair At Home

How To Ombre Balayage Hair At Home





How I Maintain Ombre Balayage Hair At Home: Part 1 
Lighten Base & Refresh Color



Before Pics

How To Ombre Balayage Hair At Home

Ombre Hair


How To Fix Orange Hair Ombre

I love a good bad before pic lol. This made a great one because I had just been in the pouring rain and wind wrestling my laundry off the clothes line... and bad overhead bathroom lighting always makes a good bad before pic. ;)


How To Maintain Ombre Balayage Hair At Home

We're looking at 1 year of new root growth, faded color and highlights which exposed underlying pigments of brassy orange and yellow tones. Basically I've been growing out the length of my hair and took a year off from doing any processes on it and didn't use purple shampoo either. *Purple shampoos and growing out hair length will be in upcoming posts. ;)

So my entire head of hair needs to be completely refreshed root to tip, I need to lighten the base and cool the overall tone to neutralize the underlying pigment. In this case, my preferred method is to use a permanent dye that will lift, color and tone in a single process with minimal damage.

How To Maintain Ombre Hair At Home

Ion Color Sensitive Scalp Volume 20 Creme Developer.

How To Fix Brassy Ombre Balayage Hair At Home

Ion Color Brilliance Creme 8A Light Ash Blonde Permanent Hair Dye.

Ion Sensitive Scalp 20 Volume Creme Developer

Mix a 1:1 Ratio.
I was pleasantly surprised with these Ion products, they don't smell harsh or as if your nostrils have just been scorched by pungent hair dye chemicals. (Wella I'm looking at you!) ;)

How To Get Ombre Hair At Home

Divide hair into sections. 
Ion recommends dividing hair into 4 sections from ear to ear and from forehead to nape of neck, passing across the top of the head. I'll probably try that method next time but my usual method is what you see in the photo, parted in the middle, divided into 6 sections (4 clipped up, 2 at nape) 

Best Cruelty Free Vegan Hair Color

Start where you want the hair to lighten the most. My hair is darkest underneath and I wanted a softer contrast, so I started underneath first to get the highest lift there.

Best Vegan Hair Color For Ombre Balayage Hair

I worked quickly from back to front and from side to side, taking thin slices of hair as I go. I applied the mixture root to tip. 

If my new root growth had been any longer:
  • I would apply the mixture on lengths and ends, starting 1" from the scalp
  • Process for 15 minutes and apply remaining mixture to the scalp. 
  • Process for an additional 15-30 minutes or until color is even.

Otherwise you can end up with "hot roots" since your roots lighten faster than the rest of your hair, due to the heat near your scalp.

Best Cruelty Free Hair Dye For Ombre Balayage Hair

On each slice of hair, I paint the mixture on the top side...

How To Lighten Dark Brown Hair Without Bleach

...And on the underneath side, for an even application.

How To Lighten Dark Brown Hair Light Brown At Home

In the back where it's more difficult to see, I hold the hair straight up and out from my scalp so I can see while painting on the mixture. I'll also use a hand mirror to check that the back is saturated evenly and no spots have been missed.


I always do the hairline last because those super fine baby hairs around your hairline lighten really fast.

Results

How To Maintain Ombre Balayage Hair At Home

How To Maintain Ombre Balayage Hair At Home

Ombre Balayage Hair At Home


Ombre Hair


How To Maintain Ombre Balayage Hair At Home


Disclaimer:  I am not a professional hair colorist. My only experience comes from working on my own hair over the past 20 years and learning from my mistakes. Hair color is an art form that I'm passionate about! The chemistry of coloring and highlighting hair is fascinating, so I strive to continuously learn from professionals. Maybe one day I'll be able to go to school for it. But for now, I'm truly excited just to talk about hair on this blog and exchange information and experiences with you! If you are a hair professional and don't mind sharing your tips with us diy'ers, please do, your expertise and skill is very much appreciated.

Thank you for stopping by my blog today, I hope you'll come back and visit again soon. :)
xo,



*This post is not sponsored, but does contain affiliate links. I purchased all products mentioned myself. :)

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17 comments

  1. hi christine- your hair is absolutely gorgeous. I am curious what is your day to day shampoo, not the purple one, you are using?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Christine, What kind of shampoo do you use? Your hair looks so beautiful Thank you

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    2. Can you let us know what shampoo you use?

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  2. Replies
    1. Christine LOOKED GREAT WHEN SHE SECTIONED HER HAIR AND SOME WAS ON HER HEAD,,HER FACE WAS NOT COVERED BY HAIR. THAT IS HER BEST LOOK WHAT DO YOU THINK,,,ANYBODY

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  3. So pretty and natural. I'm the exact opposite of your situation -being a patron of the same salon since age 8. Well, I am intolerably done with that! It's way too expensive, now getting into the 200's (every 4-6 weeks!?!) way too much melodrama, over inflated egos and simply not honoring my wishes. I'm in a "grow-out" phase now, and will soon be marching on into my local Sally Beauty Supply, so, like you, I can develop an easily maintainable style of hair dying and then, OWN IT! This post/video convinced me to try it, and I will, Thanks to your courage, widom and undaunting creativity - you rock, Miss Christine, amazingly so.
    Thanks,
    Always,
    Callie on the East Coast ⚓️

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  4. I love this blog. I will check this out from now on.

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  5. Hi Christine can you help to find those stores here in canada please ASAP lol

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  6. Hi Christine can you help to find those stores here in canada please ASAP lol

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  7. You should be a professional stylist! Amazing job!!! ��

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  8. Thank you and your hair color is beautiful ����

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  9. Beautiful work. I am a professional & like u I taught myself for almost 20 yrs b4 I could go to sch 4 it. It is also something that I am passionate about. I love doing hair, esp my own, lol. I think u did an excellent job on ur hair & the tips u provided are going 2 be really helpful to those who aren't pro's & the tips are basically correct. Many ppl do not understand that hair coloring, etc. Is all about chemistry & really science. I don't think hair dressers get enough credit 4 what they do-the 1s who can do it correctly, that is. The only thing I would recommend is when doing ur root regrowth, since it has grown at least to Zone 2 is, use a Semi-Permanent color & if going to Sallys Ion is prob the very best choice. The reason I say 2 use the Ion Semi-Permanent is #1-it is made to tone as it colors & very slowly & gently fades away..#2-when using permanent color,no matter the brand, each time u use it, then use it again, it leaves what we call bands around the head on ur hair that u may or may not see but are there & that's not good. I would say 2 ALWAYS use Semi. Other than that, kudos-u my friend ought to go to sch, bc u are good at this. You would succeed very well, & be able 2 do 4 ppl what u (& i ) learned from trial & error. Im book marking ur blog & hope 1 day 2 hear u started ur training. Xx. Sasha

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful work. I am a professional & like u I taught myself for almost 20 yrs b4 I could go to sch 4 it. It is also something that I am passionate about. I love doing hair, esp my own, lol. I think u did an excellent job on ur hair & the tips u provided are going 2 be really helpful to those who aren't pro's & the tips are basically correct. Many ppl do not understand that hair coloring, etc. Is all about chemistry & really science. I don't think hair dressers get enough credit 4 what they do-the 1s who can do it correctly, that is. The only thing I would recommend is when doing ur root regrowth, since it has grown at least to Zone 2 is, use a Semi-Permanent color & if going to Sallys Ion is prob the very best choice. The reason I say 2 use the Ion Semi-Permanent is #1-it is made to tone as it colors & very slowly & gently fades away..#2-when using permanent color,no matter the brand, each time u use it, then use it again, it leaves what we call bands around the head on ur hair that u may or may not see but are there & that's not good. I would say 2 ALWAYS use Semi. Other than that, kudos-u my friend ought to go to sch, bc u are good at this. You would succeed very well, & be able 2 do 4 ppl what u (& i ) learned from trial & error. Im book marking ur blog & hope 1 day 2 hear u started ur training. Xx. Sasha

    ReplyDelete
  11. Works amazingly fast dis nuhairrx. My hair stopped shedding excessively almost immediately. I think I used it too often however, and developed some nipple sensitivity. I backed off on the frequency of use, and the sensitivity has gone away, but I don't think my hair has started shedding again. one month later i could see the huge amt of hair growth.

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  12. I've been using nuhair rx for 2 months, no side effect has been discovered. I'll try this for a year and see how it goes. It is a little pricey​ though, but if it gets back your hairs, who cares!

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  13. Ahhh, this is amazing! Thank you for sharing! I spent so much money on 3 balayage sessions and this is the perfect post for me because I'm also CF & vegan.

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