Triple Reverse Ombre, or “Ombre Extreme!!!”

I’ve been hearing through the grapevine that the ombre trend is over. Excuse me? I hate trends, and finally I found something I really like. You don’t get to tell me it’s over. No, now is the time to take this shit to the next level. Ombre Extreme!! Let’s do this thing.

You recall from my first post about how to achieve a reverse ombre that I put black on the ends. Well, it turned out great. I absolutely love it, and I think I’ll keep it pretty much forever.  And today I’m going to expand on that. First up, a simplification of the process on the bottom. This is a complete revision and you’ll never have to read my first article again, except it still has pretty pictures.


The second time I did the black on my ends, I wanted Bea to do it because she’s a hair genius. I’m always afraid of missing things in the back because I’m not an alien and I don’t have eyes back there. Well, she surprised me, even for her. She did the whole thing in under five minutes and didn’t spill a drop. She also didn’t use the brush, or separate my hair into blunt chunks by layer like I did. As it turns out, that was totally unnecessary. In fact the whole thing is just so easy I feel kind of stupid now for over thinking it so much before. She took a small piece from the front, saturated the bottom, and just pushed the dye up with her fingers. Then she went around my head, going purposely uneven so everything highlighted and swirled beautifully, and that was literally it. The only thing to know about this is you want the bulk of the dye to be at the bottom so you’re not dragging very much up with your fingers. I just slap a little glob on there, make sure it’s really worked in, and just slide my fingers up and down up through the transition part to carry it through. Easy. You won’t even believe it. Retouching my hair as it fades is now crazy quick and painless. And after about 5 times doing this I’m still using the same jar I started with.

Seen here with hair flairs, for added color and sparkle.

Now you may also remember me saying I don’t use bleach, because my hair is already blond and bleach kind of scares me. So to get my bright red to take I was dying the roots very light blond as an alternative. Now, this is the shitty part about bright hair upkeep. Most hair dye is just one process out of the box, but these bright veggie colors need bleach/blond, and then color is a second step. And let’s face it, I’m lazy. Often I dyed my roots blond and because I didn’t want to dry and dye and wash my hair a second time in one evening, I just left it. And left it. And left it. Soon I had some pretty crazy blond roots going on, and my hair was three colors. And actually that was pretty awesome. The color itself wasn’t bad, but me and light hair just don’t mix. It’s not me, and I needed to tone it down a bit. So then over the fall I started dying it copper. At first I didn’t love it, it was just too orange. But it always faded to a very pretty warm golden blond. And there I have it, the perfect tri-colored fire ombre. My laziness actually paid off and now it looks like I put in even more effort than I did before. I just keep touching up the roots, and don’t go there when I touch up the red part.



So enough about me. How can you do this? Let’s take this into the perspective that you will be keeping with the light-to-dark theme instead of the other way around. This way is a LOT less damaging. If you hair is already light to begin with, you can take it any color from there. To do your roots just make a bunch of partings and paint them with your color of choice and your tinting brush. Go as far down the length as you want, you’ll be covering it up with the darker colors after and extending it down a bit may even help the gradient effect because hair dye is rarely opaque. Take the second color, making sure it’s complimentary and a bit darker, and dye from your preferred starting point downward. It transitions smoother when you brush upwards in a sort of rounded “swooping” motion instead of plopping it on and brushing down the usual way, which would be very abrupt and unforgiving on unevenness. Then do it again with the third color either with your brush or the way I described I was doing my ends earlier. Most likely of course you’ll be doing this in three separate steps instead of all at once, and it’s ok to not even do it all in the same day. It might even be four steps if your root color doesn’t come in a box and you need to lighten it first. Suddenly this style doesn’t seem quite so lazy anymore, but I don’t call it “ombre extreme” for nothing.

Hellooo profile picture.

Hellooo profile picture.

Or you could sort of simplify and do it like me, if you’re patient and a little shy about wanting to do your roots something extra awesome (bonus – if you’re going white, the heat from your scalp processes bleach quicker, so your roots will be easy). This is also good if your hair is too dark/already damaged to handle the lightening and you want to start fresh with strong virgin hair. Choose the middle color as your base and do that all over. Then do your darkest color on your ends. Live with that. As your hair grows, touch up your roots not with your main color but with the lighter root color. Most likely this will involve lightening and either keeping it that way or dying something else on top later that day or the next. Have fun thinking of all the pretty colors you could do. White-purple-black, white-blue-black, blond-teal-royal blue, blond-pink-purple….this is going to be so much fun. Pro tip: Use lip liner, eyeliner, or eyeshadow to tint your eyebrows to match your hair. Next up for me, pink-red-black “flower” ombre!

Like a boss

Like a boss

You NEED to show me pictures if you do this. Let’s show them something fresh and keep ombre in.

Holly Hui Hair

I like my red hair. It’s the color that perfectly borders natural and wild, because it can go either way depending on the shade. It’s also just a sexy color. Photographers use me for my red hair too, so if I had a more standard or freakish color I have the feeling I wouldn’t get asked to do pictures half as much. The thing is, it’s been red since I was 19. And I have a tendency to get bored. Before it was red, it was blond, white, black, blue, and green. I changed it a lot. But one color I never actually got to do was purple. It was one of the first colors I intended on trying but I chickened out once my hair was bleached and never quite got around to it again.
Enter the “ombre” dye job. You’ll know this as the big Hollywood trend of girls with long brown roots gradually lightening into blond on the bottom half. Obviously those colors are not for me. But I like the idea of having two hair colors at once, especially ever since I saw Megan Massacre on NY Ink with her fire engine red and black ombre hair while I was just dying for a change of some sort. Suddenly after a bit of google image searching the solution became all too obvious. I wanted ombre hair, bright cherry red at the top, into deep purple at the bottom. Fuck yes.

The trigger

It also occurred to me that instead of seeing Becky and having to bring her a print-out that would require me to go out and buy color printer ink, I should see Drawn and Plastered’s resident hairstylist Holly Hui. I really must say, Drawn and Plastered is really lucky. We have the absolute most talented and awesome people out there working for us because they’re so awesome and support what we do. I’m so proud to say that Holly Hui is one of them. Obviously I couldn’t possibly go wrong here.

The inspiration

The location was definitely different than the fancy salon on Corydon I’ve been going to for the last five years. I wasn’t at all familiar to the area. So that turned my nerves up a little. But as soon as I saw Holly there I relaxed. I gave her my usual middy instructions and told her I wanted the longest part to be at the bra line, however gave her permission to take off more if she had to to get rid of split ends. This scared me as it was quite a bit shorter than I’ve had it for a long time. I also got bangs because I figured it’s been about 13 years, so if I’m going for different, let’s toss that in there too. I’d been toying with the idea for way too long not to. That was even scarier. But having trust will get you far. I held my breath and kept quiet.

Your first time seeing this unstyled is also mine. And how brave am I for posting a picture in absolutely no makeup and stupid pink pajamas?

When it was over I looked…normal. It’s the first time I used Matrix hair color, so it’s going to take some time for it to build up to the brightness and contrast I’d like. The bangs and the smooth straight style also looked unusually modern for me. So I looked great, but didn’t feel like myself. Of course we both knew all it would take was for me to play around a bit at home. The whole point of a middy is versatility afterall, and my bangs were cut long in keeping with this, just barely short enough for me to see. Holly also razored one side so I could wear them to the side without having a corner, and when I curl them up they’ll look very Bettie Page. The length should make them relatively easy to blend in and hide too.

Yep, there are bangs in there!

And later that very night. Who invented this sorcery!

Side note/tip: I quickly found just how easy blending bangs really is. Take the bangs along with a portion of hair from behind them, and backcomb the roots from behind to mix them together with a teasing brush or fine toothed comb. You want the teasing to be really tight, so you wonder how you’ll ever manage to comb it out again. When you let go you’ll have some odd pieces randomly sticking out. Just tuck them underneath with a pin and have the longer part of your hair fall over the ends of the bangs. Hairspray liberally. Ta-da! And I mean it was *quick* – it look less than a minute and you would never know they were ever there.

As soon as I got home I got to curling it in my regular style. This was challenging because a lot of the layers were quite a bit shorter, so it was difficult to get everything into the rollers. Nevertheless it somehow seemed to take quite a bit less time, since there were no more ratty ends, and a shorter length means less hair to roll up, and less maneuvering to reach the ends of it. Once the rollers were taken out, my hair was fuller and bouncier than ever. There was so much less weight that with some backcombing and hair spray it would virtually stick straight out with very little effort. Then with a little combing of the bangs to the side and a bit more spray, I was easily able to get myself into a style that felt really great for me. Very Joan Holloway.

After the first time styling it myself. I’m me again!

Now I don’t know if it’s because it was shorter, the layers were shorter, the products that were used, or the fact that I saw Holly, but out of the now three times that I’ve had this particular hair cut done this is the first time that it physically feels like I expected the middy to feel. Before it just felt like my hair, only the look was different. This time it feels so light and soft, like it could just float away. It feels luxurious and easy and the complete opposite of being buried in hair. It feels fantastic. And it actually made a big difference in my day, like I was wearing silk pajamas instead of jeans. I just had to mention that.

By the end of the night I was in love. I was no longer ambivalent about bangs, and the huge messy curls I had made me feel awesome. Of course anything that makes you feel like Christina Hendricks, Dita, and a spy can’t be anything but all sorts of awesome. Mike is super happy too.

Having trust in your stylist will get you far. If I didn’t have that,  I wouldn’t have done it. And I’m so glad I did. You can trust Holly Hui.

For more about asking your stylist for a middy see and