The Sexiest Ombre Hair Color for Every Hair Length

For all you toe-the-liners out there.

Men and women, regardless of how steeped into fashion and beauty trends they are, have at this point probably familiarized themselves with the ombre hair trend. Directional and yet surprisingly wearable, ombre hair has evolved into one of the easiest and most low-maintenance colors to have.

The hallmark of this look is roots that are untouched—or, in more extreme cases, just one to two shades lighter than a person’s natural color—with the shade gradually lightening along the lengths towards the tips. This makes the whole look easier to touch up, if even needed, as regrowth comes in, with the look gaining a natural “fade” from the roots to the tips as hair grows out.

These days, the ombre hair trend has hit a fever pitch with a mainstream audience, with products and technologies available for both retail consumption and professional use. More importantly though, hair stylists and artists have found several ways to get the look to work for all hair lengths across the board, making it truly one of the most universally-flattering—and economical—hair color styles to date. Read on to discover which shade of ombre hair will work perfectly for your hair length:

Discovering the Right Ombre Hair Color

ombre hair color long brown
A lightening of hair from the roots to the tips is the main characteristic of ombre hair. Photo credit: Dvora

Short Hair
The buzzwords: Balayage and peek-a-boo highlights, soft waves

Unless going for an unapologetic dip-dye (in which case, more power to you!), the most flattering version of the ombre hair trend for shorter hair involves some carefully placed highlights. Another French adaptation, balayage (“to sweep, to paint”) is a coloring process that involves the freehand-painting of color onto the hair shaft for softer, more blended highlights—like being naturally sun-kissed, if you will. The finished product, especially when topped off with some texture via loose, chunky waves and set off with a lightweight, medium-hold hairspray such as Nexxus Comb Thru Finishing Spray, is equal parts relaxed and sexy. The best part? Not a telltale demarcation line in sight. Bonus: Ladies with bobs or lobs can work the ombre into the natural graduated layers of their bobs, or even try asking for “peek-a-boo” highlights, where only the locks underneath the top layer of hair are bleached or lightened, only showing when hair swings around. Talk about a flirty backside!

ombré hair process
Saturating the lengths and ends with color is what gets you there.

Medium Hair
The buzzwords: Layage, sexy curls

Medium hair has a lot of movement and personality to play with. It can work with a “layage” technique: a 2016 offshoot of balayage that involves laying (get it?) strands on a surface to strategically highlight strands. Either way, it’s still a freehand process. It delivers a more natural gradiation of color to each shaft. Styling medium hair is a breeze—quite literally, we might say, as easy, wispy curls and ombre color are a match made in heaven. Part hair down the middle, apply mousse or lotion such as TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Touchable Bounce Mousse to help texturize, and curl away. Muss up afterwards for a touchably sexy, tousled look.

Long Hair
The buzzwords: Bronde, barrel curls

Long hair is a virtual ombre playground, and especially when expertly blended into its layers, ombre hair can literally be your color profile for life (or until the next chop). Experiment with both balayage and layage versions as hair grows longer, and eventually try your hand at a true “bronde” shade, a beigey-blonde variation where your hair starts off with a dark to medium brown and blends seamlessly into a blonde at the ends. To start, your colorist will usually backcomb sections of your hair, then use a foil technique to highlight for an extremely natural-looking blend. Blowdried, side-swept, Old Hollywood curls showcase the look best and put your perfect ombre front and center—achieve some touchable structure with a blowdry lotion such as Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Volumizing Weightless Blow Dry Spray.

Have you ever tried ombre hair?