Tutorial: How to Get Neon Ombré Hair

Eunice Lucero | 01 July 2016

Because if you can be a unicorn…

Something tells us you’re the type who likes to take things up a notch. Or maybe that shock of pink hair just isn’t enough (one can never get enough pink, yes?). Whatever the reason, one of the ways to step up your alt-hair game is to go ombré with it. Yep, neon ombré hair is a thing now, and just like any two-birds-one-stone situation, we’re all over it. Because nailing two trends—lighter ends with sunset shades—is not only a way to show your fashion senses are razor-sharp, it’s also a way to cement your individuality in this Pinstagrammy world. Read on for a quick how-to on neon ombré hair. And yes, there will be bleach.

Tutorial: How to Get Neon Ombré Hair

Non-Bleached Hair

Step 1. Mix your bleach. We normally think it’s best to have your hair professionally bleached the first time, but in a pinch and when following the right directions, it’s a process that can be done at home. Use equal parts 20 vol. developer (peroxide is the standard) and 20 vol. bleach powder, which typically comes in a tub with a scooper. Mix 2 oz. each until you’re left with a smooth mixture—no chunks allowed, do this in a well-ventilated area and don’t forget your gloves please!

Step 2: Do a test strip. With a hair dye brush (looks like a thin paintbrush with glossy plastic bristles), apply the bleach onto a thin section and fold in tinfoil for 10 minutes. Check periodically to see if your base color is lifting, and gauge the total time it takes to do so. The bleaching usually takes around 30 to 45 minutes—any longer might be extremely damaging to your strands and cause severe breakage. #hairmelt

neon ombré hair dye brush thin strips
A hair dye brush helps coat hair evenly.

Step 3: Section hair off in thin strips, and start bleaching your entire head. Start from the ends upward, and be very careful because it can sting when it comes in contact with skin and your scalp. Fold each section up in tinfoil and be patient. Note: Take note of the setting time that has passed with each strip; it might be time to rinse out the first few ones before you even finish foiling up all sections.

Step 4: Rinse off with a sulfate-free shampoo. Once you are satisfied with the lightness of your hair, rinse off your bleach with a gentle shampoo. Be careful to not get any water in your eyes! Also check to see if your new lighter shade is even all around—don’t worry if it’s a bit yellow; neon ombré hair doesn’t usually require a toner—and re-bleach darker areas, but only if needed.

Bleached Hair

Step 5: Blot wet hair with a towel. Gently dry with a blowdryer on a cool setting till hair is around 80 to 90% dry.

Step 6: Section off your entire head.

Step 7: Further divide the sections. Tie another elastic halfway down the lock (near the jawline looks more flattering on neon ombré hair). Do as many elastics as you wish, but two looks more natural. Use plastic elastics you can snip off when done. Optional: Backcomb or tease the bottom-most sections instead of tying them off for a more diffused line.

Step 8: Prepare your color in a well-ventilated area. Box colors might require a bit of mixing. Use gloves if necessary.

Step 9: Carefully brush on your color with the (rinsed off) dye brush. Bleached hair absorbs color quickly, so make sure to coat hair as evenly as you can on the first few tries. If you want your ends with a lighter, more pastel color close to blonde, leave the hair color on for a shorter amount of time. Apply a few millimeters over past the elastic for a more blended look.

Step 10: Rinse off with warm water, and follow with a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. We like the gently detangling formula of Nexxus New York Salon Care Color Assure Shampoo, which is both sulfate- and silicone-free. Nexxus New York Salon Care Color Assure Conditioner then takes care of restoring any lost lipids and has Argan, coconut and almond oils to help moisturize and restore vibrance to freshly colored locks.

Step 11: Repeat on the higher sections. For a more intense ombré, leave the dye on a few minutes longer than the ends. For a more natural line, tease the top (i.e. jawline) area before dyeing over it.

neon ombré hair color
You can also opt to leave the ends bleached blonde, and start the pink on the midshaft.

Step 12: Rinse off with warm water, a sulfate-free shampoo and don’t forget to condition!

Step 13: Try to be conservative with washes.

Pink hair washes out relatively quicker than other shades, so try to space out your shampooing. Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Dry Shampoo helps revitalize locks between washes by absorbing oil, and also can help extend your pretty new hue.

Would you ever try neon ombré hair?

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