My Ombré Faux Pas

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I know what you're thinking... Sabs' is sooo late for the Ombré party right?

But, just like a teenage girl in High School, I gave in to the peers of having Ombré hair done because I saw it everywhere, specially in the US when I was there on vacation a couple of months ago. So when I got back from SanFo, I got obsessed with the idea of getting Ombré hair.

Let me define what Ombré hair is:

"The word Ombre is a French word for shading or graduating. Hair stylists have coined this terminology to describe a color technique that they have been using in the salon.

If you need a visual, think of dark hair at the scalp and lighter on the ends. Usually the color blends from dark to light with no harsh transition line.

Ombre hair color has become a popular concept; however, many are still not sure of what it is exactly.

The color style is worn by many “A” list stars of Hollywood such as actress Drew Barrymore, Jessica Biel and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Although this technique could be used on short to medium hair, it tends to look best on long flowing locks. Depending on the two tones used, you can have a very contrasting color or a natural subtle look.

Ombre offers a wonderful color technique for individuals who desire a softer, low maintenance color. Ombre color works perfectly for those gals who only color their hair every three to four months. When I think of Ombre hair color I think of a natural yet stylish bohemian look." - (source:

Now, having defined that and after looking at countless photos of A-list stars sporting the Ombré hair, I knew I was screwed.

I remember I had shoots and weddings that whole week so I didn't have time to go to the Salon. I heard it could take up to about 3 hours to have this done so I really had to schedule a whole afternoon for it. Before I begin telling you about my experience, allow me to show you how my hair looked before:

When straightened, my layered hair hung down to just above my waist. I took care of my hair in spite of it being color treated for a wedding I attended last February.

So, going back to me being obsessed with having my hair Ombré-d, I couldn't wait another day, or week, to have my hair done. So I did the unthinkable. I experimented. I bought myself a box of Sally Hansen's Extra Strength Hair Bleach for Face & Body and decided I would do it myself.

There were several tutorial YouTube videos on how to Ombré your own hair (using stronger bleach though), so I thought, "how hard can it be?"

So I went ahead and followed the tutorial to the letter. And I must say, the end result was not at all that bad, but of course, the bleach wasn't strong enough to give the full effect that a salon would give you:

As you can see, my hair ends are lighter. It's actually lighter in person, my camera just wasn't able to capture the real effect. I was actually pretty satisfied, but I wanted it to be more noticeable. I did some research which salons in Makati did Ombré hair but all salons who offered the service were in the north. I had to wait 2 weeks before I could go to the nearest salon which was in Eastwood because my schedule was pretty tight.

So, being my impatient self, I called Bench Fix in Glorietta 4 and asked my regular senior stylist who colors my hair (whom I will remain nameless out of respect), if he did Ombré coloring. He eagerly, and actually a little too enthusiastically (and confidently) said yes and that it was easy. I got excited because my client that day cancelled on me so I had time to go to the salon. And off to Bench Fix I went.

The first stripping they did on my hair, it was a DISASTER. After they shampooed my hair, my hair looked like I had a dark brown helmet on top of rust-colored hair. The bleach was NO WHERE NEAR gradient, and I literally wanted to cry. They had to bleach my hair 4 more times but the effect was still not achieved. It really looked as if I had a helmet on but it was the best that they could do. I had an appointment I had to go to, so I had to leave the salon 4 hours later... Disappointed. Good thing they had a promo on coloring, 50% off on hair dying services so I only had to pay P1,600. It wasn't even worth the P1,600.

As you can see, I wasn't too happy with the result. It actually doesn't look bad on camera, but in person, it was way too orange, and it wasn't gradient. I had to live with my kalawang-colored hair for a week before I had the opportunity to have it fixed. The wedding I was doing the following week switched venues, and preps was not being held in Richmonde Hotel in Eastwood. I called Azta Urban Salon (supposedly they eat Ombré colorings for dinner), and found out that their salon was just across the hotel. Luckily, I had nothing scheduled after the wedding I did (which ended at 12:30 sharp) and I was sitting in a salon chair just 30 minutes later.

They began working on my hair at exactly 1PM. I forgot the name of the stylist, but it seemed like he knew what he was talking about so I just showed him a photo of Drew Barrymore's Ombré hair and he went right to work. He told me that my hair was damaged so they had to do color correcting first before they could do the Ombré coloring.

Meanwhile... 4 glasses of iced teas, 5 cigarettes, and 7 hours later, they were finally able to fix the gradient effect I was after, but the color WAS ALL KINDS OF WRONG. The stylist bleached my hair several levels until it was ash-white blonde. It was definitely NOT what I wanted. He told me that it looked better and that he had always wanted to do that color, but that was besides the point. It WASN'T WHAT I WANTED. They offered to fix it but I was already on that chair for 7 hours, not to mention, I had to pay P11,000 because they gave my hair some kind of hair treatment (2 vials that cost 1,400 each) that I didn't ask for! I was tired and my back and my butt hurt, so I just let it be:

The photo on the left is when I was on my way home from the salon. I took a photo of it with a flash to see the effect. Again, it looked OK on camera, but my husband was actually pretty scared. In the day, it really looked as if my hair was greying. It was a disaster. The photo on the right it a few days later. I tried curling it and tried to see what the effect was. I was really quite unhappy.

After one final attempt to try and fix my hair, I decided to ask my mom for help. She was been dying her own hair for a long time and I knew she would more or less know how to fix my cataclysmic hair. When she saw my hair, she too was shocked. My mom always thought I was adventurous and was vivacious when it came to fashion and makeup, but she never thought I would go for white hair. HA!

So, my mom and I went to good ol' Landmark to buy hair dye. I got 2 boxes of Wella's home hair dying kit in Hazelnut to try and tone down the starkness of the greying hair. When we got to my parent's house, we went straight to work.

An hour and a half later, after I have dried my hair. I was FINALLY happy with my hair:

I sported my Ombré hair for a while but the damages have been done. My hair was sticky because the strands were already so thin and lifeless. It looked as if I had a broom at the ends of my hair. I tried to repair my hair with lots of mayonnaise (2 times a week), Keratin treatments, no heat, etc. But the damage was too severe to bring my hair at least have a decent shine or softness to it.

So just after 2 months and almost 12k poorer with Ombré hair, I had to say goodbye to my long hair, and am now sporting shoulder-length layers... Which I haven't had the courage to take a photo of yet.

Lesson here? If you want to have something extreme done to your hair? Do your research well, and ask people who have first hand experience. Then go to a reputable salon who will listen to what you want.

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  1. So that explains the short hair you were sporting when u visited the store.. Hehe

  2. Just saw this. Thought that people knew how to ombre by now but apparently, they still don't. It's 2013 already and I too ended up with un-gradiented and mismatched ombre :(


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