Can you let highlights grow out to turn them into ombré?

I want to let my highlights grow out, so they turn into ombré, is that possible?


So many women ask me this every single day.

Ombré has been on trend for a few years now and I can assure you that it’s here to stay.

  • The short answer is YES, there’s no problem with deciding to let your roots grow out to get the oh-so-loved ombré effect.
  • But, there are always ifs and buts when it comes to these kinds of yes and no questions, and in this case, your highlights have to be spaced out to generate an effect as specific as ombré.
  • If not, meaning that your highlights are close together or you have a lot of them, you won’t get the ombré effect because you won’t have the classic delicate transition between one color and another.


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Because of this problem, I decided to make a guide for how to prepare your highlights so you can eventually have a delicate, beautiful ombré after growing them out.

Many of my clients have already opted to do this, so I have a lot of experience with the practice and I also want to add that  many salons charge a fortune for this kind of technique, taking advantage of women that don’t have the right information on hand… do you want to be one of them?


If not, I invite you to keep reading.

In this article, I’ll tell you the how and why to getting a beautiful ombré without spending a fortune, but let’s start with the basics, which are:

  • What is ombré?
  • Why can you let your highlights grow out to turn them into ombré?
  • What is the process for getting a beautiful ombré?
  • Ombré from zero


But, first I want to be super clear about what makes this technique special because it’s easy to confuse it with a balayage, for example. So let’s start from there.


What is ombré?

copper tones

  • Ombré is different from other techniques because you leave the roots their natural color, meaning that you never dye them.

There are many different color options, but you should always try to choose what will go well with your root color and fade to the ends in a honey, chocolate, or even platinum blonde color.


  • There are many techniques for getting this style. In my case, I like to generate a natural effect by using a cap, for example, while others do it with foil or even by teasing your hair.

As you’ll see there are a bunch of different ways to do this technique; it will all depend on the expert you go to and how they feel comfortable doing your hair when it comes time to do the deed.


  • You must know that you must leave this to professionals since it is not at all easy to get the final, delicate ombré effect.

There are a million online tutorials that you can find, promising you that you can do it from home, and what surprises me most is that they suggest painting your hair randomly with a dye brush.


 A hair colorist might be able to learn the necessary technique to do that after years of practice and hundreds of examples of trial and error. 

It really seems crazy to me that people would try at home because of the color disasters that could come out of it, not to mention that you could burn your hair and there’s no going back from that.


And that’s why I’ll repeat it time and time again: Be very conscientious when it comes time to change your look. It’s better to take your time and save up to go to a professional than to follow any old tutorial online and end up with damaged hair.


How come you can let your highlights grow out to turn them into ombré?

I use the same technique for doing ombré as I do for cap highlights, except that when it comes time to bleach my clients’ hair, I leave about an inch without bleach at the roots and from there start to use the product on their hair.

That creates the subtle, delicate fading effect characteristic of ombré.


 The difference is that highlights begin right at your roots, while ombré always leave at least 1 inch before beginning the color to get that characteristic depth. 

So, I’m justified in my response that obviously you can let your roots grow out to get a beautiful ombré.


Surely, you’re more than happy with this news, since getting it done in the salon can be very expensive while you have the solution right here at your fingertips without needing to spend a fortune.


What would the process be for getting a beautiful ombré?

growing hair

But not everything is so perfect. You need to keep in mind several different things if you want your ombré to be the subject of everyone’s envy.


  • It’s not so easy as just letting your roots grow out without any second thoughts. You need to keep in mind that the last time you got your highlights done, your hair colorist probably spaced them out, with at least a centimeter between each set of highlights for that perfectly “highlighted” look.

If you were to have too many highlights without that spacing, your roots would stand out too much, and they wouldn’t blend in naturally with your hair… instead, there’d be a dark curtain at your roots, calling attention to where your hair has been dyed.


  • Another detail is that depending on the light color you have on your ends, you might need to use a toning shampoo to make sure your color doesn’t turn orange or yellow.

If your ends are blonde and you’re worried about them turning yellow, you should use a purple shampoo, which will neutralize the golden colors you don’t want, and maintain a more delicate and natural color for longer.


  • On the other hand, if your hair goes from brown to honey-colored, you’re probably more worried about your hair turning orange, so you’ll need to tone your hair with blue shampoo to make your color look bright and radiant for longer.

These tips are key for making sure your ombré looks fantastic.


Ombré from zero

If you’re hoping to do this in the future, that’s great, and let me say that ombré turns out much prettier, more natural, and without a doubt, less aggressive for your hair if you do this process progressively.

You should go to your favorite salon and ask for thin, spaced out highlights every three months,  and you should choose a specific color and always ask for the same color each time you go to touch up your highlights. 


And for how long should you keep the highlights? It all depends on how long your hair is and how much of it you have, but, in general, between the third and fourth sessions, you should be able to let your roots out to get your desired ombré.

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