Let me get that (n)Ombre : Part 2

The compilation of a multi toned banded palette's journey to a high contrast ombre

ALRIGHT GUYS, I'm diving right in on this one. Today, I bring you "Let me get that n(Ombre) : Part 2" of 3.

Here we are again! Back at it for round two. At the end of our previous appointment, I let my guest know EXACTLY what round two would entail. She came fully prepared for a longer appointment, larger ticket price, and a better understanding of her hair in general.

Just as a refresh, here is Rapunzel's hair before I touched it. This is day one, "hello I am Rapunzel, nice to meet you" hair.


THIS time, we were prepared. This time, I had a solid 4 hour time block in my books to do whatever I pleased with rather than 1.5 hours for a touch up and blow out. This time, I had the time and the game plan to give this girl the color correction she deserved.

At this point, I've been planning and re-planning this in my head for a long time. The last time we did her hair, we started with a variety of levels and tones, and some serious banding. With the time that I had, I touched up her natural outgrowth and broke through some of that banding with a partial highlight. Knowing that the end goal was NOT to have blonde up to her base, I still chose to highlight with the understanding that it would divert the eye from the banding and allow for a smoother transition into what we want, AND was wearable. This is what we ended with last appointment. Was it what either of us wanted? NO. Were we both happy with the end result given the circumstances? YES.

SO NOW, we are starting with her natural outgrowth (we waited 12 weeks in between appointments), slight warmth, and banding with partial outgrown highlights. Cool.

The fun thing about color, is that it's not just a chemical reaction that takes place on and in the hair strand, it's also the reflection of light and how our eyes perceive what they are seeing. I get down and dirty with this topic in my book (because hair science TURNS ME ON), but for the sake of today's post and making sure everyone can follow along, we will just base the premise of my formulation on the fact that in some cases, we are able to trick the eye into seeing something different. Everyone still with me?

Today is the day we start our ombre. She had taken home professional shampoo and conditioner that protect and increase the integrity of her hair, and has been using them for the last 12 weeks. Her hair is feeling WONDERFUL.

Base Color (applied zones 1-3) :

18g 6,18 (level 6 blue based ash with green)

18g 5,1 (level 5 blue based ash)

54g 10 volume

Balayage Formula:

20g clay based lightener

40g 20 volume

I began by applying her base color and dragging it down roughly 3 inches from her scalp, carefully leaving out her hairline. The plan was to have her lighter and brighter around her face, with a longer root color throughout. Once her base color was applied with her hairline left out, I began to apply a full balayage.

In the interest of clear communication, I'm going to break down a little color language for you.

Balayage is a technique. It is a way to apply bleach to the hair that lays in a very natural way, and is designed to provide up to 3 levels of lift. You can read the full description of balayage here.

Ombre is a placement. It most literally translates to "shaded" in French. It is a gradation of dark to light, often seen in hair color, clothing, baked goods, etc.

In order to achieve a high contrast Ombre, I chose Balayage as my technique. Ya feel me?

So I surface painted her whole head with full saturation on her ends . DO NOT BE AFRAID OF SATURATION. During application, I made sure to keep a small zone where all of my blending between bleach and color occurred as she wanted HIGH CONTRAST.

When I reached her hairline, I applied the bleach in a diagonal back slope, keeping it high around her face and gently dropping it down lower as we moved away from her hairline. Once all was applied, we processed for 30 minutes and then followed up with 2 separate toners applied at the shampoo bowl to damp (towel dried) hair.

Toner #1 (Midshaft):

20g 9,0 (level 9 natural / neutral)

2g 9,11 (level 9 double blue based ash)

44g 5 Volume

Toner #2 (ends):

30g 10,23 (level 10 violet with gold)

60g 5 Volume


I used a level 9 toner through her midshaft because she lifted to a level 9. I used a level 10 toner at her ends because she lifted to a level 10. Had she lifted one level darker for each band (an 8 and a 9 respectively), these toners would NOT have achieved the cool neutral tone that they did. Each level only contains the intensity and saturation of pigment needed at THAT exact level. Toning a level 8 with a level 9 will NEVER give you a cool result. Toning a level 9 with a level 10 will NEVER GIVE YOU A COOL RESULT. Color match, color match, color match.

The two toners processed for a total of 12 minutes through her midshaft, and 8 minutes through her ends. Once completed, we shampooed and conditioned with a protein based shampoo and conditioner to give her hair a little extra love after our process, gave her a solid cut (over two inches and reshaped), used a lightweight oil & leave in conditioner to style. Of COURSE we had to finish with curls. LAWD I could stare at this hair all. damn. day.


This hair. Holy satisfaction. I STILL can barely believe how different it looks after two applications. ALL banding is gone. All orange and yellow is gone. This hair is healthy, it is happy, and it is LUSCIOUS. Just wait until you see session 3.