If you’re an avid Byrdie reader, it’s safe to assume you’re already familiar with what ombré hair is. (And if you’re not, here’s a quick breakdown.) Long story short, ombré is a hair-color effect marked by two, or more than two, hair colors blended to create a two-toned effect.
And while traditional ombré hair typically features natural, darker roots that fade into lighter, highlighted ends, “reverse ombré hair”—as the name implies—is the reverse. As in, the following hairstyles have totally flipped the world of ombré on its head.
“The reverse ombré, similar to the traditional ombré, can be low maintenance as far as upkeep goes,” says celebrity stylist and colorist Bradley Leake. “You can let the color grow out or trim off the ends without the high maintenance upkeep of some traditional blonding or fantasy hair colors.” Leake recommends using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner such as Color Wow Color Security Shampoo ($24) and Color Security Conditioner ($24), as it is gentle and won’t strip the hair of any hair color while leaving hair shiny, healthy, and clean.
So while you might be surprised by how easy a reverse ombré would be to pull off yourself—even if you’re slightly skeptical reading this, and we don’t blame you—we asked the experts.
Prepare to get inspired by 29 of our favorite examples of reverse ombré hair below.
Shades of Gray
Stand out with a few stunning shades of gray—like this chic, wavy style, with the help of some extensions.
It’s no secret that we love burgundy hairstyles here at Byrdie, and we’re all over this effortless beach-wave style.
Keeping the natural color at the top provides the ultimate low-maintenance upkeep, so if you love a certain hair color but hate the touch-ups that go along with it, keep your roots naturalwhile still having fun with your ends, like this dirty blonde-meets-auburn creation.
“If you love your natural color and it works with the color on the ends, I say go for it,” says Swinney. “No two hair colors are alike; it’s all about customization.”
Blonde to Black
If you can’t choose just one hair color, reverse ombré is probably for you. This blended, blonde-to-brown-to-black situation achieves both hues flawlessly.
Can’t quite commit to allover bold hair color? A reverse ombré with brightly-hued tips—like these violet ones—might be exactly what you need to ease into it.
According to Leake, rinsing with cool water is a great way to help color stay vibrant longer, locking it in.
You really can’t go wrong with a blunt bob, ever—but we love this blonde reverse-ombré look featuring platinum roots and deep-blonde tips.
We love a good pink moment, and this sweet to sultry reverse ombré—featuring peachy pink roots blended into berry red ends—is just that.
Platinum blonde will always be one of our favorite, bold hair colors. And here—combined with a warmer, darker hue for a reverse ombré effect—the color has us seriously swooning.
Leave touch-ups behind with cascading, natural gray roots cascading into jet-black.
“It’s important to lower the heat setting on your hot tools to maintain color as well as try to minimize how often you shampoo your hair,” Swinney says.
Blonde to Caramel
Warm things up with an unexpected reverse ombré featuring light, faceted blonde, and caramel tones. “To maintain vibrancy in a reverse ombré, you are going to want a color-protecting and extending shampoo conditioner. I like the RUSK PUREMIX Fresh Pomegranate Color Protecting Shampoo ($18) and conditioner ($18) for true color protection,” Swinney says.
An allover bold, bright hue will always make a statement—and you can take it even further by going the reverse ombré route. We love this look that features pinkish-red roots fading into dark red ends.
Going from icy white to jet black, this black-and-white gradient is a monochrome lover’s dream.
Chic & Subtle
You might think this trend is out of the ordinary, but you can actually do it subtly. Here, a natural brown very faintly fades into darker ends for a livened-up everyday look.
We’re always suckers for a good white-blonde moment. And this blended, reverse-ombré look with cool, strawberry blonde balayage is giving us life.
Show off a mushroom-toned reverse ombré—like this sleek gray blonde to brown blend—with a sleek style. (Try one of our fave smoothing serums for help).
Black & White
Speaking of gorgeous gothy looks—here, an icy white meets jet black.
A “money piece” is a face-framing chunk of hair that starts at the roots and continues to the ends—and we love how it complements the reverse ombré here.
This stylist used the airbrush technique to achieve a blended brown balayage, with chocolate strands blended into darker ends.
These hot, fiery hues are hot on their own but even cooler with a light-to-dark effect.
Feeling like a risk-taker? Go for a bright and bold color up top while keeping it natural at the bottom. Bonus points for these braids that add a touch of glam with beaded tips.
Get heads turning with bright orange roots, darker ends, and a reverse ombré effect that’ll have everyone asking, “Who’s your colorist?”
Orange hair is actually easier to pull off than it sounds. Plus, we love how vibrant and happy this multi-shade reverse ombré feels all sleek and smooth. “I love a reverse ombré when it’s flat ironed when the application is correct. I also think braids are given a great effect by this type of hair color,” says Swinney.
Platinum to Pink
Embrace your inner pink lady with a hair color that’d definitely make Frenchy proud. This platinum-to-pink-to-red situation is about as cool as it gets.
Blonde to Blue
Can you say ice princess? Whether it’s a regular ombré or a reverse one, we always love the look of a natural hue combined with an out-of-this-world one. This white platinum blonde-meets-ice blue creation is unexpected yet amazing.
If you’re trying to work your way up into a lighter look slowly, a reverse ombré could be the perfect way to ease into a hue in a way that still looks natural.
This reverse ombré look features rainbow roots and mid-lengths that fade into stormy, gray ends for something unique, fresh, and just plain stunning.
Bored of your blonde or thinking of covering up gray roots? We’ll support your decision either way, but you might want to consider replicating this stunning lavender look with a reverse ombré effect instead.
Touch of Lavender
Our new favorite three-in-one special: Blonde roots and brown ends complemented by a touch of lavender highlights.
Whether you want to call this color honey, auburn, or chestnut, one thing’s for certain—the lighter blonde roots and darker ends are gorgeous together. And, of course, we can’t get enough of those perfect beach waves, either.