Ombre Olé

I’m not quick to jump on trends. When open-toed boots came on the scene, I retreated to my trusty riding boots. And, unlike many of my friends, I will wait out the resurgence of high-waisted pants. I like to consider myself unaffected by what I call “super-trends.” But, contrary to my unwavering commitment to classic styles, I was surprisingly struck by a recent hair-color trend called “ombre.”

Wondering what exactly ombre is, I began my research. Angelica Laudiero, colorist and stylist at Papillon Salon in Huntington Village, educated me. “Ombre is a highlighting technique that has a richer or deeper root, gradually turning into lighter, heavily-highlighted ends. During this process, highlights are strategically placed onto the mid-shaft of the hair at staggered lengths to give the illusion of naturally sun-bleached hair, with no line of demarcation that traditional foiling to the root produces.”

This technique really appealed to me because I have always wanted to go blonde, but with my dark brown hair, it seemed too extreme. Angelica further explained that ombre is a wonderful choice because it affords brunettes the option of wearing deeper blonde colors without looking too contrived. Additionally, since there is still depth and darkness around their face, brunettes will not look washed out. Another benefit is the low level of maintenance. This version of highlights can be updated as little as once or twice per year, depending on personal preference.

The time had come to get out of my monotone comfort zone and give this ombre a try. I made an appointment at Di Rosa Haircare in Franklin Square. From the moment I walked into this bustling salon, I knew I was in good hands. Upon arriving, I was greeted by Di Rosa’s owner, Rosa Scolieri-Hawkins, who is also the North American Guest Artist for Goldwell Color and an educator for the Goldwell Art Team. It stood to reason that her staff would be trained in the latest color techniques. (Goldwell is a leading developer of hair color technology and products for salons and hair sylists.)

Once seated in my chair, I was introduced to Carrin Caracciolo, Senior Stylist and colorist. During our consultation, she explained my ombre options and how to make this look suitable for my lifestyle. I could try a super-cool and extreme version of this look by choosing my highlights in a shade much lighter than my own for a stark contrast against my brown hair. She noted that if I chose to straighten my hair, the look would be even more dramatic. Given my tendencies to play it safe, I thought I’d better explore options for a more work-appropriate look. Carrin wisely suggested using a shade only slightly lighter than my own.

As Carrin began the process, she explained that the technique could be applied to anyone, regardless of hair type. I have very fine hair and often worry about highlighting, because I don’t want to damage it and lose what little I have. She chose a rich chocolate shade to complement my natural brown roots, and took the process to the next level when she began to gently tease my hair and lighten the very ends to a warm caramel shade. About halfway into the process, she added a semi-permanent high-shine color to the remaining untreated hair, which would help create a seamless transition of color, from dark to light. It also increased the level of shine for a healthy finish. Carrin noted that this is called “colorance.”

Once the towel came off, I was delighted! The various shades of brown, when combined in a dark to light ombre, enhanced my skin tone and brought out the warm flecks of gold in my eyes. I’d never seen such luxurious color and highlights. The progression of color was surprisingly natural and at the same time strikingly beautiful.

One month later, I am still in love with my look, and, given my very busy lifestyle, I am delighted that I don’t have to return to the salon for touch-ups, since this treatment is virtually maintenance free—no roots!