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DIY Hair: How to Grow Out Bleached Hair With an Ombre

I love to dye my hair all colors of the rainbow. I love all things vintage. I also enjoy creating art, taking photos, and doing it myself.

Photo credit to Charm Photography! Holla!

Photo credit to Charm Photography! Holla!

So You Grew Out Bleached Hair, What Next?

What are your options after you've decided to grow out bleached hair? You could chop it all off, but I'm sure you yearn for long hair like I do. You could try to dye over it, but it will be hard, if not impossible, to cover that line between your roots and your last bleaching. You could even give up and just let your hair grow out no matter how terrible it looks with roots.

Guess what? There's another option! And it's not short, obvious, or gross-looking! An ombre is the perfect way to transition from dark roots to bleached ends while you give your hair a chance to grow out. It's simple, and you can do it yourself!

I've got more roots than the TV miniseries.

I've got more roots than the TV miniseries.

My Hair's History

Okay, so, I feel like this needs an explanation. In December of 2012, I decided to get hair crazy. I started trying to bleach my hair so I could dye it a multitude of colors. I successfully did both of these two things but then had to settle down at a normal job. Once I did that, I decided on red hair.

Eventually, my brown roots grew out and my red dye faded. I was left with bleached blonde hair stemming from about three inches of dark-brown roots. I was looking like a hot mess and knew I had to figure something out to cover up this disaster. I did not want to cut my hair. I knew dyeing my natural brown over the bleached blonde hair wouldn't work. I would soon fade and probably end up looking gray and gross. I've always been a ginger-lover, so I decided to go for a ginger ombre.

Why It Works

So here's your predicament: dark roots, light ends.

Here's your solution: Ombre. It eases the transition from dark to light, and it's kinda stylish and snazzy too!

Ombre hair helps you grow out your roots gracefully. As your hair grows out, your dark section will overtake your light section until you eventually can chop all the bleached bits off. I call this a reverse ombre, because it's not using bleach to lighten the ends of your hair, it's using dye to darken the roots and middle. Have I convinced you? Just take a look at how easy it is.

I gave up my soul for awesome hair.

I gave up my soul for awesome hair.

How to Create the Reverse Ombre

All you need to do is to pick out a dye color that you like. I experimented with several shades of dark and light auburn.

Instructions: Dye the Roots—Not the Ends

  1. Once you have your dye, mix it up as the box directs.
  2. Apply it at your roots first—you want this part to be the darkest/most saturated with color.
  3. Once you're done covering all of your roots, move down a bit. Do not apply any color to your ends! This is how you achieve the ombre effect. As with my normal ombre tutorial, I varied the lengths at which the color stopped, usually leaving about 2–3 inches of my ends uncolored.
  4. Let your hair soak up the dye for the recommended time on the box. If you want to put your hair up or in a cap while you wait, just make sure that your ends aren't in contact with any of the dye! I'm a rule breaker, so I let my hair sit for about 40 minutes before washing the color out.
  5. While you're in the shower, just rinse the color out as you normally would. As the dye is running down through your hair, it'll create a nice fading effect!

The photo above shows what my hair looked like immediately after dying. There was a lot of bleeding to the ends, as you can see. After a few showers with particular attention paid to shampooing them, they went blonde, and I was in full-ombre mode.

My name is Inigo Montoya. You faded my ombre. Prepare to dye.

My name is Inigo Montoya. You faded my ombre. Prepare to dye.

Reverse Ombre Upkeep

When you wash your hair, use lukewarm water—or cold water if you're a badass. It'll help keep the colors from fading and running down into your bleached ends.

If your ends keep soaking up the color, just turn your water to extra hot. Hold your ends flat in your hand, and run the hot water over them. If they're still not lightening up enough, add a little bit of shampoo. Both shampoo and hot water help the dye to fade and wash out.

As your roots grow out, you'll probably have to dye again (unless you used your natural hair color to begin with). My hair is awful at holding color since I bleached it, so I had to re-do the ombre every six weeks or so to keep it vibrant.

More Hair-Care Help

Check out my new article, a guide to hair extensions, another way to create color variations in your hair. Even if you don't plan on dyeing, the tips are still worthy of a read. And for those trying to grow their hair out super quickly, I've got an article all about how to make your hair grow faster!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Ava on February 21, 2015:

Great article! I'm Very excited to try this out. I've been toying with the idea for months! This has given me that little confidence push I needed! Nice one!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on August 05, 2014:

Thanks! Glad to help!!

Ila Castro on August 05, 2014:

Thanks for sharing this! Been meaning to just dye all of my hair back to my natural color, but your idea is more fun. :) And btw, you're gorgeous!

Yasmin on June 04, 2014:

You can dye your hair brown over bleach. I have it and it looks natural.

Hettie Lawrence on April 17, 2014:

Thankyou for this! I really want to go back to light brown, but daren't dye over my long bleached hair for fear of it going khaki or grey. This is a great idea, I'm going to try it :)