For the better part of a decade, the ombré has been a hallmark of lived-in, cool-girl color. But as with anything that reaches its fever pitch, it can run the risk of feeling tired. And so we looked to Mèche Salon's Matt Rez to decode exactly how to make an ombré dye job feel fresh in 2017.
1. Make it a sombré. AKA a soft, subtle ombré. "There's still a gradient from the darkest to the lightest, but balayage highlights break it up so it's not solidly two-toned," explains Rez. "A graduated effect is way less intense."
2. Work with your natural base. To create a shadowed effect, your colorist should be using a gloss to root your color. The shade should fall within 2-3 levels of your natural color to ensure graceful grow out. "If it's done well, you won't have that third or fourth color coming in at the root," he says. "You'll be able to ride it out for 3-4 months in between color appointments."
3. Create vertical dimension. "Horizontal dimension is the darker root to the lighter ends, while the vertical is the highlights and lowlights that run next to each other," explains Rez. "The soft, vertical contrast, in conjunction with the horizontal sombré, will give you the most dimension." Which leads use to...
4. Frame the face with babylights. It's what will give you that face-brightening "pop" of color. "They should be 2-3 levels lighter than the highlights that run behind them, as well as shadowed at the root, so you don't have stark stripes."
5. Keep your hair healthy. Simply put: The healthier your hair is, the better your color is going to look at the salon—and in the months following. Plus, if you want to lighter for your next appointment, you can really push the blonde envelope. Give your processed strands TLC with Olaplex, which rebuilds broken hair bonds while preventing future damage, as well as hydrating mask treatments.