When ombré hair color became officially recognized as a hair color technique some 10-plus years ago, the look was relegated to super long lengths and a heavy contrast between dark and light. Fast forward to today, and the ombré look has gotten a makeover in its own right, becoming more adaptable to short hairstyles especially.
Ombré hair color perfectly complements almost all shorter hairstyles, including pixie cuts, bobs, lobs, and collarbone-grazing cuts. And like so many other hair color evolutions, short hair ombré consists of a soft root and complementary tones throughout without the high contrast color and harsh demarcation lines of the OG ombré color. Like all types of hair color, short hair ombré requires special care, so to maintain the tone, color-specific shampoos and regular glosses are important.
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Consider these 30 celebrity short hair ombré looks as inspiration for your next color appointment—we promise, they don't disappoint!
Dark Base, Light Ends
Vanessa Hudgens's short hair ombré style is a little bit rock and roll while still having the perfect elements of the dark-to-light color. While the ombré color worn today differs from when it first became popular years ago, colorist Chase Kusero shares that it has evolved into a more subtle gradation of multidimensional color.
Not all ombré styles need to be bold and bright. Case in point: Halle Berry's gradual fade from a chocolate brown base into ends that are just a few shades lighter in color. Ombré color styles have changed and, as Kusero shares, continue to adapt to trends and individual preferences.
Bright Blonde Bob
Lucy Hale's sharp bob features a soft melt of dark color at the root and a light pop of blonde from the midshaft down to the ends. A multitude of different color techniques can be used to accomplish short hair ombré, including foil highlights and balayage.
For more of a natural, lived-in color look like Jourdan Dunn's, ombré is the way to go. Kusero says that balayage, a technique where color is hand-painted onto the hair for a natural effect, is often used in short hair ombré looks to create a seamless blend. To keep the hair healthy, frequently treat it with deep condition masks such as IGK Offline 3-Minute Hydration Hair Mask ($38).
Pop of Punchy Color
For a pop of punchy color, ask your colorist to create more dimension and contrast from the root through to the ends, like Jamie Chung sports here. Even though there's a deep shade of darkness up top, the transition from dark to light is seemingly natural without any harsh demarcation lines.
An Ode to Early 2000 Ombré Color
As Bella Thorne proves, ombré hair color can be anything you want it to be. Her short hair ombré is more pronounced than most balayage styles, yet the dark brown to red makes it believable.
A Kiss of Color
Regina Hall's natural ombré color is the perfect example of what Kusero says is the current trend. "There's a definite ombré trend towards softer, more blended color transitions rather than distinct contrast." The ends of her hair feature a slight variation in lighter color that works well with her base color.
The Long Lob Look
Ombré hair color pairs perfectly with short, long, and even in-between lengths like Emma Roberts' lob haircut. "What's nice about ombré color is that it can work well on so many short haircuts, including pixies, bobs, and long bobs," Kusero says.
Jessica Alba sports the epitome of short hair ombré. Her color is the perfect shade of buttery blonde with exact placement for a natural, blended effect. Kusero says shorter hairstyles allow for a more concentrated and impactful color transition, which is why ombré styles work well.
A Subtle Splash of Lightness
Natalie Portman's short hair ombré features a dash of lightness from the mid-shaft down towards the ends. Kusero adds that ombré color can add depth, dimension, and playfulness to short styles, creating visual interest and enhancing the overall texture.
Old Hollywood Blonde
If a more classic ombré color is what you're after, take notes from Cara Delevigne. Her short hair is styled with a pretty Old Hollywood wave that lets her ever-so-subtle ombré blonde color pop and take center stage. To control frizz and flyways on color-processed hair, John Frieda's cult classic Frizz Ease Serum is a must for a glossy finish.
Ombré color can even be worn on a super short crop cut, like Kristen Stewart's, as long as there's enough delineation between the shades. Here, the darker color is kept close to the roots, and a bleach blonde shade seeps towards the ends for a total rock 'n roll look.
To create a subtle ombré on short hair, as seen here on Kate Mara, the color family needs to stay similar without too much variation in tone. Going just one or two shades lighter sometimes creates enough of a natural-looking gradient to add dimension to the hair.
For more of an out-of-the-box short hair ombré look, go for a bright color with dip-dyed ends like Halsey. The key to a colored ombré look is to keep the top of the hair and the bottom ends within a similar range of colors as she does with dark green-black hair and emerald green tips.
The Golden Girl
For a soft, natural golden ombré, take a cue from Ashley Benson's hair color playbook. The subtle fade from one blonde tone to another, replete with pale blonde ends, is a sophisticated way to pull off the modern short hair ombré look.
Subtle Face-Framing Color
Master stylist Gregga Prothero says Kristen Bell's lob cut elegantly showcases her ombré hair color. "Adding subtle face-framing highlights gives it a modern twist. Ask your colorist for an ombré color with subtle, thin highlights that frame the face and are scattered on top to recreate Kristen's color."
A Dusty Ombré Look
One of the perks of wearing ombré hair color is that, according to Prothero, it's ideal for blending away grays. "Alyssa Milano's ombré color softens the contrast between gray hair," she adds. For short hairstyles to harmonize with ombré, Prothero says the length should be at least 4 inches or more to showcase this technique effectively.
Ciara's short hair ombré exudes an edgy vibe that Prothero says works well because it's also styled tousled with movement. "Her ombré color also starts higher up. Maintaining some length on the tops and sides is important to prevent short ombré color from looking patchy."
A Hint of Bronde
Super short ombré hairstyles need the gradient from light to dark colors to be precise and properly placed. Otherwise, the color won't look blended and natural. Sarah Paulson's shorter cut is an excellent example of how to wear a sleek style with a natural-looking ombré. Prothero says her golden ombré has a bit more lightness around the face, which allows the color to be showcased effectively.
Cinnamon Balayage Ombré
Modern ombré hair comes in a range of natural shades that Prothero says have subtle contrast between the top and bottom. For more lightness at the bottom like Lily James, Prothero says ombré with a blend of honey and golden tones needs to be used. "Wearing her hair in a wavy style (a sea salt spray like the Davines This Is A Sea Salt Spray ($32) is a must for added texture) gives her ombré color a lived-in, effortless appearance."
Beachy Red Ombré
In following the modern ombré trend, Cobie Smulders's short hair features what Prothero calls a subtle color shift. "Her short hair ombré is only a few shades lighter than the roots."
A Natural Brown Sombré Bob
"Ombré looks like Kaia Gerber's are a more nuanced interplay between the roots and ends, steering clear of the overly drastic color shifts of the past," Prothero shares. "Her contemporary twist aligns with the tones of her roots with a subtle ombré that starts below the chin and rooty lightness around the fringe area."
Minimal Color Gradation
The peek-a-boo short hair ombré look that Maren Morris wears is perfect for ombré newbies who don't want to have concentrated color throughout. "Her color starts from the ear and extends lower," Prothero says.
Versatile Brown Ombré
For a subtle transition in brown tones like Zendaya, Prothero says a caramel honey blended ombré hair color will do the trick. "She has some lightness around the front hairline, and today's contemporary ombré looks often include face-framing highlights for a more natural, updated color."
A Sunny Blonde Melt
Prothero says that when ombré color starts higher up on the head, spaced-out baby highlights, like Scarlett Johansson's hair, help break up the color at the roots. "The key to color like this is for the ombré to start around the eyebrows."
A Chocolate-Meets-Caramel Ombré Lob
Low-maintenance ombré hair color becomes even easier to maintain when the color melt is subtle and almost barely there, as seen here on Natalie Portman. Her ends are lightened slightly, and the pieces around her face are highlighted, so there's not too much contrast.
If Victoria Secret supermodel color like Lily Aldridge's is what you're after, Prothero says to ask your colorist for a dark root color and rich cinnamon shades throughout, which gives the hair contrast. "I like to call this look a warm cinnamon ombré because there's lightness through the whole mid-shaft to the ends, starting from the top of the ear to below."
"Rose Byrne's short hair ombré look is about three shades lighter than her roots, giving a softer, dimensional look." To keep dark ombré hair looking fresh, wash with a gentle shampoo for color-treated hair, like PHYTOCOLOR Color Protecting Shampoo ($22), to clean without stripping away the color.
Super Sleek Blonde Lob
No matter what hair color Jennifer Lopez wears, she can always pull it off. Prothero says her bright blonde look has minimal contrast. "The light roots blend seamlessly into a blond ombré color about three inches away from the root."
A Concentration of Color
The contrast of super dark to super light on Kelly Rowland's hair works because Prothero says the lighter pieces have a peek-a-boo effect. "They're slightly hidden, yet offer a pop of color in the front."
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