Skip to Content
HomeCommon Questions

Can You Go From Highlights to Ombre?

If you’re like most women, you love playing with hair color. Highlights and ombre are two of the most-used hair coloring techniques, and it’s easy to see why.

Highlights can be used to play up your eyes and accentuate your cute haircut.

On the other hand, Ombre transitions dark hair color to a lighter one. They are so versatile and open to transition from one coloring method to another.

If you’re currently rocking highlights but thinking about going from highlights to ombre, the question is, can you do that?


Can I Go From Highlights to Ombre?

Yes! It is certainly possible to turn your highlights into ombre.

Highlights and ombre are very different in how they look on the hair. Highlights start directly at your roots, and ombre is several inches further down. This is why it’s essential to choose a color that will look good with your roots (we’ll talk about that later).

Since ombre is purposely meant for fading hair colors together, this is why the transition from highlights to ombre is a possibility. It’s pretty versatile in that it makes a more dramatic-looking hairstyle but can be perfect for creating a natural-looking one as well.

Another bonus: done right, no one will even notice you once start with highlights!


How Do You Go from Highlights to Ombre?

How Do You Go from Highlights to Ombre

Transitioning from highlights to ombre is not a quick one-and-done process. It will take time. Since your goal is to create a natural-looking gradient effect in your hair, you’ll need to see your stylist on a regular schedule, at least for the first couple of months.

What they’ll do is add more highlights to your hair through the use of thin foils along your hairline and roots. This will cover the space or demarcation between your roots and the ombre.

Also, as your roots grow out, you won’t see a weird under color between the highlights.

Many women choose to use the color of their old highlights as the color of new highlights for their ombre, but that choice is up to you. If you have dark hair, your stylist will mix together a developer and lightener to help your hair hold the new color.

After separating your hair into sections, your stylist will apply the lightener and developer mixture with a brush to thin sections of your hair from halfway down to the ends.

To get the blended effect, a different brush will be used to work the mixture upward toward the roots. A light touch is best used here to prevent harsh dye lines.

When your stylist is finished applying the lightener, you’ll sit with the foils in your hair for at least 25 minutes or as long as it takes for your hair to lighten to the desired level.

When time’s up, foils are removed and hair is rinsed. After that is when the actual color is applied to your hair, in the same process as how the lightener was applied.


Things to Consider

We know it’s exciting to think about making a big hair change! However, don’t let the excitement cause you to lose sight of a few very important things to consider when transitioning from highlights to ombre. You’ll do well to remember these tips:

Coloring At Home

A DIY job is not recommended. Taking your hair from highlights to ombre is not like using box hair dye. There are chemicals in box hair dye that will react negatively with highlights and miscolor your hair.


The Cost

Be prepared to spend a chunk of money. Ombre coloring alone is at a minimum $100, so you can expect to pay at least that and up to $200. Any stylist who charges less may not be as experienced.


Get a Consultation

Things to Consider Before Going from Highlights to Ombre - Consult with Colorist

Since every woman’s hair, texture and highlights are different, you won’t pay the same as your friend who had the same hair color job. Call around to get a few quotes before picking a salon. Also, read salon reviews from other clients.


Consider Your Roots

For the best result, choose a color that looks good on your roots. If you’re uncertain, ask this at your consultation. If you already have a general idea of what you want your hair to look like, bring a photo with you to show your stylist.



If you start your ombre closer to your roots, you’ll need to see your stylist for touch-ups about every 4-6 weeks. If you start lower down, then 6-8 weeks. In general, ombre is considered low maintenance.


Popular Ombre Hair Colors

transitioning from highlights to ombre

These are the most commonly chosen shades of ombre. You can get an idea of what color would look best with your skin tone by doing an internet search on celebs with a similar tone.

  • Chocolate brown to golden blonde
  • Silver to white
  • Light or dark blonde
  • Dark blonde to ash-blonde
  • Caramel
  • Copper
  • Purple


Maintaining Your Results

As long as you follow your stylist’s directions as far as how frequently to come back for touch-ups, you’ll get a beautiful, smooth transition from highlights to ombre. There are a few things you can do to maintain your new color job:

  • Cut down your usage of hot styling tools
  • Avoid frequent hair washing, but deep condition a couple of times each week
  • Use products specifically for color-treated hair
  • Use lukewarm or cool water for washing hair


Finally, don’t forget to tip your stylist! Tipping reflects your happiness with the results and is standard in the hair industry. Start by tipping at least 20% of what you paid for the service. If you’re really happy with the results and you feel like your stylist really paid attention to what you wanted, you can tip 25%.

Don’t forget to take plenty of photos of your new color! No matter what color you choose, you’ll always want to remember your beautiful transition of highlights to ombre.