Associated Press
| June 6, 2013

Forget those usual highlights. For a look that requires little maintenance, makes you look younger and flatters everyone, regardless of age or skin tone, try ombre.

The trend has been taking over Hollywood and it seems that just in time for the warm months of summer, more celebrities are choosing this sexy look. Unlike standard highlights, the ombre starts off with dark roots that fade into lighter tips. The result is a natural-looking, sun-kissed shade.

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“The ombre hair color trend is still going strong,” says Los Angeles-based stylist Julia Papworth.  “This color is so hot right now because in addition to it looking beautiful on all skin tones and can be easily changed.”

“When it comes to the current style, make sure to ask your colorist to stay with natural tones and keep a subtle graduation between the colors,” she adds. “When it comes to root touch ups, since ombre often stays close to your natural hair color, you may be able to go longer in between salon visits than if you had typical highlights.”

Ready to brighten up? Here are some tips and tricks to getting a runway-ready ombre hair color.

How It Should Look

“Make sure the pieces of hair (being ombréd) are big enough so they are bold,” says Kitty Greller, senior colorist at Ted Gibson in New York City. “If the lighter pieces are too stringy, the color might not completely blend and look dip dyed. A lighter ombre is good for summer and a more natural color is ideal for fall.”

Seek a Professional

“Don’t do an ombre at home,” says celebrity stylist Pasquale Caselle of IT&LY HAIRFASHION. “This tends to go blotchy and brassy.” Consider bringing photos of your favorite celebrity ombre so that the stylist knows exactly what you want beforehand.

Go Blonde

“It’s amazing for people who want to be blonde, but their skin tone might not necessarily support having blonde all over,” says Greller. “It’s a great way to get a taste of blonde without frying your hair or making your skin tone look strange because lighter pieces aren’t directly on your face.”

Try Other Colors

 “Ombre doesn’t have to be blonde only,” says Caselle. “You can go from brown to a beautiful caramel on the ends or deep red to a fiery copper. You just always want it to compliment the shade of your roots.”

Is Dip Dye Right For You?

Drew Barrymore opted for a more head-turning look with the “dip dye," which appears as though her hair was literally dipped in a pool of blonde hair dye. However, stylists say this dramatic approach isn’t for everyone and may be too casual for the office. “I prefer a more subtle ombre,” says Greller. To get the best ombre color, Greller advises to start with your natural color before experimenting with lighter or darker hues. “Ask your colorist how light you should go,” she says. “They will direct you in finding the best tone for you.”

Turn Back Time

“This summer, I prefer golden medium blond and warmer tones, which are great for helping women look younger because they make complexions look alive and youthful,” says Beverly Hills-based celebrity stylist Nelson Chan. “I suggest going for a blonde shade with warm, golden undertones.” One color women over 40 should stay away from? Anything too blond or ash. “Going too light ages the face more because it makes a woman look pale,” says Chan.

No Need to Commit

Don’t feel like committing to this look quite yet? No problem. “Add a few highlights closer to the face,” says colorist Erick Orellana from Jonathan and George Salon in Beverly Hills. “This will help lighten your features and frame the face.”

Enhance Beachy Waves

New York City-based stylist Angelo David likes the ombre look for summer because he thinks golden shades on your hair are perfect for the beach. “Think beautiful brown on the roots cascading down to a light honey tone, instead of drastically going from dark to platinum blonde.”

Add Shine

Make sure you invest in the right after-care products. “Depending on how drastic the color change is, you still need to keep your hair moisturized by going for a deep conditioner,” says New York City-based stylist Angelo David. “Arm yourself with a heat protectant and color-extending shampoo and condition to keep your ombre looking its best.”

Stay Low Maintenance

Ombre requires maintenance, but it won’t break the bank in comparison to highlights that need frequent touch-ups. “You may need to get to get a touch-up every two months if you have a super-light ombre done on your ends,” says Caselle. To keep your hair in its best condition, Caselle recommends using a leave-in spray conditioner. “To prevent ends from looking over processed, use a heat styling protector before blowdrying or flat ironing,” he adds.