Skip to main content


yes, you can ombre previously dyed hair at home
  • Author:
  • Updated:
Olivia Wilde_you can diy ombre colour treated hair to get this look

olivia wilde: even if your hair is already coloured, you can diy ombre colour-treated hair to get this look at home

You're colouring to cover mostly-grey hair and want to try ombre, but don't want to make a trip to the salon. Problem: you keep reading that you can't DIY ombre colour treated hair at home. Turns out you totes can -- and you can DIY balayage colour treated hair, too.

you can't diy ombre colour treated hair with home colour

Jessica Biel_you can diy ombre colour treated hair for this effect too

jessica biel

It's true you can't DIY ombre colour treated hair with a standard lightest-blonde home colour. You can't DIY balayage colour treated hair with a box of hair colour either. "Colour doesn't lift colour" is a common salon-colourist saying. So how do professionals ombre previously dyed hair, and balyage previously dyed hair? Some of you clever ones have already guessed it.

"Colour doesn't lift colour, but bleach does," confirms Luis Pacheco, owner of Hair on the Avenue in Toronto and consulting colourist for Clairol in Canada.

jamie chung ombre_how to diy ombre color-treated hair

jamie chung

You won't go running for an extra-large tub of Jolen, right? (After Javex, Jolen is my second thought when someone says bleach; that blunt word also makes professional colourists cringe.) If you want to DIY ombre colour treated hair (or DIY balayage colour treated hair), you want a "blonding" home kit.

"We call it a high-lift colour, which will lift or remove pre-existing artificial pigment," explains Luis. "It'll lift natural pigment, too -- it can take you from a dark brown to blonde. You can go 3, 4, 6 levels lighter than your natural colour." And kits designed for home use are either formulated with conditioning oils to counteract damage, or include a tube of ultra-conditioner, or both.

If your ombre results are warmer (yellower) or cooler (whiter) than you'd like, Luis suggests adding a toner step. If your newly blonde ends are too warm, "use the lightest cool shade in a demi-permanent such as Natural Instincts." Try Natural Instincts 06 Linen, a medium ash blonde ($14.79 at If you want to warm your ends up, "use the lightest golden blond in Natural Instincts, 02 Sahara ($14.79 at, which is my personal fave," he says.

diy ombre for colour treated hair blonding kits

diy ombre coloured hair_blonding kits

Nice 'n Easy Born Blonde ($13.99 at drugstores) comes in three versions: Original, Ultra Blue (cool blonde) and Maxi (for the darkest hair). Luis recommends the Ultra Blue cool blonde as a first choice because it's more gentle than the Maxi. "Longer hair is usually more delicate at the ends than shorter hair; it doesn't need much to lighten," he says.

DIY previously color-treated hair_blonding kit aka bleaching kit

L'Oreal Paris Perfect Blondissima Bleach ($11.97 at is formulated with conditioners to help keep hair supple.

diy ombre previously color-treated hair_blonding kits aka bleach

Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Bleach Cream comes in two strengths: Soft Bleach D ($13.49 at and Extra Bleach D ($13.49 at Both come with a tube of conditioner enriched with avocado and grapeseed oils.

diy ombre color-treated hair_blonding kit

Garnier Nutrisse Intense Bleach ($13.49 at comes with a vitamin-infused conditioner to temper any damage.

diy ombre and diy balayage (or ballyage) video tips

Lucy Hale ombre_how to diy ombre previously colored hair

lucy hale

In the video below, Luis Pacheco demonstrates an easy DIY ombre technique you can use with your high-lift home colourant.

And in this video, Luis demonstrates a DIY balayage (or ballayage -- or "baby ombre") technique. Again, for colour-treated hair, just substitute your blonding kit for the hair colour.

So. Who's going to DIY ombre colour treated hair at home now? Or have you tried blonding kits for this kind of colour already and want to share feedback?