DIY Blonde Ombre


Don’t worry, this is definitely not going to turn into a beauty blog! But just to have a break from the endless baby baby baby posts, I thought I’d write about my new hair.

I’ve had my hair lightened for about 300 years now – when I was a child it was very bright blonde, but as I got older, it inevitably darkened and I think my natural hair colour is kind of filthy blonde/mousey brown. The least coveted hair colour on the planet basically. Anyway for years now I’ve had an all-over high lift tint done, which lifted my hair to a really light blonde – I swapped over to this from highlights because it was so much cheaper and I never much liked the stripey effect you seem to get with highlights. But as I mentioned in one of my pregnancy update posts, when I got pregnant I noticed that my roots were coming through really dark. Like, almost black.

Then my hairdresser told me that she was going to have to change my dye formulation as my roots were so much darker than before, so the levels (not sure what the technical term is?!) she was using wouldn’t be strong enough to get the same result. And despite her doing this I started noticing that my once-bright hair was looking a little… yellow. Like properly yellow. Eeeuww.

I decided that change was in order, spent hours googling ombre and balayage (I figured if I’ve got dark roots now then I might as well go with it right?! even if it is very 2013) and then I booked an appointment at Trevor Sorbie to have a complete hair makeover.

This was the kind of look I was after… But with straight hair. And a fringe.

Unfortunately, that didn’t really work out. The colour technician (lovely though he was) seemed convinced that I would regret dyeing my hair darker, and so he only put in one or two shades below my existing colour and the result was (as you can see from below)… exactly the same.


Apologies for manic selfie / crazy eyes. And cropped-out baby head. I forgot to do a ‘before’ pic. This is why I’d be a crap beauty blogger.

Five hours, £200+ and a glass of complimentary Prosecco down and feeling deflated and a bit pissed off (yes I know I should have complained but I’m far too British for that) I decided it was time for that old mantra ‘if you want something doing, do it yourself’.

I should add here: I have never dyed my hair myself. Unless you count copious Sun-In use as a teenager, and a couple of Wella wash-in wash-out pink episodes. But there’s something about pushing a baby out of your bits that leaves you fearless (or delirious and stupid, who knows) so I decided to head to Superdrug, buy some brown-ish hair dye, and slap it on my roots.

And that’s what I did. I did spend about five hours first saying to Oli ‘Should I do it? Maybe I shouldn’t? I suppose I’ve already cried once today (the baby is being ‘challenging’ this week) so it won’t matter if I hate it. Will it?’, but anyway. I watched a few Youtube videos of terrifyingly young girls doing it far more professionally than I ever could, especially not at THEIR AGE, then very unscientifically plonked L’Oreal Preference in Florida Honey Blonde all over the top of my head, combed it through the lengths a bit and voila.


I tried taking a selfie without her in it but she got stroppy. Diva.

It’s not too bad is it? A bit more subtle than I wanted and it hasn’t totally covered my roots as I got terrified of how dark it looked when the dye was on so I washed it off a bit early (it says to leave it to develop for half an hour but given it took nearly half an hour to actually get the dye on my hair in the first place, I’m not sure when you count the half an hour from?). So I may redo it in a week or so. But anyway, it cost £6.99 and I don’t hate it. Result.

Sidenote: Just noticed there are loads of brackets in this blog. Kind of like I’m continually justifying things to myself. Weird.

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  • Reply
    November 25, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I love it! I’m all about DIY. Blonde was so expensive to maintain, so I went natural a year ago & discovered how grey I am (!). Finally (yesterday) I discovered the perfect brown with no copper in it at all, so I am also swishing my £6.99 colour job today!

    • Charlotte Duckworth
      Charlotte Duckworth
      November 25, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Well exactly! I can’t bear to think how much I’ve spent on hair colour over the past few years – so depressing! Am also quite tempted to go brown now… watch this space! 🙂

  • Reply
    Viv Sung
    November 25, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    This EXACT thing happened to me at my salon just before little lady arrived…stylist spent hours doing something I couldnt even see! I complained and went back the following week and she did it all again and I got something much closer to what I wanted.
    It looks lovely though – and Id be a thumbs up to brunette!!

    • Charlotte Duckworth
      Charlotte Duckworth
      November 25, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Oh you are so brave! Massive respect. Wish I had the balls… glad you got what you wanted in the end 🙂

  • Reply
    November 25, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Awesome – looks so pretty. You have exactly the same hair story as me (right down to pregnancy darkening it!). Also wanted to home ombré but my mum and his and persuaded me to do it after C was born (so I didn’t cry all through newborn pics). Anyway, if you go want it darker you need to use a protein filler on lightened hair – gives the color molecules something to hold on to. It’s colorless – You get it a Sally’s and just put it on as a pre treatment. Looks pretty now though

    • Charlotte Duckworth
      Charlotte Duckworth
      November 26, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Ah thanks! I was vaguely aware that I had to do something chemically to my hair for it to be able to take dark colour – thanks for the tip! How funny too that your hair went dark as well – hormones have a lot to answer for! x

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