How To: Seamless Ombre Color Diffusion By Dimitrios Tsioumas

By Alison Alhamed | 07/09/2013 1:14:00 PM


click image to zoom At Free Form Color: The Art of Hair Painting, Goldwell Artistic Director Dimitrios Tsioumas directs the class in all forms balayage, ombre, diffusion and hair painting. In this demonstration, Tsioumas directed the class on how to create an ombre look using shades of copper and salmon on a blonde mannequin.

“The biggest mistake I see colorists make when creating an ombre look with color—rather than lightener—is they paint the color on the strand but don’t diffuse it with anything,” Tsioumas says. “This creates a dip-dye effect rather than a seamless gradiation of tone.”

Tsioumas recommends colorists use CLEAR to diffuse the effect into a bold color, in this case, copper and salmon. He does this by painting clear on the midstrand in a block. Then, at the ends, painting a bold color formula (dilluted to create a pastel). Then, using the color brush to feather in the two together.

click image to zoomAt Free Form Color: The Art of Hair Painting class with Dimitrios Tsioumas at Goldwell Santa Monica Academy, students learn how to create a diffused, seamless ombre effect like this one here. Formulas:

Elumen copper: 50 ml SB@10 + 25 ml KK@all

Elumen salmon: 50 ml SV@10 + 10 ml PK@all + 10 ml GK@all


Step 1: Working in quadrants and with horizontal sections, begin your first subsection. Backcomb the subsection twice. Using a board and thermal papers, begin your color application. “I use a board because it allows me to create better saturation and to drive that color in really well,” Tsioumas says. “It creates a great support for me, especially when I begin to diffuse that color during feathering.”

Step 2: Begin by painting clear first on the thermal paper, before you coat the hair shaft. That way, you get more even saturation.

Step 3: Place the subsection on the board. Put clear on the strand first, beginning about midstrand and really saturate the hair on both sides of the strand, and continue the clear down to where you want the diffusion to begin.

Step 4: Then, switch to your color formula, and saturate the ends of the hair shaft.

Step 5: Then, to diffuse the two colors together, use heavy feathering with the tips of the color brush to create a seamless gradiation of tone.


Step 6: Continue up the head using the same steps: backcomb twice, apply clear to thermal paper first, then place the hair on the board, add clear to halfway down the strand, then add the color on the ends from point of where you want diffusion to begin (alternating the two formulas with every third slice—copper, copper, salmon, copper, copper, salmon, copper, copper, salmon) then heavily feather to diffuse the lines. TIP: If you'd like to break up the color effect, you can also add in a highlight after every salmon slice.

Step 7: Let the color process for 30 minutes, then rinse, condition, brush, shampoo twice. Tsioumas suggests using a Wet Brush at the bowl designed to remove the backcombed sections before shampooing (but after rinsing).







ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alison Alhamed

Alison Alhamed, Editor in Chief of Modern Salon Magazine | Editor of First Chair

Since July 2008, Alison has worked across all brands under the MODERN SALON Media umbrella, including MODERN SALON, SALON TODAY, FIRST CHAIR and MODERN SALON TV. Alison’s passion for the beauty industry grew even deeper after she enrolled in beauty school, working as an editor by day and a student by night. Alison earned her cosmetology degree from Pivot Point International in Bloomingdale, Illinois, in May 2011.

You can find Alison on Google+ or e-mail her at


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media, pa  |  July, 15, 2013 at 02:04 PM

Hello I watched Dimitrios ambree application with the teasing technique. Mostly the hair is long when they use this technique....doesn't teased hair like that with bleach (in many cases) on the ends gets tangled while washing it off? Don't we always say to clients make sure you comb your hair out before you wash it? This hair is teased plus overly porous because it's just has gone through the color processing....? Thank you

Brentwood, CA  |  July, 28, 2013 at 01:32 PM

Jana, I have been teasing to diffuse my color Ombre's for years now and although it is a little tricky to comb out afterwords, the hair that is teased is not colored so it would not be overly porous. Just be patient and gentle and use a good detangler and your will love the results. I also use a similar technique to Dimitrios, but I use an extra dry brush to diffuse and blend the color. I learned that from my girlfriend who is an artist. This technique gives the professional look that the "do it at home" look can not and keeps it from looking "dipped" instead of gradually fading.

Sandra Nuckolls    
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Lancaster, Ca.  |  July, 31, 2013 at 09:12 AM

Love the technique-no problem rinsing out teasing, using a wide toothed comb it doesn't matt too much-then a good conditioner to release matts-shampoo and re-condition--WHAT"S THE PROBLEM??? Love it!

Caydence James    
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October, 07, 2013 at 08:45 PM

Quick question. Why are we using the word "teasing" instead of "backcombing"? I was taught that teasing is a back and forth motion on the hair strand. In his video, he only went in one direction - pushing the hair back and he even calls it backcombing - not teasing. The reason I am bringing this up is because if someone were to take that word (teasing) to heart, they would ultimately end up doing a back an forth motion on the hair strand and cause cuticle damage on the hair strands and cause more harm than good. Just an observation.

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