Never fails. When it comes to hair, we always want what we haven't got. The curly-topped want straight locks, and vice versa. But this being the 21st century and all, you can pretty much get what you want. Here's a look at three popular hair trends to control that coiffure:

Ombre highlights

What it is: Pronounced "om bray" - and not at all to be confused with the Spanish hombre - this refers to a gradation of colors like you'd see in dip-dyed fabrics. With hair, ombre refers to a dual-toned look of dark roots with lighter ends. Actresses like Drew Barrymore and Lauren Conrad have recently sported the look.

Before the recession, such serious grow-out might have been considered a sign of poor grooming. Now, not only is it economical - you don't need as many touchups when the roots are supposed to show - two-toned locks look cool.

"It's a way to give your style a kick and add a lot of interest," says Frank Westerbeke, Gadabout SalonSpas' director of design and development.

Ombre can be dramatic - chocolate fading to sun-kissed blonde roots - or more subtle, such as deep brown roots giving way to red, which is a more natural transition perfect for fall, Westerbeke says.

Getting ombre highlights takes about an hour, the same time you'd spend getting any color process. Stylists use a special brush with a 45-degree angle to feather the color, eliminating stark lines.

The term "ombre" hasn't caught on here with the general public yet, so Westerbeke suggests bringing in a photo of the look you like.

Cost: Dimensional color starts at $65 at Gadabout.

INOA

What it is: An ammonia-free, odor-free color process by L'Oreal, advertising for INOA (it stands for Innovative No Ammonia) just started cropping up in magazines. Great Waves Salon has been offering the permanent hair color since the spring.

"It's like the newest, latest, greatest thing," says stylist Sara Olsen. "It's like when the iPod came out."

Because INOA uses oil rather than ammonia, the process is easier on the hair. Your scalp won't itch or burn. The coverage is great (it fully covers grays), and color stays vibrant, Olsen says.

Cost: It's an upgraded service, so while Great Waves charges $61 for base color, INOA costs $81. "I always say to people, 'It's like driving a Mercedes. Your Honda will get you there, but your Mercedes has a lot more options,' " Olsen says.

Brazilian blowout

What it is: The treatment cuts out frizz and is designed to improve hair's condition. Spirals Salon, which specializes in curly locks, has been offering it since the beginning of the year. Lately, the salon has been booking about 10 to 15 clients a week who want the process, says Spirals owner Tonja Chagaris. She used the Brazilian Blowout on her own tight curls.

"It changed the structure of my curls from being real tight to more wavy," she says. "The frizz came out of the curl, and it's extremely shiny."

The service takes about two hours, including a 15-minute shampoo. Clients like the Brazilian Blowout because it cuts drying and styling time, as well as helps repair damaged hair, Chagaris says. It lasts for 12 weeks, but the more you wash it, the more it comes out.

Cost: $250 at Spirals.

Resources

• Gadabout SalonSpas, several locations, 325-0000, www.gadabout.com

• Great Waves Salon, 6542 E. Tanque Verde Road, 886-5261, www.greatwavessalon.com

• Spirals Salon, 3449 E. Speedway, 409-5414, www.spiralsalon.com