Before/After

The Ombre is a premiere hair effect, and one that extensions pull off with ease. It’s completely low-maintenance and gives your hair that colorful zip without the strain and damage of all-over permanent dyes. With its popular adoption in mainstream culture, it was only a matter of time before new variations of the hairstyle rose to the fore. And so “Sombre,” which basically translates to “Soft Ombre,” aims to achieve the same effects of the Ombre hairstyle with a subtler transition. As such, a Sombre style employs softer coloring techniques, so as to be gentler on the hair. Some see it as “Ombre backlash,” a phenomenon that style journalists know is practically inevitable whenever a particular style gets even slightly popular. Perhaps the Sombre is just the “quieter” cousin of the Ombre. A little more laid back, a little less flashy in the color combinations, the reins slightly more pulled in.

As far as pointers, Sombres follow most of the same conceptual steps of the Ombre, only with a softer color transition. To achieve the soft, subtle look, it’s best to start up high with the color, applying the color close to the roots to maintain depth and slowly brighten the hair as it nears the end. An Ombre/Sombre can be a tricky effect to achieve for the uninitiated, so remember that it’s always better to “under-color” than to over-do it. If you finish the process and you find the highlights aren’t pronounced enough, you can always go back over them to add more. If you overdo it from the beginning, it’s much trickier to fix!

Many Sombres use a blond effect, but the style can be much broader to incorporate lighter browns into chocolate browns, or even dark hair into burgundy. Your creativity is up to you. Here’s our Donna Bella quick guide to Sombre style. Please refer to our video featuring Ashley Rocks for closer reference.

Some advantages of the Sombre are that it can appeal to clients who want a color transformation, but feel intimidated by the Ombre outright. Appealing to a softer color transition can help assuage their fears of something too bright or harsh for their taste. Furthermore, since the Sombre literally uses less hair color than a traditional Ombre, it’s cheaper and uses even less product in the client’s hair. There’s an appealing premise for those squeamish about the potential damage hair color can do.

While the Ombre is already an extremely low-maintenance hairstyle, since it allows for growth at the root (when they’re kept natural) and doesn’t need constant upkeep to maintain the color when kept within two shades, the Sombre is even lower maintenance. Think of it like a “starter Ombre” for those thinking of moving into the territory but who aren’t sure about committing to the look. With many style bloggers praising the Sombre for its “take your summer hair into winter” versatility, and the host of permutations on the Ombre style tree only increasing, keeping the Sombre in the arsenal of color effects is a win for stylists and clients.

Be sure to stay tuned to our Color Takeover portal for more hair tips and tricks like this!