sombre vs ombre

While Ombre is Still Popular, You Might Want To Consider Sombre

For Clients Looking For a Softer, More Natural Look.


You have probably seen the trendy look of Ombre—bold colors, hard lines, and the more natural appearance of not having touched up color in quite some time. But, why is sombre becoming so popular?

Sombre is a color technique that allows you to soften the line of the Ombre by adding fine pieces of color that tie in the area near the root to the harder color line below. This technique not only requires less maintenance but also is not nearly as heavy as a traditional weave or foil color. The color application is just enough to balance the look from root to tip.


What’s the first step to a great Sombre?

The first thing you want to do is consult with your client. Finding out their commitment to the color is just as important as the color that you choose. The beauty of Sombre and Ombre is that it does not demand as much attention.

Sombre is slightly different, in that when you use foils near the root, you will have some regrowth in that area. This regrowth can be softened in the initial color application, but it can also be easily softened in a future appointment without having to do the entire head again.

Many clients love this option, as it keeps their cost down all while keeping their hair current. It is great for stylists, because it keeps the client happy, which is exactly what you want.


What’s the right technique for a Sombre?

You and your client have decided on the color, now what? You can work this Sombre color one of two ways.

You can color the bottom portion of the hair with the traditional Ombre technique, then go back and add some softer pieces beginning at the root to tie it all together. Or, you can start at the top with the softer pieces and finish with a stronger line at the bottom of the head.


How do I keep my Sombre a Sombre?

As previously mentioned, the root color can be softened in more ways than one. First, you can use a softer color near the root, and a bolder color for the shaft and ends.

You can also choose to use the same color for both, and then glaze over the root area to soften the regrowth line. Using a glaze that is just a little darker than the color at the bottom. This will help to buffer the regrowth.

When your client returns for their next color appointment, odds are you will be able to glaze the root area to soften the line, and they will not need the next Sombre service until the visit after that.


What are the benefits to offering a Sombre?

  • More affordable color option without the commitment
  • Allows you to create custom color for any client
  • Offers a value-added service of the glaze in between to keep your client returning
  • Provides a trendy style without the demand of monthly maintenance
  • Versatile color: add colors to the mix, brighten the look, or tone down as needed

What makes a successful Sombre?

1. Start at the top.

Although you can start your Sombre from the top or the bottom, my recommendation is to start at the top. This will keep you from disrupting the foils (or papers) you have placed down below, as these tend to build up and get heavy. The hair at the top of the head is usually darker and will take longer to lighten, while the ends will lighten faster.

2. Use a makeup like brush.

If you are using two different colors for your Sombre, I recommend using a soft makeup like brush to soften the lines between the two colors. This “melted” look softens the color blend and takes away the harsh line.

3. Watch your processing time.

You do not want to over-process the ends, so watch them carefully. Make sure you allow for the application of glaze if that is what you choose to do.

4. Don’t place too many foils near the roots.

It is easy to get carried away and add more color to the top. However, in order to keep the Sombre look, skimp on those pieces. If you want to add more later, that is okay.

5. Have fun!

This technique allows you to work fun colors into the hair in addition to the average blonde, caramel, and red options that are available to you.