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Every season it seems as though some new term is popping onto the beauty scene to create not only a fancy new must-have trend, but a whole lot of confusion, too. After all, with so many different hair color techniques out there, how’s a girl to know where to start? We’ve wondered the exact same thing—so that’s why when we caught wind of 2017’s new sombré hair trend (think ombré but softer and more seamlessly melted together)—we decided it was the perfect time to offer a refresher course. Ready to learn what sets this celeb-approved look apart from its ombré and balayage counterparts? Consult our guide below, and we have a feeling you’ll want to book an appointment with your colorist ASAP.
At first glance, these three color techniques—balayage, ombré, and sombré—can seem pretty similar. But they do have subtle differences. Here’s what you need to know.
Balayage is a hand-painted highlighting technique that colorists use to create an array of highly blended looks. If super natural-looking fades are what you’re going for, then you should consider opting for balayage highlights. Balayage is often the method that is used to create the most appealing ombré and sombré blends of multi-dimensional color. Since balayage highlights are supposed to look natural, they’re very low maintenance—so consider this one of the best options for busy girls.
Ombré has been hugely popular for years—and for good reason. It’s so pretty, and it’s easily customizable! Characterized by darker roots that fade into lighter ends, this semi-dip-dyed appearance is achieved through the balayage technique.
Sombré, like ombré, is achieved by using the balayage technique. What sets this new trendy look apart is the way that it seamlessly blends more shades and tones for a subtler, more sun-kissed look that’s full of texture and dimension.
First things first: Since balayage, ombré, and sombré all require a high level of skill to create, you may want to consider visiting a professional colorist to get the look you want. (And keep in mind that if you have a dark starting color, this may require multiple sessions to get the exact end result you’re looking for.) Remember: You want the end result to look natural and flattering—and that’s something a pro will be able to help you achieve. Before your visit to the salon, print out pics of how you’d like your hair to look, so that your colorist can use that as a guide.
Where ombré tends to encompass only two shades, sombré hair is all about tying a handful of colors together. Typically, it’s a good rule of thumb to choose colors a few shades lighter and a few shades darker than your natural starting base to create a natural-looking fade. In general, you’ll want the darker colors towards the roots, with the lighter colors subtly weaving their way through the lengths and ends. When multiple shades are used in this method, it helps to create a less abrupt contrast than traditional ombré for a lower-maintenance appeal.
While this must-have hair color is most commonly associated with natural blondes, it can look fabulous on brunettes as well (although again, keep in mind that it could take a bit more work to get the look depending on how dark your natural hair color is). Need a little inspo to get you on the right track? We love these three sombré ideas: dirty blonde faded into golden blonde, espresso faded into caramel brown, and chocolate brown faded into golden blonde.
Once you nail down your perfect look and your colorist works his or her magic to make it a reality, you may want to think about changing up your hair care routine. That means using a system of shampoo and conditioner designed for color-treated hair, like the L'Oréal Paris Hair Expert Color Vibrancy Intensive Shampoo and the L'Oréal Paris Hair Expert Color Vibrancy Intensive Conditioner.
Enjoy your new ‘do!