What is sombré hair? The highlighting technique explained

What is sombré hair? The highlighting technique explained

August 30, 2022

By now you know exactly what ombré hair is.

It’s a dramatic, two-toned hair colour effect that is typically darker at the top and lighter on the bottom.

People use a range of different colourways to achieve the look, and it has remained popular over the years.

However, now there is a new trend on the scene: sombré.

Sombré is a ‘soft ombré’ – or in other words, it’s a highlighting technique that lightens the hair from root to tip, just in a more gradual way. 

It is not to be confused with balayage, which is the free-hand application of sweeping highlights onto the hair.

In comparison, sombré is specific in its placement of lighter and darker shades.

Globally renowned hair stylist and founder of Lazou, Nicky Lazou tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Sombre is a mix between the words ‘soft’ and ‘ombre’ and is a lovely highlighting technique which aims to lighten your hair in a very gradual, naturally sun-kissed way. 

‘As the name suggests, it’s softer than ombre but a little more strategic in its placement than balayage.

‘Sombre is a perfect look for those wanting to continue the sun-kissed look of summer into the cooler months.

‘However, remember that less is more and, while you can use bleach, you can also achieve the look with a tint to give a visible result with less damage to the hair.’

Particularly if you don’t normally colour your hair, Nicky says it’s important to be mindful about the damage that may be caused by dye.

‘As with any colour appointment, make sure that you really look after the health of your hair ahead of your colour and try not to apply heat for at least two weeks after,’ he advises.

‘Though less damaging than traditional highlights, sombré can of course still harm your hair, especially if your hair isn’t as healthy as it could be. I like to ask clients to use the Lazou hair mask for at least two weeks before their appointment to achieve better hair health before we start.’

If you’re wary of permanent change, another way to achieve the sombré look is through extensions, which will cause less damage to your hair in the long run.

‘Clip-in extensions are an easy way to elevate your look for the fall yourself without the commitment of permanent extensions or highlights,’ says celebrity hair stylist Lisa Laudat.

‘They can add extra colour one or two tones away from natural hair. You can put extensions like the Remy Human Clip-in Hair Extensions from Razzl Dazzl Hair which are easy to use.

‘If your hair is freshly washed upon application, I recommend adding some dry shampoo to the roots to prevent the clips from falling out. It’s best to work from the bottom up, so start by sectioning your hair around the nape and tie up everything above this.

‘Section off your hair into smaller sections and tease the roots with a comb where you’d like to place the clips.’

The beauty of the sombré effect is that it doesn’t take a lot of work to look after, with the blended effect meaning fewer costly salon trips for root touch-ups.

So whether you’re taking the plunge with colour or going for a temporary solution with extensions, it could be the low maintenance look for you.

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