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New Hair Trends: Sombré

Sombré Hair Trends

Ombré had its moment in the spotlight. Now it’s time for the chicer sister to step out front and center…her name is sombré (subtle + ombré). Sombré is a coloring technique that allows for a softer, more natural diffusion of color, so even those of us who aren’t red carpet regulars or big personalities can actually sport it with ease. Check out more about this exciting hair trend from stylists, including George Papanikolas, Matrix Celebrity Stylist and Colorist; Joel Warren, Master Colorist and Co-Founder of Warren-Tricomi Salons and Chaz Dean, International Hair Expert and Creator of WEN®


Which celebs sport this look best and why?

  • George Papanikolas: I’ve personally done this look on Jenna Dewan Tatum, Nicole Scherzinger and Minka Kelly. Jessica Biel rocks this perfectly also
  • Joel Warren: Recently I’ve seen some great sombré on Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba.
  • Chaz DeanElizabeth Olsen and Jessica Biel are two celebrities who I’ve seen wearing this trend beautifully and effortlessly. Each one has dramatic color at the ends and front, but it is done in a way that is subtle so that the color very naturally blends with the rest of the hair.

Is it true that sombré is a more low maintenance look than traditional ombre?

  • George Papanikolas: There is actually a little more maintenance with sombré because it usually has fine delicate highlights at the roots that gradually fade to lighter brighter ends. The great thing is that it grows out softly, and only needs to be retouched about every 12-14 weeks. It's also much more gentle on the hair since you don't usually need to drastically lighten the hair to achieve the look. This causes less damage, requiring less treatments and conditioning.
  • Chaz DeanSombré is a great way for blondes especially to go a bit darker at the root and get that burst of color in the front, which allows for less maintenance.

What are the key tips to sporting sombré?

  • George Papanikolas: It should have a soft sun kissed effect, and a variation of light and dark hair. The ideal sombré has soft delicate highlights at the root area that gradually get lighter at the ends. All the ends of the hair should not look dip dyed. Instead there should be pieces of lightness and darkness mixed together with more of the darker color at the root area

What type of hair wears sombré best? Can all face shapes and hair lengths rock this trend?

  • George Papanikolas: Every look except for very short hair can sport the look. It's become the new classic in hair color. Traditional uniform streaks from roots to ends look very dated, and conventional. The most modern and sophisticated brunettes have a soft sun-kissed sombré effect.
  • Joel Warren: The best hair for a sombré is long hair cut at one length, either thick or thin. This is best for both ombre and sombré looks. The idea is that you need enough hair to really see the variation of color, without it having to be condensed in short hair.
  • Chaz DeanSombré is pulled off best on longer hair because the color needs to flow and blend into the base hair color, which isn’t easy to do with shorter styles without looking choppy and color-blocked.

How can blondes best wear sombré? Brunettes?

  • George Papanikolas: It can look great on anyone, except very blonde clients. Since this color just accents the natural hair, it’s usually the most flattering effect for everyone.
  • Joel Warren: Ombré and sombrés look best on straight/wavy hair, as you can see the color best this way. Unlike ombres, which are best for brunettes, sombres look great on both brunettes and blondes. It’s a great way for blondes to go lighter without a major color commitment.
  • Chaz Dean Blondes should choose a color that is a few shades brighter than their base and let it flow into the hair less and less dramatically about six inches from the crown.

How long can you expect it to last/when should you go in for touch ups?

  • George Papanikolas: Depending on how much highlighting you do at the root area determines how often you need to highlight. If you only do the miss and ends, you can go up to 6 months or 2 haircuts between touch ups. If you highlight at the root area, then every 3-4 months should be sufficient.

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What are your tips/products for best maintaining your sombré look?

  • George Papanikolas: Any time you lighten your hair, you need to add extra moisture to your regimen. Matrix Biolage Hydrasource, and Keratindose are my go to products.
  • Joel WarrenAs with all color, I recommend using color treated shampoo and conditioner. A salon (or at-home) glaze is also helpful a month or two after coloring to help preserve the hair’s shine, which in turn enhances the color.


L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Ombré Touch

For a glamorous, subtle ombré effect, look no further than Superior Preference Ombré Touch. Illuminate your look with just a touch of ombré, adding streaks of light to the lengths and tips of your hair. The Expert Touch Applicator which is a fine-toothed plastsic brush, fits snugly onto the fingertip, providing maximum control as the brush glides smoothly over hair. The Luminous Lightening System containing a Lifting Poder, a lifting Crème and a Crème Developer, can be combined to create a customizable application process which helps to deliver a subtle, sophisticated ombré effect. Price: $12.99 each, Available at and at mass, food and drug retailers nationwide


Biolage HYDRASOURCE Hydra-Seal Spray

When environmental aggressors and coloring processes strip hair of moisture, turn to this moisturizing hair treatment. It’s formulated to provide hair with a hydrating seal and instant protective shine that’s inspired by the water-retaining and super durable aloe plant. Price: $16, Visit for salon locations

L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner

This duohelps to instantly nourish color-treated hair and shield color from fading, leaving hair protected and color vibrant over time. You can experience up to 8 weeks of color vibrancy and nourishment. Price: $4.99 each, Available at and chain drug, food and mass market retailers

Wen by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner

The star product from Chaz Dean’s revolutionary haircare system is the gentle Cleansing Conditioner,a 5-in-1formula that takes the place of your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner and leave-in conditioner. Free of sodium laurel sulfate and other damaging ingredients that strip hair and scalp of its natural oils, so color stays richer for longer. Price: $29.95 as part of a 30-Day Kit, Available at or by calling 1.888.961.3661

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