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Ombré vs. Sombré Highlights

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Ombre vs. Sombre Highlights

Make some room ombré, there's a softer style in town.

Sombré is a subtler, more smoothly-blended looking version of the popular ombré haircolor. This technique offers a gradual, softer gradation, as opposed to the edgier dip-dyed ombré effect. While it's softer than its predecessor, its just as trendy. Can't decide which gradient technique to go with? Let our experts help you decide.


The style: The term ombré comes from the French word meaning "to shade," and describes the gradual blending of one color to another. In most cases the hair gets lighter from the mid-length through the ends. It looks beautiful on all hair lengths and textures and gives anyone an instant edge.

Colorists say: "When the trend started almost a decade ago there was a harder line between the darker and lighter shades, inspired by punk rock," says colorist and L'Oréal Professionnel Artist Theresa Adams. "It was the grown out, grunge look coming back into play." These days ombré has stepped into glamourous territory by softening the line a bit, but there is still a pretty drastic and exciting difference in the haircolor from where it begins on the root to where it ends.


The style: Like ombré, sombré creates a gradual transition from darker roots to lighter ends, but in a more subtle, blended way. This technique is a softer version of it's edgier counterpart and is a great way to test the waters if you've been eyeing ombré styles for awhile.

Colorists say: "Sombré is creating that lived-in, carefree look but with more dimension than ombré," Adams says. "Ombré requires more saturation, more concentration at the lighter ends, whereas sombré is more broken up throughout." She says the key to achieving sombré is all about using positive and negative space: "I always make sure there's a shadow underneath the brighter tones so that the light can pop forward."

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