Choosing a new hair color is no easy task – especially if you’re someone who likes to mix things up with the seasons. While there are more than a handful of fun new hair color trends out there right now — like “winter gold” and “hair frosting” — sometimes it’s good to go back to basics, like with “sombré” hair.
Similar to balayage and ombré, sombré hair – also called “soft ombré” – is more about the coloring technique than the shade itself. “Sombré can be done with all kinds of colors,” said celebrity hairstylist and Dove Hair Ambassador Jennifer Yepez. “You’ll see a softer color change in the hair instead of the typical dark root to blonde,” like you see with traditional ombré. You can get the sombré look in blonde, brunette, purple and red hair, to name just a few of the options.
Sombre vs. Ombré Hair: What’s the Difference?
Sombré and ombré hair color techniques are similar, but there is one key difference and it has everything to do with the mixture. “With ombré hair, you see a more noticeable contrast between darker roots and lighter ends compared to sombré, where the color is distributed more evenly starting from the roots down to the ends,” says Yepez.
How to get sombre hair color
Because the sombré look takes skill to achieve, this is a trend best left to the pros. When you go to the salon, the first thing your colorist will do is establish your base. Do you want to go blonde? Brunette? Copper? Once you’ve determined your starting point, you’ll want to look for some reference material.
“I always suggest bringing a reference to show your stylist no matter what look you’re going for,” says Yepez. “Everyone has different take on style, so providing a visual helps you get the exact result you want.”
How to maintain sombré hair at home
Yepez has this advice for you: “The better you take care of your hair, the better the sombre style will look.” As with any type of permanent hair color, you run the risk of breakage if the process isn’t done properly and/or you don’t take care of your hair after the treatment.
“The level of maintenance also depends on your current hair color and the color you want,” she says. “For example, dying naturally dark hair platinum blonde will require more maintenance than dying brown hair blonde.”
Maintaining the health of your hair, especially if you color it, starts with the right shampoo. “I love the Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner duo ($7) because it’s affordable and has keratin to help repair hair.”
You also need to be extra careful when you heat style your hair. “Dying your hair in a sombré or ombré style can cause more damage to your ends because you’re treating that part of the hair more than the hair on your scalp,” says Yepez. Before you put any heat on your hair, use a heat protectant, like Redken All Soft Moisture Restore Leave-In Treatment With Hyaluronic Acid ($29) or Ceremonia Guava Rescue Spray ($22).
This article originally appeared on popsugar.com
#1 Light brown to blonde sombre hair
This example of dark hair fades from brunette at the roots to blonde at the ends.
#2 Brunette sombre hair
For an example of sombré color on brown hair, look at the light chestnut highlights at the ends of the hair.
#3 Blonde sombre hair
Opting for sombré hair adds dimension to your color, like this blonde variation with a light brown base.
#4 Red Sombre Hair
This auburn hair color fades to bright copper at the ends thanks to the sombré technique.