Meet Sombré Hair, Ombré's Low-Maintenance Alternative

Ombré once seemed like the answer to every woman’s root regrowth problem, so we embraced it. Little did we know there is an even better solution that our colorists had been keeping from us—sombré. Of course we’d never hold a grudge against the person who takes our color from dull to dimensional, but when the first sombrés started to leak, we have to admit we were a little peeved we hadn’t been doing it all along. The hair color trend is the perfect easy, breezy summer look—so read on for all the necessary info on this must-try style. 

We caught up with celebrity colorist and sombré expert, Denis de Souza (who has worked on everyone from the likes of Rachel Bilson to Olivia Wilde), and asked him to break down the look’s basics for us. Follow these seven tips and you can’t go wrong.


1. Make it subtle.

Sombré is ombré’s coy little sister (who also happens to be so much more low-maintenance). De Souza says to forget the drastic contrast of dark roots and light ends, as sombré is a much softer version of the ombré. 

2. Start higher.

To nail the soft, subtle look, de Souza notes, “Highlights should start a couple of inches from the roots—maintaining the depth, while connecting the roots and slowly brightening towards the ends.” 

3. Don’t forget that blondes can sombré too.

“Unlike the ombré that worked best for brunettes in the past, sombré actually works for everyone,” affirms de Souza. It’s an especially great way for dark blondes to go lighter, without changing their natural color.

4. Gloss it.

Sombré looks best on high-shine hair, so give it a little boost in between color appointments. “If you are going to the salon for a haircut or a blowout, ask your colorist to give you a 10-minute clear gloss prior to your service,” suggests de Souza. Glosses close the cuticle of the hair to add healthy shine.

5. Treat it right to maintain the color.

To keep your sombé looking fresh all summer, de Souza says to cut back on shampooing, as frequent washing will fade any color. “When you do shampoo, choose a sulfate-free shampoo, and a great hydrating mask once a week is a must,” says de Souza. He recommends Joico’s K-PAK RevitaLuxe Bio-Advanced Restorative Treatment ($24).

6. Keep your hair long.

While this look suits almost everyone, de Souza especially loves it for long locks. “The longer the hair, the better the sombré,” he says. So if you’re looking to sombré this season, don’t go short just yet. According to de Souza, “Any length longer than the shoulders will look amazing in it.” 

7. Embrace layers.

To show off your highlights, opt for a cut with layers at the bottom. “This way, the brighter ends won’t fall on top of each other, causing them to look too heavy on the bottom,” de Souza says.


Are you going sombré for the summer? 

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