Ombre or Sombre: What's the difference and how do you know what's right for you?

Hair educationScott Misner

By now most of us have heard the term ombre to describe hair color, but as of late there have been rumors that this hair color trend is on its way out, to make room for its softer cousin sombre. You may be asking yourself is this true and what's the difference anyway?

Ombre hair color is when a darker root color fades to a light end color. True ombre has little to no highlight at the root and a much lighter color on the ends with none of the dark root color present.

Sombre or Ecaille (french for tortoise shell), as it's also known, hair color has a much softer more natural effect. It too features a darker root color but with highlights that start just off of the root. It generally features highlights that frame the face and gradually feather farther from the root as it moves towards the back of the head. The colors used are also much closer together with regards to lightness and darkness.

Now that you know what they are, how do you decide what is best for you? First, ask yourself this question, how much light color do I want to see around my face? How much of a difference would I like to see between my colors, a subtle difference or a drastic difference. Third, what is my natural color and how much maintenance do I want to deal with?  If you are looking for a softer color transition sombre may be the best choice for you. Looking for something bolder ombre is probably the look you're going for.

Talk each of these points over with your colorist to make a decision that's right for you. Remember to have fun with it!

"You have to have fun with hair. It's a great accessory - play with it." --Serge Normant