You’ve probably heard of ombre hair. Well, now there’s sombre. Sombre stands for subtle ombre, and is exactly what it sounds like. It’s ombre without the harsh lines of traditionally ombre hair. It’s not as bold as color melting or even balayage, however. It fades out natural hair colors into brighter and brighter locks the farther down the strand you go.

An example might be someone with very dark brown hair that gradually fades to medium chestnut, then medium blonde and then a honey blonde at the ends. Each color change starts as wispy highlights, which become bolder farther down. This creates a more seamless look as colors blend and an overall subtle fading effect is achieved. Roots can grow out more without being as noticeable, as well.

The most interesting aspect of the look is that no layer of hair truly has just its own color going on, either. Darker hues are subtly mixed farther down. Brighter hues can start next to the face farther up around the eye. So…getting tempted to try sombre yet?

How to get the sombre look

Frankly, this look is best achieved at a salon. Because of all the different shades going on at different layers, a stylist will best be able to apply and select the colors. Since sombre is so dependent on your natural hair color because the look fades natural shades, the stylist will also be able to achieve this in a way that is very flattering to your natural color.

One the other hand, if you do want to do this at home, there are home ombre kits that could be put to use. An example is L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Ombre Touch Hair Color, which even comes in certain shades based on your natural hair color, taking the guesswork out of which shades will complement your hair the best. These are marketed toward natural brunettes, who the style tends to work best on, seeing as there are more shades to fade to.

To achieve a sombre look, you’ll want to modify your application. You’ll need at least two different shades, one lighter than the first. Rather than a blunt ombre application, start the color a few inches away from the roots in a wispy highlighted pattern. Gradually paint the color as you go down, applying it thicker and thicker. About two-thirds of the way down the length, switch to the lighter dye, tapering from one to the other as you did above (remember, no harsh lines).

This part is optional for a very blended look. Let the dye sit and rinse. Save some of the dye. Once your hair has dried, now you’ll want to try to blend the look more. Apply some lighter, subtle highlights in a darker layer. Don’t go too heavy with it. Remember to keep it very subtle. Also blend some subtle dark highlights in the bottom layers. Let those sit and rinse.

Once you are done, because you technically dyed portions of your hair twice, make sure to take care of your hair well. Do regular deep conditioning treatments. The glory of this look, though, is that you won’t have to touch it up or redo it for a while since the root growth is less noticeable. Score!