Know Your Sombré from your Bombré; Spring Hair 2014 Tutorial Starts Now…

A brief history lesson for the uninitiated…

Two years ago the Ombré made its trend setting debut, spurning many a fashionista to sport dark-to-light tresses seemingly overnight. Originally the fade was a severe contrast, whereby the line that separated the color was quite obvious and pronounced.

Then last year the Balayage made its mark, eschewing the Ombré all together.

Balayage (pronounced Bal-Lay-Age) took over from where the root-to-tip-highlight failed, creating a more natural sun-kissed highlight that was literally painted on by your color specialist in places where the sun would normally cast a warm glow.


Sweeps of Balayage

And this season, the look is to put equal parts BalayageOmbré into a trusty blender and Volia

The Bombré is this years look de moment!

The effect is more of a subtle gradation of color aka the Soft Ombré (*Sombré ) with the painted sweeps of Balayage in front and where needed for added dimension.

While I have normally have a strict no-Kardashian policy in place…

I Don't Speak Kardashian....Ever.

I Don’t Speak Kardashian….Ever.

…in the interest of hair-science, I will add more examples of the Bombré for your viewing pleasure—even though it goes against everything I stand for to promote the toxic miasma of these attention-seeking circus animals below.


….Aaaaand the embargo is back in place. Phew.

Combining the two is a great balance,”  says stylist Rafael Estrella Dunn owner of St.Laurent Coiffure in Montreal’s tony enclave of Westmount. Dunn whose worked his magicianship on the tresses of Eva Longoria and Paris Hilton, says that the trend of mixing Ombré and Balayage is “huge in Los Angeles and Miami right now.”

Speaking of Los Angeles, Salon Benjamin located on Melrose Ave is the mecca in hair dressing—their client list reading like a whose who of celebrity glitterati. Stylist Negin Zand is famous in her own right for her Balayage technique and her clientele roster includes Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Bombré poster gal Sarah Jessica Parker to name (drop) just a few.

But nattering on about the Bombré in theory is sooooo five seasons ago. I was about to see it live and in practice with Dunn and his client ‘Margaux’ whose long locks and virgin hair (she’s never colored before) are perfect for the technique.

Dunn starts off by trimming Margaux’s hair dry to freshen up her base—“people with long hair needn’t become greedy” he says cheekily. “It needs to stay healthy“—adding that Coconut oil on dry hair once a week is a great natural moisturizer and “performs wonders.”

Before: Margaux's Virgin Hair

Before: Margaux’s Virgin Hair

Over the course of three hours Dunn performs a Bombré all in one shot i.e. the Ombré and Balayage are both are done in unison through a mercurial combination of backcombing, foiling and cotton sectionals.

And no he’s far from a slow poke; the process can take up to six hours depending on the amount of hair a client has, with Dunn adding “Stylists in L.A. will block off their entire days schedule and just work on one celebrity client. It’s intricate stuff!”

The narration of time passes with the help of Beyoncé’s latest album, some yummy snacks and oodles of patience “Your calmness is almost intimidating,” says Dunn appreciatively.

After: A Sombre Bombre

After: A Sombré Bombré

The Bombré is complete with Dunn setting the final result with his signature blow-out and a dusting of some dry shampoo. “Her second visit which will be in about 8 weeks will be even better,” says Dunn. “Her dark roots will be grown out more and we can really personalize it with some more Balayage“—adding that it requires “minimal upkeep that will last all throughout the summer!”

I love it—I feel very sexy and refreshed!…” says Margaux.

See no lines,” says Dunn…”you can hardly notice where one [highlight] begins and the other ends…

Totally” I think to myself, “like a bag of Maltesers or… Olsen Twins…”

Soooooooo to sum up…

a Sombré is a kindler, gentler Ombré…

a Bombré is a combination of Balayage and Ombré…which in effect is the updated SombréHombré.

Wait, WHAT?!?!

And for those of you without bless-ed tresses—I stand with you in solidarity my friends in weavery—a clip on that hinges from ear-to-ear (a complete weave not pieces) can easily be dyed by your hair care professional and blended in with whatever it is your momma gave you.

Now go out there and Bombré yo’ fine self!

P.S. According to my sources my cat sitter, the words Sombré and/or Bombré don’t exist (yet!) in real life on account of the fact that I made them up—not that they were that much of a stretch. Spread the word(s)!


The Pop Culture Rainman

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