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

The Pop Culture Rainman™ Best of 2013 Part Deux (a wee bit late–whoopsies!)

Greetings Friends & Lovah’s

Who says ‘End of Year Lists’ have to come out before the ‘end of the year??!!’ (Everyone. Absolutely. everyone. says. it.)

Think of this missive as merely ‘fashionably late’ and take comfort in the knowledge that it’s clearly the most comprehensive list out there considering I was able to add in stuffs from the 11th hour of ‘2013. (I did no such thing.)


Best in Tattoos

2013 was a great year to get inked as so many trends in the industry were emerging–a rarity for such an ancient art. I wrote about the popularity of White Tattoos on this blog; which by-the-hey is my most read piece on The Pop Culture Rainman™ to date!


White Feather Tattoo

White Feather Tattoo

In addition to White Tattoos, another HUUUUUUUGE tat trend in 2013 were Written Tattoos and also Itty Bitty Tattoos placed on or around the hand and wrist, or most popular of all mid-arm.

Best in Food

2013 was magically delicious! Is it a flaky Croissant? Is it a Donut? Even Better! It’s the CRONUT!!!!

The Infamous Cronut

The Infamous Cronut

Not since the racially harmonious ‘black and white cookie’ has a New York confection gotten this much air play. Overnight, people wanted, nay… they DEMANDED some immediate Cronut tastin’. The foodie trend soon went international showing up in every major city around the globe!

Runner Up was The Crookie–a mix of a croissant and cookies originating in the Toronto bakery Clafouti.

Da Crookie!

Da Crookie!

Best in Kanye Cray-Cray


As a self-professed genius (in his own mind), Kanye West dominated 2013 in some good ways– his album Yeezus was a staple on many a year end list, but mostly in some very baaaad ways as well. His candid admissions koo-koo bananas interview he gave to BBC’s Radio 1 very patient host Zane Lowe, was the stuff of many a lampoon in 2013. While showing that he clearly had no idea how to keep his composure while constantly blaming ‘the man’ for his inability to break into the fashion world, one good thing did come out of it! He single-handedly put black leather jogging pants on the map for the uninitiated!

Black Leather Jogging Pants Were Kanye's Idea Fendi!!!

Black Leather Jogging Pants Were Kanye’s Idea Fendi!!!

Among other jewels like erratically answering the paparazzi by telling them to NEVER SPEAK TO HIM, TO NEVER EVER TALK  (Can’t say I blame him)

…the highlight of his unbridled ‘passion’ was best exemplified during his morning show interview with Sway that was additionally mashed up into song and many a tumblr Gif..

Experience the magic for yourself below in good ‘ol video form, and enjoy the knee-deep emotional *feels* of someone very famous on the verge of a very public breakdown.


No-one straddles flashy gluttony (Kim’s rock was an economical 10 million) and woe-is-me-victimhood better than Kanye and because of this, he got his very own category on my year-end list.

Count your blessings whiny face.  

Nike's Air Yeezy 2

Nike’s Air Yeezy 2

You’ll always have the Yeezy. Move on.

Best in Gal Trends

You thought I had just one? Have you just met us females? Pffft. Have a seat… this may take a while.


Jessica Bie'sl Balayage Hair

Jessica B’s Balayage Hair

…So…Baylage took over from the Ombré trend of 2012. I wrote about it on this blog earlier in the year here:

Geometric Jewelry

If it looked like something you *may* have used in high school math class, or like something that would probably cut glass–it was on ladies fingers, necks or ear lobes in 2013.

Knuckle Ring Confetti (I just made that up)

Rings gathered and stacked in that sweet spot just above your knuckle was another huge ‘thang’ in 2013–the mo’ the ‘merrier.

…And lastly the dark and moody color Oxblood (or variations thereof) were seen everywhere in ladies fashion and beauty in ’13–my personal fave being the Black Orchid lipstick from Tom Ford. Fierrrrrrrrrrrrrce!

Tom Ford's Black Orchid

Tom Ford’s Black Orchid

Best in Gettting Busted

Rob Ford's Menagerie of 'Pussy' at home

Rob Ford’s Menagerie of ‘Pussy’ at home

No-one, but NO ONE produced more verbal snafu’s and outrageous quotables than Toronto’s own crack-smoking, all-you-can-eat-at-home-munching, LYING foolio, the very sweaty, and non-sveltey; Mayor Rob Ford.

Now unless you were pinned under a Mack Truck for all of 2013 and are not aware of the entire story, it is best wrapped up in a tiny bow courtesy of the following SNL skit. FYI; Torontonians don’t talk that way. It’s not the ‘frickin YUKON. Nor Helsinki.

Runner Ups: It’s a Big ‘ol tie between Robin Thicke’s ass-grabbing caught via a mirror photo and South Africa’s faux-deaf interpreter for the wins!

Best man-made-holiday-you-will-never-again-see-in-your-lifetime.

Thanksgivikahthe ancient holiday of the pilgrim Jews??? Close!

More like the only time in herstory that American Thanksgiving and Passover shared the same airspace, and it all happened in 2013! To commemorate? The beautifully constructed Manurkey, meant to give off some Turkey Lurkey ‘lovin for eight glittery, glittery nights.

Happy Thankgivikah!

Happy Thankgivikah!

And there you have it. A totally non-linear, nonsensical, in-yo-face account of 2013 highlights through my pop culture lenses. And yes, I’ve had laser surgery that has all but petered out…why do you ask?!

But truly, I hope you enjoyed the lists and please, feel free to use the facilities.

Here’s to 2014 and taking The Pop Culture Rainman to Bloglebrity and beyonnnnnnd…Let’s Do THIS!



Loving you,


The Pop Culture Rainman

Step Aside Ombré, Balayage is Back in a *Big* Way!

Ombré my friend, my Hombré

You had a gooooood run. You were THE hot hair color trend for the last three years running, including the ‘My Little Pony’-esque dip dye cotton candy hair craze which preceded you.

'Hello Pony' Dip Dye

‘My Little Pony’ Dip Dye

High Fashion Dip Dye

High Fashion Dip Dye

Not that I even had the bless-ed tress-es to even try you (unless I could wear ‘ma weave’ 24-7) but you really were a thing of beauty.

If you are one of the few who is *Late to the Party* (you are ALL alone you out-of-touch-weirdo) Ombré Hair refers to the gradual lightening of the hair strand, usually fading from a darker color near the roots to a lighter one at the ends. Ombré looks best on long THICK hair where you can see the actual gradiation from dark to light or even in a reverse Ombré, from…YOU GUESSED IT…light to dark.

Ombré had a mammoth celebrity following with Drew Barrymore showing off the trend on many a red carpet.

Drew’s Reverse Ombré

Reverse Ombré

Her Hippy Braided Ombré…

Hippy Braid Ombré...

Hippy Braid Ombré…

…And Le Sophisticated Ombré

If I Say Ombré ONE More Time...My head will FALL off.

Not since 80’s ‘frosted tips’ has a hair color trend been so heralded, with every top shelf home hair care brand coming up with a DIY version.

L'Oreal Wild  Ombré-Grrrrrrr!

L’Oreal Wild Ombré-Grrrrrrr!

…and when that happens, you CAN be SURE that a HOT TREND is on its way to becoming COLD and *FAST*. Unfortunately mass marketing turns exclusivity into ‘pedestrian’ fare, and no-one wants to be a herded sheep, now DO you, you SUPER FOX ORIGINATOR?!


Jessica Biel Balayage

Jessica Biel Balayage


Balayage (pronounced Bal-Lay-Age) is French for “Sweeping” and that is in essence, exactly what it is.

A sweeping of light color that is literally painted on by your color specialist in places where the sun would normally cast a warm glow. Balayage creates depth and dimension and leaves you with a sun-kissed, day-at-the beach result.

Minka Kelly

Minka Kelly

But just one thing, it’s not so new.

Balayage is a French technique that was developed in the 70’s, but it’s back in a big way,” says Rafael Estrella Dunn–owner of St.Laurent Coiffure in Montreal’s tony enclave of Westmount. “It’s the best method to bring light and a beautiful dimension to your hair, in a natural way,” he says. “Fresh off the beach!”

Dunn goes on to give me a first hand tutorial as he prepares a client for first time Balayage, in fact, for the client this is the first time coloring her hair PERIOD! “Virgin, hair…” says Dunn with a sassy smile.

He begins by choosing carefully where “I want to light and I paint away,” citing that a “balanced” Balayage is key. The tools for this freehand technique are also paramount, an application brush with hard bristles for a precise delivery of color and a “backing board” underneath the strand to help support the freehand technique. The Balayage’d hair strands are then wrapped individually in plastic so that Dunn can visually see how the hair is responding, and cotton strands akin to dreads are lined up to protect the un-touched pieces of hair from getting dyed.

The steeping period makes one appear as if Rob Zombie vomited his zombified vom alllll over your scalp. Not the ‘hottest’ of looks. But was coloring your hair ever so?

"Virgin Hair" 'Gettin the Balayage Treatment

“Virgin Hair” ‘Gettin the Rob Zombie Treatment

The End Result is a natural varied color effect, that is not as precious as regular ‘lined’ foil highlights. Lots of celebrities and models also have their Balayage finished off with copper or red glosses for that extra *punch* of shimmery goodness.

Lily Adlridge

Lily Adlridge

And since the majority of us are struggling with finances, It’s also a very economical way to color your hair as you never have a solid demarcation line or regrowth, so if you can’t afford to get it done for another month it won’t look ‘un-kept’.

Well, there you have it kids. A full on break-down of THE Cooler Than Cool hair fad of Le Moment, from the chick that always keep you in the LOOP–that is, until it shows up in a little box in aisle five at your local pharmacy.

Until then, BALAYAGE like EVERYONE is watching!               

The Pop Culture Rainman™