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Ombre and Sombre: Some questions answered!

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The Ombre and Sombre haircolour looks have gained great popularity in North America since the turn of the century. Ombre and Sombre is the faded look from a natural colour to a lighter colour. Ombre colour is lighter closest to the ends of the hair, whereas Sombre is lighter higher up on the hair shaft closer to the scalp. Both techniques are created by blending one colour tone into another gradually. Over the last decade, many variations of the Ombre and Sombre styles can be seen on both men and women. Fashion shades such as metallics and pastels are hugely trendy with today’s pop culture.

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The Ombre/Sombre look can be achieved several different ways. Both foiling and Balayage techniques can be incorporated to achieve these styles. Foils or cotton can be used to divide sections of hair to prevent “bleeding”. Bleeding is  when a colour or lightener moves or runs into another and leaves a demarcation. Backcombing or teasing  techniques can be used to create soft transitions between colours or tones.

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Many colour technicians like to incorporate the Balayage technique. Balayage is a French word meaning “to sweep”. The technique was developed in France in the 1970’s.This is a free-form or free-hand technique that sweeps colour or lightener onto the hair using a brush and a backboard. Application techniques may vary depending on the hair length. The key to using the Balayage technique is to ensure the colour or lightener has been feathered lightly into the base colour or colour closest to the scalp. Be careful, large amounts of lightener or colour can cause bleeding that will take your Ombre look into a “Home-bre” look instantly!

Nowadays, many people are preferring an Ombre or Sombre look over traditional full foil highlights or solid colours because these looks allow the client more time in between appointments. Also, the re-growth can be much softer looking as opposed to definitive lines of demarcation from a solid colour or a full head of foils.

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Our senior students are currently learning the haircolouring segment of the program. We start by teaching them the fundamentals of haircolouring applications and how to properly secure a foil onto the hair. As they progress throughout the segment, we then take them through advanced techniques such as the Ombre and Sombre.

Free-form hair painting may seem like it’s easy and a lot fun, however, without proper training it can be a haircolouring nightmare! These techniques not only require a strong foundation in haircolouring, but they also require many hours of specialized training and practice.

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