Do you remember when you couldn't go about your day without spotting someone flaunting dip dye? Our obsession with all things ombré, balayage and dip-dye may have softened in recent years, but come summer, lighter lengths always seem quite appealing. Back when the trend was born, the majority of dip-dyes you’d see featured darker roots and lightened tips, re-creating the same subtle, sun-kissed finish of childhood summers past.
But dip-dye has come a long way. Now it’s seen on all manner of hair colors and textures, with acid brights and pastel tones joining the traditional bronde palette. Search “dip dye” on Pinterest and you’ll be treated to a raft of two-tone looks in a rainbow of shades, from golden toffee to pumpkin spice to aquamarine. Let’s clear one thing up, though: While many still think ombré, balayage and dip-dye are one and the same, there are a few crucial differences between these coloring techniques that you need to be aware of.
We’ll break them down…
Dip-dye: Two colors make up a dip dye; the root shade and the tone throughout the tips. Done right, your hair will appear as if it has been literally dipped in dye (hence the name).
Ombré: Much like dip-dye, ombré is a somewhat “blocky” coloring technique. It features a transition from light to dark, but there’s a color in between the roots and the tips that makes it look more natural.
Balayage: This is a freehand technique. Highlights are swept through random sections of hair to create a softer gradation of color that appears entirely sun-kissed. To enhance the effortless finish of this dye job, no foils are used.
Now we’ve got that covered, why not have a browse of the most covetable dip-dyes out there? Keep scrolling for two-tone looks you’ll want to print out and take to your next hair appointment.
Want something super subtle like Olivia Munn? Ask your hairstylist to balayage a few pieces around the mid-lengths and ends. This looks particularly good if you have some layers.
Super-blonde ends can make a real two-tone statement when pulled into a topknot like Miley Cyrus’s. Protect your bleached ends with a hair-strengthening treatment like Olaplex Number 3 Hair Protector ($28).
Want to go a creamy blonde like Laverne Cox? Ask your colorist to apply a toner at the backwash to help remove any yellow hues.
Want a look that’s a little more subtle? Make like Jessica Biel and ask your colorist to weave a few pieces through your fringe as well as your ends to balance the look.
A textured bob is the perfect canvas for dip-dyed ends. Get that beachy texture with a misting of IGK Beach Club Volumizing Texture Spray ($29).
Kept to just a few inches at the end like on Lea Michele’s hair, a dip dye can make a real statement. Plus a solid trim will remove the bleach once you're over it.
Once your ends have been lightened, you can experiment with all kinds of temporary colors like Kylie Jenner.
A wash of bleach on red hair will turn those mid-lengths and ends strawberry blonde just like Emma Stone’s. Keep the lightened pieces looking shiny with Windle & Moodie Light Shine Spray ($28).
Got really long hair like Chrissy Teigen? Then work your dip dye further up to ensure it looks nicely balanced, rather than bottom heavy (unless that’s the look you’re going for—see Lea Michele).
You don’t have to go super blonde; make like Jessica Alba and opt for a soft caramel hue if you’re a natural brunette.
Curled hair looks great with dip dye. Shop curling irons here, and remember the longer the hair, the bigger the barrel you’ll need.
Not a fan of the true dip-dye look? Then how about this two-tone ombré effect Khloé Kardashian wears so well.
On shoulder-length hair, get your colorist to blend the dye from your jawline down like Ashley Tisdale.
How great does Olivia Wilde’s beachy braid look with the addition of some sun-kissed pieces? Give it a try this summer.
Not convinced by the dip-dye look? Then check out 2018's biggest color trend instead.