Achieving sun-kissed strands with little in the way of maintenance is finally possible. Going lighter with your hair look can often be a process, but the "hair tan," a new and subtle method of coloring, has arrived.
Created by Jodie Palmer, hair colorist and international educator for Evo, the hair tan is a coloring process that bridges the gap between balayage and babylights. Palmer compares the end result to “natural-looking” surfer hair. “It’s that super laid-back, polished but lived-in beach vibe that compliments every skin tone,” she tells Byrdie.
The end result should look as if your hair has been naturally lightened by the sun. It’s a subtle, wearable color similar in nature to hues sported by celebs like Hailey Bieber, Jennifer Anniston, and Gisele Bündchen. “Hair tan is the look that every person has been looking for without them having to learn the hair lingo before an appointment,” Palmer says.
In order to emulate the look, you’ll want to ask your stylist for “very blended and natural highlights that work with your hair’s natural undertones and maintain your natural base shade, without lightening more than three levels,” the stylist notes. Palmer relies on a signature paint technique that pushes lightener from the mid-lengths into a blend towards the root area, using zig zagged diagonal sectioning. The hair is blended using the stylist’s hands.
One of the best parts about a hair tan is its universally-flattering nature. Palmer affirms it works on nearly all hair lengths, even short styles. When it comes to styling, the color also lends itself to nearly all looks, including updos, curls, and blowouts. Palmer personally suggests trying “a big fluffy 90s blow dry, or a ‘Rachel Green’ hair moment,” as well as a “grungy, but polished” natural movement.
Unlike similar hair lightening processes, including highlights, the hair also comes with little in the way of upkeep. Palmer only needs to see clients about twice per year to maintain the look. “In between we schedule hair ‘manicures,’ which are a gloss, treatment and dusting (trim). I think beautifully executed personalized color should evolve beautifully without the need for excessive coloring, chemical services, and time in-salon,” she says.
Skip the sun and surf and head straight to the salon to try this tan for yourself.