How to Dip Dye Hair

Preparing Dye for Dip Dyeing

Explaining the ‘Dip Dye’ Hair Coloring Technique

Two colours are used with the dip dying coloring technique – the root shade and the tone on the tips. When done correctly, your hair will look like it’s been dipped in dye, thus the name ‘Dip Dye’. Your hair will be darker at the roots, and the ends will be lighter.

Dip Dying is a trending fashion statement because there’s no actual blending of the two colours. In normal hair coloring there would typically be a difference of 4 or 5 colour shades between the lengths and the hair tips – like brown roots with light blonde tips – but Dip Dye is a classic two-tone coloring technique.

What’s the Difference between Ombre, Balayage, and Dip Dye?

Many people believe that these three coloring techniques are the one and the same, but while all are referred to as gradient hair coloring applications, there are some important differences that you should be aware of –

Ombre (French) means shaded, or to shade. Ombre colour is one of the earlier coloring techniques and is still popular today. Interestingly, it’s now also being called Sombre. The colour goes from darker at the roots fading into lighter at the ends.

Balayage (French) means to paint or sweep. The idea behind this coloring style is less-is-more. The hair colour should be close and soft at the root, with thicker highlights at the hair ends.

With Dip Dye there’s no blending of colours. Ombre and Balayage are more subtle whereas Dip Dye creates a rather dramatic line, as if your hair has been dipped into a pot of colour.

Can Dip Dye Be Achieved on Shorter Hair?

Because your hair will change from your natural root colour into your new chosen colour – with nothing between to soften the look – we suggest that the shortest your hair could be would be a bob. Your hairstylist will point out that the cut must complement the colour so that when your hair moves you’ll have of a diffusion of colour.

In reality, Dip Dyes are more successful when used on long layered hair, but even if your hair is quite short you should still discuss Dip Dying with your hairstylist to see if there’s a way they can work the cut and colour together and still create the look you’re after

dip dyed hair
Deposit Photos: Gwen Stefani of No Doubt on stage for Rock in Rio USA 2015

How Will I Know What Colours to Dip Dye With?

If you’re a blonde you can easily go up to 4 shades lighter than your natural hair colour. Brunettes and black haired clients have much more flexibility – they can choose from a number of different tones, ranging from blonde to copper to red and lighter browns. This is also a great coloring technique for redheads – consider trying a lighter, brighter red on the hair roots.

hair dip dye
Deposit Photos: Drew Barrymore at the press conference

Dip Dying Your Hair with Manic Panic

We love dip dyeing with Manic Panic, but other coloring brands like Crazy Colours, Arctic Fox and Directions Coloring Dye will work also.

Step 1: Your hair should be divided into 2 or 4 low ponytails, with each ponytail fastened with an elastic. The thicker the hair, the more ponytails you need. This is to ensure that no random pieces of hair are left out. Clip up the front section of your hair if you don’t want dye anywhere near your face.

Step 2: Wearing gloves is a matter of personal choice. Yes, they will stop your fingers from staining, but some people find they have more control and dexterity without gloves.

Step 3: Start at the bottom of just one ponytail and cover it with dye. The idea is that the ends should be the brightest and most vibrant, so starting on the ends means the dye will be soaking into the hair ends for the longest amount of time.

Step 4: Next, using a clean hand, take hold of your hair where you want the change to start from your natural colour. Using your hands, start twisting that chunk of hair, squeezing and turning the hair to blend the colour.

Step 5: Continue twisting over that same spot. The idea is to keep working on the one “transition area” until you notice a subtle blending of your natural hair colour to your new chosen colour.

Step 6: Repeat the above steps on each of the ponytails, ensuring that the transition occurs at the same level on each ponytail.

Step 7: Once you’ve completed blending all ponytails, each ponytail should be individually wrapped in tinfoil. The dyes should be left in for 45 minutes if you’re looking for a stronger colour; however, 10 to 15 minutes will be enough if you’re looking for a more subtle look.

Step 8: Wash your hair, and continue washing until the water runs clear.

When you DIY Dip Dye, you will be hooked! And it’s such an inexpensive way of achieving the unique Dip Dye look that’s so popular today. Good luck, and we know you will absolutely love the beautiful results.

Jenny Gaynor

At CrazyHairColour, we review the top coloring brands. We pay special focus to our favorite UK brand, Crazy Colour. But that doesn't mean we don't love Manic Panic, Directions, Splat, Arctic Fox and Lime Crime just to name a few.

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