Hair Coloring Techniques: What’s the Difference?


Posted February 24, 2021 by ezrackusa

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Hair color is probably the main indicator of a woman's state of mind and mood. How your hair looks says a lot about your personality, your health, and your mood. Both your hair's health and freshness are important – and you have to update it to stay attractive and feminine.

This short guide describes the main hair coloring techniques and how they can help you look better. We will show you every technique, how it works, and how to apply it. Let's start with a short hair coloring history:

Hair dyes – a short history

The desire to change how our hair looks is not new. Both men and women have dyed their hair since the dawn of time. For example, ancient Egyptians dyed their hair black or dark red, transforming it into elaborate braided or curled wigs. The dyes used were simple – many of them were based on saffron, alfalfa, or indigo. Hair dyes evolved during Antiquity. There is evidence that both Roman and Greek women used some type of permanent hair dye.

After thousands of years of relative stagnation, modern hair colors were developed in the 1800s, by William Henry Perkin. The first color was mauve, a striking color at the time. After several years, the color palette included hundreds of different colors.

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The main hair coloring techniques

#1 – All-over hair dyes

Also known as single-process hair dyes, these dyes apply a single shade to your hair. There are three types of all-over hair dyes:

- permanent dyes – the formula contains ammonia which helps the color penetrate the hair shaft; the chemical changes the color of your hair profoundly;

- demi-permanent dyes – these dyes do not contain ammonia, but has other chemicals that help the hair absorb the color (peroxide is typically used for this); the color will wash away after 20 to 24 shampoos;

- semi-permanent dyes – they also do not contain ammonia, and they only color the outer layer of the hair shaft; the color washes away after 6 to 12 shampoos;

#2 – Two-tone hair coloring

You can use simple, all-over coloring techniques to get this look. Just pick two different shades, and you are good to go! Ideally, you should pick a base hair shade and a contrasting one. For instance, a darker base shade goes well with a colorful shade or a lighter one. Although not very popular, two-tone dyeing jobs look great and can be a fabulous option for many women. Many hairstylists prefer to choose three or even more shades to create a modern look. Two-tone colorings are quite difficult to create, so you should go to a hair salon to get the desired results.

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#3 – Highlights

Highlights are usually lighter streaks that add texture and volume to your natural hair. They can differ immensely in placement, size, and shades. Most women often go for lighter tones if they have darker hair. Typically, streaks should be very thin if you want to add texture to your hair. If the sections are wider, the technique is known as chunky highlights.

Highlights can be applied anywhere on your head, either in the front, on the top layer, or just on ends. The common rule is to apply highlights wherever you want to add dimension to your hair. There are two main types of highlights – traditional foiling and free-hand, or hair painting. Highlights are usually lighter than the base color, such as caramel or dark blonde. However, some women prefer bold hair colors, like purple, pink, blue, or even lime green. White highlights are also getting popular.

#4 – Balayage

Balayage is very popular, and it's here to stay for a long time. The reason is simple – it looks awesome, and it's very versatile. Balayage differs from highlights because there is no foil used. The new color is swept through small triangle sections of hair by hand. The stylist can adapt this technique and make it look even better, adding extra contour to your hairstyle. Balayage comes with many advantages – it's low maintenance, it's easy to apply, and it looks awesome. What's more, the natural transition between colors makes the roots less visible.

#5 – Meche or foil highlights

These highlights are more precise, allowing the stylist to apply the color on a specific section of your hair. Different colors can be applied at the same time, providing more coverage throughout the hair. Multiple colors mean multiple layers of dimension, creating the illusion of volume. The technique is difficult to apply and should only be done by a professional. It is high maintenance and requires special care.

#6 – Babylights

Babylights mimic the natural hair color. They feature minuscule, subtle color changes to only a few strands of hair. Although quite similar to regular highlights, babylights are spaced far closer and are much more delicate. Babylights work great with every hair color and look awesome. However, they are difficult to create, so expect to spend a few hours at the hair salon.

#7 – Lowlights

They add depth and dimension to your natural hair, but also make it shine. Lowlights add darker shades to your hair, creating contrast. The technique is ideal for women who have lighter hair, and it works great for curly or thin hair. They are very versatile but can make short hair look too patchy.

#8 – Ombre

Ombre means “shaded” in French, and this is probably the best term to describe this coloring technique. It looks great for any hair color or type. The hair is left darker at the roots, but it becomes gradually lighter to the tips. The technique works better for longer hair, as there is more room to create the fade effect.

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Last Updated February 24, 2021