Dip dye hair: a complete guide to dying the ends of your hair

Try the fun haircolor trend “dip dye”!

Dip Dye: the hair trend you'll want to adopt

All about how to dip dye hair and how your stylist can create the perfect colour combination, whether you’re just dying the ends of your hair or further up the lengths… 

What is dip dye for your hair?

Dip dye hair is a classic two-tone colouring technique where the hair is dark at the roots with lighter ends. It is quite a statement colour, as there is no real blend between the two colours. Normally you’d go 4 to 5 levels lighter for the lengths and ends, for example from a brown at the roots to a very light blond on the ends. Its name comes from the finished look: where the hair looks as if it has literally been dipped in dye. 

Like any hair colouring, the duration of your dip dye depends on what kind of formula you use.  You can opt for temporary, semi-permanent or permanent dip dye colours. 

Dip dye hair: how to dye the ends of your hair

One of the most popular styles of dip dye hair is dying the ends of your hair only (not the lengths), and as such we are often asked how to dye ends of hair. The answer: go to a professional! Whenever it’s a question of playing with colour, especially bold shades as dip dye hair often is, your hairdresser is the best person to create your new dip dye look thanks to their experience and skill set. They know exactly how to dye the ends of your hair to make a standout dip dye hair creation. 

How to dye the ends of your hair: if you have dark, brunette or dark blond hair your hairdresser will start by dying the ends of your hair a lighter colour (called lightening) to get a pale base. Once this is achieved, step two is carefully dying the ends of your hair with the desired dip dye colour, mixed to your custom requirements.

Can I dip dye short hair?

The shortest hair you can create a dip dye on is ideally a bob. Paul Dennison from Ken Picton salon says, “the less hair you have to play with, the more obvious your dip dye would be. It’s really important the cut complements the colour, as if the hair moves more you can have more of a diffusion of colour. I’d say dip dyes are ideally suited for long layered haircuts.”  

However if you do have a really short cut, and you’re interested in how to dye ends of short hair, speak to your hairdresser to understand how the dip dye hair colour and cut can work together to create the look you’re after. 

What is the difference between ombre, balayage and dip dye?

The first dip dyes were quite extreme, with bright ends or blocks of colour that have now evolved to more subdued ends that blend with your natural hair. While dip dye is still more of an obvious colour technique, your professional colourist will make sure you don’t leave the salon without any harsh lines where the lighter ends have been applied. This expertise is why, when asked “How can I dye my hair evenly?”, we always recommend going to a professional to avoid demarcation lines and uneven colour application with your dip dye hair. 

Balayage or ombre are commonly mistaken for dip dye. Balayage involves hand-painting different colours onto the hair to lighten the overall look, while ombre is a gradual colour gradation down the hair. Both these techniques are much more subtle and understated compared to dip dye.

What colour to dip dye your hair

For dip dyed blond hair, ideally you can go up to four shades lighter than your natural hair colour. With dip dye black hair or darker haired clients, you have considerable flexibility as you can play around with a variety of different colours like blond, copper, red and lighter browns. Red-heads can even get in on the dip dye statement, with a lighter and brighter red on the ends and deeper red on the roots for example. 

What are the best products to dip dye your hair?

One of the most popular hair colour collections among professionals when dying the ends of your hair (or lengths, depending on how much of a “dipped” hair look you want) are the Blond Studio lightening powders.  

For a fun, temporary dip dye look where you can experiment with bold, colourful shades, you can’t do better than the ColorfulHair collection. Available in 10 bright and mixable shades, you can get the dip dye colour of your dreams!


Image credits: Getty Images - Mint Images RF - Mint Images