Dip-Dye Hair Is Back—and Even Cooler Than it Was the First Time
Dip-dye hair first came on the scene in the early 2010s. The trend—bright-colored tips seen on various haircuts and hair types—was worn by celebrities left and right. Fittingly, it took a noteworthy celeb to bring the look back. Florence Pugh arrived on the red carpet for the Black Widow premiere with a wet-looking finger waves-meets-beach waves vibe and a lavender-colored coating on her ends.
Cherin Choi is a celebrity hair colorist and stylist who splits her time between Beverly Hills, San Francisco, and New York City.
Min Kim is a colorist and L'Oreal Professionnel Global Ambassador.
Cara Craig is a colorist at Beauty Supply Salon in New York City.
"Dip-dyed hair looks as though you've dipped the ends of your hair directly into a vat of beautiful color," says pro colorist Cara Craig. As with many beauty trends, there's much more versatility to the look this go-round compared to when it first emerged a decade ago. You can pair dip-dyed hair with your natural color, stick to lightened ends, choose a fast-fading pink, or go big with an entire rainbow stripe (a la Nicki Minaj).
No matter how you wear the look, your first stop is a quick chat with your preferred colorist. "A professional stylist will create a plan to achieve the look the client is looking for by taking steps to maintain the hair's integrity," says L'Oreal Professionnel global ambassador Min Kim. Consulting with a professional colorist before you get started can offer healthier hair and better color results.
Choosing a Shade: "Any client can wear this color trend," says Kim. "It's up to the pro to personalize and customize the shade to each person and create a plan for their lifestyle and budget."
Maintenance Level: The maintenance level is high "if you wish to preserve the tonality, vibrancy, and shine," says Kim. But Craig points out you don't have to touch it up—letting the color on your ends fade out will look cool too.
Goes Great With: A pop of bright eyeshadow; one-length hair
Similar Shades: Ombré
Price: Initially lightening the hair will range from $200-$400 at the salon, but at-home maintenance and care should remain under $50.
Keep reading for some of our favorite dip-dye hair color moments, along with pro tips from Kim, Craig, and celebrity hair colorist Cherin Choi.
To get that dipped look on darker hair, "you'll need to pre-lighten first," says Craig. From there, add the color of your choosing on top. That part can be done at home or the salon—just be sure you run your color preferences by your stylist so they can help you come up with a care plan.
A Nod to Skunk Hair
With "skunk"-colored hair also on the rise, the dip-dye method is a safer way to experiment with the look than a high-contrast, face-framing highlight. When you're done test-driving the trend, cut off those ends and you'll have a bob or shorter haircut that's dye-free.
It Isn't Easy Being Green
"Some colors—blues, greens, reds—will stain the hair and last longer than others," says Choi. "But typically, they wash out quickly," which is why unnatural colors like this are usually considered to be pretty high maintenance.
Pugh's finger-waves-meets-beach-waves look by stylist Peter Lux might be the style that launched the resurgence of this color trend. We love how she paired her lavender-dipped ends with a smoldering bright pink eyeshadow.
High contrast isn't the only way to wear dip-dyed ends. Pairing your roots and ends to the same tonality can create a fun and unique one-dimensional look.
According to Kim, lifestyle is a big part of the equation when deciding what type of dip-dye color to start with. Dip-dyed braids are a great non-committal way to avoid long-term damage and try on an extra vibrant color.
Asymmetrical Dip Dye
We're not sure if it's the asymmetrical dip dye, the peek-a-boo highlight vibes, the stick-straight hair, or the pinned-up side bang, but everything about this look is a hair throwback. We're curious to see if any celebs will venture this deep into the 2010s energy with dip dye's resurgence.
Golden Bantu Knots
We love the way Lizzo paired her dip-dyed Bantu knots with bleached brows. This look is only for the bold.
Cool As Ice
Lady Gaga's icy blue dip-dyed ends are fading to perfection on her silver strands.
While dip-dye color won't damage your hair, there are measures you can take to help hold your fun, vibrant hue as healthily as possible. "Using L’Oreal Professionnel's Metal Detox ($83) before your color service and as part of your at-home care and treatment routine will remove any metal build-up and prepare the hair for all color services, ensuring limited damage and long-lasting color results," says Kim.
Black on Blonde
The amount of color you dip on your ends is determined by considering your features and what's already happening with your hair. "Where the color is placed and how it's applied should enhance a client's face shape and haircut," says Kim.
Layered Dip Dye
If you're dip-dying on layered hair, adding that pop of color into some face-framing highlights will help your dipped ends complement your haircut.
Color Over Shape
"Dip dye works really well on one-length haircuts," says Craig, who points out that a pop of color can do the same thing as layers: add dimension and movement to the hair.
Blue on Blue
Talking with your colorist will help you customize your tone and the shade of your dip-dye color to your unique features. "[Considering] skin tone and eye color are essential to providing a look that enhances a client's natural features," says Kim.
Adding twists to your dip-dyed strands can break up that abrupt tonal change and provide a more blended distinction.
Keep it Neutral
Wearing dip-dye hair color without a rainbow hue is also très chic. "We're seeing a lot more of those root-y-er looks," says Craig. "It feels safer to some people who don't necessarily want to come into the salon every two months."
Even once your bright color has washed away, you'll still be left with those lightened ends, and that's ok. "People are bringing in references of grown-out hair color," says Craig, so the aftermath is really a whole new look with minimal maintenance. It's an obvious win-win.
Just the Tips
If you have bangs or layers in your haircut, Craig recommends leaving them out. This color trend is all about the tips.
If you're choosing to dip dye with a color(s) that requires a little more attention and upkeep, "you'll probably want to come into the salon every two weeks," says Craig. For at-home dip-dye applications, she recommends Manic Panic's Classic High Voltage Semi-Permanent Hair Dye ($10).
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does dip dye last?
<p>As long as you want it to. To keep it vibrant and fresh, you'll need to touch it up every two weeks. But letting it fade out won't look bad since there's no regrowth to fight against.</p>
Can you dip dye your hair at home?
<p>Yes, there are plenty of great color options to apply to your ends that are safe to do at home. However, a salon visit is required beforehand to pre-lighten the ends first, and a consult with your colorist about your color choice is highly recommended.</p>
Does dip dye damage your hair?
<p>Nope, but handling previously colored hair without professional guidance may result in damage or over-processing. Lightening your hair and dip dying on its own will not cause any damage.</p>
How do you care for dip-dyed hair?
<p>Using cold water, at-home toning kits, and <a href="https://www.byrdie.com/overtone-the-complete-guide-5114324" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">color-treated conditioners</a> will go a long way for your dip-dyed strands. Using a detoxifying product to remove unwanted metals and build-up before a color service can also help.</p>