5 Funky Dip-Dye Tips

The combination of two tones have found success in chunky creepers, 70s ska music, and most recently, coloured hair. I am, of course, referring to the widely popular dip-dye (which I am proud to say I wear), found everywhere from thrifty trendsetters in East London to celebrities in New York and LA. Six months ago, this hairstyle was starting to become ubiquitous; by now, you can’t swing a canvas bag without hitting a lady sporting the ‘do.

As someone who only recently grew hair long enough to justify the dramatic colour-shift, I find it hard to make my hairstyle stand out against the multitude. However, there are several ways to add individuality and surprising twists to your dyed ends.

1. Throw in another colour or two. My favourite way to dress up my dip-dye is by adding another colour, usually blue or green, on top of the dye. Leaving 1” to 2” of the bleached blonde hair dry and colour-free, I grab a semi-permanent colour and paint in 3” or 4” of my tips. The effect is, in fact, three levels of colour—my natural dark brown hair on top, then the bleached dip-dye, and finally a bright smack of blue or green. The colours usually fade with six to ten washes, so I get the chance to change it up every week or so, which is great for customised colour-blocking with party outfits. If you don’t find a hue that particularly suits you, mix colours together for your own multi-faceted and unique blend. Combining a lot of cobalt blue with a dash of neon green and bleach creates a nice minty palate, for example.

2. Make patterns with the dye. If you’re opting to dip-dye your own hair (which should only be done if you’ve had experience with bleaching), it’s easy to customise the bleaching pattern with simple tools to use at home. Lightly brush some aluminium foil with the bleach and peroxide before crumpling the foil onto hair to create a strikingly awesome stone-washed look of uneven and marbled blonde. Parting hair into quarter-inch segments, sartorial stylists can brush the bleach onto hair in short bursts of colour and non-colour to opt for a striped look. The funkiest customisation I’ve seen involved applying the bleach with a feather; it really did make her hairdo take flight (see what I did there?).

3. Dip-dye fringes. This is on the very dramatic side of the scale, but if you’re confident enough, it can add a dash of unexpected drama to a cut. Having applied quarter inch of colour to the edge of a fringe, make sure you add a touch of bleach to the colour’s mix; bleaching colour softens the tones, and therefore makes it more complementary with faces. If you have side-swept fringes, making colour bolder on the pointed side of the fringe can be a playfully hidden accent, like a secret message on a wall or a soft American lilt. Adding colour to a fringe is always tricky, and definitely works best if the colour on fringes matches a colour on the ends of hair.

4. Dip-dye asymmetrically. Another entry on the daring end of the scale, asymmetrical dip-dyes can cut a unique jib for more provocative fashionistas. The asymmetrical dye can consist of two alternative colours on each side of the head, or a simple application of bleach on one side..

5. Reverse the natural order. Those lucky ladies born with golden blonde hair can opt to not bleach their tips- but darken them. A quick internet search of Drew Barrymore’s dip-dye will reveal the awesome effect; a darker dip-dye such as black or dark brown on the bottom give tips a lovely ink-stained look. Women not blessed with ochre locks can opt to take the plunge with a new blonde ‘do, and repeat the process with a darker wash on the bottom of tips.


Photography by Blancalala, ishawalia, and Angela Winnie

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