What is Dip Dye

Blonde female posing with peace sign


Dip dye is a classic two-tone colouring technique, where the hair is dark at roots with light 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 blonde on the tips.


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. Balayage or ombre are commonly mistaken for dip dye. These techniques are much more subtle and understated compared to dip dye. By considering the level of contrasting colours you want in your hair, you and your hairdresser will be able to decide on the perfect colour technique for you.

model with light brown wavy contoured hair

can i have a DIP DYE on shorter 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 really short hair, speak to your hairdresser to understand how the colour and cut can work together to create the look you’re after.

what colours should i DIP DYE with?

For blondes, ideally you can go up to four shades lighter than your natural hair colour. Darker haired clients, either brunettes or black haired clients have the most flexibility as you can play around with a variety from different tones, from blonde to copper to red to lighter browns. Red-heads can even get in on the dip dye statement, for example with a lighter brighter red on the ends and deeper red on the roots.

tIps from the pros

Paul Dennison from Ken Picton salon says: “I would advise my clients to stick within the same tonal family as the root colour, so if you’ve got golden roots don’t try to have ashen, cooler ends. And it’s really difficult to darken ends with lighter roots, unless it’s done really well!”