The best hair colouring techniques

The 9 best hair colouring techniques and hair colours for 2022-2023

Hair colour is the main indicator of a woman's mood and state of mind. Well-groomed locks make everything go smoothly. Fresh hair colour is just as important as healthy hair. You need to update it regularly to remain attractive and feminine. This article is a must-read if you plan hair changes or are looking for ways to take care of already coloured locks. We give a complete guide to choosing a shade according to your skin and hair type, a list of dyeing techniques, tips on how to avoid damage and maintain your colour, as well as discussing dyeing during pregnancy and hair loss. All questions answered!

A short journey through the history of hair colouring

The desire to change the colour of our hair is nothing new. Women have been dyeing their hair since the dawn of time. The ancient Egyptians dyed their hair after shaving it from their heads and turning it into elaborate curled and braided wigs. Ancient humans used saffron, indigo, alfalfa and henna as temporary colour solutions, but there is evidence that Greek and Roman women used permanent hair dyes.

After thousands of years of searching for the perfect hair colour and often resorting to dangerous chemicals, modern women can thank William Henry Perkin for coming across the formula for today's hair colour creations.

Modern hair colour began in the mid-1800s, when the well-meaning English chemist was working on creating a medicine for malaria, not to change the colour of the hair on his head. Instead, he created mauve; a colour never seen before, more vivid and lasting than any dye known at the time. This happy accident provided the basis for creating the beautiful hair colour palettes we see today.

Whether you want to change your look, experiment with trendy colours, cover greys or brighten up your natural locks, modern hair colour gives you the versatility and convenience to achieve your goal. With a rainbow of hair colours at your fingertips, the only limit to your look is your imagination.

Read on for more information on hair colouring techniques, hair care for colour and much more!

Hair colouring techniques

Every year (and even season) top hairstylists update trends: new colouring techniques appear, some, on the contrary, become obsolete. However, there are foolproof options. We have collected the most popular dyeing techniques, which will probably never go out of fashion.

All-over hair colour

All-over hair colour is sometimes called 'single-process' hair colour because it involves the application of only one shade to the hair.

There are three levels of permanence when it comes to single process hair colour:

  • Permanent: the formula contains ammonia and peroxide which chemically change the colour of your hair. This chemical change is what makes it 'permanent'.
  • Demipermanent: does not contain ammonia, but contains peroxide to help the hair absorb the colour. It generally washes out in 12-24 shampoos.
  • Semi-permanent: contains no ammonia and the colour is deposited on the surface of the hair, acting more like a stain. It generally washes off in about 6-12 shampoos.

Two-tone hair colouring

These are all hair colouring techniques that include only 2 shades: a basic hair shade and another to lighten, darken or enrich with colour. In the era of balayage, it can be difficult to find strictly two-tone dye jobs. Most stylists like to use three or more shades to seamlessly blend highlights into the hair. However, some of them are still present in today's life.

If you are interested, check out examples of dip-dye hairstyles and blue and purple hair colouring . Very often stylists choose only 2 colours even for so-called 'peek-a-boo hair' .

However, two-tone colouring is not only done in pastel or bright colours. It can also be classic ombre or balayage. Read on to find out more details.

It emphasises

In most cases the highlights are lighter streaks aimed at enhancing the natural hair structure and brightening the locks. They differ in shade, size and positioning. Many women opt for highlights to switch naturally from a dark to a lighter base hair colour without extreme discolouration. In this case, the strips must be very thin. If wider sections are lightened, they are called coarse highlights.

The highlights can be placed all over the head, strategically in the front, on the top layer or only at the ends. In other words, wherever your stylist sees a lack of dimension. Basically, there are 2 most popular types of highlights: traditional swoon techniques and freehand techniques (i.e. hair painting). The second variant is super trendy nowadays and includes your beloved balayage.

Why did we say that high lights are lighter stripes 'in most cases'? The answer: they can be made in every shade imaginable. Not just super trendy caramel or light blonde. For example, many women love bold hair colours and experiment with pink, blue even purple streaks on their hair. Another creative variant that girls of all ages go crazy with are silver and white highlights.

Highlighting looks good on long and short locks, it works equally well for blondes and women with basic dark and light brown hair colours.


Balayage refuses to go anywhere because of its versatility and beautiful effect. It differs from highlights in that no foils or streaks are used. The colour is swept through small triangular sections of hair by hand, creating natural-looking highlights.

A great advantage of this technique is that your stylist can make your hair as individual as you are with customised colours and precise application to contour and frame your features.

Balayage is also very low maintenance, making this technique perfect for busy girls. The natural transition from shade to shadow makes the roots less noticeable as the hair grows.

The one thing balayage cannot do is cover greys, unless you want to blend them into your look. If you have a lot of grey to cover, a full-coverage colour is the only option. Need just a quick touch-up? Try special concealers for the roots .

Variations of this technique include strobing and smearing.

Highlights of foil or meche

Foil highlights are a more precise way of applying colour to hair. The use of foil or highlights allows the stylist to apply several colours at once, as well as providing more even coverage throughout the hair. Applying different colours is great for adding layers of dimension to hair colour and can help create the illusion of volume for fine hair.

This technique may require more maintenance than others, however, depending on the number of lights you apply and the shade you choose. As the application is performed close to the scalp, the roots are more visible when the hair starts to grow.

Children's lights

Babylights imitate natural hair by creating very subtle colour variations to the base colour. They are similar to regular highlights but are spaced closer together and are much more subtle in size. The technique is so soft that the roots are barely there when the colour grows.

Baby lights are perfect for any hair colour and hair type. They can make your natural shade shine with a subtle, yet powerful boost. However, be prepared to spend many hours in the salon as the process is so detailed.

Shadow points

Low lights add depth and dimension to the colour of the hair, letting the beauty of the natural colour shine through. Instead of lightening the hair, lowlights add darker shades to create contrast and let the base colour be the start of the show.

Anyone with a nice natural base colour (except very dark hair) is a good candidate for lowlights. This technique works well for curly or fine, thin locks, as it creates the illusion of volume. Lowlights are very versatile but can make short hair look patchy.


This is another tried and tested technique that is easy to wear and works on practically every colour and type of hair. Ombre means 'shaded' in French, and this is the perfect way to describe this popular style. The hair remains darker at the roots and gradually lightens up to the ends. Lighter at the crown and darker at the ends, ombre is called 'reverse' .

Although the look works best on longer hair, as it provides enough space for the colour to gradually dissolve from the roots to the ends, there are many successful examples of short blended hair. So, if you have a longer pixie or a bob cut, you might try it too.


Sombre is a softer version of ombre. The contrast between the roots and the tip colour is only a shade or two apart, so the colour looks more perfectly blended. Very low maintenance, this style is easy to care for and requires fewer trips to the salon.


This technique is perfect for short hair. Unlike ombre or dark, only the ends of the hair are lightened or lightened by different shades. This look goes well with short, wavy haircuts. Frosting the ends adds dimension and a bit of interest to the base colour.

We could go on and on about the many techniques that exist today. For example, rooting, crystallisation, ocean hair, lived-in looks, mermaid hair and countless others. However, the techniques described above cover the basics of hair colouring and provide a basis for discussing your next hair transformation with your stylist.

Choosing the right hair colour to match your skin tone

Before choosing a colour for your hair, you need to consider which colours best suit your skin tone and the undertone of your complexion. Skin tone is whether your skin is clear , medium, olive or deep and shades are what gives your skin a warm, cool or neutral tone.

When trying to understand the undertone of your skin, it is best to use indirect natural light. Indoor lighting can have warm and cold effects on the skin and distort the results. Have you ever looked in the mirror in a public bathroom and felt a hint of green or yellow? This is because artificial lights project a greenish tinge on your skin. So start by sitting next to a bright window, but not in direct sunlight.

There are a couple of tests to determine what shades your skin might have:

    • The vein test.

The easiest way to determine your undertone is to look at the veins in your wrist. Since your veins are so close to the surface of the skin, the contrast brings out the undertones.

    • The jewellery test.

Depending on your skin tone, you will look better with gold or silver jewellery. Try both colours and check which looks more natural on your skin.


  • The white or beige test.

Try a white and beige or off-white t-shirt. If you have warm shades, the white t-shirt makes your skin appear more yellow. If you have cool shades, the beige t-shirt makes your skin look faded and grey.

Hair colours for every complexion and undertone

Now, when you have understood the undertone of your skin, it is time to reassert your conclusions and find out which shades will suit you best.

Warm skin undertones

  • Your veins look greenish and your skin has shades of yellow and gold.
  • You look good in gold jewellery.
  • Wearing beige complements your warm golden hues.

The best hair shades for warm shades:

  • Discreet: copper, golden blond, caramel
  • medium: bronde
  • Olive: chestnut, cinnamon
  • Deep: purplish red or black, honey, caramel

Fresh skin undertones

  • Your veins look bluish and your skin has shades of pink and blue.
  • You look good in silver jewellery.
  • Wearing white brings out the pink in your skin.

The best hair shades for cool shades:

  • Discreet: icy platinum, baby blond
  • Medium: colours sand, wheat and beige
  • Olive: chestnut, cinnamon
  • Deep: ink-black, espresso, blue-black

Neutral skin undertone

  • If you have 'olive' skin, you most likely have a neutral skin tone.
  • If you have difficulty telling whether your veins are green or blue, you probably have a neutral skin tone.
  • You can wear white or beige as well as gold or silver, and they look equally good on your skin.

The best hair shades for neutral undertones:

  • Depending on whether you have a light, medium, olive or deep complexion, you can experiment with any colour in the cold or warm spectrum. Have fun!

Choosing the right colour and technique for your hair type

Before going to the salon, it is essential to identify your hair type and the most complementary colour technique to match.

    • Smooth

The options are endless for those with straight hair. With a wide variety of colouring techniques available, straight and relaxed hair can usually handle some wild types of hairstyles such as tie-dye, mermaid and rainbow. Babylights, darks and shadows on straight hair create dimension and movement. Straight hair is perfect for any kind of freehand painting technique.


  • Corrugated

Hair with a fine wave can look great with all hair techniques. It is not too busy for dip dye, ombre or tie-dyed hair and is large enough to handle even the thinnest of baby lights.

  • Hedgehog

Curly hair comes alive with light and lowlights. Freehand techniques such as babylight and balayage allow your stylist to precisely colour your unique set of curls and add a dimension that works with, not against, your hair type.

Colouring and hair loss

There is a myth that dyeing hair can cause hair loss. Fortunately, this is one of the myths about hair colouring. There are many reasons for hair loss in women, but hair colouring is not one of them.

The number one reason for hair loss in women is androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as hereditary hair loss or female pattern hair loss. Hair follicles are influenced by genetics, hormones and age throughout life. They can also be affected by stress, pregnancy and rapid weight loss.

While hair colouring does not cause hair loss, it can damage it. Over-processing the hair can cause breakage and lead to thinner strands, but only in the short term. Hair loss will be temporary. To stop it, give your locks a special treatment.

How to care for coloured hair

After spending all that money and time in the salon, follow these tips to keep your colour longer:

  • Wash your hair 1 to 3 times a week. Frequent washing fades the colour faster.
  • Use a dry shampoo between washes if necessary.
  • Get a quality shampoo and conditioner suitable for your hair type.
  • For blondes and greys, invest in a good purple shampoo to keep the brass at bay.
  • Use lukewarm water to wash the hair and cold water to rinse. Cold water closes the cuticle to keep colour molecules, nutrients and moisture sealed in.

How to minimise hair damage after colouring

Any kind of chemical process will have an impact on your hair. Not only do the colouring chemicals affect your hair, the sun can damage it and degrade your colour. Swimming in swimming pools and salt water can also dry out and damage your hair and ruin your colour.

Prevention is the key to maintaining healthy hair and vibrant colour. Follow these tips to reduce damage caused by the elements:

  • Condition your hair regularly, use hair masks and consider applying a leave-in conditioner.
  • Always use a heat protectant before styling.
  • Consider hair products with UV protection.
  • Use a silicone-based product on the hair or wet it with fresh water before entering the pool.
  • Use a good quality shampoo and conditioner for coloured hair.

Choosing the best shampoo for coloured hair

Does coloured hair really need a special shampoo? Yes, normal shampoos eliminate colour molecules and make the colour fade faster. Colour-protecting shampoos are formulated to treat the specific needs of coloured hair. They contain ingredients to restore and strengthen damaged strands, moisturise, add shine and softness.

Look for a shampoo that gently cleanses without depriving the hair of moisture and natural oils. If the product absorbs moisture from the hair, it will take colour with it. The shampoo should contain UV filters to prevent colour fading in the sun, as well as damage repair properties such as essential oils, proteins and panthenol.

Check out our review of the best shampoos for coloured hair for more information.

Need a sulphate-free shampoo for coloured hair?

All shampoos contain a cleansing agent necessary to remove dirt and build-up from the hair. This common cleansing ingredient is a sulphate. There is no published scientific evidence to show that sulphates cause colour to fade faster than other detergents used in sulphate-free shampoos.

According to the Food and Drug Administration and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, sulphates are considered safe in small amounts and need not be avoided unless you have very sensitive skin. In that case, sulphates can cause irritation as they strip the hair and scalp of natural oils and moisture.

Sodium lauryl sulphate cleanses well but removes natural oils, proteins and peptides from the hair, which can have an impact on hair health. Sodium laureth sulfate is a gentler cleanser, although both can cause allergies.

Sulphates are what give your shampoo that fantastic lather we all love. Sulphate-free shampoos may not lather as well, but I assure you that they clean your hair just as well. Choose the one you like best.

What other ingredients should be avoided in shampoos for coloured hair?

Alcohol dries out the hair. If it is one of the first four ingredients for your product, stay away.

Formaldehyde and its liberators, including Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, bromopol and glyoxal. The verdict is still out on formaldehyde, however, in large quantities it can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and throat.

Parabens break the hair cuticle, making hair weak, brittle and dull.

Take a look at the EWG cosmetics database for more information on the ingredients of your favourite products.

Dyeing hair when pregnant

Fortunately, it is just another myth. You can colour your hair during pregnancy . Just use techniques that keep hair dye away from the scalp, such as balayage or ombre. Hair dye chemicals can be absorbed through the scalp and can cause damage to the foetus. Furthermore, it is recommended not to dye hair until the second trimester. Even 'natural' and ammonia-free hair dyes are still full of different chemicals. In any case, consult your doctor before choosing to dye your hair for further information.

Colour your hair at home

Many women choose to dye their hair at home. Whether it is for comfort, convenience or other reasons, there are a few things to keep in mind when going the do-it-yourself route.

Colouring hair at home can cause damage, breakage and undesirable colour results.

Applying hair colour requires a good understanding of hair tones and levels, especially if you are not only enhancing your natural colour tone, but also contemplating a major change. Every tone has underlying pigments that can react with the new colour in ways unpredictable for you. More risky is the situation where a new hair colour is applied with previously treated hair and natural hair regrowth on the mane. In the end, repairing a bad hair dye could be more problematic and expensive than a salon colouring service would have been.

Moreover, hair bleaching can cause breakage and burns if not applied with care and skill. That is why it is not only necessary to entrust this procedure to the professional, it is also advisable to find a good specialist for the job. That one will know the intricacies of bleached hair and remove yellowish tones in your blonde with the help of toner rather than applying bleach hash or keeping it longer. A professional colourist can also determine a colour treatment that takes into account many factors you may not even be aware of.

Colouring hair at home can ruin clothes, towels and other porous materials in your bathroom.

At the salon, stylists take precautions to ensure that your clothes and belongings are protected from splashes and spills. Hair dye on tile floors and toilet seats can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

There are things you can do to make your hair colouring routine at home easier.

  • Prepare all your tools and keep them at hand.
  • Buy extra gloves to protect your hands and nails.
  • Wear an old button-down shirt to protect yourself from splashes.
  • Use a coloured brush and a bowl to apply the colour as they do in the salon.
  • Apply a thin layer of Vaseline around the hairline to facilitate the removal of stains from the skin.
  • Keep a cloth nearby to wipe up spills immediately.

Let us conclude. Regardless of the reason you have decided to dye your hair (to refresh your current shade, completely change your image or cover greys, etc.) you have dozens of techniques to choose from. These include solid dyes, highlights, shadows and frosted tips, not to mention unusual and creative colours. Especially now that you know how to minimise the harmful effects of chemicals on your locks, how to care for your new shade after the salon and even how to successfully complete a dye job at home. All fears are gone, right? We wish you wonderful results every time you colour your hair! Good luck!