Guide to hair colouring techniques

All-Over Hair Colour

All-over hair colour involves applying a single shade to your hair.

You can choose how permanent you’d like your hair when it comes to applying a single shade hair colour:

Permanent: This will use a formula that contains ammonia and peroxide which chemically change the colour of your hair.
Demi-permanent: contains no ammonia, but does contain peroxide to help hair absorb colour. Generally washes out in 12 to 24 shampoos.
Semi-permanent: contains no ammonia and colour is deposited on the surface of the hair, acting more like a stain. Generally washes out in about 6 to 12 shampoos.

Two tone Hair Colour

These are all hair colouring techniques that include just 2 shades – a base hair shade and one more for lightening strands, darkening, or enriching with colour. Generally these are dip drying or hiding one colour under another on the top layers. Two-tone colouring doesn’t have to be just bright shades you can also use more classic shades such as you’d see in an ombre


Balayage is still as popular as ever! With this technique colour is swept through small triangle sections of hair by hand, creating natural-looking highlights.

A great benefit to this technique is creates an individual colour and style to contour and frame your features.

Balayage is also very low-maintenance, making this technique perfect for busy gals. The natural transition from shade to shade makes roots less noticeable when hair grows out.

The only thing balayage can’t do is cover greys — unless you want to blend them into your look.


In most cases highlights are lighter streaks aimed to enhance natural hair texture and brighten locks. They differ in shades, size, and placement. Many women opt for highlights to naturally transition from a dark base hair colour to the lighter one without extreme bleaching. In this case, streaks have to be very thin. If wider sections are lightened, they are called chunky highlights.

Highlights may be placed all over your head, generally where your stylist sees a lack of dimension. Basically, there are 2 most popular types of highlights: traditional foiling and free-hand (aka hair painting) techniques. The second variant is super-trendy nowadays and includes your beloved balayage.

Although we’ve said highlights are generally lighter colours to your natural shade there is no reason for you not to go for bold colours or silver and white highlights.

Highlighting looks great on long and short locks and just about any base hair colour

Foil Highlights

Foil highlights are a more precise way to apply colour to hair. The use of the foil allows the application of different colours at the same time, as well as, provide more even coverage throughout the hair. The application of 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 can be more high-maintenance than others, however, depending on the number of highlights you apply and the shade you choose. Since the application is done close to the scalp, roots are more visible when hair starts to grow out.


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

However, be prepared to spend many hours at the salon since the process is so detailed.


This is another tried-and-true technique that is easy to wear and works on virtually every hair colour and type. Ombre means “shaded” in French, and that is the perfect way to describe this popular style. Hair is left darker at the roots, and gradually lightens to the tips. Of course you can have a reverse ombre with lighter hair at the crown and darker at the ends

The look works best on longer hair, as it gives enough room for the colour to gradually melt from the roots to the tips.

Low Lights

Lowlights add depth and dimension to hair colour that let 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 star of the show.

This technique works well for curly or thin, fine locks, as it creates the illusion of volume.


This technique is perfect for short hair. Unlike the ombre or sombre, only the tips of the hair are bleached or lightened by several shades. This look works well with short, choppy haircuts. Frosting the ends adds dimension and a bit of interest to the base colour.

Of course this can be done with natural colours or super brights1


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