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Dyeing Effects

10 August 2001

If you’ve been dyeing your hair for a while you probably get sick of solid colour sometimes… or maybe you’ve already tried every colour there is and need a change. Try some of these techniques to liven up your dye job. h2. Dip dye

Dip dye effect looks like your hair has been dipped in dye a few times, gradually fading into the natural colour (or not if you prefer!). On naturally light coloured hair you have the darkest shade at the ends of your hair and the lightest further up. It’s the opposite for naturally dark hair.

Example 1. Blonde hair with purple dip dye effect

Ingredients: 1 x purple dye, 1 x white toner, tint brush, gloves, old t-shirt
Instructions: Wearing an old t-shirt, section your hair into 2 bunches or 4 if your hair is really thick and spread the hair out. Decide how much of your hair you want to dye. In this case it’s the bottom half.
Now mix a small amount of the purple dye with the white toner. Use the tint brush and apply it quite thickly to just below the area where you want the dye to stop and about half way to the ends of your hair. In the same way apply the dark purple dye to the ends of your hair, until it’s just next to the white toner and dye mixture.. Make sure the hair is well spread out. Now using the tint brush, brush the dark purple dye upwards to the white toner and allow them to mix. Clean the tint brush. Now brush the white toner mixture up (for about an inch) into your natural colour. Rinse and you’re done!

Example 2. Brown hair with pink dip dye effect

Ingredients: 1x pink dye, 1x white toner, 1 x bleach kit, gloves, tint brush, old t-shirt
Instructions: This method is best on previously undyed hair: Section the hair and spread it out as above. Mix up the bleach as the instructions say and apply it to the area at the ends of your hair that you would like to dye. Allow the bleach to process until the hair is pale blonde. Wash out. Follow the instructions for blonde hair only apply the darker dye next to your natural colour and the lighter at the ends.

Example 3. Dyed black hair with red

Ingredients: 1x red dye, 1 x bleach kit, gloves, tint brush, old t-shirt
Instructions: If you’ve dyed your hair black so many times and have given up hope of ever getting it bleached enough to dye try this and if it fries your hair you can always cut the ends off. This requires 3 bleach processes so only mix one third of your bleach kit at a time.
Wear and old t-shirt and spread your hair out as before. Apply bleach to as much of the ends as you would like to dye. Allow it to process until your hair is a reddish-orange then wash out. Apply bleach again but only 2/3 of the amount you bleached last time. Allow your hair to become orange and then wash out. Now use the last third of your bleach kit on just the ends of your hair. Let that go yellow and wash out.
You should be able to see a 4 different colours: black -> red/orange -> orange -> gold/yellow at the ends.
Now use the tint brush and apply the dye all over the ends of your hair. It will turn out very dark red on the reddish-orange parts, dark red on the orange parts and bright red on the yellow parts. I recommend using a pink based red such as poppy red or cherry. h2. Tips

Tipping your hair is a really easy way to get a new style without too much commitment – no roots and if your school/work freaks out you can always cut it off. It looks really cool on spiky and layered hair.
For short hair (ie, hair that can be spiked) do this:
Use some gel to spike your hair. Try to spike it from the roots so that you don’t get too much of the product on the ends. It might interact with the bleach. So, once your hair is spiked and set you’re ready to bleach and dye it. Wear plastic/latex gloves and mix up some bleach. Apply it to the ends of your hair using your fingertips. You don’t need to be too careful with this, the messier it is the better! Once it’s gone blonde wash out the bleach. You can either just leave it bleached or colour it afterwards.
To dye it just do the same thing as you did with the bleach only using dye instead of bleach.
If your hair is layered here’s how to do it. You’ll probably need someone to help you with the back.
Mix up the bleach and wearing a pair of plastic or latex gloves put a small amount of bleach between your thumb and index finger and pull small strands of hair at the bottom. Pay attention to any feathered or layered parts as it’ll look really cool if you spend a bit of time on those parts and get it looking right. Don’t bother trying to get a straight line, messy is going to look better. Make sure you don’t get any bleach on the rest of your hair.
So, once it’s gone blonde you’ll want to wash out the bleach and apply the dye in the same way as you did the bleach. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes and rinse. Finished!

Blending colours

Having graduated colours always looks impressive.. when it’s done properly. It works best when at least 1 light colour is used, otherwise it won’t show up as well. Also beware of mixing colours for example red & green blended makes brown so avoid that combo. I would recommend pink and purple, violet and turquoise, blue and turquoise, green and mint (turquoise mixed with white toner), red and purple, light pink and mint. Try out the colours first by mixing up paint to make sure it’s not going to look completely rank!
Anyway, here’s how it’s done:
If you have long hair section it. Start by putting the lighter colour on the top half of your hair – that way it won’t bleed into the darker colour and ruin the contrast. Do a section at a time. Apply the lighter colour from the top down half the length of your hair (this will reduce unwanted bleeding of colours) and from there apply the darker colour from the middle to the ends. You can either use a tint brush and brush the darker colour into the lighter colour or smudge it in with your fingers, just make sure that the 2 colours blend well into each other. h2. Stenciling

Stenciling is probably the easiest way to dye patterns into your hair.
A few things you should be aware of first:
Stenciling is easiest and gets best results with short hair.
On longer hair results will show up better on very straight hair.

What you’ll need:

  • Thin cardboard or plastic (cereal boxes, cake boxes, food packaging). Make sure it’s flexible and won’t soak up too much dye or gel.
  • Scissors
  • Someone to help you
  • Dye/bleach/coloured gel/coloured spray
  • Hair Spray

Start by deciding on a pattern that you want. Draw it out on the card and cut it out like any stencil.

If you’re going to be doing this with dye or bleach I recommend trying it with coloured gel or spray first in case it doesn’t turn out right. At least then you’ll have a temporary mess!

Now get your helper to hold down the stencil against your hair and using a tint brush (or small paint brush if it’s a complicated stencil) apply the dye/bleach/coloured gel. If you’re using a coloured spray make sure that the stencil is really close against the hair to avoid leaking. Also make sure that the spray is not held too far away or so that it doesn’t cover any areas that it shouldn’t.

Finish it off with some hairspray (especially on long hair) to stop the hair moving apart and ruining the look.

Tip: Small complicated patterns and leopard spots won’t look as good on long hair as short. Try horizontal or vertical stripes or larger patterns.


This has got pretty popular lately. It looks best on long hair that’s been layered.
Here’s how it’s done: Part your hair horizontally and tie the top hair out of the way. Now just bleach or dye the bottom half like you would normally – by sectioning it and applying the bleach or dye. When you rinse/wash it out keep the top section out of the way and allow the water to rinse downwards so that the bottom colour doesn’t bleed into the top.


  • Hey, I'm thinking of doing something really punky/crazy with my hair...I've been thinking of pitch black hair with some electric blue streaks but I'm not sure exactly what dyes are best and what not and if I'd have to bleach my hair first for the streaks to show up. Anyone have any tips or suggestions?? I saw this Asian girl in this movie have her hair like that and I think it looks hot and I so want to see if I can rock it haha Report Comment
  • I want to do dip dying red on my hair which is blonde. But I'm not sure whether to do it at home or have it done in a salon. and if i get it done red, it won't go with my green clothes. big clash. any ideas anyone? Report Comment
  • Nice article, I tend to do something similar to the dip dying whenever I'm dying my hair, except I do it up to my roots and let my natural color grow out overtime, so it doesn't look as bad when my roots start to show. I manage to keep my dye lasting for monthssss, for example my dye now has been in since February of this year and it's September now and still pink! Oh how I love Special Effects dye! As for the previous two posters.. EuroAsianStiLe: For brand, I recommend Special Effects for something that lasts. A lot of people say Manic Panic, but I've never had good luck with it at all, it's faded ridiculously fast for me every time. And I haven't tried many other brands, since Special Effects works so well for me. And for a blue? Yeah, if you want it to be bright and colorful, you'll want to bleach\tone out the color first unless you're a natural blonde, and looking at your picture it looks brown to me. VivirPunk: I always prefer doing my hair at home, personally for a few main reasons.. It's fun! I trust myself more than people in salons, I've honestly never been to a salon that's done unnatural colors that turned out halfway decent or didn't fade on me fast, but that could very well vary with location, and if you buy your own dye and take it in, I'm sure some salons would cut down the price as well, which is another reason, they'll usually charge $50-100+ at a salon, where it costs maybe $20 tops to do it yourself. As far as not matching the green, well.. You'll be ready for christmas! But there's not lots you can do, aside from hats and colorful hair ties and such.. I have these little fishnet tubes that I made that I slip over sections of my hair, kinda like colorful accessory versions of dreads or something? Not sure how to explain it really, but yeah.. be creative with hair accessories and such.. beads, braids, rubberbands, making your own stuff as I did, there's lots of things you can do with your hair, just have fun! :D Fairly long and late response, but possibly that'll help someone.. Again, great article as always, love the site! Report Comment
  • I have been doing my own hair for nearly 15 years. I wish I had access to great info like all this then! Wow...rawrrrz....thanks for that comment! Excellent reply! :) Report Comment
  • I've had it pink hair for 2 years. Recently, I dyed the bottom/underneath blue. I put up the top and bottom into buns, then take out the top and dye it pink and put it back up. Then I take out the bottom, dye it blue and put it back up. When I wash out my hair, the pink and blue mix in the middle so I have blended color. People always compliment me on it. I love the blue! I kind of want to go all blue, but everyone knows me as the girl with the pink hair. I have people I don't even know coming up to me and saying hey you work/ed at _ _ _ _ right? So for now it stays pink purple and blue. Report Comment
  • good ideas ^^ i've been planning on doing something new with my hair and you just gave the idea :D thanks Report Comment
  • is there any photos of dip dyeing? i have black hair and i want to start at dark purple graduating lighter into lilac/silvery, will i have to mix toner with each shade or bleach my hair in lighter tones to achieve this? Report Comment
  • I have fairly short hair, ear length with bangs to my eyes, and I was wondering if this dip dye technique would still work despite my lack of length. I have a deep brown/auburn to start with and I'd like to bleach it out to get more of a crimson red with the blending down to the tips. Any suggestions to do this at home? I usually just do an all over dye because its easiest. Report Comment
  • right now i have hot pink short in the back and white blonde bangs, my biggest problem is the pink bleeding through, anyone have an tricks for making this stop?? Report Comment
  • pinkydoda: try covering your bangs with conditioner before dyeing, then put on pink (or any colour) on the rest of your hair. conditioner doesn't let dye into your hair, so blonde remains blonde and colour doesn't bleed through hair! :) Report Comment
  • So I need a little advice to avoid horrible bleeding. I want to dye my underlayer four colors; fuschia, purple, sky blue, and aqua. They are going to be stacked on top of each other so they gradually blend into each other, on top is going to be fuschia than purple and so on. I need a little advice on how to achieve this look without the color bleeding together when Im rinsing the color out. Please help me :3 Report Comment
  • i've actually been looking for a way to do a mint colour and now i have an answer! thank you. also, i was wondering how graduated colours were so smooth one other people. many answers found and more ideas to do, thanks again. excellent article. Report Comment

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