Technicolor Highlights Are The New Dip-Dye

The Colors
The Colors
The Finished Product
The Finished Product, @graciekeates

There are two things you should know about me: one, I never quite outgrew that whole Lisa Frank/My Little Pony phase that seemed to become far less fashionable after the seventh grade; and two, I not-so-secretly wish I was a mermaid. Which is why, when I had a trip planned to London, the inner child in me made it a priority to check out Bleach to achieve mermaid-Lisa-Frank-status hair.

The British salon responsible for these looks and this hair was the obvious choice for my fun summer color makeover. So I made an appointment with colorist Grace at their Dalston location (the very trendy Williamsburg-y neighborhood of East London) to take me from everyday blonde to something slightly more adventurous. Much like last year, my instructions were simply “no bleach.” Per Grace’s suggestion, instead of sticking to a single color, we grabbed several—green, purple, magenta, yellow, blue, and orange.

“At the moment a lot of people are going for a more natural, grown-up, highlighted look rather than the dip-dye, which I find to be really nice,” Grace explained, before warning that my results might vary on my golden blond hair. “When there’s any other kind of tone in the hair, it sometimes alters the finished color. For instance, if you put a blue or purple on top of quite yellow-y hair, it can turn a bit green as it’s washing out. But you can always neutralize the colors. If your hair turned green, you can use a rose tint to cancel it out. If a pastel look is what you want, leave the color on your hair for about 10 minutes and then just rinse out—don’t shampoo it! And try to only use cold water on the hair, warmer temperatures will make the color fade a lot quicker. Maybe only wash it once or twice a week if you can, and load up on dry shampoo.”

In one short morning salon visit, I—to paraphrase a wise colleague—let my inner weirdo become my outer weirdo, and fully embraced my undying love for the rainbows-and-unicorns aesthetic. Though the colors are subtle and less obvious at night, the sun brings them out majestically in full daylight. For anyone still looking for a way to dabble in the world of technicolor hair, give multi-toned highlights a try—or a "go," as they say in the UK.

—Elizabeth Brockway

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  • Alyssa Gapske

    Elizabeth, you are my hero. I just texted my stylist about putting cotton candy highlights in my blonde hair. Seriously can't wait.

    I read an article about "blushing" your hair, putting blush tones in to enhance the complexion. I felt compelled to try it with a light pink sharpie (clearly regressing to my middle school years) and it's true! Subtle pink tones totally make my skin look brighter!

  • Emma Hager

    Love the hair, Elizabeth. Definitely more grown up -- and even less tired -- than the dip-dye. About two summers ago when I was consistently bored, I purchased a bunch of bright colors and just began rubbing them onto my wet hair. With no rhyme or reason they went on the head, and the result was strikingly similar to yours above! That's what's so great about innocent, semi-permanent hair color changes: before you know it they are gone, but while they're in they're a lot of fun.

    I haven't put color to scalp in a couple of years, but when I did I was initially so cautious. Then I realized I that if I run a bunch of colors through my hair, I can create subtle magenta and baby blues, all while maintaining the relative normalcy of the look.

  • Letitia Elizabeth

    So funny to see this post. My friend just facebooked about the same exact thing and like Alyssa, I want to join in and really go for a cotton candy pink hue that's light and fresh for the summer. I think clip ins is the way to go and test my comfort level first haha!

  • K.B.

    As if I needed one more reason to visit London. Every summer I dream of dip dyeing my ends purple, but I never do because I'm old, I work in an office, and I don't have the right aesthetic to pull it off (did I mention, I'm also old? lol). You look gorgeous, though!

  • charmystique

    I love this look on you Elizabeth, so fresh! I've never gotten over my My Little Pony phase either, I still want pretty pony hair. Need to visit said hair salon if I'm ever in London. Enjoy yourself while you're there xx

  • Victorious_me

    this is amazing.

  • Sophie Anne Smethurst

    Bleach are great. Brad does my hair and I always come out feeling way more cool than I really am.