Types of Hair Colour: Your Guide to Different Colouring Techniques

When it comes to the many types of hair colour techniques available, is your brain left in a spin? We’re feeling pretty dizzy ourselves! Don’t worry though, because if you’re looking for a colour transformation but don’t know your ombré from your balayage, you’re in luck…

Below we break down the different types of hair colour with all the need-to-know deets on all the colour techniques available on the market and who they are best for. And to top it all off, our inspiration gallery will ensure you walk away with a clear idea of your next hue.

1. Permanent Hair Shades

Woman with dark brown curly hair with yellow eyeshadow and winged eyeliner.
Credit: Instagram.com/val.mercado

Permanent shades are the same as temporary colours in appearance, but where a temporary colour will begin to fade relatively quickly, a permanent colour fades far slower. Note: although it is called ‘permanent’, there is no ever-lasting colour but permanent hair dye can remain vibrant for longer if properly cared for.

Most types of hair colour are available as a permanent option and it is often regarded as the most popular choice for women when it comes to trialling different types of hair colour.

However, if you’re thinking of colouring your hair and want a more natural finish, we suggest starting out by using a temporary colour. Then, when you’re ready to commit, stick to shades that are no more than 2 shades darker than your natural hair colour.

2. Temporary Hair Colour

Person with silver hair with blue dye underneath.
Credit: Instagram.com/beautybytrexo

Just like permanent hair colours, you can’t tell whether someone has a temporary colour by the naked eye (unless you are a hair colourist maybe).

The huge appeal of temporary hair colours is that you can experiment with fun hair colours like this silver-blue combo without the full commitment.

Be warned, though, that temporary hair colours tend to gradually fade after each wash, so be prepared for the colour to change with time – especially if you do go for colours like pastel or opal hues.

A 900ml bottle of TRESemmé Revitalise Colour Shampoo front of pack image

Editor’s tip: No matter what hair colour you choose, remember you will need to switch to a wash and care system formulated especially with coloured tresses in mind. We love the TRESemmé Revitalise Colour Shampoo and TRESemmé Revitalise Colour Conditioner for keeping colour vibrant for longer.

3. Hair with Highlights

Woman with brown and blonde highlighted hair from behind.
Credit: Marina Demeshko by Shutterstock.

Can anyone remember life before highlights? The colouring technique was the original way to achieve sun-kissed tresses (before balayage), but that’s not all they are good for.

Highlights help to add a multi-dimensional effect to the hair and, if thoughts of those caps with the little holes pop into your mind, rest assured that highlights have come a long way since then – thankfully!

4. Lowlights

Woman in hair salon with dark brown low-lighted hair.
Credit: Instagram.com/live_love_dohair

While highlights help lighten strands of hair, lowlights do the opposite by darkening the hair. Often used in combination with other colouring techniques, lowlights add depth and dimension to your hair hue.

This colouring technique is ideal for those with lighter strands who want to test the waters with a dark hue without getting an all-over colour. Lowlights can also help hair appear thicker and more voluminous, making it an amazing colouring technique for ladies with fine hair.

TRESemmé Volume & Lift Mousse Front

Editor’s tip: Does your hair tend to feel flat and limp? Give TRESemmé Volume and Lift Mousse a go for natural-looking volume without feeling sticky or heavy.

5. Balayage Hair

Woman with bronde balayage with gold jewellery and a white strapless top.
Credit: Instagram.com/hair_by_mallory_

Balayage hair has fast become the hottest, most requested colouring technique of the decade thanks to the long list of A-list stars rocking the look. This freehand colouring style offers a natural finish that can be as heavily or lightly coloured as you like.

We love the balayage technique for adding a sunkissed look to brown shades or lightening blonde tresses.

6. Ombré Colour

Woman with a black cherry hair colour done in an ombre technique on her long hair.
Credit: Instagram.com/mhollandhair

Ombré is a shadowing technique used to seamlessly blend two colours, with hair generally being darker at the roots and gradually fading into a lighter shade towards the tips. While it sounds relatively similar to dip-dye, the aim of an ombre is to have no harsh lines between the two shades for a more elegant look.

From Lily Aldridge to Drew Barrymore, all the big names have been spotted with an ombre and thanks to its low-maintenance appeal, it’s the perfect colour choice for those who don’t want to be burdened by regular touch-ups.

SheaMoisture Miracle Hair Styler Leave-In Treatment Front of bottle view

Editor’s tip: Colouring your hair can take its toll on your hair health if you don’t look after it. One way you can show it some love is with a nourishing leave-in treatment like SheaMoisture Miracle Hair Styler Leave-In Treatment for de-tangled, silky, and shiny hair.

7. Root Colour

Selena Gomez rocking the dark root trend with brown roots and blonde hair.
Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

From Selena Gomez to Hailey Baldwin, celebrities and Instagram girls are deliberately colouring their roots a darker colour. But why? To achieve a more ’90s grunge look of course.

8. Henna Hair Dye

Woman with curly Indian bridal hair wearing henna.
Credit: Instagram.com/hairbypratiksha

If you’re looking for something different, you will love henna. Not just reserved for body art, henna is fast becoming the go-to option for those looking for a natural chemical-free way to colour their tresses.

And that’s not all. Even if you and your bestie use the same henna dye, it’s likely your results will differ. Why? Because henna works with your existing hair colour, meaning results will vary for each person and give you a totally unique hue!

9. Hair Chalk

Woman with white blonde hair with purple and pink sections.
Credit: Ginger Polina Bublik by Shutterstock

Ready to have some fun? Of course you are! And hair chalks are just what you need.

From festivals to party styles, hair chalk is a super fun way to be creative with your hair. And once the night is over, you can wash out the colour (but not those memories).

TRESemmé Extra Hold Hairspray Front

Editor’s tip: In need of a trusty hairspray to keep your hair partying all night long? TRESem Extrahold Hairspray helps keep your hairstyle looking good and frizz-free for up to 24 hours.


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