Shades of Hair Colour

Some hair colour trends come and go, but it looks as though gradient hair colour is here to stay. Over the past few seasons, we have seen a shift in the demand for traditional foiled highlights and solid, as all over colours give way to softer, more natural-looking colour shading.

Many celebrities are also sporting gradient hair colouring, from sun-kissed highlighting to hair that is lighter at the roots, appearing as though the colour is growing out.

Fortunately, there is no longer the need to colour your hair and then wait for it to start growing out in order to achieve this effect. There are a range of new colour techniques that are designed to achieve this slow fade colouring, which not only add dimension to the hair, but are also faster to apply in the salon than some of the traditional methods.

Here is our lowdown on the new colour coding.


Taken from the French word for shadow or shade, ombre shading creates a stark contrast between darker roots and lighter ends and was made popular by celebrities such as Drew Barrymore and Alexa Chung.

This effect, which also makes the hair look as though it has been dip dyed, gives quite a distinct contrast between the lighter and darker areas with no colour fade between the darker roots and lighter ends. This effect is created by simply making the root area darker and the lightening the ends.



Sombre is really a soft ombre, which has now overtaken ombre in popularity, and has a celebrity following with people such as Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Cara Delevingne and Jessica Alba championing the look.

The difference between sombre and ombre shading is that the hair lightening starts higher up the head and is blended with the shadowing of the roots. Ribbons of darker colour are worked through the ends of the hair to achieve a more gradual colour transition from the dark to light shading.



Balayage is a highlighting technique whose name also has a French origin. Meaning sweep, balayage is a more freehand technique for highlighting than traditional foils, which are placed as close to the roots of the hair as possible. With balayage, the colour is applied lower down the length of the hair and is blended towards the root as opposed to being solidly applied from the root with foils.

Overall, the highlighting effect is less symmetrical and is applied in a more random application, resulting in a beautiful, more casual beach finish. Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen and Gigi Hadid have all been snapped with this colour shading.



We all want baby-soft skin, but what about baby hair? Most babies have natural, subtle highlights, which are increasingly being coveted by adults.

Babylights are the newest craze when it comes to natural-looking highlighted hair. To achieve this effect, the traditional foil technique is used but the hair is separated into super fine sections when the colour is applied. The colour application is also mostly focused around the hairline and through the crown. This technique is designed to give a very light touch, using colour that is only a couple of shades lighter than your natural hair colour. Although this technique may take slightly longer to achieve than the other shading styles, we believe it is worth the effort as the results are beautiful and you should leave the salon with a very natural-looking youthful hair glow that is reminiscent of your childhood colour.


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