The "Hair Tan" Trend Gives You Sunlit Hair Color All Year
"Getting a tan" is often thought to be synonymous with summer, but there's a new (and much safer) kind to try this season: a "hair tan." You know that perfectly sun-kissed hair color you got as a kid after spending hours on a hot day outside? It's kind of like that, only you get it in a salon without the risk of UVA/UVB exposure — and it looks great year round.
The hair-tan trend gives you beautiful, effortless, sunlit color. "The final result is uber natural, delicate, and multitonal and varies from person to person, but the main aim is super-blended, highlighted hair," Jodie Palmer, hair colorist, international educator for Evo, and creator of the technique, tells POPSUGAR. Because the hair-coloring method uses illuminated highlights, it can accentuate your hair's natural texture and, depending on the shades used, even make your eyes pop.
It's suitable for all hair types and lengths, too. "[It's] the look that every person has been looking for without them having to learn the hair lingo before an appointment."
How to Get a Hair Tan
It's true: a trip to the hair salon can be riddled with confusing terminology, so if you're confused about what to ask for, Palmer broke it down. "The stylist should first analyze the hair's natural depth and lightening potential, focusing on the natural undercoat and the existing lift on the hair's most delicate areas," she says. From there, your stylist should be able to customize the best look for you.
"For a super blended and natural result, the hair is lightened no more than three levels," Palmer says. "The placement should be diffused through the natural base to create a new lighter base — the new perfect neutral." Now this is where it gets a bit more technical: "The hair tan is a signature paint technique, which pushes lightener from the midlengths into a blend toward the root area, using zigzagged diagonal sectioning. The midband is double painted to achieve maximum lift, and the hair is blended using the hairstylist's most powerful tool: their hands."
Less is more with the hair-tan trend, so your stylist shouldn't be too heavy handed with the color. "Look for a colorist that appreciates minimalist, natural beauty with an understanding of truly how to lighten hair," Palmer says.
How the Hair-Tan Color Differs From Balayage
The hair-tan trend combines the techniques of balayage, which sees highlights placed softly at the root and thicker at the ends of the hair with lots of blend, and babylights, which use foils to add small sections of lightness to your overall hair color. "I wanted to create a sweet spot in the middle of those techniques and evolve them into a hybrid to achieve the perfect blend," Palmer says. "Blend is key here, from a natural base through to a soft-focus blend of light."
How to Maintain a Hair Tan
Aside from the I-was-born-with-this results, another perk of the hair-tan color is how low maintenance it is. "The highlight can be fitted once or twice a year, and due to the placement and the blend, the hair tan will grow seamlessly, evolving with the hair length as it grows," Palmer says. In between color touch-ups, she recommends you get regular trims to keep your ends healthy and use color-enhancing treatments, like glosses, toning shampoos and conditioners, and masks, to keep the color looking fresh.
Ahead, see examples of the hair-tan trend for yourself.