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Color melting may seem like an extreme way to dye hair. It bespeaks of actually melting your hair strands, like what happens after you combine metallic salts with a conventional dye product. Luckily, it’s not really that extreme. Color melting just means you have wildly contrasting colors at your roots and in the rest of your hair.

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It’s a bit like the tortoise hair trend or balayage hair, where hair color changes are more natural and gradual. Color melting starts with solid roots, moving into highlights and ending in a different hair color, not unlike certain balayage and tortoise looks.

But color melting is more of an extreme. You’ll start with whatever color you want (everything from natural to rainbow hues), which will transition drastically into another color. The transition into a different color isn’t as bold and immediate as ombre, but it does start with some highlighting, and that phase makes way for a new color without messing around.

Check out this gorgeous smoky ombre hair trend

Color melt how-to

The internet is full of some pretty spectacular color melt duds. Meaning the home attempts to color melt where the result is a drastic, unattractive color change that sits up above the ears somewhere. With this look, you’ll really really need to know what you’re doing for dying your own hair, have very steady hands and be good at getting all parts of your hair dyed. You’ll need to basically be a pro at this. If not, go to a salon.

The other issue with color melting your hair at home is that application is so dependent on what color choice you are even going for. There is such a wide array of color choices for this look. You could start with natural roots, rainbow roots, silver roots or dark dyed roots. For this look, you’ll also need at least two separate hair dyes. The most stunning looks use three or even more.

If you do go forward yourself, you’ll need to start by dying your roots, if you’re not keeping them natural. Then you’ll need to gradually lead into another color of your choosing, starting with the vaguest hint of chunky highlights that then lead into a solid color an inch or two later. You can then also dye your ends a third color, making sure the second color change is as subtle as the first. Remember to avoid the drastic, sudden ombre look here.

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Color melt ideas

If you decide to go for this trend, you’re probably wondering what colors you would even use. Below are some of the most popular ideas to get you headed in the right direction.

  • Red-blonde: This look starts with dark red roots, leads into fiery red in the middle of the hair strands and then ends in a honey blonde.
  • Dark-platinum blonde: This color starts out with the darkest black roots (great for people with naturally dark hair), moves into an ash brown, then into a dishwater blonde and then ends with platinum hues.
  • Purple-silver: One of the most popular photos of color melt hair shows a woman with bright purple roots leading into gorgeous silver strands.
  • Rainbow color melt: One idea is to start with contrasting roots to the length of the hair. One photo shows a woman with pastel violet roots that lead into bright green and cool blue wispy highlighted hair. Another look is blonde leading into pastel pink, ending in neon pink. The possibilities are endless here.
  • Natural-rainbow: Another idea is to leave hair a natural shade at the roots, lead into another natural color like medium blonde and eventually lead into a bright rainbow shade like green.

As you can see, this color depends on your natural root color, color preferences, inherent creativity and what type of upkeep you want. For instance, dark to platinum will take some care at the ends to avoid yellow tones (usually a purple shampoo). Rainbow hair will take less washing and regular reapplications to keep the color vibrant. Do what you think will look the best on you, and remember to research upkeep on the color before you do anything drastic.