What is a 'hair tan'?

The sun-soaked hair colour trend explained

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / August 11 2022

Truth be told, we’re sick of winter, and the mere thought of the impending spring sunshine is starting to make us antsy. But, while we can’t control the weather, we’re more than able to herald in a new season with our beauty routines. 

We’re set to gleam and glow with cream bronzer and cream blush to create that signature springtime flush, and unleashing our inner green goddess with green eyeshadow in just about any formulation you could imagine. 

But as far as our hair is concerned, we want our strands to look like they are literally dipped in sunshine. Thankfully, the latest trend in hair colour is all about embracing a decidedly sun-drenched aesthetic. It’s time to get a ‘hair tan’. 

What is a ‘hair tan’?

Hair colourist and international educator for Evo, Jodie Palmer, created the “uber natural, delicate, and multitonal” technique. While hair tan can vary “from person to person,” Palmer told PopSugar, “the main aim is super-blended, highlighted hair.”

The key is to “look for a colourist that appreciates minimalist, natural beauty with an understanding of truly how to lighten hair," explained Palmer.

"For a super blended and natural result, the hair is lightened no more than three levels, and the placement should be diffused through the natural base to create a new lighter base — the new perfect neutral," she continued.




How to get a ‘hair tan’

"The stylist should first analyze the hair's natural depth and lightening potential,” said Palmer, “focusing on the natural undercoat and the existing lift on the hair's most delicate areas."

The most important thing your hair colourist needs to know before attempting to lighten your strands? "The hair tan is a signature paint technique,” Palmer explained. “[It] pushes lightener from the mid lengths into a blend toward the root area, using zigzagged diagonal sectioning.”

“The midband is double painted to achieve maximum lift,” she continued. “The hair is blended using the hairstylist's most powerful tool: their hands."

"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.” 

After a more vibrant hair colour this season? It’s the perfect time to try the mermaid red hair trend.

Main image credit: @hoskelsa

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).