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 is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.