Color melting is officially no longer a hair color trend — it’s here to stay and we have to admit, we’re into it. Like so many other hair coloring techniques that have emerged over the years, think of color melt like an upgraded version of classic ombré.
If you’re intrigued but realize you know very little about how to color melt or even what it is on a basic level, don’t worry. Below, we’re sharing everything you need to know about color melting hair, from how it differs from the traditional ombré technique to how you’ll need to switch up your hair care routine once you’ve tried it.
What Is Color Melting?
Typically composed of a few colors, the color-melting hair technique can be considered as the offspring of both ombré and sombré (soft ombré). Color melting blends highlights with your base color for a “melted” effect so you can’t tell where one color starts and the other ends. It’s particularly popular amongst brunettes who want to give a low-maintenance blonde hair color a try.
How Does Color Melt Hair Differ From Ombré Hair?
Like we mentioned, color melting is a variation of the ombré highlighting technique. That being said, it’s important to understand how it differs from ombré hair. While color melt hair involves blending highlights with your base color, the ombré technique involves two hues blended together with little to no highlights at the root.
Ombré is known for its fade from dark roots to light ends, but typically the fading is minimal and it looks more like a harsh line of color differentiation between the darker and lighter shades. A color melt will be more blended, making for a gradual transition between hues.
How Does Color Melt Hair Differ From Balayage?
Color melt hair color is achieved by melting highlights with your base color for a gradual transition from dark to light strands. Balayage is a hand painted highlight technique that mimics sun-kissed highlights. No lightening is required for color melt hair whereas balayage is a lightening service. Both methods are great options if you want to go for something low maintenance as they require minimal prep to maintain them.
How To Color Melt Your Hair At Home
If you’re trying to achieve color melt hair at home, it’s best to start with lightened or bleached hair. If you’re starting with a dark base, keep in mind that you may need to bleach your hair to later achieve the melted, dark to light transition. If you’re looking to make a very dramatic change, it could be a good idea to visit a professional colorist. If you prefer to color melt at home, we’ve got you covered with our steps below.
1. Choose Your Colors
Depending on what you want your color melt to look like, choose from a series of colors in the same family. Ideally, you’ll want to pick two or three shades. For lots of options, reach for a dye like the L’Oréal Paris Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color. With various shades of pink, red, brown and blonde it's perfect for a colorful melt or a rich neutral melt.
2. Fade Your Colors
To master the color melting technique, you’ll want to start with a darker hue at your roots, then switch over to a slightly lighter shade once you’ve gotten halfway down your hair, and then finally apply the lightest shade when you reach the tips of your hair. Follow the instructions included with the packaging when applying your dye.
How To Care For Color Melted Hair
Once you’re done color melting, it’s time to create a hair care routine that’s tailored for color-treated hair. Color melting is pretty low maintenance so making room in your routine for color-treated hair products is vital. In the shower, try the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Protecting Shampoo and the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Protecting Conditioner with Anti-Oxidants.
Use a heat protectant for colored hair when it’s time to blow dry like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant. Providing heat protectant and frizz control will make for easy styling while helping to protect your colored strands.
A few times a week, reach for the L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Signature Masque, Color Care Hair Mask. With anti-fade properties in the mix, this mask will help to revitalize and hydrate your color-treated strands.
How To Style Color Melted Hair
Color melted hair can be styled in a plethora of ways. Much like with ombré, color melt hair looks especially gorgeous when paired with soft waves.
First, apply a frizz treatment with heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In. Then curl your hair with a wide-barrel curling iron. Gently brush through your curls with a wide-tooth comb for a looser, fuller appearance. Finish with a mist of hairspray, like the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented and get ready to collect some compliments.
Edited by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo by: Chaunte Vaughn
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