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Color Melt Hair 101: What it is And How to Pull it Off

Color Melt Hair 101

There are countless new trends in the wonderful world of artificial hair colors, and one of the more popular ones – especially among brunettes trying to go blonde – is color melting. But, what do we know about it other than it’s basically an upgraded version of the classic ombré?

If you’re interested in this new hair dyeing technique, you’re in luck! Here’s a comprehensive guide on color melting hair from what this magical process is to how it differs from the ombré and how you can do it yourself at home.

What is color melting?

Color melting is, simply speaking, an artificial hair dyeing technique that takes root from the traditional ombré, complemented by the soft ombré, and then finished off with a nice bit of hairstyling evolution.

color melting

It’s composed of two to three (or more) colors, and works by the base color blending with the highlight colors in such a way that it creates a “melted” effect – meaning, there’s no visible line between one color and another.

Now, it can be quite hard to pull off especially without practice, but once you’re done, it’s all uphill from there, especially since it’s all low maintenance.

Color melt vs ombré

For the ordinary person, color melt hair and ombré can look the same. But, while they are somewhat similar hair coloring techniques, there are subtle but important differences between these two.

With color melting, you’re using a base color and one or more highlights, all blended together. Meanwhile, when it comes to ombré, you are using two similar hues but no highlights, so you get dark roots then a gradual fade, leading to lighter tips.

Color melt vs ombré

However, with ombré, the transition isn’t as gradual as some would like – in other words, you can usually tell which hair dye is used where. With color melting, on the other hand, this isn’t the case. What you’re getting is a more seamlessly blended result.

hair dye is used

Color melt vs foilyage and balayage

Now, while color melting and ombré are quite similar in that they both deposit gradual variations of color on your hair, balayage and foilyage work in the opposite direction. What we mean by that is that these two hair coloring techniques operate by stripping color from your hair shaft – also in a gradual manner so that you get dark roots and lighter tips.

Color melt vs foilyage and balayage

The benefit of balayage and foil highlights is that they last much longer since you’re effectively bleaching your hair. However, they are also more harmful to your hair health, and you’re quite limited to ‘natural’ color palettes, as opposed to color melting and ombré, in which case you can play around with literally any color in the rainbow – and beyond.

balayage and foil highlights

Do-it-yourself color melt hair

Everyone from celebrities, online personalities, models, influencers, and bloggers are following the color melting trend. But the good news is, you can, too!

Just a few tips before you start: color melting works best on light hair such as blonde. If you have dark hair like brown or black, you might need to first undergo a bleaching process to adequately lighten your hair, unless you’re working with dark colors.

Or, you can first experiment by using temporary hair waxes like this one from Amazon, or semi-permanent hair colors (we highly recommend Colorista by L’Oreal Paris) and see how that looks. If it’s perfect, do it again with permanent hair color once the first dye fades, or if there are some glitches, this gives you a chance to figure it out before you totally commit.

That said, here are the steps to color melt your hair at home:

  1. Pick the colors you want. The key here is to choose two or more hues from the same color family. Again, this works best on blonde, highlighted, or bleached hair, so keep that in mind when picking colors. You can try more neutral tones of browns, reds, and browns, or go for a colorful melt of neon hair colors or pastels in rainbow colors, like this Unicorn Hair pink from Lime Crime.
  2. Apply the dyes and ‘fade’ them. Contrary to how you may normally apply hair color, you have to start applying the hair dye from the roots, starting from the darkest shade, going lighter by your mids then finally down to the tips. Just make sure to follow the application process on the hair color package to get your desired results.

Remember, the key here is to blend, blend, blend!

So, work that color in and brush the lines between every two shades thoroughly in order to blend them and make the transition as seamless as possible.

Some expert tips for the perfect results…

  • Understand your hair. Is it fine or thick? Straight or curly? Healthy or damaged? Have you done any chemical or coloring treatments in the past? All of these things will affect how you have to go about the color melting process, and the results you can expect.
  • Wash and shampoo your hair thoroughly to get rid of any oil and buildup. Use a clarifying shampoo to really get in there and make your strands and scalp squeaky clean.
  • Apply hair dye on damp hair – not too wet, not too dry. The way to go about this? A good ol’ towel, and some rubbing and patting.
  • Let the hair dye work its magic. Don’t leave it on for too long, expecting it to get absorbed better – it will just cause some hair damage. Don’t get impatient and wash it off after a couple of minutes, either, or you’ll just be wasting dye and risk getting patches of color on your hair. 20 minutes is, in most cases, the golden time.

Bonus: styling color melted hair

The beauty of color melt hair is that it looks amazing on anyone – any hairstyle and hair texture. But, it looks especially fabulous when paired with soft, loose waves. These mimic the fading and melting of the different hues and also help mask their transitions, making the end result look even more seamless.

If you want to achieve this bomb badass look, there are many different ways to pull it off, whether by using the conventional curling iron (make sure to use heat protectant!) or the more traditional heatless curler. Make sure to curl all your locks, let the curls set for an adequate amount of time, and for a fuller and looser appeal, use a wide-toothed comb to brush your hair.

Read also related articles: Baddie hairstyles, hot roots, and Mahogany hair color.


Color melt hair is an uber popular hair coloring trend – and for good reason. It not only looks glamorous and eye-catching, but it also looks and feels ‘au naturale’ since you really can’t tell where one color begins and the other one ends.


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