Humans have always coloured their hair – lifting, lightening and transforming their natural shade for the same reasons we do: trends, experimentation, vanity, ageing. There’s an incredible 16th century Vecellio print from Venice featuring a woman wearing a hat with specially cut out sections for the hair – she lies in the sun with her hair coated in ammonia to bleach it blonde, as her face remains safely in the shade.
Blonding in its various forms, particularly highlighting, has been arguably the most popular colouring technique throughout history, but there are other techniques and placements that have developed from a trend to standard salon service. Ombre hair – colour that gradually blends in, or contrasts from, the natural colour – is one such technique. While ‘dip dye’ colour has its roots in punk, these days more subtle shades and freehand techniques like balayage are its natural successor.
Punk colour, whether DIY or created in salons like London’s Antenna, took bold shades and haphazard placement to create striking looks. The 2000s equivalent, the dip-dye, made its mark with contrasting dipped tips – popularised at Bleach London, picked up in street style blogs across the globe, and eventually recreated on runways including Prada and Versace using flashes of bright extensions to replicate the look.