Natural-looking, summery hair is in and the ultimate way to achieve it is through a ‘hair tan’.

Created by Jodie Palmer, hair colorist and international educator for Evo, a hair tan achieves natural-looking highlights and texture by using a coloring technique that bridges the gap between balayage and babylights. The result is what Palmer describes as “the glow of virgin hair after a day in the sunshine”.

“The idea is to recreate the glow and feeling of a tan but on the hair,” Palmer explained.

“Hair is lightened in the same way that the sun would. I studied the placement and tone to tan every girl’s hair in the same way it would naturally lighten.”

Who is a Hair Tan for?

You don’t need to have a blonde base for this hair technique to transform your mane into a sunlit dream. According to the hair colorist, the technique is for all textures, all lengths and all skin tones, and with its natural-looking results, the hair tan is the ultimate trans-seasonal hair color, offering sunlit strands all year round.

As for hairdressers, Palmer says the biggest thing is to blend. No more than three levels of contrast should be achieved and a less is more approach is the way to achieve that minimalist, natural-looking effect the hair tan technique is known for.

How do you maintain a Hair Tan?

In terms of aftercare, Palmer recommends introducing Olaplex or K18 into any hair routine after chemical services to maintain a strong and beautiful mane. Other than that, the hair tan method requires minimal upkeep, meaning you don’t have to be in the salon every six weeks for a touch-up.

Instead, Palmer suggests going for a maintenance visit where the hair should be trimmed and the toner refitted in between a hair tan top-up every six months.

In short, the hair tan is what Palmer describes as a technique that isn’t just painting a new color over a client’s but rather using their hair color to inspire the result.