Mother Nature might start you out with hair that's all one color, but that doesn't mean you have to keep it that way. Two-toned hairstyles are dramatic and create a lot of visual interest, so if you're going to change your hair color, they're a style to consider. You don't necessarily have to dye your hair to get a two-toned look, but aside from bleaching your tresses, dyeing your mane is the only way to get truly permanent results.
What Does Two-Toned Mean?
Two-toned means that a hairstyle has two distinct shades to it. The colors can be anything you want, but they should provide good contrast and interest. The fact you need two colors means you have to do something to your hair to alter the shade in one area, but dyeing isn't the only option. Typically, if you tell your stylist you want a two-toned hairstyle, he'll think you want the bottom of your hair one shade and the top of your hair another shade -- it's really common to see dark hair underneath and light hair on top. If you have something else in mind, you just have to let your stylist know, and he can try to get the look you're craving.
Some products are labeled as dye when in fact they're a lot more like paint for your hair. These are temporary dyes that have pigment molecules that are just too small to stay in the hair strand well. True temporary products rinse out in just one or two washes. They include products such as hair rinses, sprays, shampoos and gels. If you don't mind the fact your look will go away once you reach for your favorite regular shampoo, using these products can give you a two-toned style with very little fuss. They don't contain the ammonia or peroxide found in more permanent dyes, so damage to your strands is virtually zilch.
Bleaching is a chemical process that lightens the natural pigments in your hair. A common bleaching agent is hydrogen peroxide. Bleaching your hair isn't a whole lot different from dyeing it, because most permanent hair dyes contain hydrogen peroxide or other agents that strip your natural color. The difference is when you dye your tresses, you pump pigments back into the shaft of your hair. You can use bleaching to change some of your hair to a different color for a two-toned style, but the caveat is that bleaching won't let you go darker. You can only go lighter. That means you have a more limited color palette to work with. It's not the best option if you want totally funky colors, but the results are fairly permanent.
Even though it might burst your fashion bubble a bit, the only way to get a two-toned style with permanent colors that vary from what you'd get from bleaching is to dye your hair. If you aren't sure whether you are ready to commit to a two-toned style, it's best to start out with a semi-permanent or demi-permanent dye. The more permanent you go, the more potential damage there is to your hair. Always make sure your stylist has experience in dyeing hair multiple colors, because you don't want the colors you pick to bleed.