9 Hair Color Techniques Made To Be Low-Maintenance

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What do bright red locks, classic bleached-blond hair, trending sleek silver-gray tresses, and playful purple hair all have in common? Yes, they all look beautiful. However, they're all super hard to maintain (via Sweety High). For some people, the frequent trips to the hair salon, hundreds of dollars, and potential hair-washing rules or requirements are all worth it to get their dream hair color. But if you're unsure whether you want to commit to putting so much time, money, and effort into your tresses, you have other options.


Some benefits of opting for lower-maintenance hair colors include spending less money, less time at your hair salon, less stress over the look getting messed up over time, and less overall commitment. Plus, you might eventually realize that you like a lower-maintenance look as much as a more expensive, time-consuming hair coloring technique. We know many hair dye techniques perfect for those who love a low-maintenance look.

The easy ombré strategy

The ombré look has been around for a while, thanks to its convenience. "Ombré leaves the root color natural and fades into highlights. You can make this look extreme or subtle, but touch-ups can be as few and far between as you want them to be," Clariss Rubenstein, a pro hairstylist, told Real Simple. Therefore, if you don't mind keeping it natural toward the top of your head but want to go lighter as your locks get lower, you should consider a fun ombré. After all, your roots will grow in whenever you dye your hair, so rather than having to spend excessive time and money preventing the roots from popping back up, try working with them rather than against them with an ombré. Moreover, if you decide to grow out your ombré, the grow-out process will likely look like part of the style.


There are more than 21 million posts dedicated to #ombre on Instagram at the time of writing, proving that there are many ways to rock this low-maintenance technique. You can never go wrong with the classic brown-to-blond ombré, whether you're going from natural light brown to dark blond for a subtle look or dark brown to ultra-light blond for daring contrast and drama. Some people also get creative with blue, red, and pink ombrés!

Brond for the best of both worlds

It can be challenging for natural blonds who want to try going darker to commit to becoming brunettes. Likewise, it can be even more difficult — requiring a lot of maintenance — for natural brunettes to go full-on blond. But now, thanks to the trendy "brond" option, you don't have to choose between being just blond or brunette! Brond features a beautiful blend of brown and blond hues, and it's suitable for winter, summer, and every season in between, as it won't be too dark or light for any time of year, per Southern Living. Overall, brond gives you the best of both worlds.


"The key to achieving this colour is to have lots of your natural base colour showing through ... It's a low maintenance colour so it's perfect for anyone who is a little colour shy or not able to get to the salon very often," Siobhan Jones, a Colour Ambassador at Headmasters, told Glamour UK. Brond is an excellent option for blonds or brunettes new to coloring their tresses and feeling nervous. Thus, the brond look requires little maintenance and looks good on natural blonds and brunettes, so why not try it?

Free-spirited balayage

Some people confuse balayage with ombré, but don't make that mistake; these two coloring strategies are different, as the balayage has a painting-inspired technique. But like the ombré, the balayage is also low-maintenance. "Hair painting or balayage is a way to color hair with no harsh lines of demarcations. It's effortless and timeless," Rachel Bodt, a pro hair colorist and brand ambassador for Matrix, told InStyle. This look is ideal for anyone who wants something fun and free-spirited while artfully done rather than precise. Whether you go for a low-key transition or exciting contrast, it'll be super easy to grow out whenever you want, like the ombré.


There's no right or wrong way to rock a balayage, as you can find over 36 million examples of people rocking many spins on the look under #balayage on Instagram. For example, a warm blond balayage looks beautiful with brown hair, and caramel adds more depth to brown locks, as well. A blond balayage that goes from blond to blonder is super fun, too. Furthermore, a copper balayage is a creative way to dip your toes into red-ish waters if you're curious. Just be sure to communicate how you want your balayage to look to your hair stylist, and they'll come up with something gorgeous that doesn't require too much maintenance.

Expensive brunette or expensive blond

We all know that the expensive brunette trend has been taking over the 2020s, so it's no surprise that one of 2022's trendiest hair colors, expensive blond, was quick to follow. Although "expensive" is in the name for these hair colors, they're not as high-maintenance as you might initially assume. According to L'Oréal Paris, these trends are all about depth and shininess. After all, would you expect a hair color with the name "expensive" not to be glossy with dimension?


The expensive brunette or blond look won't bring the same results for everyone who asks for this color, and it's not supposed to look the same for everyone. "Expensive brunette hair color is about embracing your natural hair color but with a few small enhancements... This trend can be a multi-tonal brunette that is rich in depth, and shiny/glossy... The level and tones will depend on your skin tone so ask your colorist what is best suited for you," Cassondra Kaeding, a celebrity hair colorist, told Mane Addicts. Whether you're a brunette planning to upgrade to an "expensive brunette" or a natural blond hoping become an "expensive blond," expect the results to be a shinier, sleeker version of your natural hair color without too much maintenance.


Ultra-adorable babylights

If you love how highlights look but aren't sure about committing to them, you should consider lower-maintenance, youthful babylights. "Adding some flecks that are just a bit lighter than your natural color and not doing a ton of them should grow out beautifully," Clariss Rubenstein told Real Simple. While chunkier highlights starting at your roots and spreading over your whole head might look odd if you try to grow them out, playful babylights shouldn't give you any problem.


Yes, babylights are still a form of highlight. However, they should give off the vibe that you got them by spending hours playing under the sun on a sunny summer day rather than going to the salon and spending hours in the chair for a contrasty look (via Hair.com). Therefore, if you're trying to achieve a dauntless, dramatic hair color, babylights aren't the best option for you, as that's not what this technique is about. But if you want to lighten your locks for a slightly brighter appearance that won't be a challenge to grow out, babylights are likely your best bet. They're especially fun during the warm spring and summer seasons.

Playful, Y2K-inspired hair chalk

This hair color technique is different from the rest for three significant reasons: it involves non-traditional hair colors, is commitment-free, and is DIY. According to L'Oréal Paris, anyone can use these chalk-like products to add fun pops of color anywhere they want in their locks, and those colorful details will go away the next time the wearer washes their hair with shampoo. Thus, if you've always wanted to explore vivid hair colors but don't want to deal with all the maintenance and hair salon visits, hair chalk might be the temporary hair color technique of your dreams. So, if you want to make a statement the next time you go out with friends, why not channel your inner Avril Lavigne and add some bold streaks to your tresses in your favorite color?


You can find many examples of people experimenting with hair chalk on TikTok. For example, a TikTok user with the username @studioanna shared a video of herself using hair chalk for the first time. In the video, she applied a light blue hair chalk to her curly dark hair for dramatic results with bold contrast. Furthermore, a TikTok user with the username @jovialjackiehair posted a video explaining that she uses a flat iron or straightener on her hair after applying her hair chalk to prevent frizz and help the color stay.

Light face framing

Lightening the strands of hair closest to your face can brighten your overall look and draw more attention to your beautiful features. "By staying away from the top of the head and using face-framing pieces, it looks natural, adds dimension, and does not need to be done more than a few times a year," Tracey Cunningham, a celebrity hair colorist and ambassador for Olaplex told InStyle. Therefore, this hair-coloring technique will flatter your face without requiring much effort, so it's a win-win.


There are over 100,000 posts dedicated to #faceframinghighlights on Instagram, as people with various hair lengths and hues flaunt the face-framing look. For instance, some brunettes opt for face frames in slightly lighter shades for a subtle look, while some people with very dark tresses choose light blond face-framing highlights for a significantly more dramatic contrasty appearance, and some blonds go for even lighter face-framing strands for an even brighter look. Furthermore, some people even choose purple, red, or pink face-framing highlights for bolder unconventional looks. The options are endless, so there's a face-framing look for everyone!

Root shadowing, root smudging, and root tapping

Root shadowing is perfect for anyone who wants to lighten their locks and would rather have a somewhat lived-in look that's easy to grow out than a full head of a not-natural hair color. "I love it for its subtle contrast... Ask for brighter ends, with dimension through the midlength and less blond through the roots, and always brighter pieces around your face," Lauren Grummel, a hairstylist, told Glamour. Hairstylist @hairbysyria posted a video on TikTok of a client's root shadow, and the results looked soft and flattering, showing that this technique can lighten your tresses without excessive maintenance.


If you want a similar idea but a bit subtler, consider root smudging, as you'll get even softer highlights. "[The root smudge] creates a softer transition from where new highlights have been placed, which creates a more organic and natural vibe," Min Kim, a master colorist specializing in blending, balayage, and color correction, told Byrdie

There's also root tapping, providing a bolder, brighter look with more intensity than the root smudge. TikToker @hair.bysyerra posted a video demonstrating the difference between root tapping and root smudging, with the root tapping results being lighter and a more uniform shade. In contrast, the root smudging results were subtler with a somewhat highlighted effect.


Glassy glosses

Hair gloss is better for low-to-no-maintenance requirements than most dye methods. The gloss look isn't just for your lips anymore, as hair gloss treatments can make your hair shinier with a deeper, clearer hue. "A hair gloss treatment or glaze is a non-ammonia type of color. What it does is add shine or tonal enhancement and also can make your hair color darker if desired," Richy Kandasmy, a hair colorist and co-founder of Rikoko Beauty, told Byrdie. So, if you want glossier, slightly darker hair, a gloss treatment is likely your best bet.


TikToker @beautyandtheblowdryer posted a video showing how a hair gloss treatment made someone's blond hair look healthier, cleaner, glossier, and even warmer. Seems much safer than often-damaging dyes to us! According to Healthline, these treatments are typically priced between $50 and $100, depending on where you go. Or, you can easily purchase glosses online if you're comfortable doing it yourself. For example, the John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Luminous Glaze is available for less than $15 on Amazon and has 4.1 out of five stars with more than 4,000 reviews.