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Funky, not fried

Getting into the dip-dye hair trend: Celebs like Lauren Conrad love it, but are your ends up for the color?

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The author's cobalt blue dip-dyed tips. Photo by Sarah Rufca
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Kat's Meow proprietor Crissy Salazar and stylist Robin Winfrey. Photo by Caroline Gallay
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Courtesy of LaurenConrad+KristinEss/tumblr.com
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The author debuts her freshly dyed hair. At once subtle and edgy, dip-dyeing is an easy-to-undo alternative to whole-head color. Photo by Sarah Rufca
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Teyana Taylor experiments with blue-tipped tresses Photo via Right Up Your Aly
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Katy Perry takes it closer to the roots earlier this year Photo via Fashtastic
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It all began — or at least came to my attention — when former Hills star and current fashion designer Lauren Conrad posted a how-to of her newly dip-dyed rainbow-colored tresses.

Shortly after, fellow fashionista and actress Kate Bosworth debuted her own dip-dyed 'do, albeit it to a far less receptive response. It could be Hollywood hair influence, or it could have just been my brand new awareness, but suddenly I noticed dip-dyes everywhere. Here in Houston restaurants, over a weekend in Chicago, on celebrities and girls on the street — it appeared a trend was taking off.

I was intrigued, and my Pinterest addiction only made me more itchy for color.

So I headed to Kat's Meow, the girls' salon counterpart to the adjoining Big Kat's barbershop in Midtown, to put my tresses in the hands of stylist Robin Winfrey. I already have a dark brown base, so I asked her for deep cobalt ends, almost black-blue, that would shine in sunlight but stay subtly vibrant in darkness or indoors.

 It could be Hollywood hair influence, or it could have just been my brand new awareness, but suddenly I noticed dip-dyes everywhere. Here in Houston restaurants, over a weekend in Chicago, on celebrities and girls on the street — it appeared a trend was taking off. 

Winfrey began by bleaching 2.5-inch pieces of my hair in foil, blow drying the packets to accelerate what was only about a 10-minute process. We shampooed the newly bleached tips before applying blue dye from Pravana's Vivid line to the same area and letting it set for 20 minutes.

After rinsing out the blue and applying conditioner to my newly cobalt-colored tips, Winfrey created soft curls with a tapered clip-less curling iron to bring out the nuances of the color. Including a quick trim, the process took around three hours. Winfrey says retouching depends on clients' preferences. Some prefer to watch the color evolve as it fades, while she personally likes to update her fuchsia hair every four to five weeks for optimum vibrance.

I love the look for its subtle edge and the fact that it's easy to undo (just get a hair cut!), but I think I'll be holding onto this look. Subtle enough to blend seamlessly but vivid enough to draw double-takes, it's the perfect way to go a little funky without getting fired, and at around $90 and up, it's less expensive than highlights.

But I want to know what you think of dip-dyed hair. Is it a trend to stay? Is it already overexposed? Is it at least better than feather extensions? Tell us in the comments.

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