Short hair, as above, can have colour painted or combed onto the surface.
Asymetric and highly stylized cuts can have selected pieces picked out and coloured a lighter or darker shade as above.
Images from 2007 AHFAwards.

Free Hand Hair Coloring

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This covers all the ways that a hairdresser can paint colour onto the hair without using something to separate portions of the hair and without putting colour on all of your hair. An experienced hairdresser will have a multitude of ways to colour your hair in their repertoire. Colour can be used to bring out, add detail or texturise your hair cut. The best way to experience these is to ask your hairdresser what they think your hair needs.

Most of the free hand methods are for short hair, as longer hair generally needs separation to prevent the colour forming blobs or patches rather than streaks. To give you an idea of what can be done for your hair here are a few examples:

Crops and very short hair

  • Shoe shine, colour is literally polished onto the ends of your hair to give a sun-kissed look.

Short to mid length cuts:

  • Flying colours/belliage, fine lines of colour are painted or combed onto the surface of your hair again giving a shimmery sun-kissed look.
  • Scrunch colour, colour that gives your hair cut dimension by creating areas of difference. Best on curly or wavy hair.


  • Quick to do 3/4 hour at the most.
  • Cheaper than other colouring methods due to time taken generally.
  • Can create many different looks.


  • Often cut out with next cut.
  • Not suitable for longer hair.


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