While I’ve never truly subscribed to the idea that blondes have more fun, they do have infinitely more options when it comes to mermaid hair color trends. From dreamy pastels to galaxy-inspired ombre, these colors were designed for people with flaxen hair. But now there’s a rainbow hair color trend just for brunettes that doesn’t require bleaching.
Oil slick hair is a technique that allows brunettes to rock rainbow hair, minus the serious damage that can come with it. Celebrity colorist Aura Friedman invented the look, which incorporates inky iridescent tones of purples, blues, and greens, and was inspired by gasoline-laced puddles on a rainy day.
“It’s dark, mysterious, rich and, more importantly, the most striking fantasy hair trend with the least amount of damage,” says Splat Hair Color Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Helen Crutchfield-Christoni.
Crutchfield-Christoni says for a more vibrant oil slick look, darker brunettes will need to lift their hair to a light brown, but don’t have to go to the platinum or light blonde levels that other rainbow hair color trends require.
The color should last four to eight weeks, says Crutchfield-Christoni, as long as you stick to sulfate-free shampoo and conditioners.
Here, 16 oil slick rainbow hair looks to give you all the inspiration you need for your next salon or at-home color.
1. Pop of Red
While the traditional oil slick colors play up violets, greys, blues, and greens — make the trend your own by incorporating a strand of red here and there. It’s the perfect contrast for making blue eyes pop.
2. Oil Slick Ombre
Ombre hair is still very much a thing, but an oil slick version is one way to enhance the style. (Plus, it’s perfect for the ladies who have hair color commitment issues.
3. Brilliant Brunette
Why pick one, when you can have them all? We love this extra-vibrant take on the oil slick hair trend. Just be sure to go two to three days between washing to extend the life of your bright, eye-catching colors.
4. Light and Bright
So what if you’re a naturally light brunette? You can still pull off the trend by adding subtle red highlights to the green/purple/blue scheme — and it looks just as beautiful in a subdued tone. It instantly jazzes up your natural look, and there are zero bleachings required. Winning (does a happy dance).
5. Lazy Chic
Regular touch-ups? No, thanks. This oil slick ombre allows ladies to go longer between hair appointments by keeping the color strictly to the ends (if you’re working with your natural hair color at the root, of course). Just be sure to use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner, to ensure your dazzling strands stay fabulous.
6. Mermaid Mane
This ‘do is pure mermaid magic. Play up vivid colors by adding some texture to the hair. Grab a 1-inch curling iron and, starting at eye level, curl hair, alternating directions with each section until your whole head is beaming with bouncy, colorful tendrils.
7. Colorful Contrast
Could her hair be any slicker? (Hehe.) Her dark and shiny mane works as a perfect contrast against the vivid pops of color and plays up the chic, “inky” look that oil slick hair calls for. And they say blondes do it better.
8. Magical Mane
Her head is just blossoming with awe-inspiring hues. While her hair looks magical, that enchanting color didn’t take without a little help from the bleach. This brunette beauty had to pre-lighten strands before achieving this style. But hey, it’s clearly 100 percent worth it.
9. Cascading Color
Anyone else dying over this perfectly crafted hair color and style? To really make the color stand out, Crutchfield-Christoni recommends adding some extra shine with your favorite hair serum.
10. Soft and Subtle
Mahogany manes are already gorgeous (especially for fall hair), but if you’re craving something a little more creative, add some lovely oil slick colors like a brighter red and grey-blue to enhance the already stellar shade.
11. Badass and Bold
Want to know how to make your badass cut even better? Incorporating oil slick hair. The blunt cutlets people know you mean business, while the color embodies your fun personality. Joining the dark side of the rainbow never looked so good.
12. Lazy Girl Locks
Simple, beautiful and unique — these delicate oil slick highlights are what we low-maintenance ladies have been waiting for. Because they’re so finely painted on, these colors look less drab as they fade, allowing you to take your time in-between salon visits.
13. Pretty as a Peacock
Incorporating all the gorgeous colors of the exotic bird, these peacock-like strands demand to be seen with their vibrant color palette and look absolutely gorgeous on brown-haired beauties. Disclaimer: You may receive an insane amount of compliments
14. Lovely Layers
Oil slick hair offers a playful way to show off your layered cut. The subtle shades act as highlights to emphasize the depth of the style.
15. Peek-a-Boo Color
Now you see them, now you don’t. Rainbow highlights can be as subtle as you want them. Here, oil slick strands are hidden beneath her layers.
16. Tantalizing Two-Tone
Is green not your best color out of the oil slick hair bunch? That’s okay. Stick with hints of blue-violet and red-violet shades to achieve a minimal, yet statement-making oil slick style. The opposing colors beautifully complement each other against your already-dark strands without being too in your face.