If you’re on the look out for new trending hair styles and colors, you’ve got to check out oil slick hair. You’ve probably noticed more and more dark-haired women with colorful streaks and highlights of colors light teal, blue, aqua, purple, or even pink.
If you’ve thought about it, you’ve realized that’s quite the challenge for brunette gals – dark tresses don’t dye. Or do they?
What is Oil Slick Hair?
Oil slick hair is the colorful hair trend featuring shades of blue, purple, green, yellow, red, and even pink in the dark tresses of brunettes.
This hair dyeing technique was dreamed up by celebrity hair stylist, Aura Friedman, out of the Sally Hershberger Salon. The whole reason this look is called the oil slick look is because Aura wanted to recreate that shimmery feeling of oil spilled on the pavement, splashed with water.
These colorful strands are iridescent, like a duck’s feathers, which has also gained it the nickname “the duck feather” dye. Others have also called it the “oil spill” hair look.
The techniques used for this hair dyeing process don’t require bleaching your hair, unlike other dye jobs, so your hair is healthier. You do still have to somewhat lighten your hair, but not to anything remotely as extreme.
The oil slick hair dye is perfect for the low-maintenance kind of gal who doesn’t want to have to do tons of touch-ups, and repeat salon visits.
Those who love pastel colors know how much work that can be, so you may want to try these bolder, shimmering colors on your next visit to the salon.
Tips for Dyeing Your Hair
Before you dye your hair, keep a few things in mind. They may effect how you shop, the brands you use, or the colors you choose for your oil slick hair dye.
Whenever you dye your hair, you should always buy more than you expect to need. Get two or three boxes, depending on how thick and long your hair is. The dye, after all, has to completely cover every strand of your hair.
If you’re only dyeing a small portion of your hair, you’re probably okay with one box.
While we love our freedom and want things our way, we do need to consider things like workplace guidelines on hair color and attire. Most places are cool with most anything, but stricter places of business may have some guidelines you’ll need to check in on.
Both before and after you dye your hair, you want to make sure you’re using the proper products on your hair. Go for shampoos, conditioners, leave-in conditioners, styling products, and anything else you regularly use that enhance and protect color-treated hair.
When you’re ready to dye your hair, whether you’re doing a few locks on the sides, or doing your whole head, make sure you wash your hair about 24 to 48 hours before you plan to dye the hair. Dirty hair, or second day hair, is easier to work with and section off than clean, sleek hair.
With your new oil slick hair, you might want to try different styles than you’ve done before, especially if you’re doing a subtler dye job with just a few streaks towards the front. Look online for ideas on how to best show off those colorful locks.
How to Dye Oil Slick Hair at Home
If you’re that brave soul who’s done your own dye jobs at home before, and you’re ready to try out this new oil slick hair dye project, we’ve got your how-to right here.
1. Plan Ahead
To make your hair most receptive and easy to work with, wash your hair 24 to 48 hours ahead of time.
2. Choose the Colors
With oil slick hair dye, you have a world of wonderful color options you could choose from. Be sure to think through the colors you love most, and look online for pictures of the various color combinations to help you decide.
You can stick with mermaid tones, like aqua, green and blue, or you can go full rainbow, or anything in between.
3. Gather Supplies
Be sure you’ve got the entire supply list purchased and ready before you start the dyeing preparations.
4. Lay Out Towels or Sheets
While you want those gorgeous blues and purples in your hair, you don’t want them all over your bathroom. Lay out some towels, sheets, blankets, or even a tarp, to protect your porcelain, fixtures, and floor.
For countertops and sinks, toss a few rags around the sink rim, and wrap plastic wrap around handles and the faucet. Fasten the plastic wrap with rubber bands to prevent the wrap from coming undone.
5. Prepare the Hair Dye
Prepare the hair dye as directed by the packaging.
Any time you’re working with the dye, whether that’s in prepping the bottles, or in the actual process of dyeing your hair, you want to wear protective gloves to avoid dyeing your skin.
Latex gloves work the best, but any others will do, especially if you have a latex allergy. Just make sure that you have dexterity in your hands, and can easily maneuver around with bottles, water, et cetera.
6. Brush Your Hair Thoroughly
Before you actually start dyeing your hair, you’ll need to completely brush your hair out. Get all the knots and tangles out. Keep brushing until your hair is smooth and pliable.
6. Put on Your Cape
Put your color cape or towel on to protect your shoulders and clothes. If you’re doing the dye job at home alone, you can strip down to your skivvies to avoid accidentally dyeing your clothes, too.
7. Apply Vaseline
Grab that jar of Vaseline that you never use, and put it to work. Apply Vaseline to your hairline, ears, and neck, including the hairline in the back, if you’re dyeing all of your hair.
8. Separate Your Hair
Use a comb to separate your hair into several uniform sections. Use salon clips to keep the sections separated.
9. Lighten Your Hair
Whatever sections you’re planning to dye, you’ll need to lighten somewhat, unless you’ve got light brown hair or blonde hair already.
You can find a lightening kit online, or in a beauty supply store. Be sure to follow the instructions. Use a toner to finish the job.
Don’t leave the hair lightener in too long.
10. Rinse and Blow Dry
Rinse the lightener out, but do not shampoo your hair yet. Then, if your oil slick dye recommends applying to dry hair, blow dry your hair thoroughly.
11. Separate Your Hair Again
Now that your hair has lightened, you’ll want to separate your hair again. Repeat the same process you used before.
12. Dyeing Time
13. Rinse Out Your Hair
After you’ve reached the time your hair dye has needed to set, you should immediately hop into the shower and use cold water to rinse out the dye. It’ll be chilly, but the cold water helps to preserve the dye, rather than stripping away the new color. Keep rinsing until the water flowing downward is clear again.
Rainbow Locks for All
If you love those rainbow locks you’re seeing everywhere, you should consider giving this new hair dye technique a try: the oil slick. These beautiful, shimmery locks will enhance your looks through bright rainbow shades, mermaid locks, or warm reds and yellows.
And if you’re a brunette, you won’t have to take drastic measures to enjoy these beautiful shades.
Try this tutorial for dyeing your hair. If you’re not sure you’re good to go on your own, try watching an online tutorial video for the step-by-step plan.