12 Rainbow Hair Dye Colors That Stand Out
Hair Color Ideas and Inspiration

Rainbow Bright: 12 Rainbow Colored Hairstyles

08 January 2018
woman with blue pigtails and hat NEW

Emily Arata

Senior Editor

Fashion is really going through a neutral phase—white sneakers, minimalist t-shirts, and “no makeup” makeup. In a world where everyone looks like they escaped from some sort of future space prison, it’s no wonder we’re seeing a strong return to bright colors in hair.

Not sold on rainbow hair dye quite yet? Maybe you just don’t realize how many variations on the trend are available to you, or can’t envision bleaching your dark hair blonde. No matter your base color or length, we’ve handpicked a rainbow trend that’s a fit for you.

While everyone is busy blending in, we’re all about standing out.

photo of unicorn rainbow hair color

Unicorn Hair

It’s official: Mythical creatures have taken over the beauty industry. Maybe it’s to combat the state of the world, but hair gurus have really begun to take a fanciful approach to color.

Unicorn hair isn’t just any take on rainbow hair, either. This look calls for striped of very cool, vibrant shades that read more ‘90s cartoon character than scene kid.

photo of cotton candy rainbow haircolor

Cotton Candy Hair

Unlike unicorn hair, the cotton candy variation is all about soft, cloudlike color surrounding the face. Instead of bright hues in distinct patches of color, your stylist will aim for well-blended pastel shades. When cotton candy hair is done right, it’s a fanciful look that’s surprising and lovely.

If you’re thinking of trying to replicate the look at home, be sure you’re starting with a white-blonde base. The brighter the color you start with, the better your results will be.

photo of mermaid hair color

Mermaid Hair

We weren’t kidding when we said the beauty community is losing its mind over fairytale creatures. Mermaid hair is a newer addition to the fold, one that highlights shades of turquoise, green, and aqua.

As with all bright colors, this look involves a good deal of maintenance to keep it from becoming muddy. Talk to your hair stylist about the amount of work you’re prepared to do before ever taking a seat in his or her chair.

photo of peacock hair color

Peacock Hair

If you’re anything like the brunettes we know, you’ve spent your entire adult live waffling between wanting to bleach your hair to try an adventurous color and never wanting to touch it. 

Luckily, peacock hair happens to be the best of both worlds. The moody, jewel-like look incorporates subtle purple, green, and blue highlights into dark manes. Instead of dunking your whole head in bleach, you’ll only need to damage a few strands.

photo of rainbow balayage

Rainbow Balayage

Rumor has it blondes are already the ones having all the fun, so why not take a lighthearted approach to hair? On platinum or ash blonde hair, rainbow balayage looks beautiful and less over-the-top than a full head of colors. 

To ensure you’re still office or school appropriate, ask your stylist for pastel highlights. They’ll look lovely in your hair, without totally dominating your look.

photo of hair with rainbow underlights

Rainbow Underlights

Hair stylists are crafty people, and have never met a professional dress code they couldn’t get around. Thus, they’ve invented rainbow underlights—basically, the best way to have multi-colored hair without anyone knowing.

Instead of applying rainbow colors throughout your hair, your stylist will part your hair (as if for a half ponytail) and apply the kaleidoscopic hues in a line. With your hair styled and down, no one will notice your added flash of color.

photo of holographic rainbow hair color

Holographic Hair

Holographic hair is a new trend, one that’s taken social media by storm. Beauty gurus everywhere might already be replicating the style, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. 

Instead of bright neon color or pastels, this technique involves hand-painted blues, purples, and pinks applied throughout the hair. Like light coming through a prism, holographic hair looks three-dimensional and vibrant.

photo of moonstone hair color

Moonstone Hair

If holographic hair is dappled and reflective, then moonstone hair is its moody, blue-purple cousin. Like the stone for which it’s named, this technique layers reflective shades of blue over a silvery base. The resulting shade is stunning, all bright notes and metallic base.

We love this look on all skin tones, but find it’s most flattering on long hair. The extra length will give your stylist plenty of room to play. When your color starts to fade, you’ll be able to swap damaged ends for fresh, silver bob.

photo of rainbow dip dyed hair

Rainbow Dip Dye

If you have memories of rainbow hair as a stunt only punk or scene friends tried, then you’re probably remembering the old rainbow dip dye. In this technique, your stylist will apply crayon-colored brights in a sharp line, creating a dramatic transition.

As with all very vibrant hair colors, make sure you're careful to use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. Speak to your stylist about creating a hair care routine for your rainbow ends (one that won’t ruin your blonde, either).

photo of painted rainbow hair color

Painted Rainbow Hair

We discovered painted rainbow hair on Instagram, the place where all the greatest mane ideas begin. Instead of applying bright shades to platinum hair in stripes, some artists choose to paint on customized designs in prismatic colors.

If you loved the hair graffiti trend but never worked up the courage to take part in it, take a leap and try a multicolored design. There are far worse decisions than wearable art, trust us.

photo of rainbow carving

Rainbow Hair Carving

This brand-new technique is making waves across the internet, and with good reason. Rainbow hair carving, which takes place on buzzed hair, involves strategically shaping and dying sections of the hair to create mesmerizing, fashion-forward designs.

Of course, trading for your mane for a close crop (especially one that looks like a rainbow) is a major deal. If you’re considering this look, maybe think about it for a full day before taking the leap. Hair takes quite a while to grow back!

photo of undercut with rainbow hair color

Rainbow Undercut

One of the things we adore about playing with hair is that you never have to go right to the extreme. If you’re not ready for a whole head of rainbow hues, you can absolutely go subtle. Instead of committing to the mermaid life, try a dreamy rainbow undercut. 

Your stylist will buzz a section of hair at the nape of your neck, then apply brilliant color. When you’d rather not show off your dramatic rainbow look, there’s no need to do so.

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