There’s a magical moment that happens to almost every little girl (and some boys, too). Plopped in front of some TV or laptop screen, you spot your first cartoon princess and immediately fall in deep, head over heels love.
It’s not just the voice that sells these damsels in distress, either. As any toddler fan can tell you, it’s the hair that makes them magical. These days, our grown-up selves can live the princess fantasy with mermaid hair. Although this bewitching look has its roots in music festival culture, there’s no rule saying you can’t wear it to run errands or sip wine.
Have an interest in making mermaid hair your own and living your best princess life? Scroll throughout our favorite aquatic-inspired styles.
What is mermaid hair?
Every hair professional approaches mermaid hair a little differently, but there are a few general points that stay the same. Mermaid hair requires your colorist to blend several whimsical shades in the same color family to create the illusion of movement—much the way you might notice several blue hues on the surface of the ocean at once.
Dip Dye Mermaid Hair
While the great majority of mermaid hairdos are built with an ombre technique, there’s another alternative that’s even simpler: dip dye. For this look, your colorist will preserve your natural color from the scalp to the mid-lengths. In one sharp line, he or she will apply the mermaid shades of your chosen look for a result that’s infinitely more graphic than ombre.
Contrary to popular belief, mermaid hair isn’t always about the shades of blue. We love colorists who swap teal for mint, creating a more unexpected take on the trend. It’s also a shade that looks best on very pale complexions.
While you’re playing grown up make believe, why not push your mermaid hair into rosy territory? Ask your colorist for shades of blush and raspberry, creating a luxe fantasy shade for your mane. Pair with a chic bikini and proceed to rule the summer.
Of all the shades of pastel you could choose, anything with notes of lavender will be the most universally flattering. That’s why we love periwinkle, which flips the aquatic blue traditionally used in mermaid hair on its head. Why not go for something that’s a little more unexpected?
Instead of focusing on blues and greens, dedicate your mermaid hair to jewel tones. Vibrant sections of emerald, violet, and sapphire will bring a unique note to your ‘do while simultaneously allowing you to hold on to dark roots. We call that a win-win.
Vampy ladies, take your mermaid hair to the dark side by using sea green as your primary color. The shade will toughen up your whole look, resulting a color that’s more like mysterious sea cave covered in algae than any basic blue.
No hair color is quite so beautiful as blue on medium skin tones, which is part of the reason we’re obsessed with sapphire mermaid hair. For this opalescent look, your colorist will blend the shade with notes of purple and aqua. No hair color has ever been quite this lovely, in our opinion.
If you’re anything like us, the word “cyan” largely calls to mind printer ink. These days, the brilliant blue-green shade is in demand as a more vibrant version of turquoise. For optimal mermaiding, wear it alongside cobalt and violet.
No matter your skin tone, violet is guaranteed to flatter your complexion. This warm-toned, vibrant shade is a bright alternative to blue hair, particularly when paired with neon pink and plum. This is the mermaid hair that nobody saw coming.
We love the drama of gray hair, which always seems to aligned with the trendiest colors of the moment. To make the shade even more over the top, try it alongside charcoal and silver as a mermaid ‘do. Your favorite princess wouldn’t be bold enough to try this, but you certainly are
Trading in your naturally dark hair color for something blonde-based is petrifying, and we’re fully aware it’s not for everyone. If we’re speaking your truth, try a black mermaid look with colorful pieces throughout your mid lengths and ends. A little color goes a long way.
Taking the time, money, and energy to invest in rainbow hair is no minor commitment. If you’re ready for rainbow hair, there’s no look quite as dramatic as cotton candy. The rainbow of pastel shades reminds us of many dolls we owned as kids. If cute and stylish is your brand, then cotton candy hair is the way to go.
Love being the center of attention? Make your strands a truly standout work of art by creating your mermaid hair with neon shades. There’s no reason to mute your color. Just make sure your colorist has fully briefed you on ways to keep your rainbow hair vibrant.
Peekaboo Mermaid Hair
Having brilliantly colored hair is a little like owning an ostentatious tattoo or piercing. Everyone’s bound to ask about it, which makes it even more appealing to keep that little secret under wraps. Give peekaboo mermaid hair a try by asking your stylist to part your hair in half and apply the color in a single line.
Faded Mermaid Hair
Not all who wander are lost, and not all those with faded hair regret it. Don’t tell hair pros, but we actually love the look of sun bleached or washed out color. The resulting pastel notes are subtle and beautiful, particularly on blonde hair. If your mermaid hair washes away, don’t panic immediately.
Watercolor Mermaid Hair
If you’re not the type who forgets to schedule hair appointments but you still want a taste of the laidback lifestyle, watercolor mermaid strands might be the look you’ve been hoping to uncover. Instead of applying the brightest version of your chosen shades, your colorist will purposefully stick to pastels. The resulting ‘do will be sweet, colorful, and infinitely cool—just like you.
Glitter technically falls into the category of unicorn hair, but we’ve never been sticklers for the rules. To get your mermaid ‘do in fighting festival shape, add a healthy spritz of hairspray to your roots before sprinkling chunky craft store glitter over top.
Most mermaid hair leans toward shades of green, but that’s all the more reason to buck tradition. An icy blue shade that allows the blonde beneath to show through feels modern and fashionable instead of kitschy.
Holy jewel tones! If you’re committing to an aquatic look, you may as well really go for it. The bright, rich blues and greens of this ‘do will require regular maintenance and touch-ups, so make sure you and your stylist are on the same page about your appointment schedule.
Most women don’t have the time to get their roots touched up every few weeks, which explains the demand for techniques like balayage. To try mermaid hair color in a sensibly wearable way, aim for bright blue painted onto your ends.
The combination of blue and warm pink is a true stunner, leading some women to experiment with pairing the two in a single hair look. Think of this one as the intersection of mermaid and festival hair.
Mermaids surely spend a good amount of time around tropical islands and coral reefs, leading us to believe that this pink-dominated hair combination isn’t totally off base. Try it for months with warm weather and plenty of sunshine.