The hair world has surpassed silvery greys and pastels and moved onto more extreme and deluxe trends such as iridescent, opals and oil slicks! I recently went for the iridescent trend and added pastel pinks, purples and teals to my hair in an airbrushed, blended technique to give it that “kaleidoscopic” appeal. But how in the world do you achieve these elaborate hair fashions? In this post I’ll explain the ins and outs of this trend!

First and most importantly, you’ll need to make sure you are either an extremely experienced at home colorist, or enlist the help of a professional colorist. These trends are not simple and require advanced knowledge of coloring techniques! You can risk your hair health, and even burn off your hair entirely so do not do this at home if you are not very practiced with haircolor.

With that said,
Step 1: BLONDE, BLONDE, BLONDE. In a previous article, I explained how to get your hair blonde: ( ).

You’ll want to do that. And not just ANY blonde.

You’ll absolutely need to be a pale, ash blonde ( no gold here ) for these color technique affects to look professionally and beautifully created instead of tacky and poorly done. Even if you are just doing a few pieces, make sure those pieces are a nice clear blonde and not orange or brassy. You can check out the “How to Achieve Pastel Hair” article ( )  I created also for types and images of what kind of blonde you need to be, and of course how to get there.

Step 2: Which trend are you going for? Each trend features different shades and techniques, so you’ll want to pick which one you are really loving at the moment! NOTE: Remember, intense colors and shades even when pastel can be hard to remove, so choose wisely!

Iridescent: This trend is specific in color palette and resembles the glittering holographic designs that were popular in the 80's and 90's with baby blues, pastel pinks, pastel light greens, and very light lavenders. This trend is best suited for those with very light hair. It is typically also more blended than the Opal technique.

Opal: This trend is somewhere in between the Iridescent trend, and the Oil Slick trend. It can be matched to suit light or dark haired clients. This shade is inspired of course by the Opal Gemstone, and typically the application is more intense and less blended.

Oil Slick: This trend features a blend of pastel and intense vivid shades, resembling the swirling shades of oil mixed with water. This trend looks best on those with brunette or dark hair and is blended yet still intense. It also can feature a technique called "spot light coloring" which is where the application is brushed into specific locations in the hair to create a lighting effect.

Step 3: Technique:

Iridescent: Mix up at least five different pastel shades by mixing direct dye shades with conditioner, or use pre-mixed pastel shades. Put them all in their own bowl, with their own brush. Section the hair and carefully brush varying shades subtly along the hair in soft streaks. Make some sections large and chunky and others more subtle. Blend complimenting shades into each other such as light lavender and light pastel green or yellow to create that Iridescent feel. Do this to the entire head, but leave some blonde showing as you go. Do not use foils, they ruin the effect! Rather brush colors into and around each other for a melted effect.

Opal: Mix up a pastel orange, pastel blue, pastel green, and pastel purple. Also mix up a vivid green, vivid blue and vivid purple. Keep every color separate, in its own bowl with its own brush. You can either choose to use foils with this technique, or to use a color melt which is the technique described above where you brush on and blend color in different parts of the hair as you section it. Which ever technique you choose, apply the pastels more liberally to the hair, and use the vivid shades as accents only. For instance, swipe a vivid blue on the ends of a strand already covered in pastel green. Too many vivid streaks make this look appear more rainbowy than opalescent. Apply your shades to the entire head, with very minimal if any of your natural shade showing through.

Oil Slick: Mix up vivid yellow, vivid purple, vivid green, vivid blue and vivid pink. Keep every color separate, in its own bowl with its own brush. You can use a color melt technique ( where you brush varying shades onto the hair as you please, melting colors as you go ), OR a spotlight technique when you apply these shades. Spotlight application is when you apply the color to a specific location in the hair, and blend the color around or out from it to create, literally, a spotlighted effect with color. Usually, the stylist will paint a ring around the head almost with a deep shade like dark blue, accent it and blend into it with yellow or green and then buff yet another shade on the accent of that shade for this "Oil Slick" affect. No matter what technique you use, try not to use foils for this trend. The foils make it appear a bit like multicolored lowlights instead of a blended, fantasy-esc oil-slick.

Notes: Make sure to up keep your fun new hair with a professional grade color safe shampoo and conditioner! Enjoy!

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About the Author: Anestheticx

You can slap on deep purple lipstick one day & play out your inner vamp persona or you can go with a nude palette the next. You can wear 6 inch pumps & feel like you own the world or some combat boots and feel ready for battle.... READ MORE>>


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