oil slick hair

Something that includes the words “oil slick hair” probably doesn’t conjure images of beauty. You may just think of hair that hasn’t been washed in a while. In reality, oil slick hair is a way of dying hair. It takes the subtle rainbow shades seen in an oil slick and applies them to hair, in truly subtle and stunning ways.

The look is most often applied to brunette or black hair so it looks like the rainbow hues really are sitting in a bed of dark oil. The rainbow shades themselves are muted, and include colors like dark blue, forest green and deep purple. Additional bright red or pink shades seen in some oil slicks might be added. The shades are almost always streaked in relatively thin highlights, typically near the bottom of the strands in an ombre style.

Depending on how you want the colors to look, getting this at home is fairly easy if you’re good with highlighting hair. For some of the more muted looks, you’ll probably be able to use fashion colors over natural hair, as long as your hair is dark brown or lighter. If you want some brighter shades, you’ll need to bleach those strands first with a home bleaching kit, and then use a fashion color dye like Manic Panic or Directions.

For application, apply the bleach and/or dye to strands that are on top of tinfoil, and then wrap the foil around each strand while the dye sets to make sure the dye is not running into other strands.

You may be wondering how to apply this look more specifically, so below are some ideas for inspiration to get you started. Feel free to get creative and expand on or modify these ideas.

  • Cool-toned oil slick: The most popular way to wear this look, applying chunky highlights of subtle dark green and deep blue gives hair an immediate oil slick look without being too shocking.
  • Cosmic oil slick: This idea combines oil slick hair with the galaxy hair trend. The hair has deep blue and green highlights, intermixed with brighter cosmic colors like bright purple and deep fuchsia.
  • Warm-toned oil slick: This look is the two ideas above combined. The look involves subtle, darker shades of purple, green, red, hints of deep orange and blue.
  • Dusty oil slick: This look works on light brown to dark blonde hair for a base. It then has muted pasted hues of pink, violet, green and blue in light, wispy highlights.
  • Rainbow oil slick: Oil slick hair is typically subtle, but rules were made to be broken. If you want to go for a fashion look, one style involves green roots and a bright blue length. The look finishes off with fuchsia, orange and yellow-green ends.

Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. You can find out more about her at https://www.clippings.me/michellelovrine.