Oil Slick Hair: The Epic Rainbow Hair Technique
If you’re looking for a hairstyle that features bold colors that can blend in with your natural shade, you’ll love the oil slick hair trend. Pretty much exactly what it sounds like, the oil slick technique mimics the iridescent rainbow of blues, purples and greens that you see when light shines on oil. Deeper and more concentrated than pastels, these oil slick shades can be used to add highlights against black or brown hair in a super subtle peekaboo or bold balayage style. If you’re looking for something more noticeable, you can banish your natural color completely and go for a full head of oil slick hair color. If you’re ready to hear more about the oil slick hair technique, read on for information about how to get the look, and to see photos of 20 new and trendy oil slick styles.
1How To Get An Oil Slick Style
Even though most oil slick styles feature deeper shades of purples and blues, most shades of hair will still need to be lightened before these colors can be applied. You’ll need to apply bleach everywhere that you’d eventually like to have the bold new colors, whether that’s in a balayage, peekaboo, or all-over style. Once hair is lightened you can apply your selected oil slick colors. Blues, purples, and greens are the most common, but some oil slick styles also feature warmer colors like pinks and yellows. Proper maintenance is key to keeping your saturated oil slick shades from fading. Wash hair as infrequently as you can, and use cold water and color-safe shampoo when your hair needs to get clean.
2Oil Slick Balayage
Natural black hair provides the perfect backdrop for oil slick highlights, and a balayage technique allows for just the right mixture of indigo, teal, and burgundy shades. Even though these shades don’t completely contrast with a dark base color, they begin high up enough to make a bold color statement whether you’re wearing hair up or down.
3Oil Slick Curls
This curly hair has been treated to a full head of oil slick color, with a deep peacock blue being the dominant shade. A splash of magenta mixed in with the peacock and teal blues gives this oil slick style a fun and flirty feel. If you’re planning to lighten natural curls on your own, using a low volume developer can help prevent over-lightening that can damage hair and cause loss of texture.
4Subtle Oil Slick
The bright range of hues in an oil slick hairstyle can be so subtle that they only become noticeable when a strong light shines on your hair. To get a super subtle style like this one, you’ll want to lighten very thin strips of hair instead of big, thick chunks. Choosing deeper, jewel toned highlights instead of lighter shades will also help to make your oil slick look subtle against a dark base color.
5Bright Oil Slick Balayage
If you’re going to the trouble of lightening your hair to get an oil slick style, you might want the new color to be obvious enough to spot from a distance. Using wider sections of color in a balayage technique makes these bright highlights pop more than if they appeared in thinner strips.
6Peekaboo Oil Slick Bob
Adding oil slick highlights underneath the upper layer of a bob creates a beautiful hair color style that can become more or less obvious with your hair’s natural movement. Another benefit to adding highlights in middle layers is how easy it is to grow out the color without requiring touch-ups.
7Natural Brunette Oil Slick
Oil slick styles might be the most popular over very dark base colors, but we love the earthy, hippie vibes that come along with blue and purple and green highlights over lighter brown or dirty blonde hair. If your hair is quite a light brown shade, you might be able to get this style without lightening beforehand.
8Pastel Oil Slick
A lightened up version of the classic oil slick look, this hair color style features lighter shades of blue and purple over a lighter blonde base color. If you’ve got an existing champagne or platinum blonde style, this oil slick style will take the least amount of effort to achieve.
9Vibrant Pastel Oil Slick
Featuring shades somewhere in between bright jewel tones and very light pastels, this oil slick style looks great on fair skinned natural blondes. While most of our styles feature oil slick highlights, this style boasts an almost completely full head of blues, purples, and greens, making it a bigger plunge into the world of unnatural colors.
10Barely There Oil Slick
Tiny touches of burgundy and green highlights over a dark brown base color make this a perfect oil slick style for your very first foray into unnatural hair color. If you decide the style isn’t for you, it can be gone with a quick trim or an easy at-home dye job.
11Platinum Silver Oil Slick
Oil slick hues in purple and green look especially luxe against this silvery platinum base color. If you’re looking for a hair color that’s setting trends instead of following them, this bright bob is the one to copy.
12Hidden Oil Slick
Hide your blue and green highlights under thick layers of hair and your oil slick style will only be visible when you choose to show it off. This hair color style is perfect for women in professional careers who want to be able to show off a fun and funky shade on days off, while staying straight-laced from Monday to Friday.
13Oil Slick Fishtail Braid
This oil slick style features warm and vibrant reds and yellows mixed in with blue and green shades. Like almost any dimensional color style, a braid is the perfect way to show off this color job, and this fishtail braid creates unique patterns where the various highlights can play together. Don’t worry if you haven’t mastered the fishtail technique: a french or dutch braided style will make your oil slick highlights look equally pretty!
14Dusty Oil Slick
A few light touches of muted purple and blue shades create a subtle dusty oil slick style over a light brunette base color. Try this style out if you want to get a little taste of an oil slick color job without committing to a full head of purples and blues.
15Jewel Tones Oil Slick
Deep jewel tones with a high concentration of pinkish purple create a luxurious looking oil slick style that will dress up any haircut. Wear these saturated tones to inject a dose of vibrant fun to any haircut.
16Ombre Oil Slick
An oil slick ombre adds a bright splash of rainbow colors to the bottom half of this natural brunette hair. Choosing an ombre technique for your oil slick style means that if the chemical lightening process is damaging to your hair, you won’t have much trouble trimming away split ends or coloring your hair back to a solid color.
17Face Framing Oil Slick
A little touch of oil slick color in side swept bangs take this face framing hairstyle to the next level. You can hide these vibrant colors slightly underneath your hair’s top layer if you’re looking for more of a peekaboo effect in your bangs.
18Ultra Vibrant Oil Slick
A more intense look than just oil slick highlights, this brilliant style features a full head of vibrant shades, including an intense violet at the roots. If you’ve already tried a basic oil slick over your natural hair color, this super bold style could be your next step.
19Auburn Oil Slick
Reddish brown auburn hair provides a pretty canvas for oil slick highlights using a balayage technique. Mixing warm tones in your base color with cool blues and purples creates an ultra bold contrast that will catch lots of attention.
20Chunky Oil Slick Colors
While most oil slick styles feature thin strips of various colors that mimic the swirled pattern we see in a patch of oil, this chunky color job takes the trend in a funkier direction. Larger chunks of color — like purple roots, green bangs, and large sections of deep blue — create an edgy patchwork of oil slick colors, taking the style in a cool new direction.
21Burgundy Oil Slick
Burgundy might seem like a super bright color, but when worn in deep tones it looks a lot like a deep brown or natural black shade. Against a burgundy base color, the blue and green oil slick highlights in this wavy bob look subtle but chic.