Mermaid hair dye is one of the summer's hottest hair trends. Make waves this season by coloring your hair shades of blue, purple and green. Learn the best way to bleach your hair and add gorgeous mermaid ombre shades to your tresses that will make Ariel jealous. You don't need a professional stylist to get this look. You can get beautiful mermaid hair at home with this DIY tutorial.
Mermaid Hair Dye
Mermaids are having a moment in the beauty industry. Mermaid hair dye has been a huge trend over the past couple of years, because really, who wouldn’t rather be a mermaid? Mermaid hair is when you dye your hair shades of blue, purple, green and pink. You can pay a professional stylist hundreds of dollars to create gorgeous mermaid ombre waves in your hair or you can DIY your hair color with the following tips and tricks.
I have been dyeing my hair since I was about 13 years old and have literally tried every color of the rainbow and every type of dye (professional hair dye, drug store dye, henna.) I’ve done natural colors like red and brown, cotton candy pink hair, unicorn pink and purple hair and now my latest favorite: Mermaid hair dye.
To get your hair a pastel, multicolored gorgeous mermaid color will cost a ton of money with a professional hair stylist. We’re talking hundreds of dollars. And then there is the upkeep and touch ups every few months. Unless you are have an unlimited budget it can be more economical to do it yourself.
I enjoy the process of coloring my hair myself and I don’t like to spend the money on a professional hair stylist. I’ve had a few mishaps over the years and last year I even shaved my head! At this point I’ve learned enough from my own mistakes to get great DIY hair color results every time.
The key to getting that gorgeous blue, green and purple color is make sure your hair is in great condition before you start.
If you are too nervous to transform your whole head, you can always just do the ends or the underside of your hair.
Today I will show you how to get professional pastel mermaid hair color at home yourself.
Tips for DIY Hair Dye
- Use professional products
- Wear gloves to protect your hands
- Use the correct developer and bleach
- Have a friend help with the back of your head
- Use mirrors while bleaching and coloring to make sure all your hair gets colored evenly.
- Keep your hair looking fresh with proper shampoo, conditioner and aftercare
Related: 5 Tips to DIY Hair Dye
The first step to mermaid ombre hair is bleaching your natural hair color.
In order for light pastel colors to show up on your hair you need to have the lightest blonde hair possible. It needs to be almost white.
When you bleach the hair, you are removing the color molecules that are already in the hair so that you can deposit the blue and purple colors onto the hair.
Bleaching your hair is very damaging to the hair shaft. If you hair is not healthy and has been dyed already you will cause a lot of damage to you hair and it may break and start to melt off so only bleach your hair if it is virgin hair that has never been dyed before or is extremely healthy.
Bleach should be handled very carefully (use latex gloves). Try not to let it get on your skin. I know this sounds really unavoidable, because you are putting bleach on your head, but you don't have to worry about getting bleach on your scalp for the most part. Just make sure you wash it off of your hands, shoulders, and neck. Wear old clothing that you don't need to worry about spilling bleach on.
To bleach your hair you will need the following:
- Non-metallic bowl for mixing
- Hair coloring brush
I used Age Beautiful hair bleach. This product was recommended to me by the stylist who works at Sally Beauty where I bought it.
I mixed the bleach it with a 30% developer. When the developer is mixed with the bleach it creates a chemical reaction and this reaction is what makes the color lift out of your hair. The darker your hair the higher percentage of developer you will need.
I used 30% because my hair is medium/dark brown hair. If you hair is black or very, very dark brown you should use 40%. If you hair is light brown/blonde you can use 20%.
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Mix the developer with the bleach 50/50 or according to the instructions on the packaging. Use a plastic bowl and hair coloring brush.
Apply the bleach to your hair evenly and make sure you time it. The bleach can stay on your hair for up to 45 minutes before it stops working. After the 45 minutes is up you can rinse the bleach from your hair.
Gnome Tip: Always apply the bleach on your tips first. Your scalp will bleach faster than your tips because of the heat that radiates from your head speeds up the chemical reaction. If you apply the bleach on your scalp first the results will be uneven.
Keep the bleach on your hair for about 25-35 minutes, checking often to see what it looks like. You can keep it on up to 45 minutes or so if you're still too dark.
You may need to bleach it a second time. If you hair looks more orange than yellow or white then you can do a second round of bleaching.
Do it the same way as the first round. It is recommended that you wait a week before you bleach your hair a second time and this is probably correct but I have bleached it two times in a row and my hair turned out fine.
Why not just keep the bleach on for double the time instead of applying it twice? The chemical reaction between the bleach and developer only lasts up to 45 minutes so even if you leave it on your hair longer it won’t make it lighter.
After you hair is a nice light blonde color you need to remove the yellow, brassy tones. You do this by toning the hair. Toning removes the yellow tones from your freshly bleached hair.
To tone your hair you will need:
- Non-metallic bowl
Toner evens out the color, takes away brassy tones and makes your hair ready for pretty blue and purple mermaid colors.
I used Wella brand toner in T18. This is the lightest shade of toner that you can get. You mix it with the developer in a ratio of 2:1. Because your hair is already blonde you can use a 20% developer, even if you used a 30% or 40% with the bleach.
Apply the toner to towel dried hair the same way you did the bleach. It will look purple when it goes on your hair but that is because purple is the opposite color of yellow on the color wheel. Since you are trying to remove yellow tones from your hair, the toner is purple to counteract those tones.
At this point your hair should be either white or very light blonde. Now we get to move onto the fun part, dyeing it fun colors!
For mermaid hair dye your will need:
- Blue dye
- Purple dye
- Green dye
- Pink Dye
Related: How to dye your hair with henna
To achieve mermaid hair dye I used Ion Color Brilliance Brights hair color. I used 4 different colors, Rose, Lavender, Cyan and Mint.
I squeezed each color into a small plastic dish, put on my gloves and applied it right onto my head.
If my hair was long I would have sectioned it into layers and applied a different color of dye to different layers. Since my hair is short I just put the dye in my gloved hands and squished it into my hair. The colors blend together a bit but that’s what makes it look good.
Once the pastel colors have been applied to your hair, keep it on as long as you can. The directions on the packaging say 20- 40 minutes but I put mine on and relax around the house for at least an hour.
After the time is up, wash and condition your hair as usual.
Mermaid Hair Dye Aftercare
Once you have magical mermaid hair you will want to take care of it so that it stays looking it’s best.
The products you need for after-color mermaid hair dye are:
- Deep conditioning treatment
- Optional: color depositing conditioner.
- Dry shampoo
Bright hair colors like blue, purple, pink and green are notorious for fading fast.
The less you wash your hair, the longer the mermaid hair dye will last. I try to use dry shampoo so I can wash my hair every two-three days. I also wear hats when it starts to look greasy so I can get an extra day in without washing.
Learn how to make your own dry shampoo here
You should use a shampoo that will help prevent brassy tone from forming on your hair.
I use Amika Bust Your Brass Purple Shampoo.
It is a purple shampoo, but it doesn’t deposit any actual dye onto your hair. Remember how I said that purple is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel? This is what helps to remove and prevent brassy yellow tones on your hair.
Condition your hair with a deep conditioner like Living Proof Restore Conditioner.
I have actually found that when I shower I can use conditioner only on my hair and skip the shampoo and my hair ends up soft and clean. Skipping shampoo will help your hair color last longer.
I also use a product called Olaplex.
Olaplex is a patented three-step process that includes an active ingredient that works on a molecular level to seek out broken bonds in the hair that are caused by chemical, thermal, and mechanical damage. You can use Olaplex to restore compromised hair, or add it to another service to provide the ultimate breakage insurance.
You can only buy Olaplex steps one and two it if you have a cosmetology license but anyone can buy the step 3 at home treatment.
I use Olaplex Step 3 every two weeks after I wash my hair. I towel dry it and apply and then I leave it on overnight. In the morning I rinse it out and style my hair like usual.
To keep my color fresh I touch it up weekly. I put on a pair of gloves and apply the dye just like I did the first time. Then I hang around the house for at least an hour before I wash it out.
Another way to keep your hair color fresh is to make your own color depositing shampoo. Check out my full tutorial here.
Eventually your dark roots will start to grow. Depending on how fast your hair grows and how long you mind having roots you bleach your hair roots every couple of months.
Have you ever tried mermaid hair dye or other bright colors? Tell me your best tips and tricks in the comments!