Oil Slick Hair: What It Is, How To Do It, & How Long It Lasts

Reviewed by Sergio R. Cardona Perez, Certified Trichologist Sergio R. Cardona Perez Sergio R. Cardona PerezCertified Trichologist facebook_icontwitter_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
Edited by Eshna Das
Fact-checked by Krati Darak
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Oil slick hair is a trending hairstyle with attractive ink color and a unique oil spill appearance. It was designed by celebrity hair colorist Aura Freidman from Sally Hershberger Salon. It has a rich eye-catchy color generated with blends of purples and green. The below article lets you know about this trendy hair color, how to do it, and the required maintenance. Continue reading further.

What Is The Oil Slick Trend?

If you have seen an oil spill, you will notice how the oil bleeds into different colors, giving a rainbow effect. The oil slick hair color trend imparts a similar style to your hair.

The oil slick trend is a rainbow color treatment for brunettes. It involves adding ultra-fine baby highlights of different colors to the hair that look like the shifting shades of an oil spill.

This trend mainly uses jewel tones and is best-suited for warm and neutral skin tones with dark hair. The oil slick hair color trend works best for brown and black hair as the jewel-toned highlights make dark base hair colors stand out.

protip_icon Fun Fact
The oil-slick hair trend is considered the “mermaid hair trend for the brunettes” – a similar version with darker shades.

When it comes to the oil slick trend, color is the key. Therefore, choose your highlight shades carefully.

How To Choose A Shade

Pick colors that complement your base hair color and skin tone. For warm skin tones, shades like yellow and orange work well. For cool skin tones, go for blue and green shades. If you have a warm skin tone but want cooler shades, find warmer hues of those shades.

Rainbow color and jewel tones, such as burgundy, royal blue, deep purple, emerald, and deep red are mostly used in this hair color treatment. The best way to complement your hair and skin tone is to alternate the colors that give your hair an oil spill look.

Once you have chosen the highlight shades and bought your dyes, the next step is achieving the look. Here’s how you can do that.

How To Do The Oil Slick Trend

Woman lightening her hair to obtain oil slick hair
Image: Shutterstock
  1. Pick jewel-toned colors that match your base hair color and skin tone. Otherwise, color your hair in a deep and intense brown shade, so the highlights stand out.
  1. Lighten your hair following the balayage technique. This method uses the hand to apply color to the hair, leaving it with a natural flow that suits the oil slick trend. Lighten your hair from midway to the end – only a few layers at the top.
  1. The application of highlight color depends on how you want your hair to look. You can use a brush or your hands for a more natural flow. Apply the colors alternatively using aluminum foil to separate the layers of hair. For instance, begin highlighting a hair section in deep purple ending it in deep red. Follow this up with royal blue bleeding into emerald green.
  1. Leave the colors on your hair for about 30-45 minutes. Keep checking your hair to see if you have achieved the desired effect. It might require an extended period to achieve some shades.
  1. Wash your hair with a color-friendly shampoo and conditioner. Do not use any toning products unless you want to as they can change the color of your oil slick hair.
  1. Style your hair as desired to flaunt your new oil slick hair color.
    While this might seem like any other hair color trend, it has a few benefits over others. Scroll down to find what they are.

Benefits Of Oil Slick Color Trend

  • The oil slick hair color trend does not require bleaching the hair. It uses iridescent colors that work well with the brunette and black hairs without leaving them damaged, dry, and lifeless.
  • Jewel tones last long, which means weekly salon visits for touch-ups are not required. Also, with the right hair care products, you can extend the life of the oil slick colors.
  • Jewel-toned shades, such as cobalt, magenta, and emerald, are all customizable. Thus, you can get the perfect shade as per your skin and hair color.
  • The oil slick hair trend highlights only parts of your hair, leaving the base color natural. Only the top layer of your hair is colored, which reduces the risk of hair damage and dryness.

Here are some tips to help you maintain and care for your color-treated hair.

How To Maintain Oil Slick Hair

Woman using purple shampoo to maintain oil slick hair
Image: Shutterstock
  1. Use products that are formulated especially for color-treated hair. They help prolong the lifespan of the colors, prevent early fading, and repair damaged hair.
  1. Moisturize your hair regularly and apply serums that keep the hair color fresh and nourish the hair.
  1. Massage your scalp with coconut oil to prevent hair damage and oxidation of the hair caused by UV rays and free radicals.
  1. Get regular touch-ups, depending on your hair texture. Touch-ups will keep your hair color fresh and allow you to play with various oil spill shades.

The next section will answer a few questions related to oil slick hair color.

Cost Of Oil Slick Hair Color

This hair color trend generally costs anywhere between $100 and $350. Some salons may charge you based on the length, thickness, and texture of your hair. Salons with expert hairstylists may charge you separately for their services.

How Long Does This Hair Color Last?

The oil slick color lasts for at least six to eight weeks. With proper hair care, it might last even longer. But regular touch-ups are required to prevent color fading. You can make the color last longer by using color-friendly hair care products like shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks.

Can This Trend Be Done At Home?

Woman dyeing her hair at home to obtain oil slick hair
Image: Shutterstock

Although not advisable, the oil slick hair color trend can be done at home. The application of color requires a professional hand since several colors are used, and there’s a specific appearance and tone that needs to be achieved. Thus, it is recommended to get this hair color trend done at a salon.

At home, you might not be able to achieve the desired shade. However, if you decide to try this trend at home, ask a friend to apply the colors or give you directions in the application process.

Styling oil slick hair depends on the placement of the highlights. Let’s explore the various ways to style oil slick colored hair.

How To Style Oil Slick Colored Hair

Woman styling her oil slick hair in braids
Image: Shutterstock
  • Half Ponytail: This is an ideal style for highlights at the back of your hair. It draws attention to the jewel-toned colors, making your natural hair the perfect canvas for it.
  • Braids: No matter the placement, braids accentuate the colors, making them seamlessly flow into each other.
  • Top Knot: A top knot distinguishes the colored hair from the base hair color.
  • Wet Slick Look: Giving your hair a slick wet look with hair wax, hair gel, mousse or hair gel enhances the jewel tones and imparts shine.
  • Natural: Leave your hair to fall naturally. Apply hair styling serum to add shine and brush your hair to remove knots. Since the oil slick style looks like a spill, leaving your hair loose will enhance the look.
protip_icon Quick Tip
You can also style your hair in space buns with bangs for a grungy space-themed look.

Nicola Lombardi, a blogger, shared her experience of styling her oil-slicked hair and how she absolutely loved it. She said, “I decided to pin curl it and this was the best decision I made. It brought the blue higher up and more visible and you could really see all of the colours working together. So in love with this hair (i). ”

Infographic: 4 Ways To Get Oil Slick Hair Color

Oil slick hair is the perfect way to transform your hair into something chic, fashionable, and unique this season. You can choose your favorite rich rainbow tones and customize the look according to your natural hair color and preferences. Scroll down and check out the infographic to know the best ways to get your jaw-dropping, gorgeous oil slick hair.

4 ways to get oil slick hair color (infographic)

Illustration: The Bridal Box Design Team

The oil slick trend is catching up worldwide. It best suits people with brown and black hair as jewel-toned highlights stand out better in darker hair colors. However, your look depends on the colors you pick, depending on your skin tone and hair color. For example, orange and yellow are ideal for warm skin tones, while blue and green are good for cool skin tones. To maintain the look, touch up any areas using a hair hold spray to make your hair shine and enhance your hair volume. The oil slick trend does not require bleaching and lasts long if you use the right hair care products. You may even use hair pomade, hair grease, or other hair sheen products to style. So get this look and style your oil slick hair in all its glory!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is oil slick hair permanent?

No. Oil slick hair isn’t permanent. The effect usually washes away in 5-10 shampoos.

Can oil slick hair be done on short hair?

Yes, oil slick can be done to hair of any length, including short hair.

Are there any precautions you need to take when dyeing hair in oil slick colors?

Yes, there are several precautions you should take when dyeing your hair in oil slick colors. For example, professional consultation, doing a patch test, using high-end products, and protecting the skin with barrier cream or petroleum jelly to prevent the dye from staining your skin.

Key Takeaways

  • The oil slick trend is a rainbow color treatment that involves adding ultra-fine baby highlights of different colors to the hair to make it look like the shifting shades of an oil spill.
  • This coloring style is best-suited for warm and neutral skin tones with dark hair.
  • Rainbow color and jewel tones, such as burgundy, royal blue, deep purple, emerald, and deep red are mostly used in this hair color treatment.
oil slick hair

Image: Stable Diffusion/The Bridal Box Design Team

Learn how to create an oil-slick hair color look with Michelle Phan! Get step-by-step instructions on how to achieve this unique and stylish look in this video below! Go, take a look at it!

Personal Experience: Source

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Sergio R. Cardona Perez
Sergio R. Cardona PerezCertified Trichologist
Sergio Cardona is a certified trichologist, a passionate professor, an international public speaker, and an advocate of the trichology profession, with 21 years of experience. Currently, he is an Advisory Board Member, Trichology Professor and Director of Communications for the World Trichology Society.

Read full bio of Sergio R. Cardona Perez
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