Dyeing your hair can be a fun exercise of self-expression, but, for brunettes, receiving vibrant results without damaging your hair can be close to impossible. But the oil slick hair technique is here to help. The oil slick hair technique is a method that helps create vivid colors on darker hair without excessive bleaching. It is a technique that has been popularized by celebrity hairstylist Aura Friedman of Sally Hershberger SalonWorks. 

It works by layering purple, dark blue, and green tones over dark hair to create an iridescent effect. What makes this method stand out is that it is designed to appear dark in certain lighting and look vibrant in the light, similar to the colors reflected in puddles of oil and gasoline on the pavement. These colors need a dark base to stand out, which makes it perfect for brunettes you want to play with more color. By the end of only one visit to the salon, your hair will leave colorful and still healthy. 

How to get oil slick hair:

Step one: Lighten

Normally, if you have light to medium brunette hair this technique should be able to work. However, if you have very dark hair, your hair will need to be lightened and bleached. 

Step two: Choose your colors and permanency 

Before you begin dyeing your hair, you must decide what colors you want and how long you want the colors to last. Oil slick hair dyes tend to be in hues of magenta, purple, cobalt, and green. If you have very dark brown hair that’s never been lightened, the odds are that pastel colors probably won’t work.

Depending on your lifestyle and hair dyeing habits, you can choose between semi-permanent or permanent oil slick hair dye and see which one fits best for you. Semi-permanent is good for those who don’t want to make a long commitment, and permanent is better for those who don’t mind the long-term responsibilities of colored hair. 

Step three: Dyeing your hair

After you choose your colors and lighten your hair, start to apply the dye at the base of your hair to mid-strand. Next, apply the next color mid-strands to the ends. To blend the colors, use a blur brush or your fingers. Remember to alternate the colors as you dye your hair. 

Step four: Maintenance 

According to Oil Slick Hair: Rainbow Hair for Brunettes by Trish Galbavy, if you’re doing at home care, remember to shampoo your hair in cool to cold water afterwards. It is also recommended that you shampoo and condition with color extending products to keep the vibrancy of the hair color. The shades last on average one to four weeks. It is also suggested to do regular conditioning treatments to keep your hair in good health.

Hopefully this guide can help you start trying out the oil slick hair technique soon enough. Remember to keep all four steps in mind when you try this technique out. But, most importantly, have fun with all the different colors and styles you can create without any of the damage!