What is Oil Slick Hair?
Oil slick hair refers to a hairstyle where the hair is dyed in a gradient effect, with colors blending from dark to light. Typically, the colors used are dark blues, greens, purples and blacks that fade into lighter shades of those colors. This gives the appearance of an oil slick on the surface of water.
The oil slick effect is achieved by using hair dye or bleach to strip sections of the hair of its natural pigment. This allows the vibrant oil slick colors to show through and create the gradient look. The dyed sections are strategically placed throughout the hair to get the color placement just right.
Some key things to know about oil slick hair:
- It creates a colorful, iridescent effect.
- Color typically progresses from dark to light.
- Blues, greens, purples and blacks are common color choices.
- Bleaching or dyeing strips sections of natural hair color.
- Strategic color placement is important.
- It’s a dramatic, statement hairstyle.
Do You Have to Bleach Your Hair?
When it comes to achieving the oil slick look, bleaching your hair is not strictly required but is very commonly part of the process. Here are some key points on whether bleaching is necessary:
- Bleaching lightens and lifts out the natural pigment in hair, allowing the oil slick colors to really pop and show through.
- It’s challenging to get vivid, saturated colors to show on hair that hasn’t been pre-lightened.
- The gradient effect is harder to achieve without bleaching – color applications may turn out uneven.
- How much bleaching is needed depends on your natural hair color and tone.
- Lighter hair needs less bleaching than darker hair.
- Some choose to just dye certain strips of hair rather than bleach everything.
- Bleaching isn’t mandatory but typically yields better, more vibrant results.
So in summary, it’s highly recommended to bleach your hair when going for an oil slick look. But it also depends on your particular hair color and the specific look you’re trying to achieve. Speak to a professional hair colorist to determine if bleaching is right for your hair.
What Does the Bleaching Process Involve?
Here are details on what the bleaching process consists of if you do choose to go that route:
- Product used – The main product used is a bleaching powder or cream containing hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair.
- Mixing – The bleaching product needs to be mixed with a developer solution shortly before application.
- Application – The bleach mixture is brushed onto sections of dry hair, starting 1 inch away from the root.
- Timing – The bleach needs to remain on the hair for 20-45 minutes depending on the desired level of lightening.
- Checking progress – Strands are checked periodically to monitor lightening and avoid damage.
- Rinsing – Once the target level is reached, the bleach is rinsed from the hair thoroughly.
- Toning – A toner may be applied to neutralize brassiness and ensure even results.
- Conditioning – Conditioner is used to restore moisture and help repair any damage.
It’s vital to follow the product instructions and your colorist’s recommendations closely when bleaching to avoid complications like overprocessing or breakage. Patience is also key as it can take multiple sessions to achieve the desired lift in color.
What Are the Steps for Achieving Oil Slick Hair?
If you do decide to include bleaching, here are the basic steps involved in getting oil slick hair:
- Lighten your natural base color with bleach, if desired. How much you bleach depends on your starting shade.
- Thoroughly rinse out the bleach and follow up with a hydrating deep conditioner.
- Allow hair to rest 1-2 days after lightening before coloring.
- Divide hair into multiple sections using foils.
- Apply the oil slick hair dye colors in a gradient pattern, starting with the darkest shades.
- Process the dye according to product instructions.
- Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.
- Follow up with a color-safe, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
- Style as desired and show off your new oil slick locks!
It’s best to have your oil slick color applied by a professional hair stylist. They can ensure the bleach and dye is done properly for best results with minimal damage.
What Are Some Maintenance Tips for Oil Slick Hair?
Oil slick hair requires some upkeep to keep it looking vibrant. Here are some maintenance tips:
- Wash less frequently, max 2-3 times per week, with sulfate-free shampoo.
- Rinse with cold water instead of hot to preserve color.
- Use a deep conditioning hair mask 1-2 times a week.
- Avoid chlorine by wearing a swim cap and rinse hair after swimming.
- Use a purple shampoo as needed to reduce brassiness.
- Get a gloss or color touch up every 4-6 weeks.
- Use heat protecting products before heat styling.
- Gently detangle and avoid excessive brushing when wet.
- Avoid using too many other styling products.
With the proper maintenance and cleansing routine, your brilliant oil slick color can last 4-8 weeks depending on your hair type and lifestyle.
What Are Some Pros and Cons of Oil Slick Hair?
Some key pros and cons to consider:
- Eye-catching and unique color effect.
- Allows you to frequently change your hair color.
- Gradient effect looks great on long and short hair.
- Unexpected pop of color when styled a certain way.
- Vibrant and fun way to express your style.
- Requires bleaching and dyeing which causes damage if not done properly.
- Root regrowth is very visible and requires frequent touch ups.
- The color washes out quickly compared to permanent dye.
- It’s a high maintenance style and requires special care.
- The dramatic look isn’t for everyone and can come across as harsh.
While bleaching your hair is not an absolute must for achieving oil slick color, it is very commonly part of the process. Bleaching lightens the underlying pigment in hair so the true vibrancy of the oil slick dyes can come through. How much bleaching is needed depends on your natural hair color and the specific color results you’re looking for. When done correctly by a professional, bleaching and coloring oil slick shades on your hair can create a stunning, head-turning look. However, keep in mind the high maintenance and frequent touching up required. Oil slick hair gives you the ability to frequently change up your color and can be a fun way to express your adventurous style.
|Eye-catching and unique color effect||Requires bleaching and dyeing which causes damage if not done properly|
|Allows you to frequently change your hair color||Root regrowth is very visible and requires frequent touch ups|
|Gradient effect looks great on long and short hair||The color washes out quickly compared to permanent dye|
|Unexpected pop of color when styled a certain way||It’s a high maintenance style and requires special care|
|Vibrant and fun way to express your style||The dramatic look isn’t for everyone and can come across as harsh|