Over at Byrdie, we live for experimentation with daring hair colors. There's something so unapologetically gorgeous about walking into a room with a bold shade that others can't help but compliment, and we love to celebrate that kind of confidence. Oh, to be a hair unicorn: What a fun life to live. The exact hue we're digging at the moment is navy blue.
Lisa Marshall at Davide Hair Studio in New York describes navy blue hair as a deeper, more muted blue, calling it a fantasy color. Each shade she makes is unique to the individual client, though in general, she usually mixes deep blue and black tones together to achieve the look. We have to say, there's just something so undeniably cool (literally and figuratively) about this kind of midnight blue hair. FYI: If you don't want a permanent color change right now, try Splat Hair Chalk ($10) in its navy blue shade. This temporary hair color glides on your hair so easily, leaving a major color payoff.
But if you're set on going all the way, expert celebrity colorist Michael Casey of Eliut Salon shared his most important tip when it comes to dyeing your hair a bold color like blue: "If you want pastel, green, or blue hues, you need to pre-lighten your hair to a very pale blonde first and then deposit the color. These colors fade very fast, so you will need to spend a lot of time refreshing the bright colors," he explains. In other words, make sure you're ready for the commitment.
Going navy blue means hair first has to be lifted and pre-toned to remove the warmth that hair naturally brings up, but that doesn't mean it's a high-intensity hair color. Marshall says navy blue is a great idea for two reasons. The first is that it's easy to achieve for darker hair colors: While hair must be lifted first, due to the depth of the pigments, Marshall says the hair doesn’t need to be as light as it would be for past pastel trends. Secondly, the color lasts a long time—for the same reason that the pigments here are deeper and are less likely to fade fast.
Plus, the right color placement can change the entire look. "Navy blue may be very strong for someone with fair skin, so adding peek-a-boo panels may be a better option," Marshall says, noting darker and richer skin tones can definitely go a bit bolder with this look. As for texture, she will often guide a client into different placement options based on their natural texture. Long, straight hair can have more “block coloring” options, while she would recommend more of a “highlight” or “balayage” look for a client with short curly hair.
Some of our favorite stars in Hollywood have worn iterations of this wavy, cobalt shade. We rounded up everything we could find, from the prettiest celebrity styles to everyday hair goals featuring this vibrant shade.
Let these gorgeous indigo shades convince you to go blue. Check it out below.
Dark Blue Hair Color
Choosing a Shade: The end shade, and how it fades depends on how the hair is initially lifted. If it's a pale enough yellow, navy dyed hair should eventually fade to a lighter blue over time. Marshall says if there's too strong of a yellow undertone, hair will go more towards the green side, while if orange is left in the hair, it can end up fading a little “muddy.”
Maintenance Level: Direct dyes are more high-maintenance because they're not designed to last very long. However, once the hair is lightened, it's an easy process to just apply the navy blue again once it fades. All-over navy blue requires more work: You must keep up with lightening your regrowth every four to five weeks, she says.
Goes Great With: Anything you decide. Use a palette to try out a bright eye look— match your hair or choose a complementary color.
Similar Shades: Incorporate different shades of blue in an ombré style or try out mermaid hair for extra fun.
Nicole's Slicked Back Style
Look at how incredibly chic Nicole Richie looks in this deep blue style swept back into an updo. She's tried just about every hair color under the rainbow and pulls them all off effortlessly. As proven in this photo, minimal and understated makeup looks gorgeous paired with the mysterious shade of blue.
Billie's Midnight Blue Look
A blue hair color roundup wouldn't be complete without Billie Eilish, who had a major moment with the shade back in 2018. We love how dark blue hair is its own accessory, taking the easiest of looks to the next level.
These Navy Curls
These curls, which are a deep navy with lighter blue money pieces, are beyond cool.
If you don't want to go all the way with permanent color, try Splat Hair Chalk ($8) in its navy blue shade. This temporary hair color glides on your hair so easily, leaving a major color payoff.
Katy's Statement Wig
Katy Perry, also a notable hair unicorn, obviously has a thing for blue. Perry's longtime colorist, Justin Anderson, has nailed just about every shade imaginable for the singer. This color chameleon walked the 2010 MTV Movie Awards in a playful blue wig accompanied by the sharpest cat eye.
Jaime's Light Ombré
We're in love with the ombré approach Jaime King took with her mermaid hair back in 2012 at the Saint Vintage Love Tour Cancer event in Los Angeles. From baby blue fading to deep purple, this daring hair looks so good on her. The actress filled Byrdie in on this dye job: "I’ve always wanted to dye my hair a different color but I couldn’t because of contracts, so when I wrapped the first season of Hart of Dixie I just said, ‘Let’s do it.’ My husband and I went to the drugstore and bought purple and blue dye. My husband always colors my hair for me. He’s a director, but he’s also a painter, so I go to Tracey Cunningham, she mixes my color, and then Kyle paints it on. He painted this on at home one night.”
Navy with Teal Accents
Teal and navy just go together, huh? We love this combo, especially paired with voluminous curls. It gives mermaid vibes in the best way possible.
Demi's Teal Toned Waves
Navy blue highlights? We're in love. Demi Lovato looks gorgeous with their dip-dyed, streaky lob. Here's proof that this shade looks sophisticated in a feathered, tousled style.
Thinking of adding highlights like Demi? Marshall says she usually adds in different depths of tone to all fantasy colors, saying added highlights can make an unnatural color look more natural and professional.
Ashy Dark Blue
Ashy shades of blue are subtle and bold all at once, and we love how easily the darker and lighter tones blend together in this look.
Extreme Navy Waves
This vibrant navy color, also known as Extreme Blue ($32) by Overtone, is a winning look. It has such pretty, hidden depth and happens to look so natural on dark hair.
Blue, Blue Curls
Good Dye Young's Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Blue Ruin ($18) looks so fantastic splashed across these incredible curls. Also, the matching metallic eyeshadow is honestly iconic.
Electric Money Pieces
If you have money pieces (AKA face-framing highlights), one of the best ways to switch them up is with color. This electric blue adds so much fun to these dark waves.
Sometimes subtlety is key to making a statement—this shade of midnight blue is so close to black that it almost looks natural. If you want to keep darker roots, Marshall would suggest using a “foilyage” technique to create a soft transition from natural hair to the navy blue.
Navy Natural Bob
This custom mixture comes courtesy of Pulp Riot's Semi-Permanent Dye, which Marshall says is her favorite dye to use.
Layered Mermaid Waves
This amazing color also comes from a Pulp Riot mix. We're getting modern mermaid vibes from these expertly layered waves.
Marshall cautions you must avoid drug store brand shampoos, saying direct dyes are very sensitive and can fade very fast if they are washed with low-grade shampoos. Also, try to avoid heat and hot water. This will ensure your color lasts as long as possible.
Compared to say, King's ombré approach, this all-over blue is giving us total winter hair vibes. The direct quality of the dye also plays a huge part in how the color fades, Marshall says.
Mixing Dark and Light
Bella Thorne is also known for her bright hair choices. Though she sticks to a copper-red usually, this particular deep blue looks extra edgy with a light blue eye look.
Midnight Blue Curls
These pre-lightened curls look so great with Poseidon ($18) from Arctic Fox Hair Color.
Long Navy Layers
When it comes to color like this vivid blue, a stylish cut definitely amplifies the fun, while also looking super elegant. It's the best of both worlds.
Ocean Tinted Curls
No words accurately describe these amazing curls. The color, though? That's Good Dye Young's semi-permanent color in Narwhal ($18).
Blue and Black
What really works with this navy blue style is how well the deep blue blends into the base color. When it comes to a balayage look like this, you would only need to get the blue touched up as it fades, which depending on your at-home care, Marshall says can be from four to eight weeks.
Deep Indigo Waves
We're finishing off this dark blue hair roundup with some seriously glossy waves. Not only are these waves seriously enviable, but the color totally has us convinced blue is the way to go.
Dark blue hair is the result of a lot of effort but hey, if the above examples are anything to go by, it looks like the time spent in the salon chair pays off. If you're going for allover color or switching it up with different shades, odds are it can take more than one session to get there, especially if you're pre-lightening. The thing is, once you fall in love with navy blue, will you ever really want to go back?