These Mermaid Hair Colors Are a Work of Art

woman with purple mermaid hair


Mermaid-inspired hair colors have been trending for a while now, and the fervor only seems to continue escalating. After all, there are so many ways to interpret the concept. Come Halloween, mermaid costumes continue to be one of the most consistently searched on the Internet. Alas, while you might have your mermaid hairstyle and makeup down pat, or at least in the works, adjusting your hair color to under-the-sea perfection is the cherry on top to achieve the ultimate finned masterpiece of a look—whether you're dressing up for a holiday or channelling these sea-dwelling creatures in your day-to-day.

Luckily for you, we totally have your back. Once you've decided on your undulating style of choice, we recommend sifting through the below 45 shade options to seal the mystical deal. Truly, the sky (or should we say the sea?) is the limit when it comes to mermaid-perfect hair colors. Celebrity hairstylist and owner of Hair Addict Salon, Michelle Cleveland defines mermaid hair as "long flowy locks in a vibrant color and tone."

"To achieve these vivid shades, you first need to pre-lighten the hair," says George Papanikolas, MATRIX celebrity colorist. "The more pastel a shade you choose, the lighter the pre-lightened hair will need to be, so darker hair would have the easiest time staying in the Fuchsia/Red/Orange/Yellow family. Blue and Greens would need to be pre-lightened to pale yellow."

Choosing A Shade: The sky's the limit when it comes to mermaid hair. "Since these shades are not technically 'natural' you really have the freedom to choose your favorite fun shade," says Papanikolas. Check out some images on Pinterest to get ideas.

Maintenance Level: High. It depends on the look you go for, but generally unnatural shades require more upkeep to stay vibrant and conceal roots.

Goes Great With: Everything. Any skin tone and hair texture can try mermaid hair. The look is so easily customizable and encompasses a wide variety of shades. The key? "With with what you got!" says Cleveland. "For example: eye color, skin tone and hair color should all harmonize and balance to achieve the perfect result. If you have warm color eyes and skin then it would be ideal to opt for a cool toned hair color shade."

Similar Shades: Rose gold, purple, red, blue ombré

Price: $14+ for DIY semi-permanent, $50-$200 at a salon (price will vary based on whether you do all-over color or highlights)

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Sparkling Garnet

If you're looking for a color that still veers more natural, we love the versatility of Lucy Hale's lovely shade of garnet. So much, in fact, we think we'd continue to wear it even after we've shed our fins. 

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Loch Ness Lilac

Despite what Instagram and Pinterest might have you believe, you don't need natural length or pounds of extensions to pull off the ultimate mermaid-perfect hair color. We love Keke Palmer's pop of lilac. 

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Rainbow Fish

Can't decide on just one (or two or three) colors? Why not swim full speed ahead and try a rainbow-striped vibe out for size? Bonus points for braids aplenty and whimsical touches of flora

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Glittering Magenta

If you have a flair for the fiery, this hot hue of magenta is kind of like Ariel's signature shade of crimson—but a heck of a lot cooler. 

"I tend to recommend staying in the Pink/Fuchsia family since these tend to fade easily," notes Papanikolas. "The Blues/Greens have a tendency to stick to the hair and are much harder to remove if you want a change."

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Electric Coral

However, if you do want to follow Ariel's trademark shade of red almost exactly, we think we've found a match. 

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Speckled Blueberry

Ombré hair is still going strong, and honestly, the technique just screams mermaid. You can achieve the look with any collection of mermaid-inspired hair colors, but we're especially partial to the nuance of blues and purples. 

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Gilded Haze

Not quite goldenrod, not quite blonde, not quite orange, this sunset hue has us transfixed.

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Stormy Plum

For a step in the subtle yet still-sultry direction, this inky shade of plum looks like it came straight from deep, dark depths of the ocean. 

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Royal Purple

Love the idea of purple hair? Make the prospect even brighter with highlights of electric blue. It's less expected (and far more mermaid-appropriate) than just straight purple.

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Murky Mauve

Rose gold hair has been having a major moment for, well, years. For an edgier take, we love the ashiness of this mauve shade.

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Flamingo Pink

This dusty blush hue is reminiscent of Nicki Minaj's signature pink strands and we are totally on board. Bonus: It looks great on a lot of skin tones, too.

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Iridescent Scales

A little silver, a little blue, a little purple… We can't help but compare this shimmering shade to the flash of mermaid scales. 

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Green is a nice take on mermaid hair, but an entire verdant head can be a tad intimidating. This spell-binding graduation from navy roots to aquamarine to bright lime feels (maybe?) more manageable. 

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Strawberry Red

Adding a bright hue to naturally textured hair makes curls pop. To avoid fried, dehydrated spirals, use a lightweight oil that moisturizes hair without weighing it down like Verb Ghost Oil ($18).

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Galaxy Blue

This blend of blue, purple and magenta seems somehow toned down enough to take this look from mermaid on the town to professional in the office.

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Rainbow Waves

These rainbow strands are a true work of art. From lilac panels to perfectly-placed colorful stripes, obsessed is an understatement for how we feel about this look.

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Literal Rainbow

If you're in love with rainbows, this variety of shades is for you.

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Neon Buzz

This neon buzz cut proves once again that mermaid hair isn't just for those with long, luscious locks. If you're looking for a temporary option, try the Manic Panic Amplified Color Spray ($13).

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Sporting rainbow hair doesn't necessarily mean going with a dare-to-be-different shade like lime green or bubblegum pink. This burnt orange is bold enough to make a statement while maintaining a bit more subtlety.

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Under-The-Sea Blue

There's blue and then there's blue like this impossible-to-miss royal hue. It's reminiscent of a blue raspberry lollipop and we love everything about it.

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Peacock Blue-Green

When you're feeling indecisive and can't settle on just one shade, opt for your top three faves like in this gradient style of purple to blue to green.

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Magical Magenta

Since millennial pink and rose gold hair are totally on trend and not so unusual anymore, stand out with this hot pink-magenta fused shade that's sure to catch eyes everywhere.

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Sunshine Yellow

Let's be frank; yellow isn't the most popular shade in the world of hair color. After all, it can go from rad to bad really quickly (because of this, we highly recommend visiting a professional to achieve this color). But we must admit, these sunshine-dipped tips make golden hair totally appealing.

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Coral Red

Move over Ariel—this neon coral is what mermaid hair dreams are made of.

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Mixing a trio of shades within the same color family gives this dimensional color a metallic finish.

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What could be more mermaid-like than aquamarine pigtail braids?

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My Little Pony Highlights

Channel your favorite fantastical pony's mane with this mix of purples, blues, and pinks.

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Metallic Opal

Prepare to mesmerize with sherbet highlights.

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Who needs to wake up to see the sunrise with hair this vibrant? Purple roots shift to pink, orange, and, finally, yellow.

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Platinum Pink

A more subtle, but still impactful, take on dreamy mermaid hair—platinum with hints of otherworldly pink.

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Contrasting Ombré

This look starts out with a natural brown color that fades into a lived-in, chlorine-washed blue.

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Peachy Waves

Peach finger waves give mermaid hair the electric Jessica Rabbit treatment.

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Faded Pink

Vibrant color is great, but this slightly faded pink gives off the vibe that you've been sitting in the sun all day. What mermaid dreams are made of.

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This burnt orange-gold hue is just as mermaid-esque as some of the wilder colors out there.

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Streaky Pink

A fishtail braid makes the varied tones in this multi-dimensional pink stand out.

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Pale Green

An unnatural mermaid shade looks especially chic and edgy on a chin-length bob.

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Personally, we believe that pearls make any hair color mermaid-chic, but the details work so beautifully with this dreamy lavender shade.

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Highlighter Yellow

Not everyone will feel comfortable rocking full-on highlighter yellow, but if you're drawn to this shade, it packs a very powerful punch.

"Mermaid hair is definitely not a DIY project!!" cautions Cleveland. "Leave this process to a highly trained professional as there is a ton of science and theory involved in lifting the proper amount of your existing hair color out based on the target shade you are looking for. Additionally, a professional colorist will have the proper supplies to protect your hair as it goes through this very invasive process."

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Sunrise hair and sunset hair aren't all that different, but the deeper tones definitely give this look a twilight vibe.

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Cherry Cola

This rich black cherry shade reinterprets under-the-sea red in a fresh way.

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Cotton Candy

This space-age cotton candy shade looks super sweet.

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The upkeep on a look like this not exactly simple, but it's worth it for the fabulous results.

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Fuchsia Tips

For a taste of rainbow, consider leaving most of your hair natural and adding a pop of color just to the ends.

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Oil Slick Prism

Make the oil slick technique mermaid-approved with vibrant shades of nearlly metallic orange and purple.

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Peek-a-boo Rainbow

This mix of pastel shades has a hide-and-seek effect thanks to an overlay of blonde.

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