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 channeling 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 43 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."
Meet the Expert
- Michelle Cleveland is a celebrity hairstylist and owner of Hair Addict Salon.
- George Papanikolas is the celebrity colorist for Matrix.
"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."
Mermaid Hair Color
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," Papanikolas says. 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? "Work with what you got!" Cleveland emphasizes. "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)
Keep scrolling to submerge yourself into all shades of mermaid hair.
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.
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.
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.
These dimensional purple waves have us swooning. Excuse us while we call our colorist right this second.
If you have a flair for the fiery, this hot magenta hue 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," Papanikolas notes. "The Blues/Greens have a tendency to stick to the hair and are much harder to remove if you want a change."
Rose gold hair has been having a major moment for, well, years. For an edgier take, we love the ashiness of this mauve shade.
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).
However, if you do want to follow Ariel's trademark shade of red almost exactly, we think we've found a match.
Blue and Lime
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.
The acid green peeking out from this teal 'do gives these under-the-sea waves a punk makeover.
Ombré hair is still going strong, and honestly, the technique 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.
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.
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's Ghost Oil ($2).
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.
Mixing a trio of shades within the same color family gives this dimensional color a metallic finish.
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.
A little silver, a little blue, a little purple… We can't help but compare this shimmering shade to the flash of mermaid scales.
If you're in love with rainbows, this variety of shades is for you.
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).
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.
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.
What could be more mermaid-like than a bright aquamarine hue?
It's the perfect mix of a mermaid and a hot girl. Added bonus: red colors don't generally require as much lightening as others, so this is a great option for anyone whose hair is delicate or has previous damage.
A more subtle but still impactful take on dreamy mermaid hair, those who want a fresh blonde option should try platinum with hints of otherworldly pink.
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.
The shape of this gorgeous color combo mimics a waterfall tumbling into a mermaid-filled lagoon.
Who needs to wake up to see the sunrise with hair this gorgeous? Burnt orange and pale peach capture the morning's first rays perfectly.
Peach finger waves give mermaid hair the electric Jessica Rabbit treatment.
My Little Pony Highlights
Channel your favorite fantastical pony's mane with this mix of purples, blues, and pinks.
Vibrant color is great, but this slightly faded pink gives off the vibe that you've been sitting in the sun all day. It's what mermaid dreams are made of.
Prepare to mesmerize with sherbet highlights.
This burnt orange-gold hue is just as mermaid-esque as some of the wilder colors out there.
A fishtail braid makes the varied tones in this multi-dimensional pink stand out.
Green and Purple Mix
Keeping these colors separate to avoid muddiness is the key to this rock-and-roll-meets-Beetlejuice option.
"Mermaid hair is definitely not a DIY project," Cleveland cautions. "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."
An unnatural mermaid shade looks especially chic and edgy on a chin-length bob.
Sunrise hair and sunset hair aren't all that different, but the deeper tones definitely give this look a twilight vibe.
Personally, we believe that pearls make any hair color mermaid chic, but the details work so beautifully with this dreamy lavender shade.
The upkeep on a look like this not exactly simple, but it's worth it for the fabulous results.
This rich black cherry shade reinterprets under-the-sea red in a fresh way.
Orange and Navy
This unusual combination has shades that are opposites on the color wheel, which is why the high-contrast pairing works so well. It's perfect for your mermaid alter ego's goth phase.
For a taste of rainbow, consider leaving most of your hair natural and adding a pop of color just to the ends.
We loved the tempered quality of the green and yellow tones here, which makes normally jarring tones much more serene.
This mix of pastel shades has a hide-and-seek effect thanks to periodic pieces being kept platinum blonde.