This time last year, I was standing in my bathroom with a towel around my neck, covered in red hair dye (RIP towel), and staring in the mirror, horrified at what I had tried to do to my hair at home. But can you blame me? The future of hair salons was murky, and I really wanted to change up my hair color asap (priorities, right?). Thankfully, I learned my lesson from that DIY dye job, and I’m now safely leaving my hair color in the hands of a trained professional—and, apparently, so is everyone else. Because over the last few months, a new hair color trend has suddenly burst forth from the salon scene, and unlike everything that was 2020, this one is incredibly cool and fun: blue-black hair.
ICYMI, the blue-black hair trend involves all-over black hair with subtle blue undertones peeking through (or, the opposite: all-over blue hair with black undertones). From bright blue to smokey denim shades, the blue-black trend is all about customization within a narrow color palette, which makes the look even easier to wear for every hair color and skin undertone. And FYI to all you DIY enthusiasts: Though you can kinda get a similar, subtler blue-black shade from a box dye, this trend really will look best when in the skilled hands of a professional, so I highly recommend you spring for a salon appointment instead.
Got all that? Good. Now please keep scrolling and get ready to screenshot one of these 25 incredibly cute blue-black hair color ideas, below.
Blue-Black Hair Color Ideas to Try in 2021
1. Turquoise Blue-Black Hair
The range of blue shades in this blue-black hair color—turquoise, ocean blue, royal blue—is truly incredible, and will definitely require the skilled hands of your local colorist to achieve. You can have your ends dyed darker at the ends like this pic, or ask your colorist to keep it the same level of brightness throughout. The best part? Since there are warmer and cooler blues here, it’ll work as a summer hair color.
2. Sky Blue-Black Hair
If you aren’t down to dye your whole head (baby steps, I get it), ask your colorist to keep your roots darker (or straight-up black) at the top, and then opt for blue on the lower half of your hair. The result? A cool-toned shadow-roots finish that’s bright yet smokey at the same time.
3. Teal Blue-Black Hair
The teal tones in this blue-black dye job are almost indistinguishable, giving it a super-glossy, all-over blue sheen that still lets a good amount of black hues shine through. The key to that shine? Pre-poo treatments, like hair masks and hair oils, to keep your ends from fraying, breaking, or drying out.
4. Bright Blue-Black Hair
Bright blue is a great shade option to choose for your blue-black hair. It truly stands out on dark shades, which can be notoriously hard to achieve with bright colors (IYKYK). To keep your color vibrant, make sure your shampoo and conditioner are free of sulfates (aka no clarifying shampoos allowed, sry), and always, always use a heat protectant before styling.
5. Black to Blue Curls
These curls are hitting two major 2021 hair trends: blue-black hair and blue ombré hair. With this short ombré style, the roots start out as blue-black, then fade into a bright, solid blue for a result that’s super cute and wearable. The only downside? It’ll require some bleach to make happen, so if you’re not down to permanently dye your curls and coils, try playing around with a temporary color wax instead.
6. Black-Indigo Hair
These soft indigo highlights are a great way to add some blue-black color to your hair without going for a full color treatment. FYI, when it comes to a subtle shade like this, make sure to cut down on how often you’re shampooing each week to prevent fading (dry shampoo will be your BFF here).
7. Aqua Blue-Black Hair
Blue-black hair is honestly perfect for summer, as proven by this summer-y aqua shade, which is essentially pure mermaid hair IRL. Pro tip: To keep this bright hue vibrant, start using a color-depositing shampoo each wash day to help amplify blue tones and prevent the sun from turning your blue brassy.
8. Teal and Navy Blue-Black Hair
When you finally head to the salon for your blue-black hair, don’t be afraid to play around with a couple different shades of blue to add extra dimension to the trend. Or just screenshot this and show your colorist exactly what you want, being very specific about which shades of blue and where (like this teal that fades into royal navy).
9. Violet Black Hair
This violet blue-black hair hits the sweet spot between warm and cool-toned—ahem, ~neutral~ as we say—making it a perfect year-round shade to copy. If you’re trying this look out on curly hair, try loading up on a hot-oil treatment afterwards to infuse moisture back into your hair.
10. Navy Blue Streaks
This blue-black hair has double the blue: gun-metal blue in the base, and bright navy streaks in the top layer, all perfectly—and, ahem, expertly—blended together for a truly gorgeous finish. Bonus points if you go for the inverted bob haircut, too.
11. Smoky Denim Blue Hair
Um, can we just acknowledge that this denim blue-black balayage is actually stunning, and I will not be taking further questions at this time? Since this look will definitely require some bleach (if you’re starting from a deeper hair color), make sure to prep your hair with a deep conditioner in the days leading up to your appointment to start with a moisturized foundation.
12. Slate Blue-Black Hair
For this slate blue-black shade, tell your colorist that you want gray undertones in your blue to keep it from feeling too bright and summery. The gray hair color here is what keeps this shade v smokey and cool-toned, versus warm and cheery (which, hey, also a cute look, but not the vibe).
13. Cerulean Blue-Black Hair
One of my favorite things about the blue-black hair trend is how you kinda kinda (almost!) recreate it at home with semi-permanent blue dye, like Manic Panic in Voodoo Blue or Overtone in Vibrant Teal. If you’re really into clean beauty, you might want to check out a few natural dye or ammonia free dye options, which tend to be gentler on your hair.
14. Silver-Blue Balayage
This blue-black hair has an added shade of silver at the ends, so if that’s where you’re starting from, this look will be 10/10 for you. Since you’ll be working with a lighter shade towards the ends, a purple shampoo to combat orange brassiness will be a must in your shower.
15. Muted Blue Streaks
FYI: You don’t need to have black hair to get in on the blue-black trend. First of all, there’s no rule against adding blue to your naturally brown hair (let’s make blue-brown a thing for 2022, yeah?), and second of all, blue-black hair dye literally comes in a bottle—see: Clairol Nice’n Easy in Blue Black or Garnier Nutrisse in Dark Intense Indigo—so whether it’s at home or at the salon, you’ve got options.
16. Electric Blue-Black Hair
If you don’t do “subtle,” welcome to your new hair color. There’s no missing this electric-blue shade (and peep the black undertones!)—it’ll stand out in literally any lighting. And don’t forget to incorporate some hydrating pre-poo treatments into your routine to keep your color vibrant and your strands healthy.
17. Bright Blue-Black Hair
Heads up: You don’t have to commit to a permanent dye job to jump on the blue-black hair trend. If you’d rather tiptoe into the look at home first, try experimenting with a temporary dye first, which will last up to 15 washes.
18. Navy Blue-Black Hair
Not only is this pic honestly all of my hair-shine goals, but it’s also the perfect balance between muted blue and soft black, making it incredibly flattering on every skin tone. To get your hair as glossy as this, try adding a shine-enhancing toner to your weekly hair routine, like DpHue’s Color Boosting Gloss or Overtone’s Blue Toning Conditioner.
19. Blue-Black Shadow Roots
Ah, Billie. A true hair-color icon. If there’s any pic that’ll convince you to make the switch to blue-black hair, it’s this one. Also, if you’re going for a shadow-roots finish, I highly recommend mastering some half-up hairstyles ahead of time to let those dark roots shine.
20. Steel Blue-Black Hair
Once you have your gorgeous blue-black hair, the goal is to keep it looking this fresh and shiny for as long as possible. Make sure to load up on hair gloss (my favs: Shu Uemura Color Lustre and John Freida Color-Refreshing Gloss) and sulfate-free cleansers (try OGX Argan Oil of Morocco or Superzero’s shampoo bar) to keep your hair healthy and vibrant.
21. Bright Blue and Teal Hair
Two things I love about this blue-black balayage: (1) how striking the black roots are against the brighter shades of blue, and (2) how the color starts a few inches from the roots, meaning you don’t need to worry about the dreaded grow-out phase that comes with most hair trends.
22. Mint and Royal Navy Streaks
Allow me to introduce you to blue highlights, the happy medium between sticking with your same ol’ shade and going full-out blue. You’re likely still going to need some bleach, especially if you’re starting from dark brown or black, so get ready to concoct some DIY hair masks after your appointment to help restore the moisture levels in your hair.
23. Ocean Blue-Black Hair
The coolest part about blue-black hair is seeing which strands stand out brighter in different styles, whether you’re working with protective styles or curtain bangs. If dyeing your hair bright blue feels a little too whimsical for your personality, ask your stylist to skew the hue greener and into the teal category, like these ocean-inspired waves.
24. Midnight Face Framing Streaks
Not ready to commit to the full dye job, especially if you’re working with already-damaged hair or drier curl types? Not a problem. These blue face-framing streaks are super cute and give you the chance to play around with some blue-black hues at home with the use of wash-out hair wax.
25. Blue-Black Updo
If you’re looking to dye your natural hair, know that it’ll require bleach and at least a few sessions in the chair to get the color where you want it (to avoid losing your texture). So before you color, stock up on your sulfate free shampoo (like Carol’s Daughter or Nexxus), deep conditioners (hi, Shea Moisture and Kérastase), and pre-color treatments to prep your hair and make sure everything that touches your coils and curls is nourishing and restorative, not stripping or damaging.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.