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Underdye Hair | 15 Trending Looks & Style Guide

The underdye hair color trend is back in a big way and modern techniques make it better than ever. See different ways to wear this fun trend and find out how you can work this popular hair dye technique into your look below.

Considering Underdye Hair?

Underdye hair depicted in a graphic with an explainer of what the hairstyle is

Sick of seeing the same hair colors (ash blonde, anyone?) and dye techniques (ahem, balayage) over and over? You’re probably ready to broaden your horizons and start looking at up-and-coming hair color trends that haven’t fully saturated the internet. Yet. 

Underdye hair color is one of these burgeoning trends. It’s a truly unique dye technique that gives you these fun pops of unexpected color on the bottom layers of the hair. 

In this technique the dye is not applied to the top layers of the hair. So the color only peeks through when you move your head or pull it up. That makes it appealing to many women who want to try a new color without fully committing to it by dying their entire head. 

It also results in less overall damage to your hair (less hair is dyed or bleached), less maintenance than all-over color, and gives you the freedom to be a little more experimental with your color choice. 

If you were alive and aware during the 00s, the underdye hair trend is nothing new to you. You probably remember celebs like Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne, and Nicole Richie rocking peekaboo color on the underside of their hair in the heyday of alternative looks.

Today’s underdye hair color looks are less trashy, more classy, and a lot more modern. As hair coloring techniques and methods continually get better, we’re seeing a resurgence in women coloring the underside of their hair. 

You might be thinking about trying the underdye trend out soon. But before you commit to this unique dye method, you’re going to want to see lots of examples to get some photo inspiration. We’ve got you covered! 

It’s a good idea to learn about underdye hair color and what your options are, too. We’ll finish up with a few things you should think about before booking your appointment. Let’s take a peek underneath and see what’s up with the underdye color trend! 

What Is Underdye Hair Color?

TL;DR: Underdye hair color is hair dye that isn’t applied to the top layer of hair, only the underside. 

Underdye hair color (sometimes called peekaboo hair color) refers to dye that is applied to the underside of the hair, usually the section of hair that is closest to the neckline. Variations are common, though, and different hair characteristics and application can change the entire look. Here’s a look at how underdye color can vary:

  • Depth: Underdyed color can be done at any “depth” in the hair. Color may be applied to the section closest to the neckline. But we often see underdyed sections done closer to the surface so they peek through a bit more. 
  • Placement: Underdyed color may be symmetrical and applied to an entire layer of the hair. The peekaboo color may be applied with highlights or lowlights under the top layer. It can also be applied only to specific sections (like bangs or on one side). A popular look is a shaved undercut that is then dyed a different color to make it stand out more. 
  • Color: Any color can be used for underdye color techniques. While the traditional hair colors like blonde, brunette, red, and black are commonly used, it’s really popular to use vivid, vibrant colors that catch the eye. 
  • Length: The length of your hair will change the way underdyed sections look. If you have very short hair (like a pixie cut), your underdye will be visible all the time. If you have longer hair, your color may be hidden until the wind blows, you part or move your hair, or pull it up. 

With all these variations, you can create so many different looks with your underdye color. We’ll talk more about choosing the way you want your underdye color to look in the Things to Consider section. For now, let’s shift our attention to some of the underdye hair color examples we found and can’t stop drooling over. 

15+ Underdye Hair Color Looks to Obsess Over

We’re always looking for the next hair trend we can unashamedly obsess over. The underdye color trend is definitely drool-worthy and we’re outright obsessing over here. You’ll join us after you see these gorgeous inspiration pics! 

1. Black and Blonde Underdye 

Black and Blonde Underdye hair on a woman dressed elegantly in a black sweater

dogherine/Shutterstock

Pairing dramatic black with light-hearted blonde creates a cool juxtaposition that will draw every eye to your ‘do. In this look, the face-framing sections on the underside of the hair are bleached blonde for a beautiful contrast that shows up best when the hair is tucked behind the ears. 

2. Colors of the Rainbow Underdye

Colors of the Rainbow Underdye

Louise LeGood/Shutterstock

Peekaboo rainbow color is so fun and unexpected! We love how the light, buttery blonde on top doesn’t take any attention away from the vibrant range of colors shining out from underneath. 

3. Brunette With Peekaboo Warm Blonde

Brunette With Peekaboo Warm Blonde Underdye Hair

You Kitten/Shutterstock

Need to keep things professional or workplace-appropriate? Opt for hidden underdye like this. Only the section that spans from behind the ears down to the neckline is bleached for a delightful contrast that only shows when the hair is pulled up. 

4. Designed and Dyed Undercut

Designed and Dyed Undercut for a piece on underdye hair

Guilherme Publik/Shutterstock

One word for this look: Wow! If you’re bold in your hairstyle choices and don’t mind taking big risks, this is the edgy look for you. A high undercut shaved into the back with shaved designs is brought to life with vibrant blue and purple hues under pretty platinum blonde.

Read Next: Purple Hair Examples

5. Caramel Strawberry Blonde Over Black

Image for a piece on underdye hair, a woman rocking a Caramel Strawberry Blonde Over Black style

Sundraw Photography/Shutterstock

This unique strawberry-caramel blonde hair color is sure to turn heads all on its own, but with the dramatic depth of black peeking out from underneath, it’s a whole look. Prefer something a little more “light?” Opt for black or brunette lowlights underneath instead.  

6. Magenta Underdyed Fringe

Magenta Underdyed Fringe

eurobanks/Shutterstock

This is a cool, punk-y twist on the underdye hair color trend and we are loving it! Keep your vibrant color selection to one small section of your hair – the bangs are done here – with only very thin strands laying over it from the top uncolored section. It gives the color a cool effect and is a unique way to wear this trend. 

7. Platinum Over the Rainbow

Woman in a salon chair getting Platinum Over the Rainbow underdye hair

Focus and Blur/Shutterstock

Find yourself somewhere over the rainbow with this pretty blend of high-saturation pastels and platinum blonde. Blues, pinks, and purples bring the underside to life and the top blonde section can be pinned up or back to show it off when you want. Add curls for a gorgeous finishing touch! 

8. Long With Dyed Undercut

Long Underdyed Hair With Dyed Undercut

Pinto Horse/Shutterstock

A detailed undercut design that reminds us of a sunflower mandala would be the centerpiece of this pretty, long hairstyle, but then the orange and green underdye waltzed in and became the pièce de résistance. Since the hair is kept quite long, the peekaboo color will only show when you want it to. 

9. Icy Blue Fade With Peekaboo Underdye

Icy Blue Fade With Peekaboo Underdye

Spaskov/Shutterstock

This cool-toned drop fade levels up with the help of a complete rainbow of vibrant colors peeking out underneath. Here, the underdye is applied to both the longer sections and the short shaved portion for more pops of color.

Read Next: Blue Hair Ideas

10. Royal Purple Under Vibrant Copper

Royal Purple Under Dye Hair with Vibrant Copper Accents

Kobrin Photo/Shutterstock

Deep purple gives off a magical vibe from the underside of the hair while bright, fiery copper and pink tones rule the top. When the hair is all lying flat, you can still see the longest layers of the deep purple tones in this layered style. 

11. Ultraviolet With Mulberry Underdye

Ultraviolet Mulberry Hair With Auburn Underdye

Viachaslau Govorkov/Shutterstock

Shaggy haircuts really show off peekaboo colors well thanks to all the layers in them. Here, a bright ultraviolet color catches your attention and appears to be “shadowed” by a warm mulberry color popping out at the ends. 

12. Rosy Platinum Over Auburn

For an idea for underdye hair, a woman with Rosy Platinum Over Auburn Hair

Lil Maria/Shutterstock

A unique rose-toned platinum (the new rose gold, perhaps?) would be the star of the show, but a deep and hearty auburn color on the underside is what really shines through. We love how this unexpected color combo works! 

13. Electric Blue Multi-Colored Underdye

Electric Blue Multi-Colored Underdye Hair

Anna Zheludkova/Shutterstock

If the electric blue doesn’t get ya, the vivid colors underneath will! What better way to highlight a bold, vibrant hair color choice like blue than by adding in other bold colors? You only get the full effect when the hair is pulled up – otherwise, it just looks blue.

Read Next: Galaxy Hair Ideas

14. Peek-Through Pastel Blue

Peek-Through Pastel Blue underdye hair idea

Oleg Gekman/Shutterstock

This example shows a bubblegum pink color on top that gradually gives way to this pastel peek-through blue color on the underside. The large barrel curls gathered to one side are a great way to show your underdye off!  

15. Mardi Gras Underdye

Mardi Gras Underdye hair inspiration on a woman with her head down brushing the top of her hair

VH-studio/Shutterstock

If savoring a piece of king cake while marching down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras was a hair color, this would be it. Have fun with bold green, purple underneath and yellow (gold) color on top for a color scheme that will have you celebrating! 

16. Cherry Red Fringe With Purple-Ebony Underdye

Cherry Red Fringe With Purple-Ebony Underdye

Sundraw Photography/Shutterstock

Here’s a neat take on the underdye trend! Cherry red bleeds into a pretty, dark purple tone on the top layers. Pure ebony black color is applied underneath to create a nice contrast and shadow effect that gives this style so much depth. 

Things to Consider

Yes, it’s a gorgeous look. Yes, there’s a ton of variation so you can get the look you want. And yeah, it’s something a little different and more unique than other hair trends we’re sort of sick of seeing. But there are a few potential downsides to getting underdye hair color and it’s important to know about those before you commit.

Here’s what you need to consider before you book your appointment:

The Color Will Wash Out or Grow Out Over Time 

Don’t expect your underdye color to be a permanent part of your new look – maintenance is required to keep it looking good. If you choose a semi-permanent color, it will wash out and fade after a month or two. 

If you choose a permanent color, it will have to grow out because the color won’t fade. Luckily, you can usually hide unwanted roots or faded color if you have long hair. For ladies with short locks, more maintenance is required to keep the color looking vibrant. 

Consider How It Will Affect Your Commitments

Workplaces, schools, churches, and even volunteer organizations you’re a part of may have rules about allowed hair colors. If you’re involved in any organization or group that may not allow non-traditional colors, you may be forced to wear your hair down everyday.

This will hide the dyed sections or unable to wear certain styles that show your new hair color. Think about this and find out what (if any) hair color rules you have to follow before you spend money on this service. 

Think About the Cost and Upkeep First

Dying your hair is never a one-and-done service. It requires costly maintenance and upkeep to continue looking good. So think about how the costs and time will add up over time if you choose to get underdye color. 

Your first appointment might run anywhere from $50 to over $200 (according to average hair dye costs) and touch-up appointments may cost somewhere between $30-$60.

If you get this service and go in for touch-ups twice before choosing a different look, you could spend between $110 and $320 in total! 

Choose Complementary Colors

The color(s) you choose for the underside of your hair is important to give lots of consideration to. You need to think about how the color will look with the rest of your hair and your skin tone.

If your hair is a warm color, like a copper red or caramel blonde, steer clear of cool-toned colors for the sections underneath and vice versa. Make sure you’re choosing colors that work well with the undertones in your skin, too. Warm undertones that look best in warm colors and gold should stick to warm colors.

Cool undertones that look best in cool colors and silver should keep with cool colors. Neutral undertones that look great in both warm/cool colors and gold/silver can choose any color – as long as it looks good with the rest of the hair color. 

Start Small If You’re Unsure About It

You don’t have to commit to dying large sections of the underside of your hair right off the bat. If you’re feeling a little unsure about it, try starting small.

Ask your stylist to do just a few highlights in the underside of your hair that will peek through subtly. This gives you a chance to see how you like peekaboo color without the cost and commitment of dying the full underside. 

Just Have Fun With It

Hair is one of the best ways to express yourself, so if you like the underdye look, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it! If you’d never rock a vibrant color all-over, you might love the way an unexpected pop of purple brightens up your look when it peeks through the top layer of your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is underdye?

An underdye is a popular hair coloring technique where the stylist dyes the under half of your hair a different color than the top half. First, separate the hair into a top section and a bottom section. Then dye is applied to the bottom portion. Many people choose to use an unnatural color like blue, pink, or purple for their dye.

What is peekaboo hair?

Peekaboo hair is another name for underdye hair. It gets its name because you can slightly see the color out from under the top color of the hair when you style it in a down hairdo. Generally, this should be a bright color, so it peeks out of your natural shade when you run your fingers through it.

What is undercolor hair?

Undercolor hair is another name for underdye or peekaboo hair. These terms are all used interchangeably. If you ask your stylist for any of these options, they are sure to know what you are asking for.

What is balayage hair?

Balayage is the French word for “to sweep.” Balayage hair is a technique where the stylist uses a random sweeping method to dye the hair. It is often a lighter color than the client’s original hair color. It gives hair a natural look of depth and effortless sophistication.

How do you do underlights in your hair?

Doing underlights on your own can be tricky because it requires that you section off your hair in a way that may impair your vision for the section of hair that you are dying. It is also hard to achieve even coloring if you do it yourself. Start by sectioning off your hair in two parts, then secure the top half and proceed with the dye instructions from the dye you are using as usual on the lower half.

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