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Hair color is such a personal choice, but a fun way to showcase your unique style. If you’re interested in a fantasy shade, yellow hair is a great way to pick something different that will definitely turn heads and spark a conversation. We’re highlighting some of the best yellow hair colors you can create, as well as how to find the right yellow hair dye for your skin tone and personality.
Your Yellow Hair Color Guide: Contents
- 61 Bright Yellow Hair Color Shades
- 8 Best Yellow Hair Dye Kits
- Best Yellow Hair Color for Your Skin Tone
- How to Dye Hair Yellow at Home
- Tips for Maintaining Your Yellow Hair Color
- Makeup Routine for Yellow Hair
- Fashion Tips for Yellow Hair
61 Bright Yellow Hair Color Shades to Try
From canary yellow to neon and pastel looks, these yellow hair colors are bright and just perfect for summer.
1. Sunny Ombre Yellow Hair
Natural roots transition into a bold yellow hair color that subtly shifts from an orange-yellow into a bold pop of sunflower. Add layers for a more natural effect and add big sexy curls with a large curling iron or wand for a full-wattage effect.
2. Fiery Veronica Lake
Veronica Lake was known for her iconic waves, but you can take it a step further with this bold ombre that requires you to bring the drama. Bright red roots smoothly transition to a rich orange hair color before finishing with a warm yellow. Use pins to set hair as you curl it on a large barrel roller to create that perfect Old Hollywood image.
3. Gradient Effect
Who said that yellow hair has to be one-dimensional? Turn heads with tresses that are primarily dyed yellow from root to tip. But create drama by adding subtle rose-pink highlights around the face.
4. Bright Harley Quinn
Who needs blue and red when you could go for red and a very warm copper yellow effect instead? Snag this Harley Quinn-inspired look by evenly parting hair before you add color. Set with loose curls to give it a nice finished look.
5. Yellow Blonde Angled Bob
You can have it all with this look, a classic bob with razored ends and a fresh color that’ll turn heads. To keep it realistic, leave roots natural and even allow some of your natural hair color to blend mid-length before shifting into this bold yet warm yellow hair color.
6. The Yellow for Not Really Yellow Fans
If bold yellow hair has you scared, you’ll appreciate this yellow-inspired ‘do. Strawberry blonde and warm honey roots blend into a traditional blonde hue, giving the effect and warmth of yellow, without the commitment of actually using a yellow hair dye.
7. For the Ultimate Lakers Fan
If sports comes first for you, this very untraditional twist on yellow hair dye may appeal to you. Specifically for Lakers fans (or Vikings fans), nap this look by dyeing your hair’s under-layers purple and reserving the bright yellow hair dye for your crown.
8. Pastel Yellow Bob
Not all yellow hair colors have to be neon bright and in your face. If you’re more about a subtle color play, you’ll appreciate this unique ombre that takes coral-hued roots and transitions them into a yellow, so barely-there you’ll swear that it’s actually blonde (which it is).
9. The Fire Starter
We get it, some people need to have all eyes on them no matter what. And if this sounds familiar, then we recommend this cute crop. Warm but darker red roots transition into bright neon yellow hair that’s reminiscent of watching a fire.
10. Warm Yellow Crop
If you’re concerned about yellow hair looking more clown show than dramatic, we understand. Avoid this fiasco by keeping your roots natural and opting for a yellow that’s warmer with orange hues in it. Leave about an inch to an inch and a half of your roots their natural color so that you’ll create that lived-in effect.
11. Fierce Glowing Bob
Angled bobs are naturally dramatic. But when you throw in a bold yellow hair color, all bets are off! To make this look work, hair should be precision razored and angled with the shortest length at the nape. Of course, that’s after your stylist applies a warm yellow hair dye with orange tones in it.
12. Just the Ends
Not everyone wants a full head of yellow hair. And we get it, that’s a serious commitment. If this sounds familiar, you’ll appreciate this crop, which takes long lengths and slowly transitions from naturally dark roots into an auburn middle before settling on a bold yellow at the ends. To make it work, match the tones between your yellow hair and your natural hair (warm with warm, cool with cool).
13. Transitional Yellow Hair
Who says that yellow hair has to be the style of the show? Maybe it’s just a part of the full story. In this look, natural roots blend into yellow hair before transitioning out into a warm copper-orange hue. Set hair on a large barrel curler to create a finished ‘do.
14. A Bit of Lavender
If you don’t want a full head of yellow but still want a ‘do that turns heads, we’ve got you. This look isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s a two-tone style that transitions from bold yellow roots into an almost sun-bleached blonde hair color before transitioning into the boldest lavender ends we’ve ever seen. This requires a precision coloring job, so it’s probably best to go to the pros.
15. Classic Crop with a Dose of Color
A bold hair color doesn’t have to feel over the top when done properly. This yellow hair is balanced by a balayage treatment that begins with darker roots and leaves some tresses untouched until the tips to create a more natural effect. This mid-length lob is set on a large curling iron to create a gentle tousled effect.
16. Golden Crown
We’re always fans of a gentle ombre treatment, and this one definitely fits the bill. Fiery orange roots softly transition into sunny yellow hair. But the star of this show is the actual hairstyle itself. The crown begins with French braids that are later woven into a beautiful flower effect – perfect for a special occasion.
17. The Black & Yellow
This is more than a classic song, it’s a whole mood. If you ever thought that black and yellow hair wouldn’t make sense, this ‘do proves that you’re wrong. Roots are intentionally dyed darker, while the middle and ends are dyed yellow and orange. Again, this is a precision hair dye project.
18. Honeyed Yellow Hair
Once again, you don’t need a full head of yellow hair to make an impression. If you like the idea of partially committing to color, ombre is the way to go. Dark roots are seamlessly shifted into a warm orangish hue before the ends are dyed yellow. But what sets this look apart is that the under-length of the hair is left dark to create a subtle bit of contrast.
19. Feeling Blue
Need more inspo for a subtler yellow hairstyle? How about an inky navy blue that transitions into yellow hair? For the best effect, hair should be fully bleached, so you have a good canvas. Opt for cool navy blue for the roots while leaving the middle length untouched. Then continue with a bold yellow hue for your ends.
20. Sunshine Bob
You really can’t go wrong with a bob. It’s classic, dramatic, and always in style. We’re loving how this razored bob is given a fresh effect thanks to the warm yellow hair color. But for a more natural effect, roots are left natural, and the transition into the yellow hue is gradual rather than stark.
21. Going Back to Your Roots
Not all yellow hair colors have to be blindingly bright. This sunny crop pairs a short yet sassy angled bob with yellow hair that’s more wearable for the less dramatic set. Natural roots are left longer, and a soft creamy yellow is applied roughly two to three inches out from the roots.
22. Neon Dream
If your mantra is “go big or go home,” this is the yellow hair color that you need. Warm yellow-orange roots transition into a bright neon yellow hue for a surprisingly organic effect. To bring it all together, set hair on a medium barrel curler and tousle for a fresh and earthy look.
23. Soft Ombre Yellow Hair
Yellow hair can come in so many hues that if you’re thinking of adopting this bright hair color, the options are limitless. Here, orangish roots transition into a warm yellow that reminds us more of orange juice than shocking neon. For a sleek effect, make sure that your roots are fully orange and keep tresses sleek and straight.
24. Harvest-Ready Yellow Hair
If you’re one of those people that live for a crisp autumn day, this is the hair color for you. The trick to making this work is to keep the “bold” yellow hair limited to the ends of your hair. The roots and majority of the length are given a more natural effect with a balayage that creates a natural blend between auburn, warm cinnamon, and hints of yellow that are carried higher to make it look like you’ve opted to grow out your yellow hair.
25. Classic Yellow Balayage with a Twist
Hands down, balayage is the best way to incorporate yellow hair dye into your look while still managing to make it look natural instead of shocking. This time, the effect is done on longer hair. But just like with the previous look, the roots and the bulk of the length are predominantly dyed with more natural-looking hues such as auburn and cinnamon, while the ends are dyed a bold and warm yellow.
26. The Perfect Cosplay Style
For the cosplayers and Lolita fans, this bold yellow hair is the perfect option. But even so, we like that there’s still variation. The hair isn’t just one yellow hue. Instead, the stylist opted for an ombre effect that transitions from warm to cool yellow hair dyes to create visual interest. For the ultimate cosplay style, the hair is half pinned up into two cute mini buns.
27. Make Them Green with Envy
Ombre hair is still in style, and for good reason. When done right, it’s mesmerizing to see. This time, bright yellow hair is balanced with a soft lime green crown to create a unique ombre effect that’s guaranteed to turn heads. Then the hair is set on a large barrel curler to create a polished finish.
28. Rosy Yellow Hair
Just because you want yellow hair doesn’t mean that you can only use that color. Here, a range of hues is used to achieve a unique effect. The roots are highlighted with balayage to transition between a fiery orange, pale blonde, and yellow blonde. But then strategic strands are painted rose gold to create a one-of-a-kind hair color that’s sure to turn heads.
29. Fire Yellow Hair
In case you haven’t noticed by now, one of the most popular yellow hair dye combinations is orange and yellow. While they’re not officially complementary colors, they just make each other pop naturally, which is why it’s a fan favorite. This time, an almost reddish orange hue is drawn down from the roots to mid-length before a warm sunshine yellow hair dye is applied from the mid-length through to the tips. But some yellow is strategically applied higher to give a more natural and “lived-in” effect.
30. Yellow Winter ‘Do
We totally get that a whole head of yellow hair might be a bit much for many people. So consider this look. Warm chocolate roots and mid-length are paired with a warm-hued yellow to give that “I’m growing my hair out” effect. While you could totally wear this hair straight, we do like the precision waves created on this lovely model.
31. Piecey Ray of Sunshine
If you prefer a more natural effect, it’s always best to blend natural roots (or the semblance of natural) into your look. In this style, natural roots gently transition into yellow hair before being curled on a wide barrel for a casual effect.
32. Chasing the Blues Away
Opt for an instant mood booster with this super bright play on yellow hair. Pick a bold hue that would rival the best that Crayola has to offer and keep it uniform from root to tip. To keep it interesting, have layers cut into your bob to help create texture and prevent it from looking like a wall of yellow.
33. Yellow-Orange Hair
We love that there’s no one way to go when it comes to yellow hair. This time, an inch of hair at the roots is left natural before transitioning into a bold and warm yellow-orange hue. To create a sleek effect, hair is loosely curled on a large barrel and gently brushed out for big sexy curls that anyone would love.
34. Bright from Root to Tip
If you’re more of the “go big or go home” variety, then you might not want to keep your roots their original color. If this sounds familiar, then this head-turning look involves committing to a bold yellow hair color but ensuring that it complements the undertones in your skin. Create layers around the face and razor the ends to create texture and set on a medium-width barrel to keep the look polished and sophisticated.
35. Bold Yellow on Yellow Ombre
There’s no rule that says you can only use one shade of yellow if you decide to snag this bold hue. After bleaching hair, go bolder at the roots with a warm golden yellow and gently shift to a cornsilk yellow at the ends to create dimension. While this is gorgeous on medium-length hair, this tonal ombre can be achieved on long or short hair, too.
36. Radioactive Yellow Hair
There’s no rule when it comes to combining fantasy colors – the sky is literally the limit. This time neon yellow hair transitions into bold lime green shades to create a look that will make people wonder if you’ve somehow managed to create a real-life filter so that you look stunning everywhere you go.
37. Go Green in Style
They’re not officially complementary colors on a chart or anything, but green and yellow have a wave vibing when we see them together. This time, the combination is edgy thanks to a healthy dose of natural roots that are left intact. This classic ombre application sees natural roots transition into a bold shamrock green before shifting into bold yellow hair. Curls are added to the tips of the hair to finish the look.
38. The Yellow That Isn’t
There are so many ways to go for yellow hair, especially if you’re not the type to go for a bold head-turning hue. Instead, this is another great middle-ground style that lets you dabble with color without going from zero to 100 in one appointment. To make it work, you’ll need a balayage stylist who knows how to precisely paint a gradient between warm browns and a pastel cornsilk yellow shade. Draw that gradient throughout the length while keeping the last two to three inches of your hair exclusively yellow.
39. Yellow Hair Color for Blondes
If you prefer being a blonde, that doesn’t mean that you can’t embrace yellow hair. Keep it natural by leaving your roots their original color but opt for a warmer blonde while also being mindful of your skin’s undertones.
40. Mermaid Yellow Hair
We can’t say no to fantasy hair, especially when it’s mermaid-inspired. Again, you’ll want an expert colorist to do this look, as it requires strategic rainbow color placement at the crown before transitioning into two yellow hues. Your mid-length will be left a bolder yellow with orange hues in it, while your ends are left lighter with a cornsilk yellow hair dye.
41. Fresh Gradient Yellow Hair
We can’t get enough of ombre and gradient styles, and this fresh twist on yellow hair colors is no exception. Almost neon yellow roots are gently mellowed into a literal strawberry blonde blend from the mid-length through to the tips. Light face-framing layers are added to keep the look modern.
42. Autumn Leaves
We might be a ways off from the fall season, but this vibrant yellow hair color puts us in the mood for pumpkin spice and hayrides. Natural roots are gently transitioned into warm orange-red hues before a bright yellow hair dye is applied from the middle length to the tip. To create more definition, layers are added, and hair is blown out for volume.
43. Rainbow Brite Yellow Hair
This reference might go over your head (no pun intended) if you’re not an ‘80s baby. But we’re getting Rainbow Brite vibes from this daring ‘do. Bold blondish yellow hair is given an edge by creating strategic rainbow highlights in the mid-length. Roots are left natural to keep it wearable. For added surprise (or to make it more wearable), place that rainbow color in middle layers, so it’s only visible if you wear your hair up in a pony or half ‘do.
44. Boho Yellow Hair Color
There are so many ways to wear yellow hair, and we’re loving this option. Roots are left natural and longer, while yellow hair dye that almost verges on a bold rich blonde is applied to the rest of the hair. Be sure to paint the yellow into the middle to create a natural gradient and prevent harsh lines. Set with a medium-sized barrel to create soft waves – a headband is optional!
45. Fiery Underside
We love seeing all the creative color blends stylists create with yellow hair. Here, the nape is colored a copper orange-red hue, while the bulk of the hair is painted a rich yellow with orange tones. The blend feels natural and creates serious visual contrast when the hair is worn up.
46. The Cheetah Inside
This is definitely a look for a bold gal who isn’t afraid to make a statement. And it also requires an expert colorist to pull it off without looking crazy. Hair is left yellowish blonde, while strategic charcoal gray hair dye is applied to select strands near the face and beneath the crown. Expertise is required to paint cheetah-like spots in face-framing strands for a look that’s guaranteed to be a conversation starter.
47. Bold Blue Ombre
If you liked our navy into yellow ombre but felt the blue was too subdued, then you’ll love this bold cobalt alternative. Much like with the other style, this one features a vivid cobalt crown that transitions into platinum gray before mellowing into a sunny yellow hair color. Set hair on a large barrel iron to create a polished effect.
48. Gradient Yellow Hair
There’s no one way to wear yellow hair, and we’re obsessed with this one. If you can’t decide between yellow or red, this unique gradient effect gives you the best of both worlds. A mix between cool and warm reds is applied to the crown and ends, while the middle relies on a bold yellow hair dye. The hair dye is gently blended to create a seamless transition for a stunning effect.
49. Festive Fall-Inspired Yellow Hair
If you’re not ready to commit to a full head of bold hair color, we get it – it’s not for everyone. But this fun play on yellow hair with orange accents puts us in the mood for Halloween trick or treating and apple picking. The majority of your hair is left natural, while select strands closest to your face and all of your ends are strategically dyed either yellow, orange, or an ombre blend of the two. Again, for something this precise, always go to a pro!
50. Sha-Bang Hair
Yes, we know, it’s a corny pun. But take a look at this ‘do, and you’ll understand why. While the main length of this classic shag cut is colored with a more natural warm blonde yellow hair dye, the real drama is in the bangs. While it may not be for everyone, we like that the lower half of the bangs was colored a vibrant yellow and that it was painted in a blunt fashion to create visual interest.
51. Sunshine Yellow Hair
Sunny yellow hair is always a must-do for us, and this bright and fresh crop is the perfect example of why that is. This yellow hue has strong orange influences and is uniformly applied from roots to tip. To keep is edgy, hair is cut into a bob with razored ends for texture.
52. “Lived-in” Yellow Hair
If you’re a fan of a little root action, you’ll like this yellow hairstyle. While roots are allowed to look grown out, a bold sunny hue is applied just below the crown and carried out through the ends. Hair is set on soft curls to soften the boldness of this hairstyle.
53. Another Sunny Day
Once again, yellow hair is a completely wearable look if you know how to apply the color properly. We like that the yellow hair dye is placed strategically further down the length of this model’s hair before dominating in the ends. To keep it wearable, keep your roots and middle natural with a gradual transition.
54. Two Pops of Color
Clearly a lot of people are influenced by the Harley Quinn trend of 50-50 hair. If you’re bold enough to pull this off, you’ll want to keep roots natural and then pick a sunny yellow hair dye for one half of your head and a gentle rose gold for the other. Side-swept bangs and soft layers frame the face to take the edge off of this bold color combo.
55. Non-Yellow Yellow Hair
We love that there are so many options for people who might be a little leery of yellow hair but still want to take the plunge. This time warm chocolate brown roots are transitioned below the crown into a bright classic yellow hue. But strategic strands are lifted almost completely to the roots to create visual interest.
56. Go Bold or Go Home
Some people feel that there’s no point in wearing a bold hair color if you’re going to play it safe. If this sounds familiar, then this bold yellow orange hue should be applied from root to tip for an eye-catching effect. Set hair on a medium-size barrel to create waves and texture.
57. Just a Pop of Color
Not ready to fully commit to color? Then why not color just the ends? We’re loving this bold bob that features shorter blunt cut Betty Paige-style bangs and a smidge of color at the ends. A warm blonde hue that’s naturally multidimensional is paired with a bold yellow that’s applied to the lower two inches of this model’s hair. But we like how the color is applied to create the illusion that she opted to slowly grow out her yellow.
58. Neon Shock
Bold fashionistas are going to really love this hairstyle. If you’re ready to make a commitment and go outside of your comfort zone, then you can’t do better than this neon yellow hair. The color is applied uniformly and complements the classic bob with bangs.
59. Two-Toned Duel
Picking the perfect hair color can be such a struggle. So why pick just one color? This is another popular color combo that pairs a warm yellow with a fiery orange hue. While the bulk of the hair is dyed orange, the face-framing portion is left yellow and set on a medium-barrel curler to create a soft wavy texture.
60. ‘90s Throwback
The ‘90s were all about neon colors. And if you’re looking to create an homage to the era, this is the look you want to recreate. While the crown is colored a bold yellow, the ends are dyed a neon green, and a strategic set of under layer highlights in a bold neon pink. Totally ‘rad.
61. Golden Rays
There’s nothing wrong with a classic bold hue of yellow. This stylist opted for a wearable approach by keeping the roots dark. A warm yellow hair dye with slightly orangish tones is applied roughly two inches down from the root and continues through to the ends. Hair is set on soft curls to create visual interest.
8 Best Yellow Hair Dye Kits to Try at Home
While many of the more precise yellow hair inspirations we posted above should be done with a professional colorist, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try your hand at DIY yellow hair. If you’re feeling confident and are ready to tackle this bold color at home, these are some of the best semi-permanent yellow hair color options that can help you achieve a bold and sunny ‘do.
1. Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Electric Banana
If you prefer a gentle color deposit, then Manic Panic is one of the best options. In addition to being vegan-friendly, this yellow hair dye is actually a semi-permanent deposit rather than a dye. Depending on your hair’s current color, you can achieve a vibrant yellow hue or something more subdued. For first-timers who’ve never dyed hair before, Manic Panic is always a great starting point. Buy it on Amazon!
2. Crazy Color Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream in Canary Yellow
Crazy Color is another great semi-permanent yellow hair dye that lasts up to nine weeks. For maximum effect, you’ll need to lift your hair color. But this four-pack set is a great economical option if you’re looking to go yellow for a long period of time. Shop for it at Amazon!
3. La Riche Directions Hair Color in Bright Daffodil
If you haven’t guessed the consistent trend with yellow hair dye, you need to use it on bleached or naturally light blonde hair to get the maximum effect. But you’ll like that Directions Hair Color is suitable for all hair types, meaning that this is a great option for kinky curly tresses that want to go bold. Buy it on Amazon!
4. Punky Semi-Permanent Conditioning Hair Color in Bright Yellow
While semi-permanent hair colors tend to be gentler and better for your hair since they’re only depositing color that eventually washes out, if you’re vegan, it can be hard to find bold color payoff that squares with your moral code. Punky’s bright yellow hue fits the bill and is also paraben-free. You’ll also appreciate that this yellow hair color lasts up to 25 washes. Buy it on Amazon!
5. Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Cosmic Sunshine
If you scrolled through our inspo section, you noted that “yellow hair” isn’t limited to one hue. We like that Arctic Fox is one of the few semi-permanent hair color brands that actually show you what results you can expect to achieve, depending on your base color. Plus, this is another vegan-friendly and cruelty-free yellow hair dye option. Buy it on Amazon!
6. Clairol Color Crave Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Daffodil
If you prefer a yellow hair dye that you can easily find in your local drugstore, then Clairol is the way to go. This bold box color is a no-mix solution that comes with a tinting brush for easier applications. But you’ll like that this is one of the best choices for someone who isn’t ready to fully commit to a long-term relationship with yellow hair. Clairol’s Color Crave collection is designed to last for roughly two weeks or 15 washes. Buy on Amazon!
7. Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Semi-Permanent Hair Color Tint in Tweet
If you’re familiar with Lime Crime’s bold vegan-friendly makeup, then you’ll love their semi-permanent hair color tint. This bright sunny yellow hair dye is gentle but, of course, will show up the brightest on lighter hair colors. Buy it at Ulta!
8. Wella Color Fresh Create Semi-Permanent Shades Hair Color in Future Yellow
If you’re more experienced with at-home coloring projects, then Wella is a good step up. This professional-level hair color is gentle on hair and fades true to tone as well. Seasoned home colorists will like that you can adjust the processing time to adjust the shade outcomes from pastel to vibrant. You’ll like that this yellow hair dye kit also comes with a tinting brush. This hair color is also designed to cover grays completely. Buy it on Amazon!
Finding the Best Yellow Hair Color for Your Skin Tone
Finding the right hair color hue for your skin tone is exactly like finding the right foundation. You can’t just slap any yellow hair color on and hope for the best. So, let’s discuss how to find the right yellow for your skin tone.
First, start by thinking about your skin tone. The three main categories are pale, olive, and dark.
• Paler fashionistas should be careful, as bolder neon yellows can be less forgiving against your fair skin. Instead, go softer with a nice pastel version of yellow.
• Olive skin will probably do best if they opt for one of the multi-color options we highlighted in our inspo section. An all-over yellow hue (whether bold or pastel) can leave you looking muted.
• If you have darker skin, the hair color world is your oyster. There aren’t too many colors or intensity levels that won’t work with your rich skin tone.
But Focus on Your Undertones
Using just your skin tone will give you a general guide, but you should really focus on your undertones. Just like when you shade-match makeup such as foundation or concealer, your undertone will dictate the best shade as opposed to just relying on your general tone. Using undertones to determine your right color will give you far better accuracy and ensure that you’re truly picking the right yellow shade that will be complimentary.
If you’re not sure about your undertone, do the vein test. Look at the veins on the inside of your wrists under natural light (i.e. the sun).
- If your veins look green or green-blue, then you have warm undertones.
- If your veins look purplish or blue, then you have cool undertones.
- If you can’t tell what color your veins are, then your undertone is neutral.
But this is where it can get tricky because technically speaking, yellow is considered a warm shade. As you saw from our inspo above, even within yellow, there are warmer options that have an orange depth to them, as well as cooler options that are more muted or bluish.
• So, if you have warm undertones, you’ll want to stick with yellow shades that appear warmer and more vibrant – specifically hues that have hints of orange or red.
• If you have cooler undertones, opt for a pastel shade instead.
• But if you have neutral undertones, you’ve got the best of both worlds and can play with any hue within the yellow family.
If You Want Multiple Colors…
As you saw in our inspo hairstyle pictures, many of the cool looks actually offered more than just yellow hair. Popular options included orange, green, purple, and blue. This is because purple is a complementary color that sits directly across from yellow on the color wheel.
Meanwhile, green and orange are analogous colors that sit on either side of yellow. And blue is triadic because it sits equidistantly from yellow and red (the other two primary colors).
So, if you want to create an ombre or gradient effect with other fantasy colors – or just want to create visual interest – you should get familiar with a color wheel before you make your selections.
How to Dye Yellow Hair at Home
So, you’ve picked out a yellow hair color shade that compliments your skin tone and undertone. Now it’s time to get to dyeing that hair! But let’s start from the beginning by setting some ground rules. Specifically, keep this in mind: color cannot lift color. Hair dye (regardless of whether it’s permanent or semi-permanent) isn’t designed to lift your hair color. It can only deposit color.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Starting Color and the State of Your Hair
For the sake of brevity, let’s just call yellow hair a fantasy color. It’s a bright and vivid color, regardless of whether you go for a bold neon or a muted pastel.
Bright, vivid or pastel hair colors tend to be the most visible on light blonde hair. This means that unless your hair is a natural light blonde, you’re going to need to lift your hair color before you apply yellow hair dye.
But if you’re not starting with virgin hair (hair that has never been dyed, bleached, or processed), you’ll also want to consider the current health of your hair. If your hair is over-processed from bleaching and relaxing, you’ll want to start by deep-conditioning your hair or applying a protein treatment and getting it back to a healthy state before you attempt to lift the color. Keep in mind, the more processing you apply to your hair, the more fragile it will be.
Step 2: Consider How Vibrant You Want the Yellow to Be
Are you looking to go from a natural hair shade to something bold and vibrant? Or do you just want a subtle hint of color? If you’re trying to go for a shockingly bold hue, and your hair is naturally dark, then you’ll need to bleach or lift your hair significantly if it’s not naturally blonde.
If you’re only looking for a slight glaze effect (a hint of color in the sun but nothing bold) or are okay with the yellow appearing differently over previously colored hair, then ignore the lifting step and go straight to applying the color.
Step 3: Lift Your Hair Color – Bleaching
If you already have naturally light hair, you can skip this step and go straight to applying yellow hair dye. But if you don’t have naturally light hair, and your goal is vibrant yellow hair, you’ll need to decide which lift level is right to achieve your desired end result. In general, there are 10 levels on a lift chart, with one being the darkest hair and 10 being the lightest.
As a guide, you should attempt to safely lift two to three levels per lifting session. But there are high-lift options that can lift by as many as five levels in one session. To lift your hair color, you’ll need to mix bleach with a developer, get it to a creamy pudding-like consistency, and then apply it to your hair.
Depending on the current color of your hair and the lift level you’re targeting, you’ll need to choose the right developer volume. Developer is sold in 10, 20, 30, and 40 volume levels. Since you’re not just lifting the hair color but trying to open the hair’s cuticle to optimize future color deposits, you’ll want to focus on 20, 30, or 40 developer.
- 10 developer will not lift hair color
- 20 developer will lift by one or two levels
- 30 developer will lift by two to three levels
- 40 developer will lift up to four levels
However, 40 developer is extremely strong, so you should be careful if you use this strength and space out applications if you need to perform multiple lift sessions to reach your desired level. Still, don’t be stingy with your bleach. The hair should be fully saturated and not gritty or dry. So, you may need to purchase several bleach packets depending on how much length you’re attempting to lift.
Usually, for a fantasy color like yellow hair, you’ll want to target anything from level seven or higher on the lift chart so that you get visible results when you apply color later. Keep in mind, previously colored hair may need more aggressive bleaching to reach a blonde color light enough to give you the desired end result. So, you may need multiple bleaching sessions.
However, you need to space them out to give your hair time to recover between applications. Attempting to perform multiple bleaching sessions too close together can cause damage and even hair loss.
If you’re trying to remove previous hair color from your hair, this can be trickier. While there are a few at-home hacks that can be fairly effective, if you’re attempting to dye or lift over older semi-permanent hair color, the best path might be just waiting for it to fade out after the outlined total washes or using a stripper that can fully remove all color molecules from your hair. If you are attempting to lift hair with permanent color already in it, you should consider seeing a pro to prevent damaging your hair.
Step 4: Check the Health of Your Hair Again
After lifting to the desired level, you need to check your hair’s health again. Especially if you had to attempt multiple bleaching sessions, this is the time to deep-condition and baby your hair. It’s not necessary to make it a marathon hair day session where you lift and color in one day.
Even though most at-home yellow hair dye options are semi-permanent rinses that only deposit color, lighter hues can magnify dry and damaged hair. So, it’s worth it to take the time for a few deep conditions or protein treatments before you move on to depositing color.
Step 5: Applying the Hair Dye
For at-home color jobs, semi-permanent color can be the least intimidating and the most goof-proof. But you’ll need to check the instructions on your preferred semi-permanent color and follow them. While traditional box dyes allow you to apply hair color over dirty hair, some semi-permanent brands require that you apply color to clean damp hair or clean dry hair.
Depending on your style goals, you may want to apply color all over, just on your ends, or as strategic highlights. If you’re attempting an all-over color, you’ll want to stay about a quarter of an inch away from your roots to prevent accidentally staining your scalp. Whichever you choose, it’s best to use a hair dye brush for improved precision and to wear gloves to prevent staining on your hands.
Likewise, just as with bleaching, don’t be cheap with the color application. You want those strands fully saturated for the best color uptake possible. If it means buying multiple bottles of your preferred color, so be it.
Section off your hair to apply the dye easily, and as you are applying the dye, run the hair dye brush through the same section a couple of times to ensure even application.
Also, you need to check the processing times, as this can vary (normally 30-45 minutes). Some hair colors recommend that you process with heat to help the color better penetrate the hair shaft. If this is the case, you can use a processing cap or a plastic grocery bag. Use a bonnet blow dryer for 360-degree heat penetration or a regular blow dryer if you don’t have one. Again, be mindful of the processing time.
Step 6: Wash and Condition
Once your hair has had time to process, it’s time to wash out the rinse. Assuming you started with clean hair, you don’t need to use shampoo and can go straight to the conditioner step.
For the best results, use a color-safe conditioner that won’t prematurely strip out the yellow hair dye. The same applies if you placed hair dye over dirty hair and need to use a conditioner. And if you can handle it, rinse your hair in cool water – or as cold as you can stand it. This will also help to close the hair cuticles and prevent the color from rinsing out.
Step 7: Evaluate the Results
If you were going for a vibrant yellow hair color and didn’t quite hit the mark, you may need to apply another round of hair dye. Since semi-permanent rinses are gentle and are only depositing color, there’s no risk of over-processing or damaging your hair if you need to do it again.
If you want to, you can immediately reapply the color – just be sure to follow the application instructions. However, if you picked a box dye that had a built-in developer in the dye, you should wait, deep-condition, and give your hair time to rest before you color it again.
Tips for Maintaining Your Yellow Hair Color
Now that you’ve got vibrant yellow hair, you probably want it to last more than a couple of weeks. This means that you might need to invest in products designed specifically to prevent bright hair colors from fading.
Add in Dry Shampoo
Traditional shampoos that need water and lather can wash out color with every rinse. So, dry shampoo is a great way to keep your coif fresh and maintain the vibrancy of your yellow hair color. Make sure that the dry shampoo is color-safe, as even this beauty hack has the potential to dull bright tresses.
Keep the Water Cold
Dry shampoo is great, but you can’t use it forever. When you do wash your hair, opt for cold water, as it’s better at maintaining color as opposed to hot water.
Depending on how long you plan on rocking yellow hair, you’ll need to touch it up from time to time. While some brands like Overtone offer color conditioners to keep your hues vibrant with every wash, you can do this on your own too. Mix your hair rinse with your favorite conditioner and use it to deposit a bit of color each time you wash your hair.
While this is usually a hair care hack for the curly community, it also works for vibrant hair colors. Co-washing is the act of using only conditioner to wash your hair. Not only is shampoo drying, but also it can strip out yellow hair dye. Instead, a co-wash can preserve your hair color longer.
Update Your Hair Products
Vibrant hair needs color-safe products. If you can’t bear to give up shampoo, look for options that are designed for use on color-treated hair. This might mean you need to upgrade to salon-quality products, which are more expensive. But that’s the price of beauty.
Invest in Deep-Conditioning Treatments
Depending on how much you had to lighten your hair before applying yellow hair dye, your hair may be very dry. To make sure that it looks fresh and healthy, you’ll need to apply deep conditioning or hot oil treatments to infuse moisture and sheen.
Limit Heat Use
Excessive heat tool use is bad for anyone’s hair. But when you have vivid hair colors, if you had to bleach your hair to achieve that hue, you’ll want to minimize your use of blow dryers or curlers and flat irons.
Avoid the Pool
Color-treated hair and chlorine are not a good combination. If you can’t entirely avoid the pool, one of the best options is to wet your hair and apply a leave-in conditioner before you take a dip. This helps keep the chlorine from penetrating and changing the hue of your yellow hair.
Unless your hair was naturally light blonde before you shifted to yellow hair, you had to do some type of process to achieve a light-enough hair color. If you had to bleach your hair to apply yellow hair dye, take some time off before you attempt to further process your hair (i.e. relaxers or perms). Applying multiple processes on your hair too closely together can lead to permanent damage or even hair loss if the hair is severely damaged.
Your Makeup Routine for Yellow Hair
Much like our “finding the best yellow hair color” section, the right makeup is going to depend on your skin tone and undertones. In truth, there are no rules when it comes to makeup, aside from finding the right complexion shades that match your actual skin tone and undertone.
The reality is, if you were always wearing bold makeup looks before you dyed your hair yellow, you’d probably continue on that trend. If you prefer more neutral or understated looks, the same will apply. But the rules below are general guidelines that, truthfully, would also apply if you had a more natural hair color.
Blending Is Key
Harsh foundation lines or eyeshadow is a dead giveaway that you didn’t nail your makeup look. Blend foundation into your neck and chest and blend out eyeshadow to prevent lines of demarcation. If you don’t have a flawless look, your bright yellow color will highlight the flaws even more.
Don’t be Afraid to Match
While yellow can be an intimidating hue for hair and makeup, it’s not necessarily forbidden to match your makeup with your hair color. However, you might want to take it easy and avoid doing an entire yellow look complete with yellow hair, eyes, blush, lips, and cheeks. Pick one item on your face to match with your hair and play up that asset.
Try to Find Balance
As a general rule, only one item in your makeup look should be bold. A bold eye, lip, and cheek combination can make you look like a 1980s throwback. Pick one of the above and use that as your bold accent that anchors the rest of your look.
Shade-Matching Still Applies
Regardless of whether you like a bold face or something more neutral, what’s not forgivable is wearing a foundation or concealer that’s several shades lighter or darker than your real skin tone. Take the time to get your skin tone and undertones properly matched because yellow hair or not, we can all tell if your face and body don’t match.
When You Doubt, Go Neutral
With hair as bright as yellow, sometimes toning down your makeup game is the way to guy. A nude lipstick, neutral eyeshadow shades, and a soft look, in general, will flatter yellow hair colors the most.
Fashion Tips for Those with Yellow Hair
In truth, yellow hair is pretty bold and makes a statement all on its own. And while in theory you can consult a color wheel every day to pair the “proper” complementary or analogous colors with your vibrant hair color, this isn’t exactly practical.
Much like with makeup, you’re probably not going to overhaul your wardrobe just because you dyed your hair yellow – unless you’re sticking to yellow indefinitely. Seriously, if you were a bold fashionista before the yellow hair, we can assume you’ll be one afterwards. So, here are some general fashion guidelines that can go a long way in improving your overall look no matter what hue you rock on your head.
• Pick one focal item. Maybe this is a bold accessory or a bright pair of pants. But every item you’re wearing shouldn’t be fighting for attention because your yellow hair is already going to turn heads.
• Patterns shouldn’t fight. If you opt for a polka dot top, it’s not a good idea to pair it with a striped bottom. Again, pick one focal item and build your wardrobe around that.
• Watch out for monochrome matching. It’s tempting to match your outfit to your hair, but you’ll want to make sure it’s complementary. Depending on the vibrancy of your yellow hair, finding the perfect matching yellow shade in your clothes can be difficult.
• Don’t feel pressure to overhaul your wardrobe to match your hair. If you live by the strict rules of a color wheel, yellow should only be paired with hues of violet, orange, or green. While these are pretty combinations, that can be limiting.
• Just have fun. Fashion is a form of self-expression, much like hair color. Don’t let something that’s meant to be fun make you feel tied down.
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