6 Things to Consider Before Dyeing Your Hair a Neon Hue, According to Top Colorists


The minute we saw Billie Eilish rocking bright green roots, dyeing our hair a neon hue seemed like the way to go.

Unlike most hair colors, neon is a bit tricker to achieve and maintain. It’s not one you can get from some store-bought box dye—which really feels like a blessing in disguise.

If you’ve been itching to dye your hair a neon shade, as it’s a top 2020 hair trend, there are a few things to be aware of beforehand.

We reached out to some of the top colorists all across the globe to get their advice on going neon. Below are six things they want you to know before dyeing your hair a neon hue!

1. Find someone who specializes in neons.

We all likely have a hair stylist we regularly go to, but if they don’t specialize in neon colors, achieving the look you want might not be possible.

Colorist Christina Pham urges the importance of this notion:

“Always, always, always go to a professional, but that should go without saying. But a key factor is to find a stylist who specializes in vivids, because for neons especially, a true level 9 – 10 is recommended for best results.”

2. Your hair will need to be lightened.

This sort of goes without saying, but no matter your hair color (yes, even some blondes), you’ll need to have your hair lightened if you really want the neon shade to pop on your strands.

Parris Noelle, owner of Bungalow 21, lays it all out:

“If you’re brunette, especially, but even blondes, you’ll need to lighten the hair. It grabs the bright color better with a fresh blonde. Depending on the color, you’ll need to be pretty light.”

3. Expect to spend plenty of time in the chair.

Going for the neon look isn’t something that happens in an hour, especially depending on the hair color you’re starting with.

Parris Noelle notes, “If you are brunette, it will obviously be a longer process than if you start out blonde. It shouldn’t be damaging if the lightening process is done right, which may mean it may go slower than you want and take several sessions.”

Pulp Riot educator and colorist Kelly Martin also stresses this is a long process:

“This process would be considered a double-process color. This means there are two full color processes happening in one session, so plan on being in the salon anywhere from five to eight hours from start to finish.”

Christina Pham says to “trust the process,” because “good hair is never rushed.”

4. Some neon shades last longer than others.

This depends on your at-home maintenance and own hair, but some neon hues tend to outlast others.

Christina Pham mentions, “I’ve had every neon color on my hair at least once and I’d say from personal experience the best colors to try for the most long-lasting results would be neon green, yellow, or blue. All three of those have lasted me at least two months using salon-grade, sulphate-free shampoos and cool water.”

5. You’ll need to maintain the color on your own.

If you want to keep the hue as neon as possible, it’ll be up to you to maintain it between visits.

“I tell my clients to maintain them at home once a week or once every two weeks in between visits, color specialist Amy Woods mentions. “It’s definitely not [a color] for the low-maintenance kind of clients.”

Parris Noelle mentions “washing hair with cooler water is better to make the color last longer as well.”

And Kelly Martin notes “it’s also best if you wash as infrequently as possible to preserve the color.”

Christina Pham stresses how long the neon lasts is up to you:

“Ultimately, the brand of the color and how well you decide to take care of it plays a huge role in the longevity of neon hair. As long as you listen to your stylist’s recommended hair routine and use salon-grade products, you’ll be popping for six or more weeks.”

6. Getting back to a natural color can be tricky.

Once the neon has disappeared from your strands, achieving a more natural look will be a little bit tricky.

Colorist Ryan Pearl notes, “Be prepared to have your hair lifted very light. So when it all fades and you go for a more natural look, a lot of work will need to be done to get back to a natural color.”

If you’re in need of some at-home products that’ll keep your neon looking, well, neon, THESE five Olaplex products are here to save your strands!