Rainbow-Bright Hair Color Has Always Been Cool

Lest you think brightly hued hair is just a passing fad, let us remind you: rainbow styles have been popular for 50 years now. It started in the the ’70s, across the pond, with punks like Soo Catwoman and Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten turning technicolor. Around the same time there was Ziggy Stardust. Iconic! In ’85 Cyndi Lauper took home two American Music Awards with a two-toned ‘do streaked with yellow and orange Manic Panic. And in the ’90s, the trend exploded across the in-crowd like rainbow confetti—Lil’ Kim’s lilac wig, Dennis Rodman’s kelley green buzz, Bjork’s saffron chop, Kathleen Hanna’s crimson streaks, Gwen Stefani’s turquoise bob.

Five decades later, and guess what? Rainbow hair is stil cool! And its punk roots mean it’ll always be DIY-friendly. For those with naturally blonde or bleached hair, the sky’s the limit—sandy hair will turn seaweed-y under pastel blue dye, while platinum can go lilac. And if you have dark hair, why not try bright red? Rihanna does it with weaves, Kurt Cobain did it with Kool-Aid, but you can do it with Overtone’s Red for Brown Hair or Manic Panic’s Vampire Red, which are bright enough to leave a cherry tint on chestnut strands.

If you’re feeling the itch to dip a gloved hand into a bright pot of goo right now, just remember, it’s no new impulse. Brown or blonde is often seen and rarely heard, but color speaks volumes. In times of political or cultural change, it says “I don’t care what you think.” In K-pop, it signifies a big change is on the horizon. In the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it’s used to track emotion (blue for sadness, green for rebirth). Color takes confidence to pull off, but maybe it works like a smile—just the action helps you fake it till you feel it. And we’re calling the look timeless.

Photo via ITG

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