The discreet way to wear bold colours that's all over Instagram

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Earlier in the year Instagram was awash with pink hair; everyone from Fearne Cotton to Kaia Gerber to Lady Gaga transformed their manes into locks a unicorn would be proud of but with lockdown 2.0 on the cards, peek-a-boo hair is the new bold colour trend to know and it’s infinitely more wearable than candy floss hair.

If you’ve had a play on TikTok (guilty!) you’ll have seen  American dancer Charli D’Amelio  (90 million followers and counting) rocking the trend for peek-a-boo hair; it’s a thick slice of bold colour (pink, blue, green, you name it, it works) applied to the underlayer of your hair, hidden beneath your natural colour. Because the rainbow hues are underneath it makes it easy to wear for people who aren't confident rocking a full head of bold colour but still want something out of the ordinary.

Google searches for “what colour should I dye my hair?” were up 110 per cent in the past seven days and this has been reflected in salons too. “We’ve seen this trend requested a lot more recently in salon,” says Becky Sutherland, founder of Durham salon  Lush Hair . “It has evolved from clients who love the full head vivid colours but may not be allowed these shades in their work environment or are just a little apprehensive about making the jump to the brighter side.”

Why is peek-a-boo hair so big right now?

The beauty of peek-a-boo hair in the WFH era we now live in is that while you’re on Zoom your boss will be none-the-wiser that you’ve got rainbow hair; “Not everyone is able to have such bold hair colours on show all the time,” agrees Bryony Cairns, colourist at  Larry King,  on behalf of  Redken  and  Pureology . “The peek-a-boo trend is something raw, strong and bold, but can still be hidden.It gives the option of having ‘cute girl next door' look with natural hair, when you wear it down, or a more 'fearless edgy’ look when worn with the flashes of colour on show.”

Plus, with masks limiting how well we can express ourselves with makeup, our hair has become our greatest accessory, points out Harriet.

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Who does peek-a-boo hair suit?

Not reserved solely for teens on the internet, the colour can be adapted to anyone with any hair type whether you want a variety of rainbow colours under blonde or a slice of deep red or purple among brunette hair. “This trend suits all hair types as it can be really easily adapted client to the client,” says Becky. “It would be good for clients to have a lot of movement to their hair as they will see the peekaboo colours a lot more, however it would be just as striking on straight hair as it is easier to conceal the hidden colours.”

"The more movement in the hair the better, because you’ll see flashes of the colour as your hair falls or when you push it back," agrees Alex Brownsell, co-founder and creative director of  Bleach London  where they called peek-a-boo colour a "bleach bit". "I’d recommend this to anyone who likes wearing their hair up a lot, the contrast and blend of colours looks incredible in braids, buns and ponytails."

If you want to dip a toe in the trend without committing to full-spectrum colour Alex recommends dabbling in blonde peek-a-boo hair first. "The contrast of a pale blonde against a deeper natural blonde, or a warm honey shade against deeper brunettes still creates a beautiful contrast in a more subtle way. Then you already have the perfect base to add a colour if you want to try something new at a later stage."

How to DIY peek-a-boo hair

As hair colour trends go, this one is fairly easy to do at home – you don't need the steady hand that balayage requires, for one! Channel your inner Ariana Grande and create a half up half down hairstyle; only leave down the hair you want to colour. Wear gloves so you're not left with stained fingers and apply your chosen colour to this section of your hair. Simple!

Crazy Colour's semi-permanent colour range , from £5.50, is conditioning on the hair so it doesn't cause any damage and comes in a wide range of shades from Bubblegum Blue to Emerald Green.

We also rate Maria Nila's vegan Colour Refresh range,  from £16; you apply it like a hair mask and it nourishes while depositing pigment to freshen up your hair colour. It comes in bold shades such as Autumn Red and Cherry Red, but all of the colours can be mixed with the Cream shade for pastel colours instead.


For an even more short term take on colour, give  Moroccanoil's Colour   Depositing Repair Mask, £28.85 . It comes in seven shades including Aquamarine and Bourdeaux and washes out in four rinses so it perfect for commitment-phobes.  KMS' Vintage Rose Blush & Stone Wash , £23, also comes highly recommended for a quick hit of low-commitment colour.

How to look after peek-a-boo hair

Anyone who’s dyed their hair fun colours before will remember the heart-sinking feeling of bright blue or red washing down the drain when you wash it, leaving hair distinctly less bold than when you swished out of the salon. Spritz  Crazy Colour’s Anti-Bleed Spray , £5.99, on wet hair, let it set for one minute and then rinse to stop your colours bleeding out (or into one another) or fading - it promises to lock colour in for an extra ten washes.

Redken’s  Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo,  £16,  Conditioner , £17.50, and  Mask , £26, should also be the best friends of any rainbow-haired people; they keep hair looking salon fresh for longer as well as soothing frazzled strands.

Pureology’s  Colour Fanatic Treatment Spray , £25.25, primes, detangles, protects and adds shine to colour-treated hair with ingredients including camelina oil, coconut oil, and olive oil and a signature aromatherapy blend of rose, floral ginger and cedarwood for a self-care style spritz.

MORE GLOSS: The autumn hair trends to ask for now