Lisa Mayo
Updated on February 16, 2024

Have you ever wanted to embrace your inner magical soul? I help my clients do just that by mixing rainbow colors behind the chair. Besides a quality coloring process, I emphasize the importance of proper at-home care. Dyed hair isn’t the easiest thing to take care of, plus creative color and mermaid balayage require even more steps in your routine. Check out this ultimate guide to caring for unicorn hair!

Start Caring from Picking the Look

Understanding your end result is important. Are you looking for your color to last longer, or would you like to switch up rainbow locks every month? Depending on what the desired look is you may want to go with more pigmented colors, and let them fade rather than starting with pastels. I always suggest going a little darker and enjoying the fade out. For example, the color line I work with (Pulp Riot) is intentionally designed to fade out beautifully. Ask your stylist which color line he/she uses, because they are not created equally. Also, bringing pictures of inspiration is always helpful for your stylist. Make sure you and your stylist understand each other. (I recommend learning 25 hair coloring terms. Save them for your next salon visit!)

Different Types of Unicorn and Mermaid Hair

Wash Less (Find Your Perfect Dry Shampoo)

Wait at least 48 hours before your first shampoo after the coloring process. Then, try to cut down the number of times you wash your hair to 1-2 times a week. A good dry shampoo is a lifesaver. Amika is my personal favorite, because it makes second-day hair voluminous and easy to style while adding an amazing fragrance. I also have a love for IGK Jet Lag and The Ouai dry shampoo foam.

Get Used to Cold Water

When shampooing, use the coldest water your head can handle because it really helps to prolong time between color appointments. Cold water closes the hair follicles, adding luster and healthy shine. And obviously, when you use cold water, it’s easier to shampoo less. It’s a win-win formula for unicorn hair!

Unicorn Hairstyle with Floral Wreath

Choose Moisturizing Hair Product Lines

Unicorn strands need extra hydration. Read labels carefully. It is important to use a line that not only prolongs color but maintains the integrity of your hair, not just masks it.

Free Your Hair-Care Shelf from Sulfates

Sulfates in hair-care products tend to strip away the essential oils and fade pigmentation. This is why I think all unicorns should be conscious about the list of ingredients in their shampoos and conditioners. Also, it’s great to follow your stylist’s recommendations because she/he knows what works best for the color line she used on you. I usually recommend my clients try R+CO shampoo and conditioner from their Gemstone Color vegan line or Redken Color Extend for those with thicker, curlier hair.

Half Updo With Teal Streaks

Less Heat, More Heat Protection

Heat causes hair color to fade faster while leaving hair dry and damaged. Any heat — from the sun, blow-drying, curling/straightening irons to even showering with hot water — will, to an extent, damage your colored hair. This is why it’s so important to own a good heat-protectant spray. I recommend using multi-functional products, such as a moisturizing leave-in conditioner with heat, SPF and UV protection. Vault by Amika is a great option.

Perfect Routine for Unicorn Hair

Your routine should start with shampoo and conditioner, then use a leave-in applied on damp hair. Move through heat protectors and moisturizers and finish with your choice of shine or texturizing sprays. If, throughout the day, you feel like you are lacking shine or moisture, take a drop of The Ouai Hair Oil and run through your ends.

Pastel Unicorn Fishtail Braid

Deep Conditioning Mask

As long as your hair is bleached and colored, you need conditioning treatments. You don’t want to do too many because, with too much protein, the hair may start to not feel its best. I recommend doing your treatments when the hair color begins to really fade so you can prep the hair for your next color service by being ahead and hydrating it. The Kure by Amika is a great treatment that I personally enjoy.

DIY Toning

As your rainbow hair fades its way back to its prelightened color, you can use a purple shampoo to keep any unwanted yellow pigments from showing. I absolutely love Pulp Riot Barcelona toning shampoo. It really cancels out those undesired tones. You can leave this on for a few minutes and then begin to lather and emulsify, so the purple pigment really does its job.

Unicorn hair care can be a bit tricky, but it shouldn’t stop true unicorns! To become a queen of vivids or pastels, I recommend following a couple of creative color hair accounts (such as mine), to be able to speak your stylist’s language and create a maximally beneficial hair-care routine.

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