Underlayering Is The Latest Revival Trend Bringing Dimension To Your Hair

Underlayer hair color is a gorgeous way to add a bit of color to your hair without committing to a full head of your new hue. Also known as peekaboo hair, it refers to the technique of dyeing the bottom layer of your hair a different color than the rest. As the name suggests, this creates a peekaboo effect where you'll see flashes of color underneath as your hair moves. You can even put your underlayer color on full display by wearing your hair up.

Underlayer color styles can be subtle or bold, ranging from natural blond and brunette tones to vivid hues. If you want to dip your toe into a new hair color, an underlayer style is one way to do a test run if you're unsure of dyeing your whole head. However, many people intentionally go for this partially-dyed style for its edgy look. Regardless of what color you choose, underlayer hair dye adds dimension to any hairstyle. It gives you the chance to play with bold shades, such as hot pink or neon green, while keeping some of your natural hair color. Plus, since most of the dyed section is hidden, it tends to be easier to grow out, making it a lower maintenance way to add a pop of personality. If you've been wanting to dye your hair, an underlayer hair color is one way to get a distinctive style. We've rounded up some underlayer hair dye inspiration to bring to your next styling session.

Deep green

Underlayer hair color has a punk-inspired vibe to it, and you can lean into that aesthetic by going for an edgier cut. The short, blunt bangs complement this under color dye look perfectly. Plus, keeping the hair black on top adds even more contrast, so the green really pops. We love how this hair look goes for a deeper emerald green rather than a bright green color — it makes it look that much more unique.

Warm blond

A blond underlayer is a classic choice. In fact, it's where most underlayer dye jobs need to start if you have dark hair (to get the underlayer look, the hair often needs to be bleached to get a vivid color). You can also stop at the bleaching stage for a more natural look. Of course, it's not "born this way" natural, but it's much more toned-down than many of the other options on this list. Paired with any hair color, a blond underlayer also brightens up your look.

Natural tones

You don't need to choose a crazy color to achieve the underlayer look. If natural is more your style (or you work a job where you can't have rainbow hair), then go for an underlayer color that is just a few shades lighter or darker than your natural hair color. Choosing a color that is somewhat close to your natural color will better suit your complexion. And since it will be a naturally-occurring hue, this gives your hairstyle a more highlighted appearance rather than a stark color-blocked look.

Short hair, too

A lot of underlayer color inspiration is available for the long-haired ladies out there, but we promise this style looks just as stunning on short hair. To get the look, your hair just needs to be long enough for the top layer to cover part (or all) of the colored underlayer section. This inspiration photo does a great job of demonstrating how you can show off your new color by wearing your hair in a half-up, half-down style.

Peekaboo strands

Part of planning out your underlayer style is choosing how much hair you want to dye a different color. You can go for a large section of your bottom layer of hair or go the complete opposite way such as what's seen in this hairstyle by dyeing just a couple of peekaboo underlayer strands near the front. This still gives the illusion of an underlayer color but with only committing a minimal number of your strands.

Half head and underlayer

Here's an example of go big or go home when it comes to an underlayer style. The polar opposite of small peekaboo strands, this style goes for a half-head dye on one side and a matching underlayer color on the other. This styling idea is one way to add a lot of color to your hair while avoiding dyeing all your locks. It's a little more distinctive and means you get to keep a whole lot of contrast and dimension in your finished look.

Unicorn colors

You don't need to mess with placement to get a unique underlayer color look. This style has the typical undercolor placement, with the bottom layer of hair a different color, but it takes it up a notch by combining pretty pastel shades. The finished lavender and teal look reminds us of a unicorn tail — it has an ethereal quality to it that makes it all the more eye-catching than a single-color style.

Underlayer and bangs

Take the underlayer color past your bottom layer to achieve a bolder look. Color a larger piece of your side strands and take the color up into your bangs to get a similar style as this photo. This type of underlayer look has less of a peekaboo effect. It's fully visible from the front and just slightly hidden from behind. You can color your whole bang the underlayer color, or, if you have thicker bangs, you can go for an underlayer bang by only dyeing some wispy pieces throughout.

Bright copper

Copper-colored hair has had its moment in recent years (and it's even a hue you can try to get at home). Incorporate this fiery hair color into your underlayer hairstyle. There are many shade options, from a deep reddish copper to a spicy orange copper similar to what's seen in this inspiration photo. It's one color you can take bold or natural, depending on the tone you choose.

Barely-there color

If you're blond, it's super easy to achieve a subtle underlayer color look. Instead of going for a bright color like many of the other inspiration pics on our list, opt for a light wash of color instead. Any muted color can pair nicely with blond hair, so consider going for a tone that matches your current blond hue. For example, for a cool blond color, choose a shade of icy blue seen in this photo, and, for a warm blond, try a warmer pink or red.

Platinum blond

Speaking of blonds, we have another stunning blond inspiration photo on our list. Deep black hair with a blond underlayer (or vice versa) is just the perfect "cool girl" look. A platinum blond underlayer provides nice contrast against black hair and creates dimension without adding color. A shaggy cut makes this look come across as effortlessly chic.

Cherry cola red

Cherry red is a trending hair color for 2023, which means it's perfect for a fashionable underlayer color. A dark auburn color with reddish or purple tones, cherry cola hair is rich and looks particularly good paired with black hair. Together, these two colors create a dark and mysterious vibe that matches nicely with a goth-inspired wardrobe.

Black underlayer

Draw inspiration from Christina Aguilera circa 2003 with blond on top and a black underlayer color. There's something about this look that just screams Y2K fashion, so it's a fun one to match with your low rise jeans and baby tees. You can also style a black underlayer with a bright color (or colors) up top instead of blond. Since black goes with everything, you can choose any color. Keep in mind that if you're not a natural blond, this look will be a bit more high maintenance, since you'll need to touch up your roots from time to time.

Two-toned underlayer

Why stop at one underlayer color? You can use as many colors as you have the space for, but two gives you a good amount of space to focus on each shade. This purple-and-blue look is bold, and the pairing reminds us of galaxy colors. When a two-toned underlayer peeks out from under a natural hair color, it creates an out-of-this world look.

Go multicolor

Pairing an underlayer color with your natural color is the easiest way to get this look, but it's not the most fun. Opt for two new colors to create a unique underlayer style, such as this teal and lavender 'do. By choosing two vivid colors, your hair will truly stand out in a crowd.

Peek of pink

Committing to a full head of pink hair is a big choice — it's a pretty out-there color and will take a fair bit of maintenance to keep its brightness. If you love pink and want to experiment with rosy locks, a pink underlayer is your answer. A muted pink goes with any natural hair color, be it black, brunette, or strawberry blond. The end result is a bit girly, a bit edgy, and very cute.

Underlayer and money pieces

Extending your underlayer to the front of your hair makes it look more blended overall, not to mention eye-catching. Dyeing money pieces (which refers to the framing pieces of hair in front of your face) is the best way to bring the color forward. The money piece hair trend seems to be here to stay at least through 2023, so combining it with an underlayer color is one way to distinguish your style from the rest.

Dreamy teal

There's something about teal hair that reminds us of colorful side-swept emo cuts from the 2010s (in the best way possible, of course). This blue-green color is a bit punk but surprisingly bright, ideal if you like a grungier style but a vivid hue. This is another color that might take a bit of maintenance; like other blue shades, it requires some touching up to prevent it from washing out to green.

Some natural, some not

If an underlayer color still feels a bit boring, add another color to your top layer to get this three-color look. It's easier to keep one of your layers natural (unless you don't mind maintaining three different colors), but dyeing a different top layer creates even more dimension in your underlayer hairstyle.

Pop of blue

If you want to go blue, there are plenty of shades you can choose from, and an icy blue should be a top contender. This look is a bit chilly but very pretty, excellent if you want to hone an ice queen vibe for the colder months. Bright blue looks beautiful with black hair, and we'd argue it looks even better with cool-toned blond hair, as seen in this photo.