As popular as Barbie blonde and bronde hair colors are, there's something to be said for embracing more boldly-colored hairstyles. We're not just talking about picking a single vivid or pastel color and calling it a day, though. Instead, we're seeing more and more celebrities and people IRL experimenting with two-toned hairstyles.
"The way you style two-toned hair depends a lot on the placement of the dominant tones," says colorist and R+Co collective member Richy Kandasamy. "You can choose to showcase the colors prominently for a bold and vibrant look, or you can hide them for a more subtle and reserved appearance. Being versatile with your hair color and style allows you to adapt to different occasions and moods, which is a fantastic way to express your personal style."
Ready to try it for yourself? Ahead, find 20 two-toned hairstyle ideas to inspire your new look.
Colorful Peekaboo Extensions
"Two-tone hair color can be a versatile accessory to create a unique look," Kandasamy says. "The choice of shades and the contrast between them can make a bold or soft statement, depending on your style and preferences. It’s a creative way to express your individuality through your hair." Take Naomi Campbell's purple and black hair, for example. The high-contrast style is impossible to ignore, even though the colorful accents are only a fraction of her overall look.
Some two-toned hair colors are so bold that simply wearing them straight without any added frills will still make an impact. Just look at Melanie Martinez's hair, above. "One of my favorite ways to do two-toned hair is to pair a dark color with a light color," says Sally Hershberger NoMad senior colorist Jacob Schmidt. "This extreme contrast adds personality to any look."
While most celebrities experimenting with two-toned color have adopted money pieces, dipped ends, or peekaboo highlights, Billie Eilish switched things up and made a case for colorful roots. “Adding a pop of color to the roots can make any hairstyle edgier," Schmidt says. "An already edgy haircut, such as a shag or mullet, makes it even more high-fashion.”
Maisie Williams turned heads at the Game Of Thrones season 8 premiere when she showed up with lavender bangs. “Rather than doing a full head of two-toned hair, some clients prefer just to do the bangs," Schmidt says. "This is a great way to take part in the trend without having to do a full head of split dye color.”
Nicki Minaj has long been the queen of colorful hair. At this point, she's rocked almost every hue in the book. Here, we have one of her more subtle two-toned 'dos. “A two-toned hair color with two pastel shades can be a lot to maintain, but it's always such a flirty and feminine look," Schmidt says of Minaj's style. "I like to add a subtle shadow root when working with light colors to easily blend in any regrowth.”
Money pieces—platinum blonde face-framing strands—continue to be a popular request at salons near and far. According to Schmidt, money pieces are the perfect option for anyone looking to dip their toes into the land of two-toned hairstyles. “It’s more subtle than going full-on split dye, making it a great choice for those that don’t want to fully commit," he explains. When styling money pieces, he loves leaving them out in an updo or slicking them back into a high-contrast sleek bun. His go-to for a flyaway-free look? The Sally Hershberger 24K Vanity Hair Shaping Balm ($32).
Classic Split Dye
Have two colors you want to showcase in equal parts? Opt for a split dye. "I love a split dye right down the middle," Schmidt says. "With two neon colors, it really makes a bold statement."
Just make sure to add color-safe shampoo and conditioner to your routine to ensure it stays looking its best and brightest.
Considering how very 2000s it is to wear two-tone hair colors, master colorist and Warren Tricomi ambassador Jayne Castiglia suggests opting for a style that plays up dimension. One of her top picks? Crimping, as seen here on Beyoncé with her cascade of golden blonde and deep mocha lengths. To get the look, she says to prime hair with heat protectant and, if you have curly hair, a curl cream. Once prepped, blow dry your hair, then crimp it with a small flat iron or crimping iron, like the Mermade Hair Barbie Wavy Kit ($89). To pump up the shine, she says to finish with an anti-frizz oil, like the K18 Molecular Repair Hair Oil ($65).
Katy Perry's take on the two-toned hair color trend might be one of the easiest styles to recreate. All you have to do is part and slick back your hair after getting the tips dyed.
Martinez experiments with two-toned hair color more than anyone. As such, she knows a thing or two about how to style it in different ways to make the colors really pop. “Space buns are so playful—the perfect style for two-toned hair," Schmidt says. "It’s especially perfect for hair split right down the middle.”
Remember how money pieces are typically blonde? Cardi B played into the trend by transforming the face-framing tendrils with a minty aqua hue. “Those strategically placed lighter pieces framing the face tend to enhance and brighten one's overall look, making it a universally appealing choice,” Kandasamy says of money pieces.
Another way to do a split dye is with one color underneath the other, like Miley Cyrus' above. “For those with a split dye underneath, I love doing a half-up, half-down style with a high ponytail," Schmidt says. "This style is super simple while showcasing the two different colors. " To perfect the split, he suggests using a rat tail comb. A thin-handled styling brush, like the Emi Jay Styling Hair Brush in Virgo ($29), also works.
Nicki Minaj has tried every hair color and length under the sun. Here, she paired a classic turned-under lob with bangs and a splotchy green two-tone effect. The result is fresh and dreamy.
If you're not sure two-toned hair is your long-term hair goal, Schmidt says to keep your natural hair color as the base. "When doing a two-toned hair color, it’s always important to keep your natural hair color in mind," he explains. "Since two-toned hair is already so bold, any regrowth on the roots will be extra noticeable. For easier maintenance, I suggest keeping the base color similar to your natural color and then adding in a pop of color."
Icy Center Part
Here's another example of a horizontal split dye. Winnie Harlow opted for an icy pastel blue top layer with an indigo blue underside for a two-toned hairstyle that's bound to turn heads.
Messy Space Buns
One of Castiglia's favorite two-toned color palettes is black and red. "Black shades accompanied with crimson red violet tones are stunning," she says. Pair that look with a messy space bun style like Billie Eilish's and you have yourself a winning combo.
Inverted Money Pieces
Rihanna's two-tone hairstyle here is like reverse money pieces. Instead of bright blonde face-framing strands, the "Umbrella" singer opted for a glossy black swoop.
Katy Perry loves a slick and textured pixie, but she also enjoys switching things up with an asymmetric cut. Again, the top layer of her hair features one color while her roots remain a different, darker hue for high contrast appeal.
Melanie Martinez wears space buns and straight hair most often, but every now and again, she shows up with two-toned curls piled high on her head. This style is giving major Bridgerton vibes, and we're all for it. In regards to her love of dark and light pairings, Castiglia says it's a great technique for adopting a two-toned style. "This pairing is on completely different ends of the color spectrum, but still works and can be seen everywhere," she says.
If bold color is your goal, Nicki Minaj's two-toned purple style from 2018 will make you swoon. To try your hand at a well-defined wet look like hers, try using the R+Co Continental Glossing Wax ($29)—it offers high shine and lasting hold. Two very important characteristics of a stunning wet-look hairstyle.
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