Derek Zoolander may have been onto something when he coined the term “Blue Steel,” though the concept taking off as a hair trend may have come as a surprise. On the heels of the ash blonde hair moment comes the silver-blue hair trend—a lighter, icier take on platinum blonde, tinged with hints of cool blue. If you’ve ever let a blue or purple conditioner linger a little too long in your hair and decided you liked the slight veil of color, this effect is in a similar vein, albeit somewhat more intense.
Keep in mind, silver-blue hair isn’t for the faint of heart: The lifting process can be intense, especially if you’re starting with a dark base. “To get the best silver-blue hair color, your base color will have to be lifted to a level nine or 10 platinum blonde with as little yellow as possible in it,” explains pro colorist Guy Tang. “This can take multiple sessions depending on how your hair lifts, then your stylist will have to pre-tone your hair before applying your desired silver-blue tone.” Additionally, the process comes at a price—consider your budget and how often you’ll anticipate touch-up appointments to maintain your hue. While Tang notes that the color can look good with a bit of a dark root, he recommends booking a follow-up once your roots reach the one to two-inch mark, or whenever your silver blue tone begins to fade.
Once you leave the salon, you’ll want to have a good aftercare routine in place to keep your color fresh between appointments. “The first color that fades from hair is the blue molecule, so any time you have the blue molecule in your hair or are using cool toned colors, it will fade very fast,” says colorist Shelley Gregory. “Invest in a color-safe shampoo and conditioner, ideally one that prevents your hair from oxidizing and keeps the metals out of your hair, which can cause the color to fade.”
Additionally, because the finished result can wash you out, celebrity colorist Tippi Shorter recommends tailoring your makeup to suit your new hue. “Natural and nude tones are great if your color is more blue than silver,” she says. “If your hair is more silver than blue, you can punch up the vibrancy of the color.”
That said, all of the maintenance can be very much worth it if a striking, icy blue silver is your end goal. After all, good things come to those who are willing to work for it. Keep scrolling to see 18 gorgeous examples of silver-blue hair and learn more about the maintenance, dyeing process, and similar color trends to try.
CHOOSING A SHADE: Work with your hairstylist to determine the shade that will look best with your skin tone, veering more silver or violet if you’re on the warmer end or more blue if your skin is cooler or olive-toned. Additionally, you can determine how pastel or silver you’d like to go, depending on your personal preference.
MAINTENANCE LEVEL: Very high. While certain styles may look great with a dark root, silver-blue colors require the base color to be pre-lightened quite a bit. Additionally, you’ll need to stick to an aftercare regimen to keep the blue from fading and the blonde from going brassy.
GOES GREAT WITH: Bold and neutral makeup looks alike, though where you fall within the two categories depends on how blue or silver you decide to go.
SIMILAR SHADES: Mushroom blonde, dark lavender blonde, violet-silver, teal-silver
PRICE: Prices vary depending on your base color, the salon you visit, and your stylist. Tang states that in Los Angeles, you should expect to pay anywhere between $400 and $1,000.
To keep your hue looking as icy as Saweetie’s, make a color-depositing conditioner—ideally one with a blue base—part of your regular routine. That way, every time you lather up, your conditioner will replenish any pigment lost.
Want a lower-maintenance option for working the silver-blue hair trend? Opt for the color in the form of peek-a-boo highlights. It’s a smaller surface area to treat (and maintain), and because the highlights are placed underneath your layers, the time between root touch-ups can be stretched.
Sleek Baby Blue
According to Gregory, a pale pastel like this one seen on Kim Petras will eventually fade to the blonde underneath the baby blue tone, which can buy you time between appointments if you don’t mind rocking a platinum tone ahead of touch-ups.
Aqua-Silver Finger Waves
Aiming to go even bolder? Follow Tati Gabrielle’s lead. This vibrant aqua tint gives her finger waves some extra edge—not to mention, it pairs extremely well with her graphic winged liner.
Faded Blue-Violet Waves
Mixing hints of violet at the crown with blue tones along the ends, this option is great for warmer skin tones that don’t want to veer too far in the cooler direction.
Azure Ice Strands
To offset her silver mid-lengths and ends, Nikita Dragun concentrated the subtle blue tones around her roots.
Cool Steel Waves
Tayla Parx’s silver-blue bob gets some extra dimension thanks to the shiny, almost-wet finish of this look.
Cascading silver-gray waves hold the faintest hint of a blue-violet tint, adding extra movement to the style.
Paired with her chin-length bob, sweeping layers, and color-coordinated wardrobe, Vina Love’s silver hue emanates ice queen realness.
Pulled into a sleek, polished updo, Lady Gaga’s hair proves that creative color certainly has the range to give off an elegant effect.
Mermaid Aqua Bob
Lucy Boynton’s wavy bob gets an extra mermaid-esque flair here, thanks to the subtle aqua tone.
Beautifully reminiscent of the sky before a massive thunderstorm, this deep silver-blue hair color is an ideal option for those who want to try out the trend but prefer a richer, moodier finish.
Blue-Violet Cascading Waves
Somewhere between blue and purple lies Stefflon Don’s stunning pastel tone, which gradually gets lighter in her mid-lengths and ends.
A darker root like Pink’s gives the silver-blue tone extra depth and dimension.
Soft Aqua Layers
Billie Eilish is certainly no stranger to boldly (and flawlessly) working creative hair color choices, and her silver-tinged aqua is no exception, simultaneously adding some drama while playing off her cool complexion.
Platinum to Arctic Ombré
Get the best of both worlds by using Siobhan Bell’s blue ombré finish as inspiration. The soft, silver-gray concentrated around her roots and mid-lengths gradually cascades into blue and turquoise ends.
If the silver-blue trend is calling your name but you aren’t totally ready to commit to the color, start with silver-blonde. “A silver-blonde is a great way to try the trend, and be both edgy and safe at work,” Gregory says.
According to Gregory, a cool platinum tone like Cynthia Erivo’s looks especially stunning on warmer skin tones.