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The unicorn, mermaid, or rainbow hair fad was big back in the early 2010s. But almost a decade on and it’s now a little passe.

Unicorn HairPhoto by @hairpaintedwithlove on Instagram. Do you remember the unicorn hair trend?

But for those of us who are missing the idea of sporting a rainbow in your hair, here’s a 2021 hair colour trend that you can probably get on board with: unicorn highlights.

Unicorn highlights: what’s it about?

Unicorn highlights are perfect for you if you want to add a pop of colour to your hair, albeit not too much.  From lowkey hidden highlights or balayage, every style blends a myriad of pastel hues for a fun and vibrant look.

Unicorn Highlights

Photo by @micolor0130 and @amsarocks on Instagram

The best part is that there are so many variations you can pick from the unicorn highlights trend. Whether you’re going for a full rainbow or a more pastel, dreamy look, these can be easily translated into a palette that you prefer and in a hair length that you want. It’s safe to say that the unicorn highlight trend is rather versatile and can work on anyone if you rope in the help of a good colourist.

Unicorn Highlights Ii

Photo by @melaneyscissorhands and @hairbyskylarbunch on Instagram

How to get and maintain unicorn highlights

Quite a bit of technique goes into achieving seamlessly blended unicorn highlights, so we’ll recommend booking an appointment with your hair stylist for this one.


Do bear in mind that you will most probably have to bleach your hair so the pastel hues will show up. Depending on how dark your hair is, it may take a couple of bleaching sessions for your hair colour to lift to a blond. If you’ve already got light or ashy hair, you needn’t worry about bleaching!

Most rainbow dyes are semi-permanent, so they’ll last about six weeks and fade out gradually with each wash. To prolong the lifespan of your unicorn highlights, you’ll want to minimise washing your hair as much as possible, and possibly build a washing routine to train your hair.


As with any dyed hair, you’ll need to put in some effort to upkeep your unicorn highlights. Switch out your regular shampoo for a colour shampoo that will help maintain the colour and vibrancy, and avoid washing your hair with hot water as it strips the colour more easily.

If you can’t do without hot showers, throw your tresses into a shower cap once you’re done shampooing and conditioning your hair!

Unicorn highlights: here are inspo pictures to show your hairstylist

Make an impression and stand out from the crowd with unicorn highlights in your tresses! Check out the inspo pics below you’ll want to save and show your stylist at your next trip to the salon.


The most seamless highlighting style of them all, balayage unicorn highlights add just the right splash of colour without it looking too over the top. P.S: The balayage style looks gorgeous on styled and curled hair!


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A post shared by amsa (@amsarocks)

Dip dye

Want in on the fun, but with low commitment to the dye job? Dip dye unicorn highlights are for you.

If you’re afraid to bleach your hair, dip-dyeing will only require you to bleach and dye the ends so the rest of your hair remains untouched. Once they’ve faded, you can easily snip off those locks for a refreshing change.


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A post shared by 日和佐 舞 (@mai_hiwasa)

Streaky highlights

This highlighting style is a classic for a reason. There are so many ways to play with streaky unicorn highlights – you could add darker colours over a brown base, bright pastels on silver or white tresses, or some multi-colour streaks to add even more pizazz to your already brightly dyed locks!


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A post shared by RURIKA (@ruuuuuurk)

Hidden Highlights

Lowkey and subtle, hidden unicorn highlights are the perfect answer to a strict dress code. The hidden highlight trend saw a boom last year and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and we’re totally on board with mixing these two hair trends to create the ultimate pic for the ‘gram.


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A post shared by Alannah Larson (@hairbyalannahlarson)