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Opal Is This Season's Dreamiest Hair Color Trend

This is the gemstone hair color trend you've been waiting for
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Take one scroll through Instagram and it's clear to see that a new hair color is dominating the beauty scene. The season's dreamy opal hair color can be best described as what would happen if you were to mix last season's pastel rainbow hair with this season's silver strands. The result? A shimmering, semi-metallic hair color that shines like one of our very favorite gemstones.

If you're like us, the minute you read rainbow and metallic you began wondering just how much effort this 'grammable color would require. We reached out to West Coast's Shelley Gregory and East Coast's Chelsey Pickthorn, arguably two of the best colorists in the country, to learn everything there is to know about the head-turning opal hair color.

Read on to learn about what's sure to become your next color request.

Image via Shelley Gregory

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What is opal hair color?
Ever wonder how viral hair colors get their names? While many hair color descriptions these days seem like a bit of a stretch, one look at an opal stone and it will be crystal clear how this new light-bending, shimmering shade got its name. "When you look at the hair as a whole you are reminded of the opal stone and all its glowing characteristics for the way it seems to all blend into each other," Gregory says. "To create the look, I mix every color of the rainbow, transition them into pastels and mix with silver to soften each color into each other." Sounds like a serious art project, huh?

Keep scrolling to learn why you'll want to leave this rainbow-colored masterpiece up to the pros.

Image via Shelley Gregory

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Save your strands, book with a pro
One stroll past the hundreds of boxes of hair colors that line the drugstore aisle and you might think opal hair color is up your alley and within your skill set. As much as we value confidence and creativity, when it comes to creating opal hair color, it's best left to the pros. At-home color glosses? Go for it. Grey touch-ups? Be our guest. Opal hair? We'll let the queens of color convince you why that's not the best idea.

Gregory points out that opal hair color is very complex and has to be created on hair that is lifted to a level ten or slightly lighter blonde in order for the pastel hues to show up. While you may have tested the waters with bleach once before or know someone who has, Pickthorn warns that playing around with bleach at home is messy, potentially dangerous and, worst of all, can damage your hair if not applied correctly.

After the bleaching process, you can expect any number of rainbow shades (Gregory relies on four to eight) to be applied to your hair through a series of sectioning and paint strokes. Still feeling like you might be able to make magic happen from the comfort of your own bathroom?

"While I suggest having your hair dresser do almost all coloring services, I do understand there are times (like refreshing your color or a quick grey blending) that can be done at home," Pickthorn says. "However, with this opal hair color trend, there are many tones that comprise the overall look, all of which will need to isolated from each other." What's more, Gregory adds that the sectioning between each color is what helps create the softness in color and health of the hair, further elaborating why this is one trendy shade that's best left to the pros.

Image via Shelley Gregory

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Who does opal hair color look best on?
Like many viral hair color trends, opal hair color can be beautiful paired with all skin tones and hair lengths, thanks to customizable pigment and shading techniques. "You can change the amount of pigment and tone of the colors according to different skin tones as well as add more pink, violet or blues depending on the desired hues you want to accentuate," Pickthorn explains.

As for the length, Pickthorn and Gregory both agree that short or long lengths work beautifully with this color. Gregory adds that a mane of at least 5 inches long is best because it allows for more control in sectioning for color placement and a more seamless blended transition of shades since there's more strand real estate to work with.

Image via Shelley Gregory

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How to care for opal hair
As with all color-treated hair, the effort doesn't end with the coloring process. To ensure that your opal hair color stays brilliant, switch out your regular shampoo and conditioner with sulfate-free versions and wash your locks as minimally as possible to prevent color fade. Beyond your shampoo and conditioner, Pickthorn reminds us that beneath all the opal magnificence lies a lightened or bleached base, which means you will want to give your strands a little extra TLC at least once a week. Not sure where to start? She recommends using The Science of Ten Masque by Alterna or Masque Quintessence by Leonor Greyl.

"The biggest part is really staying on a regular schedule with your stylist," Gregory says. "He (or she) will be able to help you keep your hair looking and feeling its best."

Image via Shelley Gregory

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