Okay, ladies. Let’s talk hair color. In our early adult years, we toyed with hot pink streaks here, some highlights there, but most of us stuck with tradition and followed our peers’ direction. In hindsight, we were following in our mothers’ footsteps. “Coloring” your hair meant dyeing, and anything that looked unnatural was off the table. These days, though, color has exploded into a form of self-expression with attitude. Whether soft and subtle or bold and brilliant, there’s no denying that colored hair means thinking (and dyeing) way out of the box.

Be it unicorn hair or an ultra-shiny metallic silver, the world of color has changed…and so has our desire to embrace it! If you’re wondering, “Can I really pull this off?” The answer is a resounding, “Hell yes!” And here’s how.

Do you want your hair to whisper, talk, or shout? FYI, your answer goes here.

Subtle: Streaks and Tips

If you’ve been “whispering” all these years, then going slow is the way to go. You may want to ask for babylights. These ultra-thin highlights add dimension in a subtle way and give your hair a kiss of freshness. Opting for multicolored tips (ends) also gives you a chance to experiment without making a drastic change. If your base shade runs on the darker side, playing with deep blue or purple can create drama and help you transition into a bolder overall shade down the road.

Branching Out: Hidden Color

Hair that “talks” used to mean chunky highlights or obviously colored locks. Today’s tresses talk upon command. In other words (pun intended), you can have bold color and even rainbow hair…underneath! Call it undercolor, hidden color, or underlights, the outcome is the same: the upper layer remains business as usual, while the underneath has a secret party of its own. With this option, the only thing holding you back is your imagination.

Bold AF: Allover Nontraditional Hues

If your hair has “whispered” your whole life and is ready to “shout,” the world of color beckons. Rose gold hues are noncommittal and fade gracefully, while vibrant red/orange and deep blue/green says you’re not afraid to stand out. And if you’re having trouble deciding, follow Guy Tang on Instagram. He’s the color genius behind glow-in-the-dark rainbow hair and the shiny metallic grey and rose that have the Internet buzzing.

P.S. Wanna see how far we’ve come? Check out this vintage commercial from Clairol! Advertisers certainly weren’t shy about telling us why we should dye!