Emo Hair Color

Woman with starkly contrasting emo hair colors

Having the proper emo hair color is essential to pull off this popular style, but the best thing about emo hair styles is that there is no single right way to wear them, and there are plenty of hair color options to choose from.

Basic Emo Hair Color

While emo hair can be very personalized, emo styles do share characteristics in color.

Base Shades

The base hair color is generally a more natural shade, and darker hues such as black or brunette hair are often preferred. Many emo individuals will use hair dye to darken their locks as part of their personal expression, but it is not required. While blonde hair is very unusual for an emo look, dyed white hair can be a fashionable and unique emo style. Red hair is also a popular emo color, particularly if it is in a stark shade or a darker, richer hue.

Hair highlights and lowlights shades are not usually found in emo looks, except as dramatic and distinctive accents. Naturally blended highlights that would normally add more texture and depth to a hair style are not part of the emo look, because they will diminish the desired contrast of base hair color and emotive accents.


A popular emo hair color trend is adding outrageously colored accents to the look. Bold colors such as a rich pink, teal, or bright white stand out well against a darker base hair color and add vibrancy and individuality to any emo style. Popular ways to use these types of accents include:

  • Coloring the bangs to emphasize the fact that they cover the face.
  • Coloring the tips of the hair style, particularly the tips of bangs or if the hair is spiked.
  • Adding one or two thick streaks or chunks of color to the hair, usually if it is longer.
  • Using thinner sections of color to frame the face.

How the color is applied and exactly what shade is used is a matter of personal preference. Many emo hair styles do not use outrageous colors at all and instead rely on distinctive cuts or styling with hair products to create an emo look. A bold color can, however, be a startling option for an alternative emo look. The key to using the color effectively is to emphasize its contrast to the base hair color; an emo style is a personal expression, and the color should show the personality of the wearer.

At the same time, accent colors should not be too vibrant or funky or the style may be misinterpreted as a punk hair style rather than an emo look. While both punk and emo styles share roots in popular culture and music, they are distinctive and can easily be confused if color is used inappropriately. Generally speaking, an emo style will use less unnatural color than a punk look, and punk styles generally use brighter shades covering more of the hair than the accents popular in emo hair styles.

Emo Color Tips

Image of woman with intensely red hair
Red is a popular shade.

For the best emo hair color…

  • Try using temporary hair color first to experiment with different looks until you find the one you like best.
  • Know that very unnatural colors (pink, teal, or green, for example) may be prohibited by school or work dress codes. Find a way to restyle your hair to hide the color if necessary.
  • Use a good conditioner and proper hair products to keep hair healthy. Using hair dye and other coloring techniques can cause dry, damaged hair that will be more difficult to style and may not hold color as well.

Express Yourself

Emo hair color is as much a matter of personal preference as the initial emo hair style. By choosing the right type of color and applying it in an emo fashion, you can have a great look that reflects the many colors of your personality.

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Emo Hair Color