Illuminating Yellow
Hair Colour

The Pantone Color of the Year is Every Hair Colourist’s Dream

by akesha / last updated December 15, 2020

After the year that 2020 has been it’s no surprise that the we are all looking for a bit of hope and brighter days to cheer us up as we look towards 2021. The team at Pantone obviously had similar thoughts as they picked the colour of the year 2021. ‘Illuminating Yellow’ and ‘Ultimate Gray’ are set to be the top colour picks as we start to see trends for the new year emerge.

“How often have we had clients coming into the salon saying they want to cover their greys but don’t want it to look yellow? Well now we can officially say yellow is a good thing!” says Karen Perry of Room 97 Creative. And as for grey hues, the trend for mature clients embracing their grey hair will clearly still be going strong through 2021.

We spoke to some top industry names to find out their thoughts on how the Color of the Year will translate behind the chair.

‘It’s a breath of fresh air’ – Martin Crean, MODE Hair, Chipping Campden

“How refreshing to see such vibrant, exciting colours, it’s a breath of fresh air and is a colour palette we can really have fun with the salon. More and more clients are embracing their natural grey and it’s our job to make that look expensive and well cared for – and with (this) Pantone Colour, Ultimate Gray as inspiration, we can certainly do that! And while we spend more of our days trying to get rid of yellowy tones, maybe it’s time we played with bright fashion shades of vibrant, sunshine yellow. We’re going to have fun with the Pantone Colour of the Year and can’t wait to start playing with it!”

‘All of these hues are so eye-catching’ – Dan Spiller, JOICO Colour Ambassador for the UK, Europe and Ireland

“As a colourist it’s great to see such a vibrant colour chosen as the Pantone colour for 2021, it will brighten up everyone’s moods not only in the salon but through life in general. Taking this trend to the salon floor, we will see clients opt for a deeper shade of the tone such as Cyber, Tuscany and Honey yellow. All of these hues are so eye catching but also a lot more subdued from the Illuminating Yellow tone and are great for clients who want a colour change but don’t want to be too bright or too over the top.”

‘I’m a fan as I’ve been wearing Canary Yellow for the past seven years’ – Sophia Hilton, Crazy Color ambassador and Not Another Salon owner

“I have no doubt in my mind that the Pantone Colour of the Year, Illuminating is going to be a hot trend for 2021. As someone that’s been wearing Crazy Color Canary Yellow for the past seven years, I saw a strong trend in 2016 where the colour emerged for the first time. It was the first step to making people become more comfortable around yellow. So as the micro trend in 2016 broke the ice, 2021 will now be brave and ready to dive right in. The particular tones they have chosen is interesting, it’s quite a bright and brash yellow; likened to things such as road lines and high visibility jackets. To make this colour I would mix half Crazy Color Canary Yellow and half Caution UV for maximum brightness and impact.”

‘Hope and inspiration for the New Year’ – Kevin Paul Finnell, Creative Director, F&M Hairdressing

I think it’s fantastic that Pantone have chosen a colour which is designed to give hope and inspiration for the new year, it’s something so applicable to each and every person across the globe. Going forward we will see this trend diluted down in the salons, with many clients opting for a more subdued look. Simpler shades such as Laguna, Peach and Beige will be popular with our clients, as they prefer much more generic colours however each will still pay tribute to the ‘yellow’ shade and can be tailored to suit the complexion and style of the client.

‘Definitely not for faint-hearted clients’– Dylan Brittain, Owner of Rainbow Room International’s George Square Salon

Shades of sunshine like yellow, like the Illuminating Yellow Pantone shade, are definitely not for faint hearted clients. These colours really do turn heads and are great for those clients who love vivid colours and being creative with their hair. For blondes in particular, opting for a yellow shade is a great way to add some fun to their hair and will fade better than most colours allowing them to transition back blonde a lot more easily.

For those with a darker base, their hair will need to be pre-lightened prior to colouring it this vibrant shade. This hair colour is definitely a fashion inspired colour and requires a lot of maintenance from clients on leaving the salon with haircare products to keep the colour looking its best and vibrant.

‘The perfect tonic for our natural clients’ – David Corbett, David Corbett Hairdressing, Bothwell, Glasgow

When Pantone reveal their Color of the Year it always gives us an opportunity to sit down and talk colour with the team. Yellow and grey is a great combination and there are lots of ways we can use these colours with our younger clients. A splash of vibrant yellow will brighten up blondes, while Ultimate Gray will be the perfect tonic for our natural clients.

One of my favourite hues take centre stage’ – Thomas Hills, TH1 Salon

I have always championed silver hair, and will be doing so more than ever next season, as PANTONE 17-5104 – Ultimate Gray – will see one of my favourite hues take centre stage. This spirited and emboldened shade will really help to satisfy our clients’ quest for vitality next year. While grey and its many incarnations never go out of style, metallic silver is, for me, the next level of chic, and can really help to bring a haircut to life.


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