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Colourist

Pretty Popular: The Hair Colours that Will Define the Decade

by charlottegw / last updated May 6, 2020

It’s a fresh new decade and a fresh new era for hair too. The experts in the know are predicting that pretty hues will be hot for the 2020s. Whether it’s a move to warmer shades, glossy global colour or a pastel balayage, pretty hair is once again covetable. But whether your clients are looking to stick with their trusted, beloved balayage or they’re looking to move on, it’s worth having the new colour trends up your sleeve to tempt them. Behold the prettiest shades of 2020…

Amber haze glaze

It’s fair to say that Zoë Irwin, creator of ‘haze glazing’, is one of the main reasons why golden, amber shades that look lit from within are on-trend again.

amber haze glaze

“Haze Glazing is a trend and a palette – it’s an overall concept to add a warm, sunlit and illuminated effect to the hair,” explains the Wella Professionals colour trend expert. “The palette is based around the magical light we see in the evening – the kind that throws a warm haze onto everything. We’re leaving behind the greys and smoked flat colours that we have been using on hair and we’re moving into a more 1970s colour palette. I’ve been influenced by Neil Krug’s Pulp Art book which is a homage to how fashion was photographed in the 1970s. He looked at how images were shot at that time and used old Polaroid films years past their sell-by date to recreate the era. The result is a grainy, sun-scorched feel with gorgeous gold light. I’m trying to create that with my haze glazing technique.”

2020 chunky highlights

2019 saw the return of chunky highlights thanks to advocates JLO and Kim Kardashian. This year chunky highlights have been made more wearable thanks to new colouring techniques.

“My clients are not afraid of warmer tones anymore and they are experimenting with shades that have a hint of copper and mahogany,” shares Katie Hale, head of colour at Charles Worthington for L’Oréal Professionnel. “I’m thrilled that 2020 has given a makeover to the 1990s chunky highlight. It gives more of a contrast than your average foils but is much more wearable than a ‘stripy’ highlight. The tweed hair technique would help achieve this look. Take wider weaves leaving more of the client’s base on show. The base colour can show through to give that chunky highlight effect.”

How to adapt trends for everyday guests

Paul Mitchell’s artistic director of professional hair colour, Colin Caruso has some words of advice for trying new trends in the salon. He says: “It’s good to be prepared. Have swatch formulas ready to test on clients before you get the request. There’s nothing worse than trying to figure out how to do a new trend for the first-time on a paying guest. Always use social media to show potential clients that you are ahead of the curve when it comes to trends. Finally, get to work as practice makes perfect!”

Opal opulence


Opal tones are nothing new, but the 2020 versions are soft, more refined and oh-so-pretty.
“We’ve seen bold half and half placements in the early half of 2020, but we are also seeing more delicate tones emerge,” says Heffy Wheeler, OSMO ambassador. “I predict the spring will see clients opting for ‘softer rainbow’ techniques that incorporate multiple colours to create iridescent hues. It’s a great way to add something a little different and introduce colourful tones into a silver or a platinum client.”

Pearly blonde

It’s no wonder that this pure blonde shade is beloved by the Instagram set. It’s not a warm blonde shade by any means but the more neutral tones make it super wearable.

“Current toner trends are moving towards softer and warmer shades, which provides greater longevity and suits a wider range of clients,” explains Andrew Trott-Barn, Advanced Pro Salon ColourCode creative director. “Recently I’ve been experimenting with ‘zone toning’. I isolate different areas of the head with different toners to create depth, tone and texture. I also carry out ‘toner melting’ from one shade to another, which works especially well on lighter shades. It makes shades last longer and is achievable on a busy salon floor.”

Fiery cinnamon

This hot red shade is always a firm favourite, but the main difference for red hair in 2020 is how healthy and radiant it looks.

“Clients are moving towards global, radiant colour as hair health and condition becomes the most important aspect when choosing colour,” explains Tracey Devine-Smith, ASP global ambassador. “We’ll be warming things up for SS20 and away from cool, icy tones. Now it’s all about light and reflective colour, which features heavily in the new ASP INFINITI range. Warmer red hues can be given a 2020 spin with an injection of ultra-gloss shine. Colourists should choose a shade wisely – think rich tones as opposed to bright and vivid hues.”

Cassis

Just like the drink Crème de Cassis, this hair colour is sweet, dark and characterised by hints of blackcurrant. “Enrich your brunette colour story with the must-have shade of 2020 – Cassis,” encourages Alex Collins, Kao Salon Division academy seminar leader. “This will add a pink glow that shimmers and shines in the light, giving a cassis direction to any level and keeping every client on trend for 2020.”

Milk chocolate

Brown doesn’t have to be boring. As all colourists know getting a beautiful brunette shade is harder than it looks but the hottest shades are rich without being over-powering.

“When it comes to brunette shades clients often mistake warmth with brassiness, so we end up with results that are far too ashy or flat because cooler tones have been used,” warns Philip Bell, Ishoka Hair and Beauty. “The new natural beige shades from the tbh – true beautiful honest range are great for combating this, and the chocolate tones are my personal favourites. They give a natural depth to the hair without going too warm and are natural and complimentary to most client’s skin tone.”

Shadowy roots

Putting in a root stretch means that a whole new world of colour can open up to clients who wouldn’t have considered blonde before. Shaking off its grunge-y past, shadowy roots are the new pretty trend everyone wants.

“The ‘root stretch’ is going to remain in high demand for SS20 and it’s a real favourite with my clients due to the super-natural finish. Plus, they love how low maintenance it is,” explains Shelley Lane, milk_shake ambassador. “As a hairdresser, it’s always important to educate our clients that there is still a need to schedule appointments for regular toners and colour refreshers. As a creative colourist, I love that a root stretch really allows me to push the boundaries with lightening (I’m a huge fan of milk_shake Decologic). For those clients with darker hair I keep the roots dark to complement their skin tone and create an overall soft and subtle look.”

Soft but vivid balayage

It sounds like a contradiction in terms but soft vivid balayage is predicted to be a key trend for 2020 thanks to bold colours being made to be more wearable.

“About four years ago bright colours were still booming, but I think the trend will well and truly curve this year,” explains Crazy Color ambassador Sophia Hilton. “People are still asking for Crazy Color shades at Not Another Salon, but the increase in those colours going over the top of balayage is the next big thing. People still want the vivids, they just want it to be low maintenance in 2020. Applying these shades on top of a balayage ensures the ‘grow-out’ process still looks beautiful.”

Twi-lighting

We all know what highlighting is, but have you heard of twi-lighting? The new twist on a classic colouring technique incorporates babylights to make a subtle, natural change to a client’s colour.

“Twi-lighting is a mix of balayage with some face framing babylights around the hair line,” Mark Leeson, Revlon Professional global artistic ambassador explains. “It’s a low maintenance colour perfect for clients who want to highlight their features and texture in their hair without committing to a bold colour. Twi-lighting is a flattering technique that really frames the face. It’s almost like adding a permanent beauty light. For 2020 keep the lightened hair a couple of hues lighter than your client’s natural hair colour so its multi-tonal but natural with a golden finish. Gisele Bundchen and Miranda Kerr wear this look perfectly.”

Pastel fruit salad

Forget contrasting tones, the new take on fruit salad colour is all about a pastelised blend.
“Blending smokey lilac with soft coral is such a perfect way to bring some excitement back into a grown-out balayage, especially after the winter months,” enthuses Tracy Hayes, Fudge Professional global head of technical training. “With the blonde hair already in place, it’s easy to brighten the hair by placing Fudge Professional Paintbox in any chosen mix. For those who want to play safe and not to be too indebted to their colour, sweep pastel tones of smokey lilac and soft coral just through the ends rather than all over the head.”

Strawberry blonde 2.0

A progression from the rose gold we’ve been seeing in previous seasons; SS20’s strawberry blonde is a beautiful shade that is delicate yet still makes a statement. “Strawberry blonde gives skin an instant healthy sparkle and exudes a warm, relaxed attitude,” says Kerrie O’Reilly, TIGI European technical director. “As a colourist it’s fun to customise the perfect palette to complement a client’s skin tone, complexion, and eye colour. At TIGI we do this through our creative consultation approach, where we assess these three elements along with the client’s lifestyle and emotional response to their hair. The two main tones we will play with would be golden and copper. Tiny amounts of reds can also be used to incorporated blush hues. On lighter levels/bases, the saturation of tone is softer which makes the colour look lived-in and natural.”

Dandelion blonde

Think Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner’s latest shade and you’ve got a perfect visual reference for Dandelion blonde. The hair colour takes classic butter blonde, golden honey or platinum yellow and makes it softer, fresher, and brighter. “As we approach SS20 it’s great to see clients embrace warmer tones when it comes to their colour, whilst experimenting a little more with the palette around them,” agrees Dan Spiller, JOICO colour ambassador for the UK, Ireland and Europe.

“Taking inspiration from the beautiful floristry of the British countryside, dandelion yellow is going to be a huge trend come SS20. It’s a statement colour that brightens up the complexion of the client, whilst still adding that feeling of warmth. We’ve witnessed hints of this gorgeous shade on the runways of Milan and New York Fashion Week, and I have no doubt it’s going to be huge for 2020.”

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