Is it just us, or have hair-color trends reached a fever pitch over the past year? From
winter white and red velvet to Lady Gaga going lilac just this week, people — famous and otherwise — are branching out like never before.
It’s not just the trends that have changed — it’s also the advancement of aftercare systems like Wellaplex and
Olaplex that have opened up a whole new world of possibilities in hair color. So what’s next? We asked London-based color-trends forecaster Zoë Irwin and technical director Robert Eaton, both of Wella Professional UK, to tell us what they think we’ll all be obsessed with in 2019.
Ahead, four exciting ways to face the future with really, really good hair.
This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.
The Trend: Amber Slate
Occupying a cozy space between honey blonde, red, and silvery chrome, amber slate serves up ’70s retro vibes. Because it’s essentially a handful of warm tones mixed with a cool base, it suits all skin tones.
fashion especially, we’ve been exploring the 1970s color palette for a number of years,” Irwin says. “If you look at Zara and other high-street stores, you’ll see a dominance of mustard, and this has translated into hair color. At Wella, we’ve been working through what we now call a ‘baked yellow’ for spring summer 2019. It’s a warm amber tone, but it has an undertone of a slated, chrome-like metallic.”
Irwin explains that this isn’t a vibrant shade — it’s cool and more natural, a sort of “smoked wood,” like a faded photograph. (Again, very ’70s.) “To get it right, wear your hair in a brushed out texture. We’re seeing curls that would have been more individual, brushed out into this more ethereal feel,” Irwin says. “It’s about rich tonal warmth and we’re layering shades to achieve it. It’ll look amazing worn with seasonal clothes, too.”
The Trend: Futuristic Tones
Think ice, opals, and lots of metallics.
“When we say ‘futuristic,’ we’re thinking of the year 2000,” Irwin says. “Growing up, we thought everything would be alien-like and chrome — we had these visions, but now we’re returning to look at this futuristic vibe when it comes to hair instead. As colorists, we’re coming into a really interesting time, thanks to metallic opals and also new technology. We’re now creating hair-color tones that have never been seen before.”
The Wellaplex bond maker, Irwin explains, makes it so that you can lighten up hair color into cleaner, paler shades than ever before, all without sustaining a ton of damage. But it’s not all about those blonde and gray tones: “On top of lightened shades, we’re now placing colors like peach, pink, and mint on top,” she says. “We’re also now mixing cool and warm tones on one head, so that hair color works well with different skin tones.”
The Trend: Color-Texture Embrace & Freehand Painting
“In America, wearing hair natural has overtaken straightening for the first time, and Brazilian blowdries are on a massive decline,” Irwin says. “But when people aren’t relaxing their hair, they’re coloring it more, because the hair isn’t so sensitized so you can actually try different colors.” She says that we’re now seeing curly hair types through a 2019 lens — and freehand painting is at the forefront of custom color.
“Instead of using foils, we’ve started to dye fine little pieces of hair with palms and fingers,” Irwin says. New technology like the
Koleston Perfect, Wella’s purest color ever, not only reduces the risk of allergies but also keep hair soft and healthy. “It has such a creamy feel and takes care of textured hair as it colors,” Irwin says. “What we’re now able to do is lighten the hair but keep it in beautiful condition, so there’s still shine. This is an overdue change within the hair industry, and means that those with textured hair don’t have to go to one particular salon anymore.”
The Trend: Instagram-Filter Hair
The warm, hazy veil of color the Juno filter gives your hair in a selfie? Yeah,
“One thing I’ve noticed is that people are coming into the salon asking for us to recreate hair colors in selfies which they’ve filtered,” Eaton says. “Consumers are now thinking of these as realistic shades.”
“I have this camera app called Snow that uses really cool filters, so I started shooting myself with it and friends would say, ‘Wow, your hair looks amazing,’ and it really did,” Irwin says. “It was a much cleaner blonde. That’s what clients like now — it’s making us see color in a different way, but hair colorists are now able to create these looks using the latest product innovations and techniques.”
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