As fleeting and versatile as hair color can be, so too are the trends, which probably explain why the color du jour changes faster than we can say, "blorange." (How do you say it, anyway?) Hair color trends vary by region, especially from coast to coast. So, we tapped the brains of top colorists in Los Angeles and New York City to get their feedback on the hottest hues.
The color trends seem to coincide with the weather of each region—lighter, brighter shades in LA, while darker undertones (and colorful, springy hues) maintain their popularity in NYC. However, both areas have one clear element in common: visible darker roots. Keep scrolling to find out about the most popular shades in each city.
"Coming into the summer season, my clients are getting their blonde game on," says Redken celebrity hairstylist Tracey Cunningham, who boasts a client roster that includes Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Biel, and Charlize Theron. "LA ladies like that kick of Cali sun in their highlights when coming out of the cooler winter months, so now I am starting to take bronde and light brunette clients back into sexy, beachy summer blonde." To get this look, Cunningham paints face-framing highlights and babylights throughout to brighten up the color.
As far as brunette shades go, Burke says she's seeing beige and warm tones with a subtle contrast.
Gloss smudging is a technique that allows you to blur the lines between your highlights/color and the new roots that are growing in. That way, there are no stark lines, and instead, the color is beautifully blended. The technique, which technically serves as a fix, is actually a big trend in LA, according to celebrity colorist George Papanikolas. "Using the principles of the gloss smudge at the root, you are essentially creating a soft shadow, and blurring the lines between the base color and the highlights to give a softer, blended effect," he explains. "The end result is modern and sophisticated and can be used for all colors in the hair color spectrum."
Papanikolas is also seeing lots of color-melting—a look developed by Matrix that works several tones into the hair while using a demi-permanent gloss. Papanikolas says, "It's progressive, as it's an evolution of balayage because it can incorporate multiple tones in the hair. The best part is the colors last about 20 shampoos, so it gives you the versatility to change direction with each salon visit."
New York City
Tiffanie Richards, who specializes in blonde hair, says pastel color washes aren't going anywhere soon but warns against the effect it has on the hair: "Pastels are very, very damaging to the hair due to the fact that you have to go lighter with bleach (almost white) to get those colors to show true. The smarter and healthier option for this is having your colorist take you very blonde and from there, play around with the newest products that deposit color, such as the brand Overtone. With these, you have so many more options to play around with your hair color. Pastels are also infamous for fading out almost immediately, but these shampoos allow you to maintain the color for a lot longer."
"I am having girl after girl come in wanting to darken their roots," says Richards. "Everyone, from platinum blondes to dark brunettes with highlights, is requesting this. The most popular color trend at the moment is the shadowed root—still going lighter, but keeping the brighter strands around your face and at the very ends while keeping the roots your natural, or close to your natural, color."
"What we are doing currently is an opalescent iridescent blonde," says Larry Raspanti of Whittemore House Salon, a celeb favorite. "These blondes have faint undertones sprinkled throughout including touches of pale lavender, powdery pinks, and dusty silvers, which create a mother-of-pearl effect. These hues can be adjusted to suit the skin tone of each client."
Streak of Color
Rita Hazan (who colors Beyoncé's hair) says undercover color placement is big in NYC right now. "Keep the color all one tone and pick a piece or chunk of hair, depending on the haircut and style, and make it super light or a pop of color. Usually, this piece is hidden." To keep the color looking vibrant, try her Ultimate Shine Gloss ($26) treatment.
Which trend do you want to try? Sound off below!