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As a New Yorker, my view of Los Angeles hair color is narrowed: I imagine cool-girl bronds, icy platinums, and robust brunettes reign supreme, basing these inferences off of Hollywood's finest. But what about outside of the celebrity scene? I decided to ask some of the best colorists in the biz which shades they foresee their L.A. clientele requesting most. Here's a spoiler: There's a huge commonality among all of them, and it's a direct nod to the West Coast.
Says Tauni Dawson of Nine Zero One Salon, "Summertime in L.A. calls for one thing: lighter and brighter. The sun is shining, the beaches are filling up, and everyone is wanting that tan skin and sun-kissed hair amped up. I like any and all brightness around the face to give that enhanced I-lived-at-the-beach-this-summer look."
Face-framing highlights complement both light and dark shades—it's all a matter of brightening up the face and feigning a sun-drenched mane.
Gone are the days of blunt, stripey highlights—instead, well-blended lowlights, highlights, and a deeper root (lived-in highlights that have faded naturally, if you will) is the look du jour. Says the creator of lived-in color, Johnny Ramirez, "I think a lot of the L.A. girls are giving their hair a break from all the Coachella funky, fun colors and are going back to the timeless beachy lived-in hair color."
"Lived-in color is a subtle, enduring way of highlighting your hair that is neither balayage nor ombré," says Ramirez. "It's about highlighting and blending the hair, which allows the color to grow out naturally. For summer, I can take a blonde blonder by bumping baby-lights around the face."
Celebrity colorist and Redken ambassador Tracey Cunningham (Jennifer Lopez and Khloé Kardashian) senses—what else—beachy hues this summer. "Brond was the go-to hair color trend for the fall/winter season—warm hues with a pop of blond—but now, I'm giving my clients their beach-blond color for the warm days ahead. Gradually, by the July 4 holiday, you'll see the bright blonds back in full force. Depending on your starting color, you can transition with a few bright highlights near the face up to a full head of highlights or baby-lights. But my favorite blond look still has a bit of a root. That keeps maintenance easy and the look less manicured—more surfer girl off-duty."
"In my salon, Mèche, I was definitely creating a lot of 'bronds' over the past few months, inspired by girls like Jessica Biel, Drew Barrymore, and Chrissy Teigen," says Cunningham. "It's the perfect low-maintenance color for winter and to get one through award season. Now, my brond clients are back in the chair to lighten and brighten up the blond for that perfect California-beach-blond look heading into the summer season."
"L.A. girls, just like most girls, want to go lighter in the summer. The most requested is sun-kissed with multiple tones," says Matrix celebrity stylist George Papanikolas. "But most of all, they want it to look effortless and healthy. Too many girls have been literally burned when they have tried to go with the super-pale blond balayage looks that they see on Instagram, and as good as it looks when it's professionally styled on IG, it requires tons of effort to not make it look super-dry and damaged. If you can't get a comb through it when it's wet, then it's not worth the price. That's why staying in the honey/amber tones means you don't stress the hair as much."
"Incorporating a bond protecting system like Matrix Bond Ultim8 preserves the integrity of the hair so that you can wear those messy air-dried textures that every L.A. cool-girl pairs with this color," says Papanikolas.
In addition to these caramel/honey/beachy iterations, there are a few other popular L.A. hues you'll see peppered throughout the city.
"This summer is all about brightness but with a hint of softness and continuing to be all about effortless and low-maintenance hair color," says Mane Addicts expert and colorist Sarah Conner. "Think subtle, soft, rooty platinum tones—not a hard root line but more of a melted root into a pale-white blond."
"I've also been transitioning clients for summer from bold pastel tones to softer hues: pale blonds with barely-there hints of blush or pale-pink champagne tones," says Conner.
"This summer we are seeing a lot more of a natural golden sunset copper, giving redheads more dimension with various shades of red," says Mane Addicts expert Cassondra Kaeding.
Fellow Mane Addicts expert Sal Salcedo agrees: "Think of California hot summer sunsets for inspiration—warmer locks ranging from your golden buttery blonds to soft, creamy oranges to warm browns to auburn and darker bronze brunettes. Darker roots with brownish transitions are all welcome here. The sun is out painting the hair with a subtle warm touch."
Celebrity colorist Lorri Goddard, who paints famous manes like Reese Witherspoon's and Rosie HW's, says women are regularly requesting this upgraded crimson shade which she's dubbed "Candied Rouge" on the daily. "After subtle sun-kissed highlights are applied, use Christophe Robin Copper Mask to add summer glimmer and moisture."