While London currently gets dark at 3:30 p.m. and the skies are constantly gray, there’s still plenty of color as London women are switching up their hair hues — even in a pandemic. You’ll find bold, creative color in East London’s Shoreditch, known as the home of the hipster, and a more polished, refined touch in Knightsbridge, home of the luxury mecca, Harrods. Being a melting pot of different cultures and style, London hair color trends are as diverse as those that live there — and anything goes.
"We've had so many strict rules during lockdown that London color trends are bolder and more creative to break out of the norm," Margarita Rodriguez, color artist and bleach specialist at Bluetit London, tells TZR. Celebrity colorist Josh Wood agrees saying that clients are going in a much more expressive direction. “After a challenging year, we're getting requests for stronger looks with more definition and contrast. For bold looks without the commitment, using a semi permanent gloss can make a final 2020 statement while preparing for Zoom Christmas parties.”
For those of us that aren't so brave for a complete switch-up, Londoners are also opting for subtler changes that don't require as frequent visits to their salons. "With clients not knowing when their next appointment will be due to government changes, they're opting for color that will look as good in four to six months," says Shona Bain, signature colorist at Gielly Green.
While a trip to London may not be in the cards anytime soon, here are the most-requested trends you can ask your colorist for to get the London look.
London Color Trend: Red Heads
Creative Director at Taylor Taylor London, Maria Galati, says there is a red for every skin tone. And while deeper shades were the color for 2020, as we approach 2021, we are moving across the color spectrum into copper. “Within the red spectrum, copper is the most flattering color for all skin types and ethnicities. You could say it’s an all inclusive hair color.”
For those that want to play further with color, she says that copper is a great way to reinvent face-framing. “We usually add extra lightness around the face for blondes, but adding the right tone of red or copper can really illuminate the face and make a show-stopping, highly personalized look."
London Color Trend: Warm Chocolate
From chestnut to chocolate, warmer browns often lean a little red but work on all skin tones. "Changing the tone of the hair can really add extra dimension," says Wood. He tells TZR that London women are turning towards warmer, golden brunette hues which look rich, opulent, and give a summer glow even if you've been cooped up indoors.
London Color Trends: Smudged Roots
It wasn’t long ago that visible, darker roots were considered a little "low rent" but after a year of lockdown, this grown-out effect might be the biggest color trend, says Galati. “If your bold roots haven’t been caused by the closure of your local hairdresser then we can easily create them by focusing on the ends of your hair. Ask your colorist to add some strategic highlights from the mid-lengths to the ends of your hair, but make sure you have a trim first so that your ends are in great condition before you consider lightening them." Embracing roots oozes a chic, effortless quality but it's also a really cost-efficient way to lean into a hair trend.
London Color Trends: Creative Colors
“We're stepping out of a hair hibernation for the awakening, so expect strong, fun, bold colors,” says Bain. "A full head of creative colors aren't to everyone's tastes, but we're even seeing our more conservative clients adding flashes of pinks to switch things up."
London Hair Color Trend: Money Pieces
From fashion to hair, anything '90s is huge right now. Chunky face-framing highlights are a top London trend that emerged during lockdown says Global Color Ambassador of Fudge Professional, Tracy Hayes. “With plenty of time spent at home and unable to visit hairdressers, people experimented by placing heavy bands of color to frame the face, which is far easier to position than normal highlights."
Sported on celebs such as Dua Lipa, Beyoncé, and Kylie Jenner, Hayes tells TZR that while the Alice Band color technique is often seen in muted hues, because the hair is bleached, it can be easily played with. "Be warned: Pastel shades will wash out very easily, whereas intense colors will stay!"
London Color Trend: High-Res Highlights
After years of subtle balayage being the go-to highlighting technique, director of SALON64, Ricky Walters tells TZR that the trend now is to up the ante. "We're really packing on foil after foil to create added texture for locks that stand out even on Zoom, for a multi-dimensional look." While we often go darker in the Winter months, Ricky says embracing lighter tones creates a perfect contrast to gloomy London streets.
London Color Trend: Brassy Blonde
Whether it's natural or thanks to bleach, blondes turn brassy when there's too many warm tones. While hairdressers normally correct brassiness with color-correcting toners, Hayes says that shades of yellow will soon be embraced thanks to PANTONE revealing the colors of 2021. "With illuminating yellow a tone that lift spirits and oozes happiness, we'll undoubtedly see that reflected in hair color trends. It's a warm look which will be sure to turn heads as it brightens up the room."
London Color Trend: Block Colors
Multi-tonal, ultra-blended color exploded thanks to balayage but block colors are back. Seen across a spectrum of natural shades in blondes, browns, blacks, and reds, it's a low-maintenance trend that focuses on hair health and still looks polished if salons are asked to close.
London Color Trend: Bold Bangs
Bangs are really having a moment and that extends to color trends, too. The look can be super bold with creative colors or subtle with some faux-sunkissed highlights, says Rodriguez at Bluetit. "Playing with fringe color is a really modern way to update your look without too much commitment as fringes grow out and are regularly trimmed. If the hair is bleached first, it's really easy to then mix and match colors when your mood changes."
London Color Trend: Jewel Tones
Perhaps it's the influence of all the gemstones in The Crown but Londoners are leaning on shades that echo expensive stones. Think purple amethysts, blue sapphires, green emeralds and, ruby reds. A good quality lace-front wig is also the perfect way to experiment with color trends if you're not quite ready for a change.