Contrary to what you hear about the streets of New York being crowded (pre-pandemic, of course) with residents sporting head-to-toe black, the city is buzzing with color. From the vivid leaves in Central Park to the abstract wall art murals in SoHo, you'll find bold shades in every part of the city. Walk into one of the many salons found in any of the boroughs and you'll quickly notice that the New York City hair color trends are just like the fashion and beauty hub itself — bright and unexpected.
"One of the greatest parts of being a New Yorker is getting to change your look with the seasons," Jaxcee, colorist and founder of The Coily Collective, tells TZR. "Winter in New York is very cold and dark, [and] you can see that reflected in the cooler shades of blonde and dark low lighting that a lot of clients are asking for." The colorist says overall what's trending in the city is a return to a more bold and serious look. "More punky and hard edged than the pseudo California girl ‘lived in’ trend that a lot of New Yorkers loved pre-2020. Think pops of color instead of blended natural highlights."
However, Jenna Perry, a celebrity colorist who works with Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa and owner of Jenna Perry Hair Studio, says residents seem to be opting for shades that complement their skin tone. "Subtlety is big right now with clients because their appointments are being stretched a little further than usual," she says. "Enhancing the client's natural color to complement it and make it pop is almost like makeup and our colorists at the studio are really great at helping you achieve that." The hair expert says the right shade can really add a touch of blood flow or glow to your skin.
Even if you don't live in New York, you can still ask for one of the top hair color trends at your local salon. Ahead, find all the hues that top salons in the city are getting lots of requests for.
New York City Hair Color Trend: Golden Blonde
"Golden blonde is very complementary for someone whose skin tone tends to get dull in the winter," Perry says. "It’s the perfect tone to create an illusion of a sun-kissed glow to their skin."
New York City Hair Color Trend: Red Heads
Julia Elena, a colorist at Hair Story, feels that red heads are becoming more and more popular each year. "There are more POC who are exploring reds, and this brings me so much pleasure," she says. Likewise, Emaly Baum, a celebrity colorist, who works with Scarlett Johansson and Hunter Schafer, and a colorist at Suite Caroline, is seeing strawberry blonde having a moment. "I think people are really starting to let go of their desire for ash tones and are really leaning into natural warmth," the colorist explains. "Strawberry blonde basically lets you dip your toe into the water before going full red head."
New York City Hair Color Trend: Natural Brown
Olivia Casanova, a colorist at IGK Salons, is seeing a lot of brunettes return to their natural color. "Brunettes tend to oxidize brassy when not kept up with, usually when they have added highlights, so going darker overall creates a lot less upkeep," she says. "I keep it dark all over, for this reason as well." And Mark DeBolt, a colorist at Mark Ryan Salon, says brunettes are looking for deep, smoky shades of brown with no highlights, instead opting for a single tone of brunette richness. "For these clients it is all about the finish of the color — shine, shine, shine!"
New York City Hair Color Trend: Chunky Highlights
Jaxcee is getting requests for chunky highlights on natural bases among her younger clientele. "I think people are just so ready for change after being cooped up in the house for so many months because of quarantine," she says. "I’ve had the most timid of clients ask for pops of fun color in their hair because they aren’t in the office anymore where they're expected to be conservative."
Chelsey Pickthorn, owner of Pickthorn Studio, notes that chunky streaks have finally caught on and become mainstream. "I have a few clients that have been doing the Ginger Spice '90s chunks for some time now," she explains "Mostly blonde tones in the front, but I have also seen red, green, and so many different colorful chunks! There is nothing like some major blonde around the face but still having some deeper color for contrast."
New York City Hair Color Trend: Platinum
Sarah Spatt, a colorist at White Rose Collective, is surprised by the amount of people going platinum for the first time. "It’s a very dramatic change and you always feel a little extra fancy with platinum blonde," she says. "Even if you are just in sweats."
New York City Hair Color Trend: Fashion Shades
Nicole Cordoba, an artist and brand leader at Fox & Jane Salon, is noticing a surge in fashion shades, like purple or pink. The colorist says this represents people wanting change and doing things they wouldn't normally do in an office setting.
New York City Hair Color Trend: Illuminating Highlights
"Brunettes are best with soft illuminating highlights placed around their face, and just a touch from mid length to ends to enhance their natural color while allowing the sun to reflect on their typically dark hair to pick up a nice sparkle," Perry says.
Similarly, Ryan Pearl, a colorist at IGK Salons, believes soft highlights throughout the hair with something heavier contrasted around the face frame is what's trending at the moment. "This will add a lot of pop and brightness to people's skin tone, especially in the colder months!" For instance, a sandy neutral blonde with a bit more brightness near the ends, or a medium level brunette having more highlights at the ends.
New York City Hair Color Trend: Bold Blue
"I’m seeing a lot of bold colors, whether it be platinum, blue, purple, pink more than I used to," Stephanie Brown, a colorist at IGK Salons, tells TZR. She says it's great because you can just do the money piece (the front strands) a pastel or bright shade, or do the whole head platinum.
New York City Hair Color Trend: Chill Blondes
"I decided to change how I do blonde this year," Elena explains. "People don’t want to sit too long, and most of my clients with blonde hair really want to have healthy hair as well." Therefore, she started to paint more in the front to frame the face, giving a natural, carefree look.
New York City Hair Color Trend: Money Piece
Brown is loving the money piece hair trend that's taking over Instagram. "Whether people are asking for something bold or something a bit more subtle, overall people want that front piece a little chunkier brighter and bolder," she says.