Bold Color— Daring is the New Norm

The quarantine-induced wave of innovative hair color trends.

Quarantine brought out two different types of people within the hair world.

The first used stay at home orders as an opportunity to embrace their natural look. Heck, why invest all that work into maintaining those roots or platinum color if it won’t be on display out and about? Some saw times of low social interaction as a way to fall back in love with simplicity. We get it— sometimes it’s nice to spend less time on looks and more time on feeling good in your own skin (or in this case, hair).

The second used the lockdown as an opportunity to experiment, experiment, experiment! The same “out and about” logic applies here too. If you’re not leaving the house for anything but grocery trips and infrequent errands, isn’t now the perfect time to try new things? If it goes wrong, you’ve got the space and time to turn it around. Could it end up in disaster even after all of our best efforts to turn around the mess? Sure, but let’s face it— after this year, we’re all a little more comfortable with disaster...

Some of us have started in camp one and swung to camp two, or vice versa.

For the past few weeks, we’ve discussed various ways to keep your hair healthy— including some deep dives into hair science. Many of the tips work for both natural and color-treated hair, but color-treated hair does come with some additional rules in the hair care world. We’ll be providing you with a guide for maintaining color-treated hair next week, but this week, we’re focusing on the color trends which have taken the world by storm in the COVID era.

The use of dye has been a rallying cry— pink was the home-dye darling of the pandemic, bringing people together from around the world. With so much out of our individual control, it makes sense that people are turning to at-home grooming to regain a sense of stability. Plus, it’s fun!

Let’s take a look at some of the most popularized hair looks over quarantine. Some were popular before quarantine, they just saw even further gains in popularity. Some were born during lockdown. Collectively, we’ve all had a lot of free time to come up with new wild styles…

Think Pink

Bubblegum-Pink hair is one of the lowest risk options for non-natural hair colors out there. Can everyone pull off a bright blue? No. But pink has proven to be just as electric as other bright colors while also maintaining a certain baseline accessibility.

Why might pink be considered a lower-risk dye option? It comes down to complexion. Pastel pinks are more likely to blend well with your skin tone. It has been shown to deemphasize hyperpigmentation or flushed tones across the face. Other bright hair colors aren’t nearly as forgiving.

Another angle to consider is pink’s newfound place as a widely-recognized neutral addition to color palettes. Recently, “pink as a neutral” has hit the mainstream, as designers agree that it often minimizes brashness within a color scheme and is very light on the eyes. It’s calming, yet impactful. Other colors fail to hit the sweet spot between fun and function like pink does.

A recent French trendwatching report claims that pink is a highly-collaborative color, pairing gracefully with on-trend jewel tones. When it comes to hair, this means pink’s smart accompaniment with both skin tones and clothing colors.

There might be psychological factors at play as well. NYC neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez argues that pink is “the color of universal love of oneself and of others." This is a sentiment shared within the design world as well. Packaging science professionals often leverage colors within the pink color family to elicit these reactions of belonging and affection.

Pink has garnered a large celebrity endorsement over the past few months and retailers have responded to the surge in demand. With new and improved formulations for DIY looks on the market, that summery look you’ve never quite pulled the trigger on is a safer experiment than ever before.

Prism Power

Now that salons are opening again, we’re seeing a whole new wave of innovation in approach to color. During all the lockdown downtime, salon technicians have birthed what might be the next hottest hair color trend— prism hair!

Prisms have been huge on instagram for the past few years. Influencers have been chasing those prismatic flare effects with both the use of physical prisms and photoshop. Instagram even mimicked this colorful gradient look in its logo redesign in 2016 after parting ways with its classic design which had been the platform-wide standard since the company was founded in 2010.

Then there’s the Rio de Janeiro instagram filter, conveniently placed at the front of the filter queue, one right swipe away. It also picks up on colorful gradients, specifically echoing the color palette of the current Instagram app icon.

All this to say that gradients and prisms have been all the rage for the past few years and it’s no surprise that they’re trickling over into hair color. These new looks bring the magic of prismatic light tricks to your hair where you can radiate the positive energy wherever you go.

With a little seamless blending and expertly-applied color, you can accomplish this on-trend look too. While it’s quite an undertaking for home, it is possible. Josh Rainville, an award-winning hair color educator, has been sharing his tips across his Instagram (@fabhairbyjosh). Hop on over to his feed to catch up to speed with holographic hair techniques which are all sure to get you a flood of awestruck comments.

Image via Instagram @fabhairbyjosh

The level of subtlety is all up to you. Want a little flicker of the rainbow but don’t want to commit to a full coverage look? This look can start simple and dial all the way up to a slice of fantasy-laced outlandishness. Your choice.

Root Looks

Salons (where they’re open at some level of reduced capacity) and news outlets have both reported that extra-bold colors are being requested at an all-time high. Inhibitions are melting and people are rushing out to try new things they wouldn’t have even entertained the thought of before.

Recently, Vogue ventured further into exploring this cultural movement, claiming boldness was an indicator of a desire for “cathartic visual self-expression”. This has also caused a spark in digital hair dye parties, since in-person gatherings aren’t always an option these days.

People are connecting in more innovative and unique ways. While radical hair change wasn’t at the top of the girls night list before, now people are feeling freer to shake things up. Dyed roots are one of those previously avoided hair changes.

Billie Eilish, Halsey, and Dua Lipa are just a few examples of celebrities who are taking this trend to heart. Through a series of rapid look changes, Dua Lipa has sported both a full-bodied cherry tone hair as well as a bold root look.

Image via Instagram @dualipa

Frustrated with dark roots butting up against your ultra-light platinum hair? Here’s an idea— push the roots darker. It’s a dramatic look that’s been picking up popularity during lockdown. It’s contrasty and high-fashion. Luckily, it’s an easy fix if things go wrong.

Eilish has been the most center-stage example with her neon-green roots pairing hauntingly with her midnight black hair. The goth look has never been more coveted— Eilish somehow brings it into the mainstream with an unparalleled accessibility and carefree energy.

Not ready to tackle the root? Give the tips a shot instead. If you’re not a fan of the results, the look can be a good excuse for snipping off the last few inches of hair and cleaning up the length a little. Adaptability reigns supreme throughout all these switch-ups.

Unparalleled Personalization

Here’s a slice of beauty futurism for you— Smart Mirror. It’s an award-winning implementation of real-time augmented reality which allows users to “try on” different hairstyles. Here’s the best part— it’s rolling out in salons across the country. Fearful that a look might be too daring? Eliminate the guesswork and come face to face with a realistic execution of your imagined look.

It’s also paired with “Color DJ”, the first in-salon technology to deliver personalized hair color masks. It allows you to build your own conditioner, maximized for you down to the fragrance, conditioner level, color, and other hair needs. It formulates and creates the perfect hair solution for you right there in the salon. The combinations are incredible, with distinct combinations up in the billions. It’s basically a parallel to AER dryer personalization abilities, but for color-treated hair conditioners.

Creators assured us that Color DJ isn’t a “one-off gimmick” but instead part of a mainstream movement which will be steadily available in more and more salons nationwide. It’s another exciting application of personalization in the hair care world— something AER is proud to play a leading role in as well.

Image via Wella

Adapting to Your New Look

How is AER a frontrunner in personalization? Allow us to put our innovations in the spotlight for a second.  

The AER dryer is designed to be in lockstep with our app. AER learns with you, paying close attention to how you dry. Colored hair needs special protection— we know that achieving your look can be a time consuming investment. We’re here to preserve it and keep your color-treated hair looking salon-fresh at all times.

Swinging by your in-laws place after work for a visit? Don’t have time to go home? AER’s battery powered capability allows for untethered touch ups wherever you are.

AER was created with tricky situations at top of mind. Jammed schedules. Unruly waves. Frustratingly humid afternoons. A delicate new cut and color. The AER dryer was made for times when you need something to work for you.

A new look and unparalleled personalization are just around the corner.

You can still preorder AER Dryer and get 41% OFF!