If this time every year you get an uncontrollable urge to completely switch up your hair colour, you're not alone. With the height of summer approaching rapidly, embracing a change in shade is a natural yearning—especially if, like me, you've spent almost the entirety of lockdown mood-boarding hair inspiration on Pinterest. However, while summer tends to be the time that most of us start thinking about a change of hair colour, the beaming sun can actually put our colour and hair health at risk. If you’re planning to sit in the sunshine, Nikita Fisher, co-owner of Palmer Fisher London, has a brilliant piece of advice for protecting your hair (other than with a hat). "My top tip is to put conditioner in your hair whilst you are sunbathing just like you would put sunscreen on your skin to protect it," she says.
I'll admit the urge to embrace a new summer hair colour has totally overtaken me, and I’ve booked my personal colour revamp for early next month. So in my quest to find out the hottest summer hues, I quizzed some of the top colourists in the UK for their takes on the best summer hair colours. Keep scrolling to discover their most-requested hair shades of the summer so far and the products that you need to maintain your salon finish.
From a hint of colour to full-on vivid brights, experimental colour is going to be more requested than ever—we're talking pink, purple and pastel hues.
"Given the situation that we've been in, people are becoming ever more open to trying new things during their now much-awaited, highly anticipated hair appointments, and pastels can provide the perfect direction," says Paddy McDougall, Indola global ambassador. "They're always cool and so versatile, from fun vivid colours to something more muted and sophisticated, like a dusted pink."
There's no denying that blonde is a key summer colour, but there's a reason it crops up in so many summer colour trends—because it's so highly requested.
"Blondes have had a real renaissance this year, and the colour is becoming more versatile and nuanced to every individual," says Adam Reed, UK editorial ambassador for L'Oréal Professionnel. "This summer, I'm really excited to see more golden, honey and biscuit blondes coming through that are perfectly toned and natural-looking, offering a real shimmer and gloss in the summer sun.”
The worst thing you can do when bleaching your hair is ruin it at home with a non-professional, stripping shampoo and conditioner. This range from L'Oréal Professionnel is recommended by top colourists and will keep your colour looking and feeling fresh.
In contrast to the playful pastel and vivid hues, there's a colour camp that's sticking firmly to the palette of natural tones—something that Jason Cocking and Chris Baker from No 4 Theatre Square have noticed.
"We are finding clients are being more relaxed with their haircuts, such as the shag, and complementing with neutral blondes and browns. I think coming out of lockdown, people want to show their personality and be more unique, so with blondes, we are not seeing block silver so much but more shading and then same with darker tones—people want a more individual, bespoke look."
Yes, balayage is still a huge summer hair colour trend. Can you remember a time when it wasn't? "Unsurprisingly effortless, lived-in balayage and beautiful highlighted effects are going nowhere this summer, ranging from natural-feeling, sun-kissed to higher-impact, sun-drenched looks," says McDougall. "For this service, the area around the face is always crucial, and focus remains on creating the perfect face frame. Whether it's subtle minimalism or a high-impact '90s interpretation, this isn't going to change anytime soon—especially as the '70s Bardot fringe continues to gain traction."
Adding dimension into brunette hues is a big summer colour move according to Emma Simmons from Salon 54. "Brunettes will be on-trend with a combination of coffee tones ranging from deep espresso to soft latte, creating a multi-tonal dream for those with deeper hues," Simmons says. "Strategically placed, face-framing highlights around the front section will give that constant ring-light effect to the face."
"I think a lot of gold tones and sun-kissed looks will be huge trends this year," says Nikita Fisher. "People often shy away from warmer blonde tones, but when they are done right, they look incredible and with the right techniques can give a really gorgeous natural look that almost looks uncoloured—which I think is really sought after. Colourists have massively upped their games in recent years, and the outcome of sun-kissed hair in the right hands can be really beautiful."
The lived-in colour trend cuts the frequency of touch-ups in the same way that balayage does. Careful placement gives your hair a brighter summer feel but within your natural colour range for a low-maintenance tweak. "Concentrating this around your parting is an instant boost," says Zoë Rees at Bliss Hair Therapy. "We all love to feel brighter for the summer and crave that sun-kissed feel, so what better way to give our hair a lift than adding a face frame? A subtle blonde reflects to brighten your complexion and flatter your sun-kissed tone."