When it comes to Gen Z’s penchant for beauty, one thing that certainly can’t be disputed is how beneficial it has been for the industry. Gen Z champion a sort of carefree revolt against the beauty ideals that have held every generation before them to impossible standards. They celebrate natural skin and hair textures, welcome what were once considered daring trends with open arms and, let’s face it, elevated Y2K beauty looks way beyond what we millennials did the first time around.
One area that I feel as though Gen Z don’t get enough credit for within beauty, however, is their trendsetting hair colours. Over the past few years, we have seen a huge uplift in variety of choice when it comes to our hair colour, and this is in large part thanks to Gen Z. Forget balayage blonde, block-dyed brunette and vibrant red, Gen Z are playing with pastels, peroxide and game-changing colour contrasts. And while you can argue these things have been done before, the difference this time around is that they’re actually wearable. Gen Z have made expressive hair colour trends suitable for just about every situation (yes, even the office). Don’t believe me? Keep scrolling for the seven Gen Z hair colour trends we’re desperate to adopt.
1. Chocolate Brunette
Gen Z beauty trends don’t have to be daring. And actually, while chocolate brunette might seem like a very popular and non-groundbreaking trend, when you think about it, it’s been a long time since we have embraced brunette hair in its most natural form. After decades of playing with highlights, lowlights and toners, it’s time to rethink the way we view brunette hair. “We’re starting to see people opt to tone down high-maintenance blonde, which, over time, can cause damage to your hair if you don’t look after it properly,” says celebrity hairstylist George Northwood. Forget complex colouring techniques; brunette is going rich and chocolatey.
2. Pastels and Periwinkle
One of the more obvious hair colour trends that Gen Z are turning to right now are pastel hair colours. For years, pastel hair has come in and out of fashion (typically peaking in the spring and falling off trending charts in the winter), but this time around, it’s here to stay. “We’re seeing a lot of crazy colours in pastels (think pink and peach), as well as bolder tones like green and yellow. Most notably, though, we’re seeing a lot of Pantone’s colour of the year, Very Peri,” says Szindy, designer stylist at Live True London.
3. Honey Blonde
Seventies hair is back with a bang, and Gen Z are doing it best—especially when it comes to blonde. “The ’70s hair trend is having a real revival, particularly with Gen Z because it’s all over TikTok. It’s those honey-hued blonde shades against layered hair with tonnes of volume and choppy, heavy bangs,” says Northwood. And the best bit is this trend abandons the traditional high upkeep of coloured blonde lengths. “I’m really enjoying seeing this trend evolve at the salon in a more laid-back, George Northwood style. The colour is slightly creamy, with soft butterscotch tones throughout, offering a fresh take on a classic retro style,” he adds.
I have been writing hair trend reports for many, many years, and I can safely say that copper hair colours have never been as popular as they are right now. Experts have named copper one of the most popular hair colours in salons every season for the past couple of years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. “A common colour that Gen Z are opting for is copper. I have had requests for ‘golden copper’ and ‘ginger brunette.’ This is an evolution of the red revival trend we saw in 2021,” reveals Szindy.
You don’t need me to tell you that blue-black hair is having a real moment, especially amongst Gen Z. Blue-black hair is the sort of colour that makes you do a double take—it possesses all of the boldness of black but also the movement and depth of blue. “Blue-black is a very popular colour amongst Gen Z at the moment. People want to make a statement, as we know. Especially after all of the DIY hairstyles we saw during lockdowns. Now, when people see a professional, they want something that will make them stand out,” says Paul Percival, founder of Percy & Reed.
6. Bleach Blonde
TikTok might have you believe that Gen Z are fervently against blonde, but in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, when it comes to blonde, Gen Z are embracing it in its most extreme form. “Gen Z like to stand up and make a statement with their hair. They lean towards things that are out of the ordinary,” says Szindy. Enter bleach blonde. Most notably, bleach blonde that makes a real impact. Look for inspo from the likes of Billie Eilish and Iris Law.
7. Contrast Colours
Contrasting colours have a big role to play in virtually every hair colouring technique out there, from balayage to ombré. For years, the aim of such techniques has been to make contrasts work in unison and create a seamlessly natural-looking result. Gen Z, however, are tearing up the rule book. We’re talking block colour without a hint of blending. Although, that’s not to say there isn’t a spectrum of subtlety. “The biggest trend amongst Gen Z in two-toned contrast colours is where a darker shade is added to the underneath layers, around the nape of the neck, and a lighter colour is added over the top. It works well with blonde tones and can make the hair appear thicker than it actually is,” says Percival.