Generation Z – those born from the mid 1990s onwards – are one of the most experimental generations when it comes to their hair colour. There are a number of factors that influence their choices for a colouring service.
“A lot of influence is found online or via influencers who are more unapologetic about the way in which they present themselves,” says Becky Sutherland, owner of Pink Lemon Hair and Crazy Color sponsored stylist. “This is seen particularly in pop culture and it creates new social norms. Billie Eilish, for example, wore a bright green root for a long period of time, and Halsey is frequently modelling different hair colours on social media,” she says.
Gen Z are often associated with the TikTok app, where hair transformations are proving to be popular in the form of snappy video content with instant results. “Gen Z are fast becoming some of the most demanding clients and I love it,” says Gareth Williams, Revlon Professional ambassador and consumer colour educator at Salon 64. “#glowup challenges and transformative reels have made this set of social media gurus push their looks further. This generation are here to slay and they are happy to put their money where their mouth is,” he says.
Tap into TikTok colour trends and learn how to accommodate your Gen Z clients in the salon
You may also find your Gen Z clients questioning the types of products you use in the salon. Not only are they on the hunt for services that will make them look and feel great, but they also want to use brands that are aligned with their values. “I’m always being asked if I use products that are natural and vegan, sulphate-free and not tested on animals,” says Dylan McConnachie, FFØR brand ambassador. “Hair brands are constantly evolving with new and natural technologies which allows clients to use a whole range of products that will leave the hair in immaculate condition,” he says.
Lockdown in particular paved the way for at-home experimentation with some unsuccessful DIY colour. Many are now seeking professional guidance however, says Lucy Trevorrow, Celeb Luxury brand ambassador. “The first problem most young people faced was the overwhelming choice of what colour to choose and why,” she says. “With that there were many failed attempts due to the user not understanding what some semi-permanent hair colours should or shouldn’t do.”
HJ asks the experts to share how to accommodate Gen Z clients in your salon, as well as the key trends to watch in the coming months...
The Money Piece
“There has been a resurgence of clients asking for more striking money pieces at the front,” says Simon Tuckwell, ambassador for Balmain Paris Hair Couture. “Panels of colour placed along the front hairline that are getting heavier and more daring with splashes of colour to add a real pop.” It’s a trend that can work with many hair colours. “This could be creating a more prominent contrasting chunky money piece on a natural balayage to a more random abstract panel placement. It works so well in both natural and vivid colour work,” explains Christabel Legrand, Pulp Riot ambassador. “This trend is something I was seeing a lot on TikTok a few months ago, alongside the 1990s fashion revival,” she says.
The Horizontal Split
“I predict strong, monochromatic 1990s-inspired under-colour techniques, such as Dua Lipa with her blonde and chocolate two-tone hair,” says Sam Burnett, owner of Hare & Bone, which is a Goldwell salon. “This look is on the more subtle end of the scale until you see luscious ruby locks showing through an effortless icy overlay that is clean, crisp and full of impact,” adds Lucy Trevorrow, Celeb Luxury brand ambassador. “Rather than committing to a full head of fashion or vivid colour, we are predicting more muted tones and partial areas of colours in hidden areas such as underneath sections and Alice bands. These are gorgeous as they give pops of colour as the hair moves,” says Debbie G, owner of Billi Currie and a Schwarzkopf Professional ambassador.
Vivica Davies, Alfaparf Milano international educator notes colour blocking is a huge trend for high impact colour. “This technique works well to enhance graphic shapes such as fringes. For longer lengths a bold face frame is also wonderfully eyecatching,” she says. “Candy tones are updated through the use of contrasting depths of harmonious metallic shades. Ultra-violets or metallic rose coppers create a look that is sure to amaze,” she adds. With Gen Z shunning established styles, such as skinny jeans, you can expect them to make the same statements with their hair, explains Tracey Devine Smith, ASP global ambassador. “Hair is similarly following suit with two-tone being hot off the press and big hair with texture set to make a massive resurgence.”
WHAT ABOUT MALE CLIENTS?
“We’ve seen an increase in men’s colour again,” says Balmain’s Simon Tuckwell. “The shoe shine has started to creep back in, again a true nod to the 1990s. Even flat tops have made a comeback. We’ve dusted off our flat topper from the depths of our kitbags,” he says. “It’s so important to stay on top of these trends. Clients have more access to them than ever before so we need to be ahead.”
HOW TO MINIMISE WASTE WHEN USING MULTIPLE SHADES?
“Working with multiple vivids can lead to waste so for any new client I start with less and add more as needed, as I know it will all be recorded by our Vish system,” says Rhi Taylor, senior colourist at Simon Webster Salon, Brighton. “I’ll then have the exact bespoke mix ratios and can easily reproduce the same colour or tweak it at the client’s next salon visit.”
Creating New Characters
Creating a persona can be a fun way for your Gen Z clients to express themselves. “One of the many trends on TikTok is cosplay. We’ve already seen lots of users colouring their hair to create a character,” say the Vanity Doll Salon team, who are La Riche Directions hair colour ambassadors. “Another big influence is from celebrity culture, also heavily seen on TikTok. Users will colour their hair to follow the latest trends made by their favourite celebrities or influencers.” The Vanity Doll Salon team add:
“We’ve also seen a lot of users in this generation wanting to colour wigs rather than their own hair to follow these trends, so they can keep up with the fashion quickly and effortlessly.”
Big colour transformations can take several visits and can come with a high cost so be open with your client. “Be honest with them about what is possible – over promising will only land you in hot water and leave you with an unhappy client if you can’t achieve results,” says Amber Letham, a Crazy Color sponsored stylist. “If your client is insistent, then gently suggest that you’re not matched for a professional relationship.”
Sources such as TikTok can be ideal for inspiration but you should always proceed with caution points out milk_shake ambassador, Andrew Smith. He says: “My team are trained on how to use in-depth consultations to ensure clients really understand the levels of commitment required to achieve specific goals. The client is guided on regularity of visits to the salon and the journey they will need to take to achieve their desired result.”
Reinforcing the importance of home care after a colour service is key. “Your client needs to understand that aftercare is vital. You should also explain what they can expect from the colour fade during their salon visit,” says Jess McMahon, OSMO ambassador and owner of Son of a Bleach in Stourport, Worcestershire.
“I always advise my clients to let their colour settle for a few days after its first application, so no washing the next day or two. Instead, they can use a dry shampoo like the OSMO Day 2 Styler. Clients should also use shampoos and conditioners throughout that will lock in colour and keep it hydrated,” she advises.
Using TikTok to Educate Gen Z
Social media can be a great tool for attracting clients to your business as well as educating them. “Educating the client has become easier with these platforms as I can show them the short and informative videos I’ve created on the Matrix homecare range,” points out Carol Ritchie, a Matrix artist. “I even show the difference between a professional range and a shop bought product so they see it with their own eyes,” she adds.
How to Attract Gen Z Clients
Tapping into social media is the perfect way to showcase your work and salon to a Gen Z client base, says Manic Panic ambassador and educator Steven Austin. “Post regularly on TikTok with any videos you have of hair makeovers or something simple like brushing out curls. A video of a client’s wet hair at the backwash also works – all of these videos are typically ones that will get seen by the Gen Z audience and will get you noticed.”
COLOUR TRENDS TO WATCH
“Colour is limitless. There are no boundaries when it comes to hair shades for mid-season 2021,” says Warren Boodaghian, head of technical for HOB Academy. “Self-expression, dramatic, super-polished and confident define the hair trends for the next few seasons. After months of being locked away it’s not about a makeover. It’s wanting to express how we feel about our inner selves and bring it to life through colour and style,” he adds.
“Grungy vivids seem to be very popular with Gen Z. Think vivids like Crazy Color Peppermint with a blunt root drag. Alternatively it could be something easily topped up at home but isn’t a lot of maintenance at the salon,” says Amber Letham, Crazy Color sponsored stylist.
“One of the biggest hair colours for 2021 is orange. The choice is going to be between a bold solid statement of colour to a soft and warm gloss,” says Matrix artist, Carol Ritchie. “Face framing and even a pop of colour will continue to be big news.”
“After we’ve settled the argument about the centre parting or side parting, what we’re expecting to see colour-wise is all about making a statement,” says Victoria Panting, technical education consultant for Salon Success. “Pastel pinks and peaches on your existing blonde locks will be a key look this spring and summer. You can also expect these shades to have an element of vibrancy even though they are pastel,” she says.
Announced as WGSN’s Colour of the Year for 2023, we predict this hue will trickle into hair colour ahead of time. “In the salon we’re seeing clients be more expressive and open to change, less balayage and more placement colour, bold sectioning and embracing strong tones sitting next to soft delicate palettes,” says HOB’s Warren Boodaghian. “Moving on from the Pantone of the Year Ultimate Gray, we are seeing an injection of lavenders, stone and metallic rose.”
BLONDE TIP OF THE MONTH “Whether you’re foiling, doing root applications or a first time blonding service, after your thorough consultation, take fine sections and use plenty of product. The biggest issue I see is blonde hair not lifting enough or evenly. Take fine sections and make sure you leave it on long enough!” Rob Howse, Wella Professionals National Key Account Educator