Insight for Stylists

2016 Hair Color Trends with Alicia Dixon


By Erin Noha

Kisses of color, muted pastels and lived-in hues (balayage and color melts) are what’s in style for 2016, revealed Alicia Dixon, Keune Educator and Co-Founder of Cellar Door Salon & Studio in Chicago.

“Anything with a harsh line is out,” said Keune Educator Alicia Dixon. “People want their hair to be easy. They don’t want to color their hair every three weeks.”

Which means that the vivid purples, blues and grandma grays we’re seeing are, in turn, seeing themselves out. The outgrowth is too difficult to upkeep, she said.

“I think it’s at its peak right now but will die down soon.”

However, there’s still a little wiggle room—2016 is all about integrating unique hair colors in subtle ways that a client can wear every day. For instance, she takes natural hair colors and makes them very ashy or gray. For blondes who can’t do a vivid pink, she gives them babylights in a dusty, mauve color that’s easily wearable for any occasion.

“The people that have gray want a little more of a natural version. I might do a very steel brown and less of that grandma gray that everyone’s had for six months and realized they can’t keep up.”

Another popular trend is color melts, where the top of the hair might start natural but gradually creep into colors like green or pink towards the bottom. With just the bottoms colored, the roots aren’t a dead giveaway for how long it’s been since someone visited the salon. Any type of coloring technique that creates a harsh line (e.g. foil highlights) is out, she said.

“What I’m seeing more of is clients wanting a small change in color on the ends, like a kiss of whisky brown on the bottom.”

She’s also seeing a lot of balayage, a French technique, in the salon, where she hand-paints this technique on about 60 percent of clients on an average day. Most customers at least get a face frame of balayage highlights.

Balayage is all about mimicking what the sun does to your hair but turning it up a notch. A client should be the brightest on the ends and around the face—not only brightest on the top layer of hair. Here are a few tips and tricks Alicia shared when it comes to balayage:

1. Make it a priority to get a tapered brush. A soft, tapered brush helps stylists apply more natural strokes of color onto the hair.

2. Use long strokes when you paint onto the hair. If you use long strokes, you’ll get less of the little hairs that stick to your brush and make everything messy.

3. Whenever you’re working on a round part of the head, elevate the hair before you start painting (separate the surface of the section from the rest of the section) so that you get a softer blend. That way, your color won’t bleed onto the bottom.

4. Be even and consistent. Make sure your saturation is the same on the ends as it is in the middle. Oftentimes, people will be more saturated in the middle and less on the ends, which doesn’t look natural. If needed, use a higher volume on the ends to get an even balance.

A few clients may require a corrective coloring session because though some beauty schools talk about balayage, they don’t physically practice it. Now, it’s something that clients recognize and request.

“Lived-in hair is still very popular. I don’t think balayage is going anywhere.”

For more color tips, follow Cellar Door Salon & Studio on Facebook. To find your next favorite product, log in or register at Premier Beauty to purchase color online.

Erin Noha covers stories for Premier Beauty.

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