The Top Hair Color Trends for Summer 2020 Have One Thing in Common: Low Maintenance
Though the beauty world often operates on its own plane, to say it hasn’t been impacted by the novel coronavirus would be a massive understatement. By now, we’ve all seen the bad haircut memes, have noted the everyday people and celebrities showing off their grays, and have observed a shift away from ultra-glam territory. This summer? It’s all about keeping things low maintenance.
“Whether someone goes very natural or a little extreme, people are going to want their hair color to be able to grow out easily without having to touch up their roots as often,” predicts Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Salon in NYC. “Past summers, we always see brighter, blonder, paler highlights. This summer will be more of a discussion between colorist and client what will work best and be easiest to maintain.”
Curious about what all that translates to in terms of summer 2020 hair color trends, we asked Brown and other colorists to share which hues they see emerging.
“Women are keeping it simple this summer and letting their highlights grow out,” says Giselle, a celebrity colorist at Pierre Michel Salon in New York City. “Going with a bolder ombre—or ‘shadow roots’—is a great way to embrace your growth and it creates a beachy, carefree vibe. I recommend doing a glaze over your whole head to make harsh roots more blended with your natural color.”
Celebrity inspiration: Jennifer Hudson
Blonde is a summer staple year after year. For 2020, Brown says we’ll see a warmer and more golden hue versus a high-maintenance platinum or major highlights. “Think a softer, natural, all-over golden blonde where the highlights are more blended. This makes the color look less highlighted and more like it’s lightened all over,” she says, adding that this creamy honey color is flattering for many skin tones.
Celebrity inspiration: Blake Lively
If golden blonde still isn’t warm enough, maybe a rich strawberry hue will sate your summer 2020 hair color needs. “This is a beautiful red that’s darker than the usual strawberry blonde, but still lighter and a little more natural than the bright coppers that we have seen in years past,” says Brown. “It’s a great update for those lighter or darker reds that want to try something new.”
Celebrity inspiration: Madelaine Petsch
This summer, we’re seeing quite a few brunettes bucking sunny highlights and going even darker and more saturated. Shades of rich espresso and deep, inky browns—some done with at-home box dyes—are being embraced everywhere, inspired by stars like Meghan Markle, Lucy Hale, and Kendall Jenner. Look for deep saturated base tones and be sure to protect your hair to prevent accidental bleaching from the sun.
Celebrity inspiration: Meghan Markle
The silver movement has been gaining momentum over the last couple years, and the months-long shutdowns have only fueled this tinsel fire. “People are really embracing their grays right now, and I find it to be so inspiring and beautiful. Also, I personally think as you mature, lighter colors [like silver] become more flattering against your complexion,” says Traci Barrett, a celebrity stylist and colorist based in Phoenix, Arizona. “If you aren’t ready to go all-out gray, you can also slowly start highlighting or lighting your base color to blend with your natural.” You could even try gray highlights for a smooth transition.
Celebrity inspiration: Cicely Tyson
Light Caramel Brown
“This is a fresh brown that feels very warm and rich but is slightly lighter in hue. It’s the perfect caramel," says Barrett. "I love this color because it feels really new, and it particularly lends itself to darker complexions.” As a bonus, this color is an easy color to pull off with a semi-permanent, at-home box dye if you’re wary of visiting a salon just yet. “Not only is it easy to do yourself, but a semi-permanent box dye is also easy to correct should anything go wrong,” adds Giselle.
Celebrity inspiration: Beyoncé
Even though it requires a bit more maintenance, fantasy colors aren’t going anywhere this summer. Brown says that pink, specifically, is having a real moment right now, largely because it’s one of the easier colors to apply, looks great on everyone, and will carry well into fall. “It's a fashion color, but it’s not aggressive, so it’s wearable for most people,” she says. “Pink is also easy because it looks great throughout all stages of washing out—it looks great bold and pastel.” If you feel reluctant to commit, try a temporary wash-out or only apply the pink to a small area.
Celebrity inspiration: Hailey Baldwin Bieber
This color trend is more about a technique versus a hue. “A signature piece—sometimes called a 'money piece'—is basically a pop of color in the front that helps frame your face. It feels like a nod to the ‘90s to me, but in a more blended way,” says Barrett. Typically a shade of blonde or light brown, these signature pieces can be placed on pretty much any base color. For example, caramel brown against chocolate, or a pale blonde against strawberry.
If you’re not ready to settle for a more natural hair color—and if pink really isn’t your thing—maybe a Nirvana light blonde will prove to be your speed. “For trendy, bolder blonde clients, I’m seeing more of what I would call ‘Nirvana lite,’ which isn’t as bold as the Nirvana blonde from a few years ago,” says Brown. “It’s not dark-roots with platinum ends—it’s a softer look. The root is still darker than the ends, but the ends have a little more dimension and can be anywhere from pale to golden blonde.”