Looking back at 2016 hair trends:
Last year was an eventful year in the world of rainbow hair! We saw the launch of professional only brand; Pulp Riot. Pulp Riot is the brainchild of the Butterfly Circus, a social media all-star group of educators and stylists. Even though it only launched back in May, Pulp Riot has already gained a massive online following with over 364K on Instagram alone! It’s certainly proving a strong challenger to Pravana Vivids as the go-to brand for professional only rainbow colours.
Another new brand on the market last year came from lead singer of Paramore, Hayley Williams. Williams launched her own range of non-professional bright colours called Good Dye Young. While not making as big an impact as Pulp Riot, it’s certainly made a nice addition to the non-professional market. It has also been a popular choice for a Vegan friendly option. With just 5 classic shades, we hope to see more colours from Williams in 2017.
In 2015 I predicted metallic hair would be big in 2016, and social media influencer and beauty industry icon, Guy Tang was the driving force behind this trend. 2016 was the year of the #MetallicObsession. In 2015 Guy Tang announced a collaboration with Kenra Colour, and at the end of the 2015 launched the new Kenra Color Metallic Collection. Guy’s new Metallic Collection was featured on Teen Vogue, MTV, Hello Giggles, Allure and his Mauve Metallic video published in Sep 2016 reached over 7 million views!
Pop Culture Hair Art: Hair colours inspired by our fandoms.
Last year I also predicted 2016 would see more Pop Culture inspired hair colours. I talked about how Pop Culture has never been more influential than in today’s entertainment world. So it would make sense as we become more creative with hair colours that we would look to our favourite TV, films, games, cartoons and superheroes for inspiration. And in 2016 we saw just that, with Pokemon GO inspired hair colour designs and the Harley Quinn hair colour trend…
Pokemon GO inspired hair colours
With the release of Pokemon GO, we saw a global phenomenon as the game was downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide. This revival of Pokemon fandom and nostalgia saw a new demand for the brand’s apparel and accessories. Fashion designers found this demand provided a fun and whimsical opportunity to be able to incorporate the Japanese pop-culture phenomenon into their garments. So it’s no surprise to see hair colourists taking the same opportunity to craft Pokemon inspired hair colours. There was even a #gamerpoplocks competition over on Instagram doing game art inspired hair colours, driving the Pokemon GO hair colour trend further.
Harley Quinn Hair Colour
The release of DC Comics movie Suicide Squad this year reinvented Harley Quinn’s colours and style. This created a wave of fans emulating the character’s iconic new look. This trend was so popular even social media mega star and hair colourist Guy Tang did his own take on Harley Quinn’s colour with Cosplayer Queen SuperMaryFace.
The Harley Quinn hair colour trend was so popular that hair dye brand SPLAT launched it’s own Suicide Squad hair dye collection. Then when Halloween came round Harley Quinn was the must-do costume and hair colour for 2016.
Split Dye: Half Half Hair Colour
With the popularity of Harley Quinn’s half half hair colour, it’s no surprise we saw an increase in split dye hair colours online. Reddit user Moniquey shared this mesmerising gif of her hair colour transforming from blue to pink with just a flip of her hair. The Moniquey’s gif went viral with almost 1.5 million views and was featured on sites like Revelist, Elle and Glamour,
Hidden Rainbow Hair: The trend you didn’t see coming!
The Hidden Rainbow hair design has been around a long time. I even cover how to do this technique in the 2nd edition of my book, which I published back in 2011 (though i’m sure i’m not the first to do the hidden rainbow). In 2014 this design became popular when hair artist Cynthia Lumzy coined the term “Peekaboo Rainbow” for this type of colour when her beautiful work was featured in Modern Salon. Then in 2015 hair artist Ruby Devine did this versatile colour re-naming it “Underlights”.
However 2016 was the year Hidden Rainbow Hair went viral online.
It started in Jan/Feb when Ruby Devine’s beautiful #Underlights inspired a wave of Instagram hair stylists trying this technique. As a result it got picked up by online publishers as a “new” trend, and was featured on Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Allure and Seventeen.
Then in September “Underlights” was re-named again as “Hidden Rainbow Hair” and we saw it spread like wildfire across social media. It was featured on Huffington Post, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Popsugar, Hello Magazine, Marie Claire, Fashion Magazine, Hello Giggles… just to name a few! The photo that created all the buzz came from colourist Carla from Notanothersalon, and reached over 14k likes on Instagram.
Hair by Carla from Notanothersalon
Undercut Designs: Like hidden works of hair art.
Hidden colour was certainly the theme for 2016, but it didn’t stop with long hair. Back in April 2016 this colourful kitty undercut hair art by St. Petersburg-based hairdresser Aliya Askarova on her client LaserB.Kate went viral online. With features on Bored Panda, Huffington Post, Mashable, Popsugar and more, it’s no wonder it inspired a wave of undercut hair tattoo art.
Glitter Undercut Hair.
Everything is more magical when you throw glitter at it! So after the #glitterroots hair trend of 2015 it’s so surprise the glitter was back for 2016, taking the undercut game to the next level.
UV reactive glow in the dark hair
The end of 2016 went out with a bang that lit up the night with glow in the dark hair! These are in fact UV/blacklight reactive hair dyes, and they have been around since the 90’s, from brands like Manic Panic and Special Effects. But once again the dream team that is Guy Tang and Kenra Professional launched the new Creative Neons Collection at the end of 2016. Guy’s Phoenix Neon Glowing Hair using the new colours hit over 8 million views on Facebook. Then the Neon Hair Battle began on Instagram creating #neonmania.
Above: UV hair colour by Anya Goy. Watch the full YouTube video here.
With so many wonderful and creative trends in 2016, i’m excited to see what 2017 will bring.
What was your favourite 2016 hair trend?
What new rainbow hair trends do you think 2017 will bring?
Leave your comments below and let me know!
Want rainbow hair?
Discover Anya’s eBook guide: ‘Any Colour Of The Rainbow – The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Hair Colour‘. This guide covers everything from safe bleaching with ammonia free bleach to creating stunning multi colours with foil. Find out all the best products, how to do pastel colours, how to maintain vibrant colour, create ombre colour like to professionals and so much more…