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Hair-colouring trends for summer 2021 include ribbon highlights and the shatush technique.

MarioGuti/Getty images

Lockdowns are lifting, you’re waxed and vaxxed and ready to emerge from your COVID-19 cocoon like a butterfly. But what to do with your hair? Whether you got “creative” with DIY dye or have roots to your shoulders, we’ve rounded up the hottest hair-colouring trends for summer 2021.

1. Embrace your greys

“Before COVID-19, I was dyeing my hair in the salon and covering my greys. I spent so much money, I was miserable,” says beauty expert Bahar Niramwalla. “The pandemic was such a good excuse to stop colouring my hair and embrace my greys.”

The response, she says, has been incredibly positive, and she’s not the only one celebrating this natural new hue.

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“Grey hair isn’t a ‘trend’ per se, rather a relaxed agenda, emerging from a post-pandemic movement of men and women in their 30s and 40s who are prioritizing their health, making life changes, career overhauls,” Niramwalla theorizes. “They don’t have time to keep up with Gen Z’s weekly beauty trends.”

Bahar suggests using a purple shampoo a few times a month to keep silver strands bright and brass-free. She also suggests mixing a “wet cleanse” into your weekly shower routine, meaning “you should not shampoo your hair every time you wash it.” Saturate your strands in conditioner, just up to your ears. Let the water run through your hair, gently pulling the conditioner out. You’ll feel refreshed and cleansed, even without those suds.

2. ‘Ribbon blonde’ highlights

“I’ve been on a ’90s movie binge lately,” says Lindsay Larsen, owner of Salon Bowie in Calgary. “Some of the iconic trends from that era are back, but we are doing them so much better.”

Like the high-contrast highlights of that decade, the new ribbon blonde uses chunky pieces, but can be kept natural to help you stretch time between appointments.

“When my clients request ribbon blonde, I keep their natural hair colour depth, and add subtle ribbons of pale blonde to get that dimension and pop.”

During the summer months, remember that the sun is damaging to your colour – brunettes will turn brassy, and blondes will go yellow. “Get a cute sun hat and look for UV protection in your styling products,” says Larsen.

3. Brighten up ‘the money piece’

“The money piece refers to the highlights we use around the face, especially where clients want to look sunny and bright,” says Larsen. This season, she’s using a hair-painting technique that pulls the colour down to the ends, brightening it in a way the sun naturally would.

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“Think Rachel Green from Friends,” she says. ”Every blonde has brought a photo of Jennifer Aniston in to their stylist once in their life!”

For this your-blonde-but-better hair, Lindsay also suggests using keywords such as “soft,” “natural” and “no harsh grow out” when you’re chatting this through in the chair.

“Don’t get lost in translation with your stylist,” Larsen adds. “Bring photos to your consultation – it’s not annoying! It’s your insurance that you are on the same page.”

4. Shatush: A new spin on a favourite technique

Similar to balayage (the original hair painting method) shatush is a super-subtle highlight technique that results in well-blended, natural looking hair. It offers longevity, low maintenance upkeep and a stress-free grow out.

It’s a great option if you are a first-time blondie, says Jazmin Lorenzoni, senior colourist at Medulla & Co. Yorkville in Toronto.

“Less is always more, we can add more colour after if you want.” Lorenzoni suggests hair masks to protect your goldi-locks.

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“Blonde is my most highly requested colour. The attention you get when you’re blonde is thrilling,” she says. “However, I think everyone can be their own version of blonde, if they want to try it once in their life they should.”

But who says blondes have more fun? Ribbon highlights, money pieces and the shatush technique can all be used to achieve a wide spectrum of on-trend hair colours – soft caramels, chestnut brown and copper blonde included.

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