What does Pantone Colours of the Year 2021 really mean for your salon?

pantone colours of the year 2021

Every year around mid-December Pantone announces their colour of the year for the year ahead. For 2021 they’ve gone one better and chosen two; the last time they did this was in 2016 with pale blue and blush combination, Rose Quartz and Serenity. Last year was the Classic Blue and that colour really did inadvertently set the tone for what we can all agree was a pretty awful year. Therefore, it was not much of a surprise that for 2021 they would pick a symbol of optimism by going with a zesty fun and hopeful bright yellow, called Illuminating. However, with so much uncertainty and as a way of swerving any potential cynicism they might incur by choosing cheery yellow (when things really aren’t back to normal in the world; we are not yet living a post covid existence) Pantone understandably hedged their bets with a cozy cool grey marl type shade, aptly named Ultimate Grey.

Pantone describe this year’s choice like this

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, two independent colours that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, best express the mood for Pantone Colour of the Year 2021. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is one of strength and positivity. It is a story of colour that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.

pantone colours of the year 2021

Over the last three years yellow has crept into interiors and fashion and once again you’ll see sunshine yellow and brights head into our stores for SS21, along with other vivid colours, most notably pink. Illuminating works beautifully with these shades and is tempered by the partnership of Ultimate Grey.

Yellow as a Bright or Accent

Yellow itself is a divisive tone, that women either love or really feel they can’t wear. And hair might be a little bit the same. I don’t imagine you’ll have hordes of clients post lockdown desperate to go bright yellow. However, if you are a salon that specialises in vivids you might see a resurgence for this shade. If you have a client base that tend to like a trend but need a little more coaxing, then the trend for panels at the front of a style might be a way to use yellow. Use seventies vibes warm tones and finish with a panel of bright yellow in the front for a tonal look. Alternatively create lived-in mustard tones to contrast against the yellow. If you try this look, don’t forget to tag us on Instagram. Of course, for yellow it would be remis to not recommend Yellow Submarine from the Blossom range.

Pantone colour of 2021 illuminating yellow
Left picture by www.comb salon and right Salon Fryzjerski both using Blossom Yellow submarine

Both Shades Together

If you really wish to embrace both shades then use our new CC Intense Ash collection from the Aquarely range. Use 8CC or 7CC over pre-lightened hair to achieve the silver (as it’s a very cool toned grey you may wish to add a few mls of AV additive) and use the yellow submarine as a tip-dips look by just colouring the last inch of the hair or, once again one solid panel.

Just Ultimate Grey

As mentioned, Ultimate Grey is a cool grey shade with undertones of violet and blue. If you have a client who wishes to go full Ultimate Grey we recommend the CC Aquarely series or Diamond or sand with denim toner in the Oh My Blonde range. The hair will need to be lightened to at least a level 9. Complimentary tones would be lilacs and pearls if you wished to give your grey a little added dimension.

Left – Hair by Dani Flynn – Middle – Hair by Sam Flowers – Right Hair by Nick Trombetta

The real story for many salons

The real story for salons will be natural grey hair becoming less taboo. Covid has disrupted many industries and expediated their need to become more digital or change their way of working. However, what it has also done has accelerated trends that were on a slower burn. Pre-covid we had a certain percentage of clients wishing to ditch the dye and go naturally grey. Now with clients unable to visit the salon and more time to see what their natural hair looks like as it grows, this has meant more embracing the trend which you’ll see on Instagram as #greytransition #graytransition.  The trick here will be the ways and formulas to help with that transition as well managing the client with services that will help them return to the salon. A blog post on this shortly and we will link it here in due course.

Pantone on Instagram

If you would like to alert your clients to Pantone colours of the year 2021, they have developed an Instagram filter. This will allow you to create a pantone selfie that you might wish to use on your social media and develop a story around this trend to keep clients engaged, using photos you may already have.  If you do, once again tag us on social media @italyhairuk

Click here for the filter and it should open for you if you are reading this on a mobile phone.