5 of the hottest hair color trends, defined

“Babylights,” “tortoise shell,” “opal”—what do they mean?
5 hot hair color trends
Opal hair dying technique

Photograph by Daryna Barykina

A few years ago, it was ombré. Then last year, it was “granny hair,” an icy-gray hue. The latest salon catchphrases are “floodlights” and “opal”—and what the heck are those? We tapped Shawn Warner, master colorist at Vis-a-Vis the Salon in Buckhead, to get us up to speed on the hottest color trends.

Maintenance level key
A few general guidelines: Color placed at the root must be refreshed more often than color that starts farther down the hair shaft. Unnatural colors—particularly pastels—require lots of upkeep.
★ = low maintenance
★★★★★ = high maintenance

Also called “splashlights.” A technique in which the colorist adds lighter color to the middle of the hair—where light naturally hits—so it looks bright, reflective, and full of shine.
Maintenance level: ★

Soft highlights are toned down at the roots for a more natural look, like a less harsh version of waiting too long between appointments.
Maintenance level: ★★

Highlights are painted on very small pieces of hair around the face and exterior layers.
Maintenance level: ★★

Tortoise shell
Similar to “bronde” (a blondish brunette), this color incorporates multidimensional warm caramel and golden tones into a darker brunette base.
Maintenance level: ★★★

This technique (pictured) blends blonde hair—the more platinum the better—with pastel tones to mimic an opal’s shimmer. Think mermaid hair.
Maintenance level: ★★★★★

This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Style Book.