Here Are the Best Hair Color Trends of 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, we’re taking a moment to look back and appreciate some of the best hair color trends this year had to offer. From ashy tones, to oil slick strands, to mystical metallics and more, it was certainly one of the most colorful years to date! Flip through the slideshow below to see our roundup of the 16 best hair color trends of 2016.

  • soft ombre for long brunette hair
    Supernatural Sombré

    Long gone are the days obvious ombrés — this year, clients were all about super natural-looking locks. Whether blonde, brunette or somewhere in between, the 2016 way to balayage was soft, subtle and absolutely stunning.

    Image: @johnnyramirez1

  • blue and pink metallic colored mermaid hair
    Metallic Mermaids

    Fashion colors have been having a moment for, well, quite a moment now. It seemed like everyone wanted to be a mermaid for the past few years, but this year, bright, childlike hues gave way to a cooler, edgier, more-grown up look: metallics. Devoid of warmth and big on shine, the look was less Little Mermaid and more deep sea siren.

    Image: @guy_tang


  • bright red haircolor on medium length wavy hair
    The Redder, The Better

    In June, Christina Aguilera debuted a new Jessica Rabbit-esque look on Instagram, starting a firestorm (pun intended) of copycats. Clients couldn’t get enough of this look-at-me hue — in every iteration from fire engine, to strawberry, to ginger spice, redheads were feeling the love this year.

    Image: @jeni_does_ham

  • rainbow haircolor for dark hair: oil slick hair
    Opulent Oil Slick

    Inspired by the multi-colored sheen of oil on pavement, oil slick hair brought fashion colors to the lightening-adverse crowd. Now, dark haired clients could get their rainbow hair fix, sans damage. Not quite pastel, not quite pure color, oil slick hair was a bold, beautiful look all its own.

    Image: @paulcallaghanhair

  • Ashes To Ashes

    Honey-colored hues and gilded brunettes are a staple in any salon, but in 2016, warmth took a backseat to ashy tones across the board. Light and dark haired clients alike embraced being cool (literally) with dynamic, ashen hues and silvery strands.

    Image: @ambrosiacarey

  • blue balayage haircolor on medium wavy hair
    Naturally Unnatural

    Rainbow hair has continued to evolve since it first emerged as a bonafide mainstream trend a few years ago. The 2016 way to do it? Balayaged fashion colors that are so seamlessly blended that they could almost be natural — if your client could grow her own colorful strands, that is.

    Image: @excellenthairsalon


  • long platinum blonde hair color
    Snow White Strands

    Thanks in part to celebrity trendsetters like Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Swift, platinum saw a surge in popularity this year. White-blonde locks so pale they were almost translucent were equally gorgeous during the blistering days of summer and during icy winter nights.

    Image: @bescene


  • rainbow pastel haircolor on long hair
    Pretty In Pastels

    Pastel colored hair is nothing new — just see Frenchie’s infamous “Easter egg” pink in Grease, or even Marie Antoinette's notoriously bold locks — but the 2016 way to do pale pinks, purples, greens and blues is fresh as can be. The look is all about intertwining whisper-soft strands of various colors for an ethereal, lit-from-within effect. Trés chic!

    Image: @shelleygregoryhair

  • warm blonde hair with dark shadow roots
    Rooty Rebels

    Ever since women began coloring their hair, grown-out roots became Enemy No. 1 — until now, that is. Once dreaded, dark shadow roots are now desired, whether your client opts for fun fashion colors or a natural hue like blonde or red. The key to making it look intentional? One word: BLENDING.

    Image: @stylistricardosantiago

  • bronde hair color on long wavy hair
    Brondes Have More Fun

    Not quite blonde, not quite brunette, the bronde craze — led in part by celebs like Chrissy Teigen and Beyoncé — is perfect for the client who wants the best of both worlds. Ultra natural-looking color placement keeps the trend very 2016.

    Image: @anhcotran


  • bright pink purple and green haircolor with updo
    Bejeweled Babes

    Summertime pastels are classic, but this year, jewel-toned shades reigned supreme during the sizzling months. Inspired by the cerulean blues of the sea, emerald greens of the mountains and inky indigos and purples of the Milky Way, the look was bold, bright and utterly beautiful.

    Image: @cryistalchaos


  • pastel opal haircolor on long light blonde hair
    Extraordinary Opal

    What happens when this year’s metallic, pastel and platinum trends collide? Opal hair! A perfect blend of three of 2016’s biggest trends, the look, as the name implies, is all about gorgeous, opalescent hues of pink, purple, green and blue. Luminescent and luxurious, opal hair is both show-stopping and wearable, making it ideal for the client who wants to stand out in a carefree way.

    Image: @chitabeseau

  • baby lights hair trend natural looking highlights
    Beyond Babylights

    Babylights, super tiny, super subtle highlights that mimic the natural color of children’s hair, burst onto the color scene last year.  Since then, colorists have been refining and perfecting the technique (see: George Papanikolas’ “glowlights”). Bright blonde and warm, golden tones add sun-kissed dimension, making this trend a modern day classic.

    Image: @georgepapanikolas


  • Kylie Jenner dark black hair color Instagram
    Almost Midnight

    Sure, blonde was huge this year (is it ever not?), but black haired beauties had their moment in the sun, too. Clients embracing their inner dark side opted for softer, not-quite-jet-black shades that often included a whisper of deep blue or purple and tons of shine.

    Image: @kyliejenner

  • colorful black light hair that glows in the dark
    Under the Blacklight

    We love a good, spotlight-stealing hair color, but why not go for a look that steals the blacklight? Glow-in-the-dark hair had a major moment this year, thanks in part to industry influencers that weren’t afraid to experiment with next-level techniques. The effect? Stunning color that’s cool day or night.

    Image: @nealmhair

  • edgy cool undercut hair cut design with bright rainbow hair color
    Color By Design

    How can you take an edgy undercut and make it even cooler? Add color, of course! Ideal for those next-level clients who can seriously rock anything, this trend really captured the spirit of 2016: Be unique, be individual, be YOU.

    Image: @janine_ker_hair

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