Pantone Color of the Year 2021: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating

For a mix of warm and cool tones, consider combining Ultimate Gray and Illuminating in hair or nail looks for a dramatic statement.

@pantone / via Instagram
@pantone / via Instagram

Pantone has selected not one but two hues for its annual Color of the Year. Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, “a bright and cheerful yellow,” are said to evoke two things we could all use more of in 2021: resilience and hope.

According to Pantone, “as people look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality. Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.”

Using Ultimate Gray and Illuminating in Your Salon

Beauty professionals are encouraged to embrace the two colors with open arms as we head into 2021. For a mix of warm and cool tones, consider combining Ultimate Gray and Illuminating in hair or nail looks for a dramatic statement. Illuminating sparkles and shimmers can make a powerful impact when paired with Ultimate Gray in eye makeup, Pantone stated.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said, "The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one. The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude.

“Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

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