International Hair Color Trends

Hues of the World

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Hues of The World

Aztec Red: South of the border, bellezas experiment with a full spectrum of shades, but fiery red is currently Mexico's fave.
"Mexican women indulge in frequent luxury color treatments--and flaunt it." -L'Oréal Paris, Mexico
  • TEEN TINTS: 80 percent* of the Mexican female population color their hair from the age of 15.
  • TO DIY FOR: In 2008, almost $490 million was spent on home-haircolor products.
  • PARLOR GAME: More than 30 percent of a woman's income goes toward beauty products and services—salons are the social-meeting spots of choice in every city and town in Mexico.
  • COLOR WARS: Well over half the women who dye their hair opt for brunette or red shades, a quarter go blonde, and about one-sixth go jet-black.
  • CUTTING CORNERS: In low-income areas, salons allow patrons to bring in their own pharmacy-bought hair dye and charge just a service fee.
  • PAINT THE TOWN: Blonde shades are more popular in northern Mexico.
  • TREND WATCH: Mexican women will follow Brazil's lead, adding golden highlights to chocolate and mahogany bases.
    Pictured: Dulce Maria
Victor Chavez

Hues of The World

American Dye: The U.S. is the home of the enhanced when it comes to hair color: Almost a quarter of women over 18 are blonde—by any means necessary.
"Spring shades are inspired by florals coming back to life—think a rose enhancing a blonde." -Joel Warren, Warren-Tricomi salon, L'Oréal Professionnel hair color expert.
  • TO DIY FOR: $1.6 billion plus was spent in 2008 in the U.S. on at-home hair colorants.
  • FOILED AGAIN: Almost 60 percent of the female population ages 18 to 64 have colored their hair at least once.
  • PARLOR GAME: Most American women getting in-salon color go lighter.
  • CUTTING CORNERS: Since the recession, salons have noticed an increase in clients alternating between highlights and single-process lightening.
  • BFF KNOWS BEST: Over 25 percent of women look to their friends for shade inspiration.
  • PAINT THE TOWN: Los Angeles is inspired by the single-process look of Hollywood stars; New York favors the subtle lowlights of the fashion set.
  • TREND WATCH: You're getting warmer! Golds will be woven into blondes and reds, warm highlights added to browns, and violets to blacks.

Pictured: Julia Roberts
K. Winter

Hues of The World

Golden Gauls
French women like to camouflage their grooming efforts, opting for impeccable highlights over a natural base.
"Blonde or brunette are still in fashion--neither too light nor too dark—with a touch of doré." -Christophe Robin, owner, Christophe Robin à l'Hôtel Meurice, Paris
  • TO DIY FOR: With each woman spending an average of $42 a year on haircolor, the French outspend their European sisters.
  • PARLOR GAME: Women here opt for in-salon, hand-painted highlights—aka balayage.
  • TOUCH-UP TIME: Seven weeks—many stay close to their natural shades to cut down on salon visits.
  • TREND WATCH: The shade du jour is caramel—a honey brown with sun-kissed highlights—and an emphasis on shine.

Pictured: Carla Bruni Sarkozy

Hues of The World

Arabian Brights: Lebanese women—among the most liberal femmes in the Middle East—spend copious amounts of time and money on salon color treatments.
  • TEEN TINTS: Most women start coloring their hair between the ages of 18 and 20, and change shades frequently from then on.
  • TO DIY FOR: Between 2002 and 2007, at-home colorant sales increased 29 percent.
  • PARLOR GAME: Lebanese women visit the salon at least once a week--and twice for special occasions.
  • SINGLE AND LOVING IT: The preference is single process over highlights.
  • TOUCH-UP TIME: At least once a month, thanks to inexpensive rates.
  • NATURAL FIX: One-tenth of women here use henna.
  • TREND WATCH: 20- and 30-somethings have a taste for chocolate shades; those in their 40s and 50s gravitate toward golden blonde.

Pictured: Haifa Wehbe
AFP/Getty Images

Hues of The World

Czech Mates: There's been a spike in interest since 2002, as Eastern Bloc haircolor sales increased almost 180 percent.
"Women in the Czech Republic go for bold color and don't shy away from short haircuts." -Petra Mechurová, owner, Petra Mechurová Hair Design, Prague
  • FOILED AGAIN: Nine out of 10 women in the Czech Republic color their hair.
  • TO DIY FOR: In 2008, the average Czech woman spent $24 a year to keep her tresses freshly hued.
  • CUTTING CORNERS: The average monthly salary converts to about $900, and it can cost $140 for professional color versus about $5 for an at-home formula. Most prefer to invest in edgier cuts over pricey color.
  • TOUCH-UP TIME: Every four to eight weeks; those going gray go more often.
  • NATURAL FIX: With the green movement gaining momentum, there's increasing demand for eco-friendly, less abrasive colorants like henna and other natural dyes.
  • TREND WATCH: Precise, natural highlights—à la Jennifer Aniston—reign in metropolitan areas, while extravagant reds and blondes are popular among small-towners.

Pictured: Hana Soukupova
J. Spellman

Hues of The World

Indian Inks: Though Bollywood stars were once known for their long, dark hair, a growing number of young women are flirting with blonde highlights.
"Women in Mumbai take their cues from Bollywood and are open to experimenting." -Nikhil Sharma, creative hair stylist and art director, Affinity Salon for Wella Professionals.
  • POST-TEEN TINTS: Many parents discourage their daughters from coloring their hair until they're in their 20s.
  • TO DIY FOR: Over $180 million was spent in 2008 on colorants; between 2002 and 2007, sales increased by almost 150 percent.
  • PAINT THE TOWN: In big cities, it's not uncommon to see mems (short for memsahibs, aka Westernized, educated women) sporting blonde, blue, red, or purple highlights.
  • NATURAL FIX: Most of the population uses henna-based dyes.
  • TREND WATCH: While the great majority of Indian women have black hair, those with lighter complexions will experiment with blonde highlights. Women with deeper skin tones add subtle copper and mahogany tints.

Pictured: Freida Pinto
S. Grantiz

Hues of The World

Brit Pop: Shades that rule England range from romantic brunettes to mod blondes and riotous redheads.
"If in doubt, get buttery highlights; they're never out of style here." -Ian Black, head of color at the Aveda Institute, London
TEEN TINTS: Imitating socialite It girls and pop stars who shade-shift on a weekly basis, young Brits are hair-color chameleons.

  • TO DIY FOR: Over $400 million was spent on colorants in the U.K. in 2008.
  • CUTTING CORNERS: New 10-minute kits mean more Brits can touch up their roots at home.
  • TOUCH-UP TIME: One month or more—grown-out roots are more likely an homage to Madonna's post-punk look than the kaput economy.
  • TREND WATCH: Influenced by Brit catwalkers, champagne blonde (like Agyness Deyn and Kate Moss) and more eccentric shades (think Lily Cole's bright red) will be big for spring.

Pictured: Peaches Geldof
A. Sussman
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