“We are in a slow recovery mode,” explained Cyrus Bulsara, president, Professional Consultants & Resources. “We are projecting this recovery to an up curve at 4.5% in 2020.”
According to Bulsara, premium A- and B-class, mall-based salon chains like Regis, Toni & Guy, JCPenney and Ratner continue to decline, losing clients and revenue to low priced chains like Great Clips and Sport Clips. He noted that major growth of family-economy chains Great Clips, Sport Clips and larger suite rentals are continuing to take share from traditional independent artistic salons, as well. However, better independent artistic salons are growing by focusing on special effects hair color like highlights, balayage, babylights, sunlights and ecaille.
To find out what’s on-trend and what’s missed the mark, we contacted those on the front lines, the stylists, to find out what’s working and what’s not.
Amber Skrzypek Palmer
A Go Go Salon, Durham, NC
Must-Have: I’m obsessed with Keune Haircosmetics 2 Phase Spray. Not only does it cut down on frizz and offer heat protection, it also detangles and assists as a cutting lotion so both the client and the stylist can benefit from using it. The versatility of 2 Phase Spray makes it fly off the shelf!
Recommends: I specialize in color behind the chair, so my main go-to products are always shampoo and conditioner. Protecting a client’s hair color investment is so important and it’s also one of the key ways to keep her hair looking the best between visits.
One of my favorites is Keune Design Line Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner. This combo offers a color stabilizer, a UV filter and sunflower seed extract to protect and enhance the durability of the hair color.
“I’m a huge fan of options. The hair care industry has done a great job of supplying options. Having a clear understanding of a brand’s mission statement and target audience allows hairdressers the opportunity to align ourselves with manufacturers and products that support our individual belief systems and the demographic of the salon.” —Amber Skrzypek Palmer
Anna May Walt
Stylist and Educator
Design 1 Salon Spa, Grand Rapids, MI
The Look: Whether it be short, medium, or long hair, the cut trending right now is blunt/choppy/textured. Most of the cuts I do are either just above the shoulder or laying on the clavicle. No more stacking layers, everything is undercut and layers are low elevation or reverse exterior layers. What makes this cut popular is that it’s great for all types of hair. If you have thick hair, you can remove weight from underneath and keep the top layer smooth. This cut is great for fine or thin hair because blunt lines help skinny hair look fuller. The styling is the best part. It’s really effortless. Depending on the hair type, I usually spray in a lightweight leave-in spray. For fine hair, I love Redken’s new Beach Envy Volume spray or Pureology Levitation Mist. For thicker hair, I use Redken’s new High Rise cream gel or Pureology’s new Pure Volume Cream.
Favorites: It depends on the cut. For short hair, I looooove Redken’s Wax Blast for lots of texture with flexibility. For beach hair, I love any texture spray. For over-processed hair, I love Pureology’s Strength Cure Split End Salve and BLNDS Balancing Lotion.
Recommends: What I recommend for clients to keep their hair looking great between services is a sulfate-free color shampoo and conditioner. I also love Pureology’s Color Fanatic Spray.
What’s Missing: “We need a product that actually heals the hair and a product that adds volume and not weight. As far as the industry goes, it must be more focused on education for the stylists and not big shows and marketing. If there were two people that the industry could learn from, (its) Candy Shaw and Sam Villa. They are two educators who truly care about stylists and make sure that they have all of the tools to be better stylists and business people. Avant-garde hair and big shows are cool, but they don’t help us much behind the chair. We are only going to use the vibrant reds and crazy cuts a few times. We need more education on what our clients need every day.
“We want products that do what they say they really will and aren’t just marketing-driven. Clients see through it. Stylists do, too. The bottom line is we sell more when we believe in a product.” —Anna May Walt
North Royalton, OH
The Look: I feel like women still love the “lob” because it’s so easy to maintain. It’s versatile, sexy, cute and classy all at the same time.
Favorites: Without a doubt, Pravana’s Nevo Lived-In Powder Potion.
Recommends: I always recommend using the proper shampoo and conditioner for my clients’ hair. Whether it be color protect, moisturizing, silkening...That is what is going to give them a good styling foundation.
What’s Missing: I do feel that there are a few styling tools, or accessories that would be of value for my clients. I have a prototype...now I just need to find the right manufacturer!
“The hair care industry does a great job providing stylists with every product that we need. There is literally something out there for everyone.” —DJ Victory
The Look: The most popular trend is creative cutting techniques, not just a haircut. I’m introducing Curvature Cutting, a technique that teaches stylists to sculpt and cut hair on a curve, creating movement, softness and incredible styling efficiencies. Curvature Cutting allows the style to look layered or one length, depending on which styling products you choose—all from the same haircut.
Favorites: Obliphica Professional’s Seaberry Moisture Cream. It has multiple uses, leaving the hair incredibly soft and completely weightless. I use it as a detangler during the conditioning process and as a cutting lotion; as well as a blowout styler.
Recommends: Obliphica Professional Seaberry Mask. You never knew your hair could feel so exceptional. It has the ability to transform the hair in just 2-5 minutes with no heat, so it can be used as a daily conditioner or weekly treatment.
What’s Missing: Our industry could utilize a better ingredient base that actually produces healthier hair, not the just the appearance of better hair. Great products contain a key ingredient such as seaberry that are made by nature, not in a lab. After three decades of being a stylist, I’ve never seen any product have the ability to transform hair in just one treatment.
Creative Vice President
Gene Juarez Salon and Spa
The Look: The Lob and Bob have become the perennial favorite. Soft movable textured hair like Jennifer Lawrence and Rosie Huntington Knightly. The look is wildly suitable for many women and reintroduces a strong commitment to a haircut in the market place.
Favorites: Forme Fatal gel from Kerastase. The perfect primer-like gel while adding volume and grip for round brush blow-drying. Also Dry Texture Spray from Oribe, back combing in a can. Genius!
Recommends: Phytodess Rinse Off Clay Baths. The four scalp treatments create the best environment for a healthy scalp and therefore gorgeous hair to grow!
“There is a great deal of noise with product assortment. Manufacturers have so many offerings that clients are often confused. The consumer expects the beauty professional to be and stay informed, listen to her and have her best interest at heart.” —James Todd
Jesse & Flo Briggs
Yellow Strawberry Global Salons in Florida
The Look: The modern gypsy/towel-dry hair then comb with a pick comb. When the hair is dry, mist with water and touch with palms of both hands. Have the client share her head. The finish is a natural ’70s feeling.
Favorites: Artego Dream Mask Conditioner to keep hair healthy and shiny.
Director of Education and Stylist
The Look: Pixie cuts are very popular right now. I believe it’s due to social media influence. With Instagram and Pinterest at everyone’s fingertips, they are exposed to many more styles.
Favorites: Keune Volume Powder is definitely one of my go-to products. It gives the hair some grit and hold at the scalp for added volume and texture, as well as helps maintain the style throughout the day.
Recommends: The right products and tools are key to maintaining the look at home. Keune Mousse Forte is one of my favorites. It’s a medium hold mousse that is easily layered and provides heat protection from external and internal elements. The right hard tools such as a vent brush at home are important. Vent brushes allow air to pass through hair while drying to create extra volume.
“As a stylist who takes pride in the products I recommend to my guests, it’s important for me to be able to give them exclusive salon products. The loyalty that is created through that exchange is priceless. As a salon industry we should always strive to accomplish salon exclusivity.” —Britton Monk
Artistic Director and VP-product development
Peter Coppola Beauty, Portland, OR
The Look: A longer men’s haircut and female blonding. With two big session shoots coming up, my eye is on incorporating men’s hair in a different way, so personally, that is where my creative brain lies. The long bob is the new standard cut in women’s beauty. It remains ingrained in beauty culture right now, as well, and I attribute that to a few things. Where once long hair was considered “beautiful,” “sexy” and “attractive,” the long bob is now a shorter, stronger, more versatile definition of beauty. It allows the woman to own the look completely with hair still long enough to play with. Women want options, and the long bob provides options. I like options.
Favorites: Peter Coppola Steel hair spray. The formula is lightweight and workable, with a true medium hold. It doesn’t flake or turn white with heat. It’s tough to over-spray and generally washes or brushes out when misted lightly. It’s a great session spray for sure. Also Peter Coppola Blondest Lightener, the best bleach in the game.
Recommends: In addition to Peter Coppola Steel hair spray, I recommend removing 1 to 2 days of heat styling per week. It really is the solution to having healthier hair. Learn to braid-set hair for waves, grab a product to air dry one day a week. Change it up and talk to your stylist, he or she is ready to teach.
“Manufacturers of hair products should spend double the money in R&D and stop treating stylists like they are stupid. Most products are not novel. We still have known toxic goods being sold as “safe.” If the industry spent money on product creation, we could have less harmful, more sustainable, better products for our community and for our clients. That should be the goal; the numbers and profit will follow.” —Stephen Lightfoot
Stylist and Educator
Design 1 Salon Spa
Grand Rapids, MI
The Look: The most popular cuts are no longer coming from the red carpet. Today, popular requests are coming straight from social media threads such as Instagram and Pinterest! That being said, images and looks flood the internet from the late ’90s all the way to current day-to-day, hour-by-hour posts. What is trending for summer 2016 are simple organic looks that range from short pixies and fades to long luscious waves that can be worn with natural texture and minimum effort.
Favorite: Oh where to start!? My number one product is Redken’s Pillow Proof Primer Cream. It’s a must! It polishes hair, speeds up blow-dry time and protects hair from the heat of my blow dryer and hot tools! Everyone needs a heat protector! Your hair is like your skin but with no nerves, so just because you can’t feel the heat doesn’t mean you’re not burning yourself. Think about it... You would never pull cookies out of the oven without oven mitts on! The oven and blow dryer produce the same amount of heat.
Recommends: Next to a heat protector, my number one recommendation is a professional shampoo and conditioner! People sometimes forget how much science goes into hairdressing. The pH of your hair is the number one thing to consider when it comes to healthy shiny and beautiful hair. If you’re not using a quality shampoo in the shower, all damage is starting at home in the shower because water throws off hair’s pH. My favorite hair care line is Pureology. I use Strength Cure to keep my color vibrant and ends strong and healthy.
“The hair industry is booming! Keep your eyes on Redken and Pureology. The technology is advancing and we are digging deeper to make sure our consumers have the options to take care of all their hair needs.” —Becky Werkema
The Look: The men’s cut of the moment is the new, reborn 1920s style. It’s a low fade with a bold blend into length on top. It’s often seen with an added hard part to modernize this style. We have seen this 1920s-inspired design get more creative. Clients are asking for this haircut.
Favorites: For male clients, I can’t live without Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer. This product is a “do-it-all product.” I love layering this product with anything. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer is a perfect base to condition the hair before receiving the next layer of product to support the desired look. It’s great for our clients’ skin, too. Hands down, this is a must have!
Recommends: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo and Conditioner. You wouldn’t create a masterpiece with a dirty canvas. Having a clean canvas is key when creating a work of art. Our clients’ hair can’t be a reflection of their true selves if they don’t have a hair care regimen in the shower.
“The hair care industry could do better when it comes to educating our clients about products. We have so many great products, and we don’t really take the time we should to share them with our clients.” —Andrea Allemand
Lead 2 Stylist
Hair & Co. BKLYN, Brooklyn, NY
The Look: The Brooklyn vibe is unique for many reasons but the one that stands out most is the look. Very laid back and individual to each, the lived in controlled chaos can be seen daily walking in to Hair & Co BKLYN. I’m asked most to recreate styles that are seen on social media to connect with that individual. Be it a bob, lob or simple shag, Brooklyn peeps want their looks twisted to their vibe.
Favorites: One of the products I can’t live without is Keune’s Brilliant Gloss Spray. The shine is absolutely stellar and makes the hair glisten. Keune’s Dry Shampoo is a product that I simply need. Especially with our 24-hour lifestyle in Brooklyn, it’s a must.
Recommends: I specialize in color behind the chair, so my main go-to products are always shampoo and conditioner. Protecting your clients’ hair-color investment is so important and it’s also one of the key ways to keep their hair looking the best between visits. One of my favorites is Keune Design Line Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner. This combo offers a color stabilizer, a UV filter and sunflower seed extract all to protect and enhance the durability of the hair color.
Owner and professional hair designer
Salvatore Minardi Salon
The Look: The most popular requested style in our salon is the shag! Whether the lengths are kept long or shorter, the inner short-to-long jagged layers bring out a refreshing, exciting and youthful style. The irregular sliced or deep-point cutting of the hair creates texture and fullness that my clients love. The edgy silhouette creates a refreshingly new identity. Chipping and notching away hair creates a different experience for the client, which is liberating!
Favorites: The products that I need for finishing my designs vary. It may be a mousse, sculpture gel or combining two or more products for a specific effect. I use Rene Furterer, a product line that gives me tremendous versatility, volume, shine and hold.
Recommends: My client’s scalp and hair recommendations vary. So, I frequently prescribe a shampoo and a conditioner best suited to maintain their scalp and hair health. Every client should have a polyvegetal compound of lavender, verbena and orange citrus. This product cleanses, energizes and restores the scalp and hair health. Regular use ensures gorgeous, healthy hair.
What’s Missing: My recent request was to invent a gel that in time would slightly lighten hair. A product that didn’t have a strong chemical, something that didn’t burn the hair or scalp but would, in time, lighten the hair and brighten the hair.
“The hair care industry is doing a fabulous job staying on top of current needs and jumping into the future with updated education, superlative products and marketing education to build the professional brand. They visit our salons and they hold brainstorming sessions with professionals.” —Salvatore Minardi
The Charles Penzone Grand Salon
Dublin Columbus, OH
The Look: The look or “cut” of the moment is definitely the “undercut” for women. This cut is so edgy and fun. It’s all about that peek-a-boo surprise. When you look at a woman from the front, it would appear as though she has a cute bob, sleek and simply tousled, depending on how she has styled it for the day. Then, when she turns around or moves her head, the surprise is realized. Just under that classic bob, a shaved portion of the hair peeks out. This is mind blowing to some and I absolutely love it! The reaction women with an undercut get is so fun to watch – people are literally shocked! I think this is why the cut is so popular right now. Women want to achieve that “wow” factor and get that “you’re a brave babe” moment!
Favorites: I cannot live without texturizers! I am breathing for these right now. I’m obsessed with two, in particular. Davines Definition Mist from the Your Hair Assistant line and OSiS+ Session Label Silk Shine Cream. I literally use these products on all of my guests. Both products are great options for men – especially with the long-on-the-top pompadour (both polished and messy.)
Recommends: Have healthy hair from the start of your routine. When the hair is prepped properly from the beginning, products used to style the hair will be able to do their jobs to their fullest extent. So, do yourself a favor and invest in shampoo and conditioner. It may seem basic. But, it’s the best building block for great hair between salon visits.
What’s Missing: It seems like there’s a product for just about everything! Just when you think you’ve got it all, a manufacturer introduces a new line or product and you wonder what you ever did before that time. That’s the fun part of this industry. We’re constantly innovating. Constantly trying new products and techniques.
“The hair care industry is always striving to be better. In the past decade, so many advances to products have helped evolve the industry. Now, products and the process to create them are so much safer for the environment and the consumer.” —Mika Manley
The Look: Women are jumping right into summer with fun and flirty cuts. The lob is still popular with many women loving that shoulder length, longer in front look. More and more though we are seeing a push of interest in going even shorter and shaggier! Think Taylor Swift 2016. The shag is the hot hairstyle this year. Not only is it a fun look, but it needs little maintenance!
Favorites: I would not survive without Great Clips Glossing Cream. The lightweight hold and silky consistency is a lifesaver for my hair, no matter the style I’m trying to achieve. It provides shine to any wet or dry style and eliminates frizz. I use it for both my natural look and my glammed out ones
Recommends: There are so many great products for all kinds of hair types that customers sometimes have a hard time knowing what to choose. For men, I generally recommend a great forming cream or light pomade ... for most women, starting with a quality shampoo and conditioner is a must, followed by a styling aid like a root booster or anti-frizz gloss, depending on their hair type. And, for kids with longer hair, I recommend a detangler to make those comb-outs less stressful—for the kids and for the parents.
Salon Essence in Strongsville, OH
The Look: The lob is still one of the most popular cuts I’m doing right now. It offers lower maintenance, especially for busy moms, and they can still wear their hair up or pull it back into a ponytail. Requests started going up when I cut mine into a lob. Coming into summer, it’s easy and low maintenance. I cut mine because I wanted something trendier and easier to work with. I can wear, straight, curly, up
Favorites: Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Treatment Primer. I love this because it will protect the hair up to 450°F. It’s multipurpose, so I only need one product. It reduces drying time, while nourishing, hydrating and prepping hair for a smooth blow-dry
Recommends: Redken Extreme Cat anti-damage protein reconstructing rinse-off treatment. I love it because it’s one of the few products clients can use at home to prevent future breakage or damage and will help lock in their color. I recommend the entire Redken Extreme line to most of my clients because I do so much color.
What’s Missing: Develop take-home, daily-use products that remove frizz without needing a flat iron.
Team leader/senior stylist
Santa Monica, CA
The Look: The “look of the moment” is definitely bold, vibrant color. More men and women are stepping out of their comfort zones and color their hair all colors of the rainbow, rather than the more traditional/natural colors. In the salon, I do a lot of vivid green, purple, blue and pink on clients of all ages. Achieving a dynastic statement color is a process, so I always start will an in-depth consultation, followed by education on what they will need to do at home to maintain the color. Going forward with the color application, I lighten gently and efficiently by using Olaplex in the lighter to lift the hair to a blonde base so I can apply the vivid pigment.
Favorites: The product I cannot live without is dry shampoo. Whether I want to get longevity out of a blowout, or add texture to freshly conditioned hair, dry shampoo is my go-to product of all time.
Recommends: In order to keep my clients’ hair looking great in between salon visits, I always send them home with a sulfate-free shampoo and a hydrating conditioner. Shampoo and conditioner are the foundation of healthy beautiful hair.
“I have always admired the hair care industry because of its ability to help people feel good. One thing the industry could do better would be to formulate more products with fewer harsh chemicals.” —Morgan Yee
Celebrity Haircolorist and Owner
Marco Pelusi Hair Studio
West Hollywood, CA
The Look: The lob still stands out at the moment, with Jessica Chastain’s new asymmetrical version of the lob; especially when worn with long, loose, beachy waves. Of course, this look has to be suited for each client’s face shape, but generally it can be quite versatile, and it’s different than just a long, layered cut.
Favorites: I cannot live without Marco Anti Frizz Leave In Conditioner. It’s my signature product; I poured my heart and soul into this product. Anyone with any type of frizz in her hair will fall in love with it. Also, Aloxxi ColourPrime is an amazing product; it is used before hair color to both protect the scalp and prepare the hair for chemical services.
Recommends: As a colorist, shampoo is everything. Use the wrong shampoo and the color will fade badly. I recently created Marco Color Moisturizing Shampoo, which is sulfate-, paraben-, gluten- and salt-free. It works beautifully on colored and/or damaged hair. Aloxxi’s Dry Shampoo is a winner for those times when a regular shampoo is not an option.
What’s Missing: We need a mousse that is NOT sticky!
Chief Encouragement Officer
Attitudes Hair Studio
The Look: After 41 years in the business, I haven’t seen a “cut of the moment” since the Rachel from the TV show “Friends.” Variations on a classic bob seem to be the dominant base for a majority of the looks out now—from A-line to straight outer perimeters, down-blended and up-blended layers and all forms of texture whether cut in or placed soft waves and curl and everything in between. There are enough ways to combine the techniques to keep the finished style highly individualized, which is what I think most people look for. A major rumbling in the industry and with the public right now is the return of chemical texture i.e. permanent waving. Not Grandma’s perm, but a soft, undulating wave that can stand-alone or be a great foundation for a more structured style.
Favorites: The product I can’t live without is Olaplex Bond Perfector. There are a multitude of reasons including how it gives hair that would never be able to survive multiple chemical services a new lease on life. It repairs the hair throughout the chemical service from colors, highlights, permanent waves, straighteners and relaxers. Its take-home component, Olaplex No. 3, allows the client to maintain her hair between salon visits. It is what I recommend, no matter what chemical service I am doing. Olaplex has changed the lives of stylists and clients alike.
“When it comes to people, my mantra (thanks to Jon Gordon) is Love, Serve and Care. When it comes to products that I need or don’t have yet, is what I work on every day of my career, at the salon and with Olaple LLC. Any product that preserves the health of the hair and scalp, while maintaining the hair’s integrity, is a sure winner.”
— Joe Santy
Alex De Rango
The Style Illuminati
The Look: The look of the moment stresses individuality. People are expressing themselves with a variety of looks, without conforming to the masses. Gone are the days of duplicating Hollywood looks, as for example Jennifer Aniston, Farah Fawcett or Dorothy Hamill. The signature cuts of my salon are all about hair that moves, showcasing texture, separation, dimension and swinging hair and avoiding solid shapes.
Favorites: Label M Resurrection hair dust. It volumizes the hair, empowers its movement, holds its shape and adds versatility, all while still keeping the hair pliable and touchable.
Recommends: Framesi Color Lover Moisture-Rich Shampoo and Moisture-Rich Conditioner. They act as a web to lock-in the color molecule, so the hair color stays locked in to the original target shades.
What’s Missing: I would love to see a dry shampoo spray that adds shine without dulling the hair, while it thickens and separates the finished style.
Owner, Color Director
The Look: The lob (longer bob) is super-hot right now. Clients are gravitating toward the lob because of its longer length and modern flair. It hits just below the chin with an edge that is more chipped in to, creating a modern style with more movement than a traditional bob.
Favorites: Serum. Everyone wants shine and to control fly-aways without weighing hair down. Obliphica Professional Seaberry Serum provides a salon finish that is easy for clients to recreate at home. A good serum is like the icing on the cake.
“The US hair care industry should immediately take PPD out of all hair color products. We also need to bring a pump aerosol to the US market; currently these products are available only in the international lines I carry from Italy and Australia.” —Kelly Burmeister