Three of the world’s biggest trade shows for beauty professionals have just wrapped up, and we’ve got the lowdown on the top hair and beauty trends to emerge from IBS New York, America’s Beauty Show and Cosmoprof Bologna. A few big reveals from the show floor? High-tech tools, hair extensions, nail art, faux eyelashes, pastels and vibrant shades of hair color, men’s grooming and “green” products are all hotter than a matchstick to borrow a phrase from The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City. We break down the hottest trends.
Eyelash Extensions Can we blame this trend on the Kardashians? Why not. Still, eyelash extension products and services, which began trending about five years ago, are booming, and there’s a lot to choose from: mink, faux mink, sable, silk and synthetic. With chic new lash salons popping up everywhere these days, this is one trend that’s not going away anytime soon.
Men’s Grooming From what we’ve seen, barbering hasn’t even peaked yet. At America’s Beauty Show, Major League Barbers offered the Crazy Hands Barber Competition, a battleground of head-to-head barbering. Hairstyles for men right now run the gamut from longer hair with a bit of texture to buzz cuts executed with military precision. We’re seeing a lot of disconnection (the textured crop features a short back and sides with some length on top) as well as hair that’s mid-shoulder-length and deliberately messy (paging GOT’s John Snow).
Nail Art Nails have come a long way since the French manicure, and the gel manicure is part of the reason. Gels allow nail techs to create literal works of art on fingers, and toes if desired. Celebs have helped drive the trend. Think Ariana Grande’s Cow Print mani, Kylie Jenner’s Neon Ombre look, Cardi B’s Swarovski-crystal encrusted nails for Pepsi, and Rhianna’s Skittles-inspired manicure. Nail color itself is no longer relegated to discreet shades of rose and pink. Primary colors have gone mainstream with neon yellow, hot pink and pure white nails taking center stage this season. From graphic designs to glitter polish, the manicure has become a fashion statement.
Hair Color So what’s trending in hair color? Let’s start with pastels. The standouts include lilac or lavender, multi-dimensional shades of pink, and, of course, rose-gold. The other big trend we’re seeing is highly pigmented color in shades like green, blue, indigo and violet. Platinum blondes are still enjoying a moment, while balayage continues to give foils a run for their money. Techniques that are still trending include color melting (highlights are blended with the base color for a melted effect) and gloss smudging (eliminates the obvious area between roots and color).
Hair Extensions This is one category that offers instant gratification, which might account for its rapid growth. Women can choose from clip-in extensions for a night out, tape-in extensions that last six to eight weeks, or permanent extensions made from virgin hair that can be colored or styled with flat irons or curling irons. Improvements in technology, like invisible bonds, and innovative techniques have bolstered this category, which offers myriad options for thickening or lengthening hair.
Conscious Beauty At Cosmoprof Bologna the themes were awareness, transparency and respect for the environment. Key issues included the need to move toward a more sustainable lifestyle. Companies were encouraged to communicate their values to consumers, while checking the reliability of sources on social media and the internet regarding scientific facts. In the cosmetics industry, where it was standard practice to segment consumers according to their skin type and age, the trend today is toward addressing their concerns, ranging from performance of the products to ingredients used and the environmental impact of the products.
Tools of the Trade From blow-dryers to flat irons, tools have become increasingly more sophisticated. Ceramic and ionic technology is just the tip of the iceberg. The point of entry today includes ergonomic design, powerful airflow, lightweight materials (some blow-dryers weigh less than a pound) and multiple settings. Flat irons with titanium or ceramic plates distribute heat evenly and create shine. Some companies offer a range of heat settings to reduce the risk of damage to hair.
High-Tech, High-Touch Beauty At America’s Beauty Show, salon pros sampled virtual reality education and previewed cutting-edge distance learning and webinars at The Beauty Tech Playground. They were also introduced to new ABS tools they could tap from their smart phones—real-time text info, directions-on-demand, scannable digital tickets and more. Founded by Instagram influencer Alix Maya (@alix_maya), the Unicorn Tribe combined a live hair battle and a VIP-access class in one event.
Going Green Driven by consumer demand, the global organic hair care market is only expected to grow over the next five years. Indeed, organic and natural products are becoming a key segment of the hair care industry, while companies strive to create products that are vegan and free of sulfates, paraben, silicones and gluten. Botanicals—herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, leaves or seeds) are playing an increasingly bigger role in product formulation, as hair care companies experiment with everything from lemongrass and apple cider vinegar to green tea and quinoa husk.