Where do you turn when you want to find the hottest hair inspiration? For many people out there, it’s Instagram. Social media is now a hive of activity for hair and beauty lovers, with the platform attracting 1 billion monthly active users.
At Salons Direct, we’ve seen first hand just how many top hair stylists, salons and beauty lovers take to the ‘gram to share their work. And, judging by their hordes of followers, how many people want to see the latest trends and looks.
So, we researched all the hair hashtags we could find to discover which trend was most “Instagrammable’ – and, it turns out that blonde, balayage and long hair are what we most see fill up our feeds.
We also spoke to some leading names in the industry to find out just how much power Instagram has in driving the trends and new techniques in the hair industry.
Read on to find out more…
Images from @roseandwildhair (@shivvvey & @emicolouryourhair), @glambyheather and @81rosegarden
What Does The Hair Industry Have to Say?
We wanted to dig deeper into how Instagram is impacting the hair industry. So, we have contacted some stylists and brands who have used social media to build up a following to ask what they think of our findings…
“My real name is Heather Mackenzie, @glam.by.heather on instagram. I am known more for pastel and vivid transformations. I’m part of the UK Riot Squad for Pulp Riot and I have just won colour artist of the year at Wella Trend Vision.
I think Instagram is incredibly important. We need to know what clients are going to be bringing in before they do. We need to be ready and up to date with techniques so we can give clients these amazing colours without being put on the spot behind the chair.
It’s such an exciting time to be a colourist with how the industry is at the moment. Literally anything goes! You can have a gorgeous soft balayage client in your chair in the morning and a beautiful, bright rainbow client in the afternoon.”
Wella Passionistas Community Engagement Manager
“Hair trends have become less and less dictated by hair colour manufacturers and Fashion houses and are now being influenced by economic factors and social media engagement. For example, balayage; the trend emerged because during the economic downturn after 2007, blondes could not afford the luxury of a full head colour every 4-6 weeks.
Instagram is now where trends start and ideas are incubated. It’s so simple for companies to test the waters with new looks, products, and techniques online. Audiences are vocal about their likes and dislikes.
Any successful brand from any industry will know that Instagram is now the beating pulse for trends and we must keep our finger on it to remain current and relevant in this fast changing market.
The products, techniques and services we are creating now are more about an instant effect and changeability. Consumers needs are been driven by the instant reality created by social media.”
“I’ve spent 13 years in the industry. I’m now a salon owner & educator at The Watt based in a small Norfolk town. Creative hair colouring takes up around 60% of my clientele, but on social media this is my main focus.
Clients are no longer looking in magazines for their next hair colour or style. In fact, one of the first places they are now looking is on social media. These platforms, mainly Instagram, are not only having an impact on hair trends, they are in fact creating these trends.
A major part of the ‘old’ industry use to be exclusive to brand-trained professionals, award-winners and like minded business owners. You no longer need to pay £££ for professional shoots to “make it” in the industry.”
“Trends have become so much more reactive. Gone are the days of the big hairdressing chains churning out arty visionary collections that we, as hairdressers, were expected to interpret in a commercial way.
Balayage has been growing in popularity for years and in my opinion shows no signs of slowing down. My clients love the convenience of it. Balayage fits the lifestyle of today’s modern busy women. They don’t have the time to commit to that 6-weekly highlighting appointment anymore, so having beautifully melted colours that just blend as they grow is perfect if you can’t get to the salon for 4 months!
I like to look at social media as an accelerated version of word of mouth advertising. It has also given the younger generation of hairstylists a platform to get ahead and showcase what they can do.”
“Instagram is helping to create hair tutorials demonstrating various techniques and visual hair libraries. 10 years ago in Afro there were lots of weaves, relaxers and perms. Today it’s not about chemical services, as clients want to fall in love with their God-given textures. They want that opportunity of discovering different natural styles.
It’s always important to be up to speed with the latest hair trends. If a client comes in after seeing a style that’s been trending online, then as a professional, I need to be able to facilitate that request.
The next trend? Natural beauty. Encouraging more and more women to embrace the wondrous texture of their hair and celebrating its versatility, whilst also helping the next generation to express themselves through their hair.”
Pulp Riot Squad
“We are becoming a generation of expression and people want to express their personalities, not only in their clothes but their hair also!
Trends are changing so quickly now, so it’s very important to stay current as an artist by constantly researching and learning, whether it be at seminars or classes.
Instagram does have its downside in the industry, too. Over-edited and enhanced photos give clients unrealistic expectations that, as hair colourists, we have to battle each day. We are constantly being shown transformations of hair colours that have taken 8+ hours to create, while we as a commercial stylist usually have about three hours!”
“Keeping up to date is the best thing for stylists to do. Get on board or get left behind. Clients are getting smarter with everything being online these days. Be sure to stay one step ahead.
Next, I think 90s chunky highlighting inspired looks will be making a comeback. Mullets are already here, so 90’s and early 00’s punk styles will be next!”
“The past few years I’ve seen HUGE CHANGES. Balayage and ombre hit as trends,yet have now become classic techniques. Clients are learning our terminology and therefore the demand on us is higher than ever! It’s no longer about just the hair…it’s also how well it looks in a photograph.
Our clients not only use Instagram as a reference, they book through it, too! I tried to stop that but it’s the way it is now. Our guests book through our website or Instagram; our phone barely rings!
Stylists HAVE to keep up on Instagram. Gone are the days when I used to snooze after my alarm went off – it’s now social media time! If a celebrity takes on a new trend overnight, we need to ensure we know how to do it by lunch time.”