From Gen Z to Baby Boomers, we’re breaking down the key cut, style and colour trends to help you give clients exactly what they’re looking for—and more!
GENERATION Z (Under 24)
Whether it’s the latest celebrity haircut or a playful bold hue, there’s no denying that when it comes to their hair, the under-24 age group tends to be willing to push the envelope. Help them express themselves while giving them a look as unique as they are.
“We’re starting to notice more people ask for something that frames their face. In the ’90s, the Rachel haircut was the style everyone was wearing and it’s coming back—not with the original soft and wispy effect, but with a similar shape and silhouette. Some people may bring in a picture of a shag and say they don’t want it that short, but what that means from a technical perspective is that they want their hair layered a lot more.” — Sherman Wong, creative director of education for Collega
“I’m noticing more people are starting to ask about more of a shag cut or baby bangs. Some people are still a little afraid to do it, because it’s more of a high- commitment haircut, so they want to dip their toes in. Planting the seed is key.” — Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
EXPERT TIP: WONG SAYS SOME STYLISTS TEND TO FORCE HAIR INTO A BOB SHAPE, WHICH CREATES TEXTURED PIECES ON THE TOP OF THE HEAD AND CAN CAUSE THE HAIR TO LOOK FLAT. HE RECOMMENDS CUTTING THE LENGTH INTO A BOB AND WORKING THE LAYERS AND TEXTURE INTO THE CUT TO GET A BETTER TRANSITION.
Bold and Beautiful
“There are exceptions to every rule, but if you think about where Gen Z tends to get a lot of their inspiration and feedback, it’s from their peers and on social media, where they have all of this great content to look at and strive towards achieving. They tend to be the clientele that are more experimental with their hair colour and almost always have a game plan. I also find that they are more focused on ingredients and seem to be in the know when it comes to what the products do and how they work. They are the generation that grew up with cell phones, so they quickly Google things and have their research done.” — Grant Carson, a Toronto- based hairstylist and educator for Schwarzkopf Professional
“With the younger generation, I’m doing a lot of pastel toning. Many of them are wanting soft pink and purple tones as well as a lot of lightening services, but still with impactful, fashion colours—especially with high school kids who love purple, pinks, jewel-tone greens and blues.” — Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
“Balayage and face-framing or low-maintenance regrowth but with a bold colour in it. They don’t just want a blonde balayage, but a pink balayage, pastel or peach. Inspired by K-Pop, they like bolder colours but still follow the trends of wanting something more natural but with bolder tones.” — Catherine Allard, a Montreal- based hairstylist and colour ambassador for Redken
Show Me the Money
“With this generation and up to the 30-somethings, I find that a lot of them are looking for that money piece—a very lightened piece in the front, with more babylights towards the back. The money piece is a consistent trend throughout [the generations] but the tonality is different.” — Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
GENERATION Y (24 to 40 years)
Spanning the ages of 24 to 40, this group (aka. Millennials) tend to want a wide range of looks, from blonde balayage to rich, multidimensional shades. Find out how to transition clients from longer locks or bolder gen Z looks to chic, refined shapes and shades.
Making the Cut
“They’re probably one of the more difficult clienteles to have a grasp on, since you can have someone in their mid-20s who is just out of school or finding their feet in their industry to other end of the spectrum, where they are up to 40 years old and well established in their life. If you look at trends and what you can be doing in the salon, it ranges, and a good portion of your clientele will want something different.” — Grant Carson, a Toronto- based hairstylist and educator for Schwarzkopf Professional
“We’re still seeing a lot of long hair with wavy styles, but more people are willing to cut it and try the lob, bob and more unstructured haircuts.” – Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
“For clients who have been more adventurous in the past and want to transition their hair back [to something longer], a bob or lob haircut is always a good choice.” — Sherman Wong, creative director of education for Collega
“With millennials, we’re seeing a lot more blonde. All shades from very cool blondes to purposeful golden blondes. The money piece in the front is still really popular, especially as you get into the late-30s, but with a lot of balayage and freehand painting. It’s a more grown out, ‘done/undone’ look.” — Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
“We’re doing a lot of face- framing and highlights around the face. From ages 30 to 39, you start to see some grey hair, but you don’t really embrace those yet. Clients typically want something more natural with a lot of dimension and colour in the front, with blending at the roots. This generation is the generation of Facebook and Instagram, and they really want healthy hair. They ask for it before you talk about it.” — Catherine Allard, a Montreal- based hairstylist and colour ambassador for Redken
“THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO EVERY RULE, BUT [GENERATION Z] TEND TO BE THE CLIENTELE THAT ARE MORE EXPERIMENTAL WITH THEIR HAIR COLOUR AND ALMOST ALWAYS HAVE A GAME PLAN.” –GRANT CARSON, TORONTO-BASED HAIRSTYLIST AND EDUCATOR FOR SCHWARZKOPF PROFESSIONAL
“People want to look low- maintenance and like they haven’t had a lot done, but we’re putting a lot of work into achieving it. I feel like people want to look very natural, with the highlights or babylights effect we had when we were children—a really soft blend of shades.” — Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
“I find that millennials need the most guidance on what you can achieve for them. For example, if you had a Gen Z client who’s now more of a millennial, they may be transitioning from a fashion tone to something more natural in an effort to look more grown-up. If you go further into the age demographic to someone in their mid- to late-30s, the white hairs start popping up and you have to discuss coverage and have a game plan for how you want to tackle them.” — Grant Carson, a Toronto- based hairstylist and educator for Schwarzkopf Professional
Generation X (Under 55)
For clients under the age of 55, low maintenance cuts and colours tend to be in high demand, but that doesn’t mean embracing the trends isn’t important to them. Learn how to give these clients the best of both worlds.
“Generation X likes the look of the bob and lob, which continues to be a trend with the 40-something crew. Also, the French bob—a shorter, wavy bob that’s a sleek and chic haircut.” — Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
“Curtain bangs have been around for a while now but a lot more people are asking for it. I would suggest cutting the front piece into a curtain bang, but not too much into the full haircut, and just get a piece behind the curtain bang slightly layered so there’s a bit of blending. People are more receptive to trying layers, and curtain bangs are a good transition to see what layers will look like around their face.” — Sherman Wong, creative director of education for Collega
Speak Their Language
“When comparing Gen X to millennials or Gen Z, it’s important to remember that millennials and Gen Z grew up with all the technology and inspiration imagery in front of them, whereas that may not have been as readily available with Gen X, so they aren’t infiltrated with change and may not see it on a daily basis. If you look at Gen X and what you can offer them, it’s not just a brand-new fringe or slightly different shift in their colour—it’s giving them all of the options and all of the imagery you can find that’s relevant to them as a generation.” — Grant Carson, a Toronto-based hairstylist and educator for Schwarzkopf Professional
“They want more natural looks while remaining trendy. Nothing too bold, but a subtle money piece, or [experimenting] with warm tones. They definitely want shiny, healthy-looking hair so a lot of dimension and rich colour, such as caramel or chocolate, is important.” — Catherine Allard, a Montreal- based hairstylist and colour ambassador for Redken
“There’s not as much bold placement of colour. It’s softer looking with soft, diffused root area and money pieces, babylights, teasylights [a hybrid of traditional highlights and balayage] that lend well to not having to do it as frequently. I think that will likely be more of a trend considering the world today and people not getting out as much as they used to.” — Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
EXPERT TIP: WHEN ADDING ANY TEXTURE OR LAYERS TO HAIR, WONG SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE CLIENT STYLES THEIR HAIR AT HOME. HE RECOMMENDS ASKING BEFORE CUTTING TO AVOID OVER-TEXTURIZING AND CAUSING IT TO LOOK WISPY AND SEPARATED.
BABY BOOMERS (Over 55)
While you may think you have this older generation all figured out, they may just throw you for a loop. Remember to use every opportunity available to suggest something new, even if it’s the subtlest change.
Changing it Up
“Since COVID, I’ve been surprised at how open they’ve been when it comes to their haircut. A lot of clients from this age group actually want to make a change. They may have had longer hair that is at the collarbone and want to cut it above the shoulder, or were wearing a bob and want to try something really short, like a pixie, or are asking for more layers.” — Sherman Wong, creative director of education for Collega
Less is More
“Adding a curtain bang is something really easy for these clients to try. It’s a very commercial look and can work on most people. It can be quite long—to their cheekbones—so I encourage people to consider it. Or when someone is really resistant to change, I tell clients that changing their part changes up their whole look. I’ll often blow-dry their hair with a different part, and they feel like they’ve done something different.” — Eryn Wall, a Wella Top Artist and owner of The Headroom in St. John’s, Nfld.
EXPERT TIP: RATHER THAN HOLDING THE HAIR DOWN AND USE POINT-CUTTING TO CREATE TEXTURE, WONG PREFERS TO LIFT UP THE SECTIONS AND CUT THE HAIR UP. USING SCISSORS FOR POINT-CUTTING OR SLICE CUTTING, THIS TECHNIQUE ALLOWS THE HAIR TO DROP FOR A SOFTER LOOK WITH MORE MOVEMENT AND NATURAL TEXTURE.
“During COVID, a lot of people let their roots grow out and saw that grey, and wanted to go with more natural looks. That has become a huge movement— more than ever. I’m doing a lot of colour correction to get rid of the artificial colour to allow more natural growth to come out. A few of my clients have gone back to natural or have gone back to lowlighting or highlighting
to add more dimension, but they’re not going back to full colour. People are so excited to be back in a salon and get their hair done, but if there is a second wave [that closes salons] they’re asking if they can get something that’s similar to their natural colour in case they have to self-isolate again. Many don’t want to see the regrowth they did with the first lockdown because they didn’t feel beautiful.” — Catherine Allard, a Montreal- based hairstylist and colour ambassador for Redken
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