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COLOR POP – Projections for Vibrant Growth


Distributor partner projects continued growth for salons in evolving vibrant and pastel hair color category.

“Some may think the vibrant color category has run its course, but this segment continues to be one of the fastest growing categories within Cosmoprof, with close to double digit growth,” says Rebecca Ulatowski, director of merchandising, Beauty Systems Group, in hair color.

This projection aligns with other projections shared by ISBN salon execs and industry partners in the recent MUSE Data Report on Hair Color released exclusively to ISBN members.

April McCoy, senior director of national accounts for CosmoProf and its Direct Beauty Express (DBE) division that works with multi-unit salons, says the company has increased its assortment of vibrant color products substantially over the last seven years.

“The category has grown from a small collection of direct dyes to a wider selection of those shades and brands, plus color-depositing shampoos, conditioners, powders, and even dry shampoos that enhance or apply pops of color,” she says.

More insights, trends and opportunities noted by the CosmoProf/DBE team:


  • Violets hues are still the largest segment within the vibrant color collection at CosmoProf, and sales continue to increase.
  • Yellows, grays and pinks represent a smaller base, but are among the fastest growing segments of vibrant colors.


The trend is moving away from bright neon or total hair coverage to pops of bright colors being used more as accents, Ulatowski notes.

  • A softer trend has emerged as well, with more muted, pastel colors and ombré or balayage looks using more blends of colors.
  • On the truly vibrant spectrum, the trend is highly driven by social media and celebrity influencers such as Kylie Jenner and Billie Eilish (see the Grammys and a new triple-image cover collection for Vogue.)


  • Fashion and vibrant colors require a lighter base color, so demand for these shades also drives lightening services, aligning well with research that shows 46 percent of women prefer highlighted over solid color.
  • Subtle variations are becoming more mainstream as a way to personalize highlighting services. A broader range of clients opting for more wearable options such as highlights with subtle pastel ribbons woven discretely throughout or pops of color hidden underneath.


  • Pinterest searches for “going gray” jumped 879% from 2017 to 2018, and salons saw visible results throughout 2019 of clients looking for options to evolve hair color and still maintain fashionable, interesting looks.
  • Naturally gray or white hair provides an already lightened color pallet to add subtle peach, rose gold, or iridescent lavender allowing the wearer to both embrace their gray and express their individual sense of fashion, McCoy notes.

“Once again, social media helps magnify this message with celebrities such as Helen Mirren tinting their naturally white or gray hair. This is good news for the salon professional who can continue to serve this client base even when they no longer want to cover their gray hair, and it’s one reason CosmoProf has continued to expand our selection of pastel colors and toners.”

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