2018 to be a year of natural hair trends, gray blending, subtle highlights

2018 may be the year of the dog, but in the hair world, it’s the year of embracing the natural. Whether you prefer a masculine, feminine or androgynous look, and no matter the texture of your hair, excessive product is out and effortless is in.

“Definitely natural texture for everyone. People are getting away from the chemical relaxers and straighteners,” said Michael Joseph, a stylist at Helmet salon in Midtown. “There’s new styling products that can help that, but natural texture, embracing what’s growing out of their head. Especially with African-American hair, embracing the natural texture and learning how to take care of it.”

Hair camouflage

One way men embrace the natural trend is by going gray. Though the silver hair trend is still in for all genders, a new process called gray blending is gaining traction with men whose hair is turning silver on its own.

“People are seeing salt-and-pepper grays and don’t want it covered up, just camouflaged,” Joseph said. “This is a demi-permanent color. A permanent color shows a line of demarcation as it grows out. This shampoos out between four and six weeks.”

For masculine haircuts, the look is natural and classic, but with a little unkemptness on top. Joseph said the hard lines for fades and tapered cuts are phasing out, and most customers opt for more texture and softer edges in those styles.

“We’re seeing a haircut that can go from a more formal event that then can do more disheveled and relaxed on the weekend,” Joseph said.
Man buns are out, but some of the wilder, jewel-tone colors found their ways into masculine cuts. For facial hair, well-groomed beards are on-trend — and “the pornstache is back,” Joseph said.

Natural femininity

“Lower-maintenance color is going to be a big thing,” Joseph said. “Subtle highlighting — it can be subtle all the way up to super platinum, but it is going to be more attuned to what the person has growing out of their head. No more black to platinum; more caramels and chocolates.”

Tennis star Serena Williams debuted her natural-look highlights on Instagram, and Essence declared the look an instant slay.

Though some plan to keep their mermaid and unicorn locks in 2018, the big color in the new year isn’t inspired by a mythical creature. Burnt red is the new “it” hue, featuring shades of brown, red and copper.

The bob isn’t going anywhere this year except maybe longer: both Joseph and InStyle say “the lob” is still embraced.

“Straight or wavy, with a long bob you’ve got styling options,” according to InStyle’s 2018 hair predictions. “The fact that the cut flatters every face shape, along with a number of hair textures, is exactly why it’s so popular.”

Since the scrunchie is once again readily available, the high ponytail is also making a comeback.

“Celebs have demonstrated that with a few tweaks, the look adds elegance and ease to every outfit, whether you wear the style to Saturday nights with your friends or a Sunday morning Pilates class,” InStyle reported. “Wear it with a sleek tail … or loose, cascading waves. Make the style even more effortless by wrapping a strand from the tail around the base of the pony to conceal the hair elastic holding it in place.”

Scalp care

“Healthy hair is rooted in the scalp. There are salons popping up that are scalp facial-type salons,” Joseph said.

His salon offers this now-trendy service to re-balance dry or oily scalps with a professional-grade mask.

“It helps the good bacteria grow; it gets rid of all the bad bacteria and dander,” he said.