Promotion – Fresha

Take a closer look at the hair and beauty landscape for the months and years ahead. 

Fresh Dopamine beauty
Fresh dopamine beauty

The ever-evolving beauty and wellness industry is being propelled daily by cultural drivers and technological change. Clients and consumers respond to trends, and this determines the direction of the future of the industry, meaning that staying ahead of the curve is a key way to capitalise on these trends for your business.

Fresha, one of the world’s biggest salon software providers, published its first trend report crafted from more than 1,000 consumer surveys across three continents, as well the data from 600 million bookings on its platform, to nail exactly what is trending and what the future has in store. The good news? It features a whole lot of fun!

Dopamine beauty and cultural intellect are set to dominate the landscape as consumers place higher value on diversity, expression, and emotional wellbeing. This is triggering a rise in beauty services that are inclusive, meaningful, and playful, with consumers prioritising their self-expression and focussing on finding services that are right for them. 

Shag! salons is incorporating these trends into its businesses across London, ensuring clients can embrace colourful, inclusive services. 

Fresh Shag! London

Client at Shag! London

So, what’s dopamine beauty? 

Wellness that prioritises playfulness. 

Dopamine beauty is centred around exploring self-expression through colours, textures, and scents for the ultimate feel-good factor. The trend focusses on joy and mental wellbeing and is an extension of the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ or ‘no make-up make-up’ trends that social media platforms such as TikTok have seen skyrocket in popularity. A surprising 58.5 per cent of consumers think wellness is about how they feel mentally, rather than physically, so dopamine ditches the beige and brings back youthful wonder, presenting opportunities for your beauty and wellness treatments and services to be playful.  

“Dopamine beauty is a trend we were inadvertently using as soon as we opened. Both of our salons are filled with colour,” says the team behind Shag!, who use colours such as bright pink and ocean blue in its salon interiors. “We’ve noticed a surge in people going more extreme with hair colour. It started last year when all the blonde and brunette clients tried the copper trend. It then became the norm instead of a bold move, and now they’re looking for the next big thrill with their own hair. We’re ready to see a lot of pink tones coming back over the next year.”

At its core, Dopamine Beauty encourages consumers to feel that extra bit happier and fulfilled after a self-care service. It is also becoming more important for a younger demographic to resonate with as they place more importance on their mental health. Shag! stylists are noticing an increase in clients discovering that they can have fun and use their hair colour to feel happier.

What is cultural intellect? 

Representing a greater diversity of needs. 

While dopamine beauty creates a space to encourage clients to be themselves, that space also needs to be able to accept a diverse range of people. The industry is calling for safer community spaces, better education around textured hair, and a wider representation and understanding of hair types. 

Shag! salons aims to provide clients the most luxurious service possible and offer a space they can come to which feels more exclusive, safe, and private, as well as being able to provide disabled access and a private room for clients who require those elements. Services like this are integral for businesses to strive in the industry and Fresha’s data reflects significant contrast between customer satisfaction rates, with Black consumers threetimes more likely to be dissatisfied with their options for haircare, skincare, and makeup.

Shag! London

Shag! London stylists

“Inclusivity has been a huge problem in the hairdressing industry for a long time,” says the Shag! Team. “Textured hair was only recently added to hairdressing training and even that required a 100,000-signature petition to City & Guilds to get it added in.” 

Shag! Salons prides itself on having built a business around inclusivity. It covers everything from the basics such as gender-neutral pricing and training in all hair types, through to more in-depth practices. “We offer a private room for any clients that may need to cover their hair for health or religious reasons. We have tried to build a space where literally anyone can come in and ask for anything they could imagine. We have also made sure all our staff are well trained in cutting textured hair and brought in experts for several styles and hair types for courses to make sure the whole team is confident.” 

Investment in education is vital for the success of every business. Being up-to-date with cultural needs globally and locally allows you to provide the best client care possible and future-proof your services. 

Want to discover more about trends in the beauty and wellness industry?
Check out The Future of Beauty and Wellness Report 2024 by Fresha and WGSN here 




Inspired by ‘90s minimalism and the rule breakers who created the blueprint for today’s diversity and individuality, Urbane by Saco showcases pared down silhouettes and muted tones in celebration of craftsmanship, precision and creativity.

Hair: Saco Creative Team led by Richard Ashforth, featuring Color A.K.A. from Saco.

Photography by Jack Eames.

Make-up: Megumi Matsuno.
Styling: Michelle Kelly.
Wardrobe: Tania Zekkout.
Creative direction: Richard Ashforth





Tia Lambourn – founder of Bay Studios in Derby and both Tia Lambourn Education and The Blonding Bible online platform AND a Redken Advocate – knows what NOT to do when blonding a client! These are the mistakes to avoid

Tia Lambourn

MISTAKE 1 – Rinsing too early

The bleach is on and you’re panicking: ‘I’m using a blue bleach, and it looks like it’s ready to come off’. What ends up happening is that the hair’s quite yellow underneath. What I usually recommend in my education and Blonding Bible classes is to take out a tiny strand of hair from the foil and do an elasticity test, instead of just judging it visually. You can then feel if it’s ready to come off. If it has started to feel a bit stringy, then that can also save you from breakage. That has saved me in the past, when I’ve thought: ‘this needs another 20 minutes’.

I’ve been in the middle of a colour correction where the hair looks orange, and I’ve pulled on it, I’ve felt that it’s got a little bit of give, and I know I need to take it off now.

MISTAKE 2 – Ignoring the clear

When it comes to glossing, not everyone utilises the clear. The most used ‘colour’ in my salon is the clear! Sometimes the hair lifts so perfectly that what you’re going to end up doing is almost making it look slightly muddy, or a bit heavy, or when there’s a lot of pigment in the hair, it makes it appear darker. So, if you do have a client who wants to be mega blonde, and you’ve managed to lift them to a really nice level 11, you want to gloss with your chosen shade and the same amount of clear – go half and half. In some scenarios, I’ll even do three-quarters clear, one-quarter of the chosen shade.

MISTAKE 3 – Using ash toners for a bright finish

Ash was a big trend, everyone wanted to be an icy blonde or platinum, but for really bright blondes, I’m always reaching for the warmer shades. A lot of the time you have a client who wants to be mega blonde, but they want to be ashy, so colourists will mix up an ash toner. But if you think of a white cloud compared to a grey cloud, the grey cloud has more ash in it… and it looks darker. With a blonde tone that’s more ashy, it’s going to appear slightly more dull. It’s not actually dull, it’s just got a heavy amount of pigment in there, so it’s going to appear that way because it’s not going to reflect the light so much. You can do a mix of warm and ash so that it is not golden, but it’s not super ashy. It’s more of a creamy milky blonde, then you get the best of both worlds.





For decades, we’ve been taught to cover grey. Now we should help clients embrace it, says colourist Nancy Stripe – it could be the best thing you’ve done for your business in years.

Nancy Stripe

When it comes to grey hair, real change is afoot. In 2024, it’s a statement of confidence and intent. Whether on the red carpet (Emma Thompson, Lady Gaga, Andie McDowell); among the fashion crowd (British Vogue’s Sarah Harris, Erin O’Connor, Jan de Villeneuve); or even on the world stage (Christine Lagarde and Princess Caroline), women of all ages are embracing a hair colour that for many years was seen as a sign of “letting yourself go”.

Leading the charge here in the UK is colourist Nancy Stripe (owner of Stripe Studio in Handforth, near Manchester), whose interest in grey was piqued when several of her clients who worked in and around fashion (30-, 40- and 50-year-olds) said they’d had enough of their male counterparts being labelled Silver Foxes and decided to wear their Silver Vixen crown. Stripe’s decision actively to market to grey conversion clients has not only been lucrative for her business (clients have been known to spend £600+ in a single appointment), it’s also led to a new education course, Embrace the Grey, that’s rolling out this year in partnership with L’Oréal Professionnel Paris.

So, when is it time to have a conversation about going grey? “As early as possible,” says Nancy, “because if you start blending the grey earlier, the eye gets used to seeing the grey in the hair. When women wait until they have a more solid amount of grey, they go from looking like they’ve got solidly warm colour hair to maybe being fully grey, and that jump is too much. It makes them feel old.” Clues to look out for that a client might be ready and willing? “When they say they’re sick of coming to the salon every three to four weeks, or they’ve got a white band around the hairline. But lots of clients are still worried about what others might think, so you’ve got to be ready with the support and encouragement.”

Transitioning to grey is a long and winding road – you’re looking at around a year, with some challenging moments along the way – so that initial consultation is absolutely vital. Says Nancy: “Key questions to ask include, How much grey are they comfortable seeing? Do they want a more fashionable grey placement? Are they willing to consider a different – possibly edgier – haircut, or will they look to retain their youthfulness through sharper clothes and make-up? Grey hair is naturally coarser, so you will also need to assess the condition properly before going ahead with any lightening methods, and also how much lift the hair can take because that will determine how many sessions will be needed to achieve the finished result. It’s vital you give your client realistic expectations.”

Is it going to be expensive? Yes, it is. But as Stripe argues, it’s highly likely these clients are already investing in expertly applied Botox and fillers (subtle enhancements being the order of the day), so cost tends not to be a deterrent. “I am very strict with my clients. I let them know there will need to be treatment plans, specialist products and if you don’t think you can do it, we can always go back to full coverage.  But it’s usually three to four appointments down the line where they think, Okay, here we are. Bingo!”

Stripe has identified four distinct client types, each with a different attitude to embracing grey, and each, therefore, requiring a different approach in her chair.

• The Embracer (role model, the actress Andie MacDowell) is excited to explore their natural grey patterns and wants to keep as much of the natural as possible. She will be looking to get maximum longevity from the colour. You’ll mainly be using babylights and balayage with this client, with powerful lighteners (where the hair can take it) and glossing.

• The Blender (à la Jennifer Aniston) wants to work with her natural grey to create a new canvas of blonde and balayage through her hair. She wants to retain a definite coloured look and will be back in the salon every three months for top-ups. High-level lifting will be required, with lots of coverage but easy to grow out.

• The Illusionist (as illustrated by actress Sarah Jessica Parker) wants to look as close to her darker base as possible, but with a softer grow-out She’ll be back in the salon within eight weeks, like a global application would be, but with a gentler blend. She’ll mainly need coverage in foils, but perhaps also some lightening and glossing.

• And finally, there’s The Bold (think, model Erin O’Connor). She may want an edgier look, such as a solid piece of her natural grey in the hairline and the rest of her hair kept darker.

Potential problems to look out for? Clients will feel their hair is too light, as they are so used to being a brunette. In this case, darken only with low lights and leave grey placement. Highlights may go too warm so there is too much contrast against the grey. In this case, use the strongest lightener possible and in fine sections for maximum lift, alongside a treatment plan (Stripe swears by L’Oréal Professionnel Paris’s Absolut Repair Molecular). And if the tint used for coverage in lowlights is fading too warm against the natural, then it’s causing too much of a shift in the undercoat, so go with a cool reflect for a truer tone and a softer fade.

For decades, colourists have been conditioned to cover grey. Now, it turns out that helping your clients transition to grey is not only an impressive showcase of your technical skills, it may also provide you with incredible job satisfaction. Says Stripe: “I’m 40 next year and as you age, things change. You change, your clients change. My 20-year-old self would have thought having an older client base would be so boring. But now I know what great people these clients are to have in your life. The conversations we have are brilliant and quite exciting, actually!”



  1. The start of Michelle’s journey and her two-week dreaded regrowth that made her re-think her approach to coverage.
  2. After starting to go lighter, she still felt like the regrowth line was too severe and wanted a much more natural grow-out.
  3. Session 2 of grey blending and we can see the grey is starting to become part of the fabric of her hair. Object today was to lighten the face frame and melt the colour together to create more depth and dimension.
  4. The result from session 2.
  5. L’Oréal photo-shoot day. Now very established in the grey blending technique, Michelle is getting four months in between salon visits. Today we got to try the new Dia Color shades as it offers up to 70 per cent coverage.
  6. Our stunning result. What a difference from when we first started!

Book the course:

Navigating Grey with Nancy Stripe

£220 per person

Leeds – 3 June 2024

Cardiff – 24 June 2024

London  – 12 August 2024

Edinburgh  9 September 2024






From Future Talent to Moving Image, the iconic competition is now open for entries in both the UK and Ireland.

2023 Irish winners

2023 UK winners

The legendary L’Oréal Colour Trophy has opened entries for its 2024 competition, welcoming all hair pros in the UK and Ireland to take part. 

With six categories in the UK and four in Ireland, the competition shares a platform with professional colourists to showcase their artistry, shining a spotlight on creative colour with a firm eye on future trends and commercial looks. 

Now in its 68th year, the L’Oréal Colour Trophy’s mission is to uncover talent from all corners of the UK and Ireland. Entrants across all categories are invited to create a colour look on any model, of any gender or any gender identity of any hair type. The deadline for entries is 19 April. 

Alongside the original Colour Trophy category in both the UK and Ireland, there is the STAR Award, and also the Future Talent Award, for younger colourists to make their mark.  

Unveiled last year, the Moving Image Award returns to both the UK and Ireland to celebrate colourists excelling on social media. Entrants are asked to create a reel on Instagram or TikTok between 30-60 seconds of a finished hair look that illustrates real skill and delivers impact. 

In addition, UK entrants can also compete in the Afro Award, specialising in a hair type texture between 3C and 4C, in addition to the Colour Specialist Award, aimed at those stylists who have completed the Colour Specialist education programme with L’Oréal Professionnel Paris. 

In 2023, Sheffield’s Scullion and Scot won the L’Oréal Colour Trophy Grand Final in the UK, while Zeba Hairdressing scooped the L’Oréal Colour Trophy Ireland title. 

For more details on all the categories, visit or 




When session stylist Joe Mills raised the issue of pay transparency in the session world, it caused an