What you NEED to know before going yellow

Forget millennial pink – the colour of the moment is Illuminating Yellow. From catwalks to interiors, the sunshine shade is everywhere, and has now been named Pantone’s 2021 Color of the Year. Tempted to go beyond blonde and join the mustard-maned pack? Award-winning colourist Taylor Clayton Spicer – who even won an award thanks to a cool canary-hued look – explains what you need to know before you say hello to yellow hair…

L-R: Hair by L’Oréal Colour Trophy STAR Award winner Taylor Spicer; Kesha (@iiswhoiis)

You won’t necessarily need to reach for the bleach

If you have naturally light hair, yellow direct dyes can be applied without needing to bleach strands first. Those with darker hair will need to join the perox-side in order to bring out the vibrancy of the colour, or you’ll risk turning dishwater beige instead of buttercup.

(Not so) mellow yellow

Keep in mind that when you’ve got yellow hair, you cannot go unnoticed! Confidence is key for rocking a bright colour, and yellow in particular can act like a bit of an attention beacon, meaning it is not really suitable for those who are shy.

Fade brigade

Compared to other bright colours, yellow pigment offers a paler injection of vibrancy. This is why it needs a lighter base shade to really pop… and why it fades pretty fast. To lock in colour, Taylor really rates Shu Uemura Color Lustre shampoo and conditioner. “It’s perfect for ensuring yellow locks last longer,” she adds.

L-R: Rita Ora (@ritaora); Hayley Williams (@yelyahwilliams); Jeremy Scott A/W18

Primary considerations

Thinking about your lifestyle is key when deciding to go yellow – it’s not a decision to be made overnight! You’ll need to consider whether bold yellow hair will be allowed in your school or workplace and remember to check whether shades of yellow will actually suit you. Skin and eye colour can play a big part in this as true yellow has a very narrow shade range, and it can be hard to find a hue that doesn’t clash with your undertones. And don’t forget your own sense of style – if your wardrobe is packed with purples, you’ll need to be ready to deal with some artful clashing!

High contrast means high maintenance

If you do take the plunge, dark hair will show re-growth within weeks and maintenance is key if you plan to stay yellow long term. This means frequent trips to the salon to get those roots covered – for dark hair, you’re looking at every 3-4 weeks and for light hair every 5-6 weeks. Plus you will definitely need to top up your lemon levels in the shower at home to prevent a washed-out look.

L-R: Hayley Williams(@yelyahwilliams); hair by Paul Edmonds’ Taylor Spicer; Blue Tit

If you’re searching for more colour inspiration, read our guide to Ultimate Grey – Pantone’s other 2021 Color of the Year.