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Photo: Wonderland Magazine

Opal, sombre, pumpkin spice—these are only some of the color terms that I’ve seen appear this year and the list can go on and on. Frankly it’s a bit redundant and even confusing, because one person’s cinnamon is another’s burnt umber. So does having a vast color vocabulary really help you or hurt you when communicating with your colorist? I asked Ali, my colorist at ARROJO, to get the details. Here’s what I learned. . .  –– Michelle Rotbart

The Trendy Terms Arn’t Necessarily New 

Just because a shade suddenly becomes trendy, doesn’t mean it’s new to the color spectrum. Trends have a way of recycling and resurfacing, but a great professional will be familiar with most techniques even if they have a new cool name. A great example is the now popular Pumpkin Spice color, though the internet would like us to think it’s newly invented, this gingery-orange shade was in salons long before we were ordering the drink at Starbucks.

Using Odd Terms Can Actually Confuse Your Colorist

The new color terms aren’t standard throughout all salons. Ali says that they could mean different things depending on the salon and the location and suggests not to use buzzwords. “While colorist in metropolitan areas may be up on the new hot lingo, it’s best to not to use of the moment phrases. Many salons could have their own terminology and your colorist may end up interpreting a new term in a different way than you.” Mis-communicating on color is not something you want while in the chair, so make sure you are being clear.

Stick To Simple Terminology and Bring Visuals

Ali says it’s best to use simple and straight to the point terms like light, dark, warm, cool, solid or dimensional. Also, make sure to always bring in a photo of a color you like AND don’t like to really get your point across. There are often variations of the same trend, so don’t be afraid of pulling out your phone and having a consult with your colorist on whether a particular shade will actually work for you.

Special Thanks to Michelle Rotbart for this post. Michelle is a professional trend forecaster for the NYC-based fashion and retail forecaster, Doneger Group


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