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(users (left) djvictory and (right) hairgod_zito @instagram)

Like every good stylist I make it my business to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. I get excited about new products and new techniques. I was thrilled when rainbow tresses started going mainstream. I was pumped about sand art hair and hand pressed-color. But about a month ago, new color trends started emerging every few days: opal, oil slick, colombré. Last week, when tie-dye hair was touted as the hottest new color trend by sources ranging from MTV to Marie Claire, I started feeling cynical. Does one viral Instagram tutorial really make something a trend? Do these new looks really represent new techniques or are they simply clever repackaging? Can any of them last? Get my take in the style notes. Laura Martin

Is Instagram a good source for emerging trends? This question is obviously a lot bigger than hair color, one that social media experts are best placed to ponder. But, I will say that I think new looks spotted on social media sites should be treated as potential ideas, not established trends.

Are opal, tie-dye and oil slick really new techniques? The answer is, not really. In the last few years colorists have started experimenting with color placements that have movement both vertically and horizontally, which is definitely new. Balayage boards, hand painting techniques, and new no-bleed color formulas have allowed greater creativity and experimentation. But calling each variation a new technique is a bit of a stretch.

Will these new looks last? Most of these effects are so extreme it’s hard to imagine that they’ll have much staying power. What is clear is that hair color has a range of possibilities that we’re just beginning to explore. I may not agree with every predicted trend, but I’m still excited about their potential.

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