Hair colour is changing. More and more people are moving towards low-maintenance, stunningly nuanced neo-natural colours that support hair restoration after long periods of heavy colouring and heat styling.
Senior Paul Edmonds London colourist Julie Harper is here to give you the goss on neo-naturals. Find out what they are, why they're so good for your hair, and why celebrities like Hailey Bieber, Abbey Clancy, and Emma Louise Connolly have embraced the trend.
What's the neo-natural look?
'Neo-natural' is our name for the recent trend towards low-maintenance, near natural-looking hair colour. The difference is the sophisticated nuance and hybrid colouring techniques involved. Our colourists start with a muted natural colour and apply sophisticated detail to suit the client, creating underlying hues that shift and shimmer in different lights.
"People want to go more natural for condition," says Julie. "It's about the client bringing their natural shade back into their hair or, if the condition's taken a downward turn over the summer, they're choosing to revert to darker shades. So, you're doing a complete colour change."
Julie has also noticed that clients are opting for high-end, nourishing treatments to support their hair's recovery. Haircare is becoming the new skincare! It's no surprise to see the tides turning in favour of healthy hair — 'glossy and effortless' was a key 2022 hair trend picked out by Paul at the start of the year.
Paul says: "Like having the right handbag, glossy hair shows you are discerning. It's about being and looking effortlessly amazing. The glossy look is minimal and chic."
Choosing a neo-natural hair colour
According to Julie, the leading neo-natural hair colours are ash, bronde, and soft gold…but all come with a sophisticated twist. This is an elevated, natural look tailored to suit each individual down to the very last glimmer of gold.
"The neo-natural trend leans toward dark blonde for blondes and 'bronde' for brunettes. Bronde is gold and ash mixed — people like to see that tone variation throughout their hair. They want to see that kind of Jennifer Lopez vibe," Julie says. "Clients are having micro balayage kept in to create a very soft gold, beige gold. It adds the kind of sparkle you'd get from catching the sun."
Celebrities like Hailey Bieber, and clients Emma Louise Connolly and Abbey Clancy are perfect examples of this hair trend in action.
Emma Louise has a cool, muted ash base with micro balayage pieces for a natural, sun-kissed golden beige. Abbey Clancy prefers a golden honey beige, and Hailey Bieber has gone for a darker shade, warmed up with micro balayage in golden honey. Hailey's look is a popular choice for brunette clients during winter.
If you've got natural-coloured hair already, you can still join in with the trend by treating yourself to a salon gloss treatment. It takes ten minutes to apply at the backwash and imbues hair with stunning shine that brings out the beauty of your natural shade. Hair looks smoother, healthier, and is easier to style, too!
Your stylist will have a full consultation with you before your colour appointment to help you choose a shade that perfectly complements your colourings, condition, and lifestyle.
How we achieve neo-naturals in the salon
Like all good custom hair colours, the trick is in the technique. The natural look is coloured to make hair easy to manage, without the need for regular full colour appointments. This means using a blend of subtle techniques like babylights, root smudging, and micro balayage with face framing pieces. No matter what colour your natural hair is, subtle dashes of lightness are what give the look such sophisticated detail and sparkle.
"We usually recommend adding face framing pieces or just some lighter pieces throughout as it brings out the texture in the hair," says Julie. "Even though people are going back to a darker look, they miss seeing some lightness, so we tend to put micro balayage pieces in to keep movement in the hair. That just makes the hair look natural and gives a subtle 'sun-kissed glow.'"
Natural hair colours are always tailored to you, so your stylist will use a custom blend of colours and techniques to build a neo-natural look you'll love.
"Our stylists work using hybrid techniques to create the neo-natural look — we work lots of techniques together," says Julie, "it's about talking with the client and finding out what's best for them and what would work best on their hair."
Restore your hair health in salon and at home
When it comes to restorative products and treatments, you've got lots of options to choose from!
To successfully rock the glossy and effortless natural hair trend, you'll need your condition to be exemplary. Julie suggests regular salon treatments to give hair the professional care it needs alongside your home care regime. You'll need both together to get the best results!
Julie recommends booking a Collagen Infusion Treatment to boost your hair's strength. She also suggests requesting a Kérastase Fusio-Dose spray treatment at the backwash. Your stylist will tailor a hair health injection blend perfectly suited to your hair.
Julie recommends adding a Davines Circle Chronicles hair mask to your salon appointment. We'll apply it for you as part of your bespoke hair wash to help prep your hair pre-appointment. You can also purchase them to use at home — each mask takes just 5 minutes to work. Julie's top recommendations are The Restless Circle to protect against mechanical damage and breakage, and The Renaissance Circle for extreme repair on very damaged hair.
Cleansing and styling
Care is everything at Paul Edmonds London, which is why we carry so many results-led restorative product ranges! Your first stop should be Kérastase Chroma Absolu — an acid-based colour care range formulated to improve core strength, reduce frizz, and keep colours locked in.
Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Cleansing Milk is an excellent choice for smoothing dry hair. It envelops the cuticle to tame frizz and enhance shine. We also recommend Davines MINU protective shampoo, which helps to hold colour in.
To remedy dry ends, Paul recommends Shu Uemura Urban Moisture Hydro-Nourishing Double Serum — simply run it through the ends of your hair to hold them together and give them a glossy appearance.
Shampoo and conditioner neutralisers like the Davines Alchemic range can help bring lustre and vibrancy back to your natural hair colour by knocking out any unwanted brassiness. Use the Silver shampoo and conditioner to tone grey hair, Golden for putting the sparkle back into creamy or golden blondes, and Tobacco for brondes and lighter brown shades.
According to Julie, the big bouncy blow-dry is back, so you'll need a good heat protecting product to keep damage at bay. Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer is an excellent choice because it's a resurfacing, strengthening blow-dry milk formulated to fortify damaged hair.
Are you ready to go au naturel? Book a colour consultation or make the most of your existing natural colour with top picks from our online shop.