Blonde is best say Britons, temporary colour popularity soars - Mintel

Blonde is the favourite hair colour for British consumers tinting their hair with over 40% of choosing it in past year, although stronger artificial shades are also proving more popular, a new report shows.

Blonde remains the most popular shade for Britons

Mintel said that, of the Britons who coloured their hair, 42% chose to go blonde, with 18% choosing the most extreme platinum look. Meanwhile 36% of hair dye users chose a brown shade, while 17% opted for auburn/red and only 8% chose to dye their hair black.

As mentioned, higher profile on-trend shades were key with 25% of users choosing non-natural options such as pastels and bright colours, mimicking the popular unicorn trend. Interestingly too, while hiding grey hair is a big aim for older consumers, 5% of hair dye users actively opted for a grey/white look.

While blonde remains the most popular choice, Britons are most likely to have hair that's naturally brown. Some 48% have brown hair while 29% are natural blondes and 8% have black hair.

Alex Fisher, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, said: “As the majority have naturally darker hair, lightening is the nation’s most obvious hair colour solution. A blonde base also gives more radiance to non-natural shades, so those hoping to make the most of temporary bright or pastel colours are likely to go blonde first. 

“Although natural colourant shades are still the most popular, increasingly more casual attitudes in the workplace mean there is less need to shy away from non-natural shades. We’re seeing many choosing pastel shades likely to be inspired by the current obsession with unicorns. More traditional colourant brands that have always based their range on natural colours should consider adding one or two vibrant shades to their offering.”


Colouring hair at home rather than the salon is a popular option in the UK with 38% of consumers choosing to do so and rising to 53% of women. However, as many as 21% of men colour their hair at home with that figure rising to 38% in the 16 to 24 age group. Men are also likely to use home hair colourants more often with 57% of them using them once a month compared to only 28% of women.

And while permanent colourants accounted for 70% of the £221.7 million in home hair colour sales last year, turnover for permanent products is declining. It fell 5% in 2017. Temporary colourant sales rose 48% by contrast to reach £29.5 million. Meanwhile highlighting kits rose 20% to reach £21 million and semi-permanent colour rose 16% to £13 million. However, given the overall dominance of permanent products, the market as a whole was up only 0.6% to £317 million.

“Temporary and semi-permanent colourants continue to underpin category growth thanks to non-natural colour trends,” Fisher added. “Marketing support for permanent products has lessened as brands shift their focus to where value growth is coming from, perhaps exaggerating the decline of the permanent segment. Innovation has also moved towards more temporary solutions and root touch-up products are becoming a standard feature in a number of ranges. 

“Growth in home hair colourants may be limited in the coming years as the ageing population leads to changing relevance of the market. Older consumers tend to look for affordable solutions, adding to the current stall in market value, so appealing to younger consumers becomes even more important.”

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