Beauty Trends

Pandemic Gives Huge Boost to At-Home Hair Coloring, Says Survey

When the pandemic first sent everyone into stay-at-home mode and salons were forced to close for the sake of safety, the future of hair-color maintenance was unsure. At first, it seemed a lot of folks who normally visited colorists to cover their grays decided to grow them out for a bit. But when salons continued to stay shut — and even when they opened (but to a smaller group of clients willing to brave being in public and in close proximity to other people) — many decided to take their roots into their own hands.

It wasn’t long before it became apparent that grays weren’t the only hair-color undertaking that people were handling at home. Suddenly, it seemed people wanted to experiment with new shades more than ever — pink had (and is still having) a major moment — and they were willing to ruin a couple of old T-shirts to make it happen.

Like us, Garnier — which makes Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme and Olia Brilliant Color — noticed how much at-home hair-color habits shifted in 2020, so the brand conducted a survey to get down to specifics. The results are both fascinating and not terribly surprising.

Thirty percent of the 2,000 women surveyed dyed their hair themselves while isolating at home. Of those respondents, 85 percent said they colored their hair to cover up grays; meanwhile, more than half of the women polled said they dyed their hair a bold color because it seemed like a good opportunity while home. 

That aligns with what several people Allure spoke to said. “Everything was closed, and my grays were getting wild and out of control,” says Keely Heyman, deputy director of a 9-1-1 center in New Jersey, who had always preferred going to the salon over coloring her hair at home. “I tried to wait it out, but there were no signs of reopening.”

Grays weren’t author Alexandra Tweten‘s concern so much as boredom was. Like one in five women surveyed, she just wanted to try something new. “I started getting antsy after two months in lockdown. I felt like I needed to do something crazy to break the monotony, so I decided to bleach my entire head and attempt to dye it light purple,” she tells Allure. “I figured if I botched it, it wouldn’t really matter because no one would see me. I’m normally pretty lazy with my hair and like minimal effort, but lockdown was the perfect opportunity to experiment.”

Caitlin Van Horn, a marketing manager in Brooklyn, was already a frequent at-home self-colorist, and continuing to do her monthly refresh helped her feel a little more grounded and confident during such a weird year. “I felt really unmoored and shook up during the early pandemic,” she tells Allure. “Dyeing my hair was a great way to keep a routine, feel normal, and still feel good about myself.”

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