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They’re alleged to have more fun and gentleman are said to prefer them; indeed, it seems that Brits are taking these sayings to heart, as latest research from Mintel on hair colourants reveals blonde is the nation’s most popular dyed hair colour of choice.

Following the footsteps of Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne, last year 42% of Brits who coloured their hair* transformed their tresses blonde – with a bold 18% opting for the platinum look. Meanwhile, just over a third (36%) of hair dye users plumped for brown locks, 17% chose an auburn/red mane and just under one in ten (8%) went black.

Highlighting a strong interest in trendy shades, an adventurous 25% of users ventured for non-natural choices such as pastels and bright colours, mimicking the hugely popular unicorn trend. And while Brits of a certain age battle with their greys, one in twenty (5%) hair dye users opted for the grey/white look.

But while blonde is the nation’s preferred hair dye of choice, Brits are most likely to have natural brown barnets. Almost half (48%) of Brits are natural brunettes, around three in ten (29%) are natural blondes and 8% have natural black strands.

Alex Fisher, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, said:

“As the majority of Brits have naturally darker hair, lightening their locks blonde 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 like brown and blonde 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 Brits 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.”

Men reach for the hair dye bottle most frequently

While DIY colouring may have brought Brits their fair share of catastrophes, Mintel research reveals home hair colouring remains a popular beauty solution, as almost four in ten (38%) Brits used hair colourant at home in 2017, increasing to just over half (53%) of women.

Not to be left behind in the beauty stakes, as many as one in five (21%) men coloured their hair in the comfort of their home, peaking at 38% of male 16-24s. While men are less likely than women to use at-home hair colourants, males lead the way in frequency of use. An appearance-conscious 57% of men who colour their hair do so once a month or more compared to just 28% of women.

Temporary colour – bright star of at-home market

Finally, although permanent hair colour accounts for the bulk (70%) of at-home value sales at £221.7 million, sales of permanent colourants declined 5% between 2016 and 2017. Meanwhile, temporary colour was the bright star of the category growing an impressive 48% in the last year alone to reach £29.5 million. Valued at £21 million and up 20% over 2016, highlighting kits also performed well, as did semi-permanent colour, which was valued at £13 million in 2017 and rose 16% over the same period.

Overall, 2017 saw value growth of just 0.6% in the hair colourants market, bringing the value to £317 million.

“Temporary and semi-permanent colourants continue to underpin category growth thanks to non-natural colour trends. 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.” Alex concludes.

*Including those who dyed their hair at-home and in the salon

Research was carried out by Lightspeed among 2,000 internet users aged 16+ in January 2018.

Press review copies of the Mintel’s Hair Colourants UK 2018 report are available on request from the press office.