Whether  you’re a newbie to hair colouring or just need a change of hair style this new year, there’s a colour and a cut waiting for you.

To get the latest on 2018 hair trends, celebrity hairstylists Shawn Loong and Miko Au tell us what colours and cuts are in, and how to care for our hair and scalp.

Loong, founder of Shawn Cutler Group, says if you loved the balayage (meaning to sweep or paint in French) it’s probably time to say goodbye to it as 2018 is all about playing with hair colour by toning and softer cuts.

2018 hair trends

Loong says the 2018 hair trend, which started in Europe about three months ago, is about emulsifying hair colours to achieve different tones. Photo: The Star/Azlina Abdullah

“In 2017, balayage was all the rage along with pastel hair highlights and colouring. Now in 2018, it’s more about achieving a full length colour which requires the skill of the colourist to play with the hues by toning its shades,” says Loong in an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

For long hair, Loong says the full length of colour will be visually more prominent where colourists apply a deeper colour on the roots of the hair while a lighter colour shows along the lower part of the hair.

“It’s like playing with a colour chart on your hair. Balayage was more about bleaching but this trend, which started in Europe about three months ago, is about emulsifying hair colours to achieve different tones,” Loong elaborates.

2018 hair trends

For long hair, colour will be more prominent with a deeper colour at the roots and a lighter colour at the ends of the hair. Photo: Shawn Cutler

He explains that colour toning is about mixing colours like blonde and purple or red and purple, or it can even be a blend of three colours, and it’s a much more creative way of colouring hair so that you can see different dimensions on the hair.

With this colour technique, Loong says hair must be softly layered and with lighter cuts.“With colour toning, your hair would need more movement to show off the beautiful tones. Long hair especially would need some bounce so that the dimension of the colours can be appreciated,” Loong says.

2018 hair trends

2018 is more about achieving a full length colour by playing with colour tones, according to Loong. Photo: Shawn Cutler

“Malaysian women are ready to do this but it depends on their personality. Someone in a creative industry can wear a bolder colour while those in a more corporate job can still wear these colours, but in deeper tones,” he opines.

For medium length hair, Loong says last year, a lot of influence came from K-dramas where hair at this length had a bit of wave and was usually bleached to carry pastel colours. This year however, medium length hair looks more blunt, but in a softer version.

2018 hair trends

Medium length hair looks more blunt this year, but in a softer version. Photo: Shawn Cutler

Loong pointed out that 2016 and 2017 short hair was all about bangs – edgy, short bangs but this year, “A very short fringe is taking centre stage along with colour toning.”

2018 hair trends

Colour toning can also be done on short hair and ends are softer instead of wispy. Photo: Shawn Cutler

For those who have never coloured their hair before, he recommends picking a brown tone as it may not turn out the way you like … so this tone can easily be changed, unlike stronger colours like reds.

When choosing a much lighter hair colour, Loong says bleaching is involved and this dries up hair cuticles, which means a good shampoo must be used.

“If you have an oily scalp, you should not be using just one type of normal colour shampoo. You should use a scalp shampoo that is suitable for your scalp condition at least once a week.

“To understand your hair and scalp condition it’s important to seek consultation with a hair professional so that you know what hair products are suitable specifically for you,” he advises.

This year, less is more according to Miko Au, and he explains, “It’s not necessary to over-indulge by having too many colours on your hair. Instead of applying multiple shades, just choose one that is appealing and suits you and your skin tone beautifully.”

2018 hair trends

Au says less is more this year so just pick one colour you love and go with it. Photo: The Star/Sam Tham

“The colours that will be popular in 2018 are very classic wearable colours like ash brown, cool brown, cool beige and brown gold,” says Au, founder and CEO of Miko Hair Studio salons and Academy, and Bang Bang, his newest salon concept at Starling Mall.

Before recommending a change of hair style or colour, Au believes that “ultimately it’s all about balance. We look at the customers face shape, her personality and what she does for a living to see what suits her best and whether she can carry it off.

2018 hair trends

Gold brown is a hair colour that Au says will be popular in 2018. Photo: Miko Au

“If your facial features appear harsh, it can be balanced with a softer more feminine style. If you have a long face, a very short hair cut will only emphasise and elongate the face while if you have a round face, cuts that result in rounder edges around the face will not be flattering,” he explains.

For regular women who are not models or doing ad campaigns Au says, “Colours and cuts needn’t be high fashion as they are not practical everyday styles for women to maintain. Classic cuts and colours will always be in fashion.”