The Hair Industry's Pantone Color of the Year 2021

Illuminating & Ultimate Gray: two colors that embody the beauty industry

By Britt DuBose

Pantone has announced its color (or in this case, colors) of the year for 2021: PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating. These two independent colors have been brought together to form a pairing that has a lot to say.

Illuminating is a bright yellow that evokes optimism and vivacity. It reminds us of the sun. Ultimate Gray is the color of dependability and solidarity. It brings to mind the color of elements that have stood the test of time.

"The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it's not about one color or one person, it's about more than one," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid, but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit."

This color choice could not be more perfect for the beauty industry for 2021. Beauty professionals have embodied positivity and fortitude during the pandemic, weathering shutdown after shutdown and implementing each regulation in stride. All the while striving to provide for their clients, helping them to feel their brightest during these dark times.

As we head in to 2021, we invite you to explore these two colors, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, in whatever creative ways inspire you. We would love to see and share your work, so follow and tag @AHPHair in your posts.

Happy 2021!

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