These will be the biggest hair trends of 2021, according to experts
And the year ahead is looking chic
By Samantha McMeekin
July 14 2021
Every new season there are new hair trends, which makes predicting the styles, cuts and colours set to be huge for an entire year ahead no easy feat.
In the last year alone we’ve seen latecomer looks like peekaboo and E-girl hair take over thanks to TikTok, while shorter bobs and low-maintenance colours also reigned supreme, courtesy of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of salon visits.
So what exactly does 2021 have in store for our hair?
We decided to go to the source and ask some professional hairstylists for their expert insight. And honestly, their answers have got us incredibly excited about booking our next hair appointment. Keep scrolling to find out the 14 biggest hair trends for the year ahead.
1. '90s boy band bobs
Oh yes, yes, yes, the Nick Carter mop of glory is gracing us with its presence again. Only this time, it's gender neutral. According to Frederic Fekkai Stylist, Rita Markarian, the cut has become a high request from salon customers. "It can be worn in the most simple, yet sophisticated and textured way, giving us extreme nostalgia," she said of the hair trend.
If you're keen to try it yourself, ask for hair that is slightly shorter than a bob, but with longer pieces at the front that rest around the cheekbones. Backstreet's back, alright.
Image via @hannahkleit
2. Multi-dimensional colour
When it comes to colour, subtle variations in tone will be a huge trend, adding a multi-dimensional effect to everyday hair. "It’s all about nuance and having 2-3 layers of colour in one head of hair, seamlessly blended throughout our hair to give it life and vibrancy," says Cara Riley, General Manager of L'Oréal Professionnel. "To achieve this look, hair will still look ‘natural’ but will have a selection of subtle colours running through it and will be easy to maintain."
Image via @circlesofhair
3. Bold, blunt cuts
If you thought that sharp, structured edges were out, think again. According to Mark Thompson, Artistic and Events Manager at L'Oréal Professionnel, "strong, blunt cuts are coming back and will dominate 2021, in particular, pixie and short bobs will make a return." The best part? He says it doesn't matter what face shape or hair type you have, they'll be a blunt cut to suit you.
4. Holiday hair
Balayage and bronde have reigned supreme for years, but when it comes to caramel colour in 2021, celebrity hairstylist Travis Balcke says it’s all about achieving ‘holiday hair’. “Overall colour trends have become more refined and polished [and] more about the craft and placement of colour,” rather than one solid shade only. “Highlighting techniques are emulating the natural lightness in the hair, especially to create the holiday hair that we would normally have from travelling the world.”
5. The return of layers
Blunt edges may be on the way out, as Balcke explains that “cut trends have been toward one length cuts and heavy bobs but it’s time for shape and movement [again].” We’re heading towards “going back to having layers through the hair, [but] layers [that] are subtle and give the hair a more lived-in look.
6. Bigger and better accessories
Thought hair accessories were on their way out? Not likely. “I think there is always a time and place for accessories and the reason we are sending more accessories recently is because the options are getting better and better,” says Balcke. “Bring it on!”
7. Shags, shags, shags
You heard it here first, the shag is here to stay. “They are still hanging about”, says KMS Guest Artist, Emily Olsson from shibui Melbourne. “But I think for the reason that they are so versatile, you can soften them out or go almost mullet-like depending on your desired look.” Case and point? Rihanna just got a mullet.
8. Close-cut pixie crops
Bored of bobs? Why not go even shorter… “What I’m seeing a lot is people aren’t afraid to go very short,” says Olsson. “Rather than going for the soft pixie, they are tapering their pixies close to the scalp and having more of a ‘don’t care what society expects’ attitude, which is so great to see.”
9. Beach-textured blonde
Do beach waves ever go out of style? We think not, and according to Goldwell Color Specialist, Laura Brand from shibui Melbourne, we’ll be amping it up even more in 2021. “[Post-lockdown] Aussies are going to be embracing that outdoor, surf lifestyle we’re famous for and so we are going to be seeing SO much worn in texture in colour and bright effortless blondes.”
10. Low-maintenance looks
Balcke predicts the movement towards low-maintenance looks will continue, with shorter cuts and natural colours at the forefront. “Hairdressers have done well to keep salons safe during the pandemic but while consumers may not be making as many trips into the salon, [the popularity of these] looks will continue.”
11. Natural textures
The natural hair movement is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, whether your natural texture is curly, coarse, frizzy or fine, Balcke says “people are blooming into who they truly are, [and] so for some that might mean they are going with the natural texture and shape of their hair. I see people who have curls more likely to accentuate that, rather than flatten it out.”
When it comes to playing it safe or being adventurous, Balcke says 2021 will be a mixture of both, defined completely by the individual. “I feel like people are feeling more empowered to embrace their individuality and less likely to look to others for inspiration,” he says. Similar to hair texture, people will be looking to highlight ‘their natural colour’ as well as “embracing bold colours as part of this process.”
For at-home colourists, this could mean sticking to subtle and semi-permanent hair dye formulas like Clairol Natural Instincts or testing out toners of all colours of the rainbow.
13. The gloss treatment
Glass hair has remained an A-list favourite, but Balcke says you don’t have to be in Hollywood to receive such high shine results.“Glossing services are something that people have always had available to them but very rarely take any opportunity to have, so for me, a gloss over the top of your colour and toner is the new treatment for 2021.”
He recommends trying Schwarzkopf Professional CHROMAID Bonding Mask in 'Clear' at your hairdresser and then taking it home to keep up the results. “There is a strong focus around health and self-care, and your hair shouldn’t be forgotten in this,” he adds, saying it’s important to consistently include treatment products in your hair regimen.
For stronger, shinier hair, Balcke also recommends Schwarzkopf Professional Fibre Clinix to maintain your fresh-from-the-salon hair at home. There are different variants to cater to your hair needs, whether it be dryness, frizz, volume, hydration or vibrancy.
14. Scalp care
Another hair category that continues to boom is scalp care, and Balcke says this isn’t likely to disappear any time soon. “I think hairdressers are getting better educating their clients on what actually is going to make their hair the best it possibly can be, and it all starts with great scalp care. If you have a scalp that’s in amazing condition, this prepares the environment for the best hair growth, therefore healthier looking hair.”