When it comes to beauty, if there’s one thing that lockdown restrictions have reinforced, it’s just how much we miss the salon. Sure, at-home haircare might be manageable, but there’s nothing quite like a new cut or color from the professionals to make you feel like the very best version of yourself. If you’re yearning for a new look or itching to redo your ’do, these are the trends we predict will be big news this year…
The texture: curl power
What is it? Celebrating curls in all their forms feels long overdue, which is why 2021 is the year to make up for it. “For so long, it felt like women were told to hide their curls – this is the year to embrace them,” says Luke Hersheson, hairstylist and CEO of the Hershesons hair brand. Among his go-to references is Argentine model Mica Argañaraz, whose directional cut allows her unapologetic crop of curls to bounce down every runway she rules.
How to get it Whether your curls are looser and soft or more tightly coiled and kinked, the key to embracing them is to understand how best to bring out their natural beauty. That means learning more about the right drying techniques and products to keep in your kit. If you’re keen for your curls to feel really modern, ask for a shorter, more boxy style that will really show off the shape of your curls when your hair naturally expands.
Who does it suit? To get better definition for looser, Julia Roberts-esque hair, try curl-enhancing products that will add definition and structure. Scrunching as you dry, or using a diffuser on a low heat, will also help. On the other end of the spectrum, type-3C curls, such as those seen on Yara Shahidi, or type-4 curls, such as Solange’s hair, need lots of moisture and much less direct heat. Deep-conditioning treatments and moisturizing oils will help keep them healthy and looking their best.
The style tweak: French-girl bangs
What is it? Softly sweeping bangs are as much a part of a French woman’s style lexicon as ballet flats and Breton tops, but for 2021, this hairstyle’s appeal has gone international. When it comes to poster girls for this cut, both then and now, the list is exhaustive, with everyone from Brigitte Bardot (of course) to Goldie Hawn, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sienna Miller and Zendaya enjoying its easy-to-wear appeal. As is de rigueur with most beauty trends in 2021, it even has the TikTok seal of approval, with #curtainbangs, showing women cutting their own soft bangs, having so far amassed more than 381 million views on the video-sharing platform.
How to get it According to Hersheson, the beauty of this highly flattering addition is that you can play with myriad different lengths, depending on your preference. While a traditional take on the look sees feathery fronds sweeping down from the hairline and arching just above the brows, there are other ways to achieve it. “It doesn’t have to be such an obvious ‘bangs’ look,” notes Hersheson. “Instead, you can achieve the same sort of look with longer-length pieces that hit the nose and frame the shape of your face more overtly.” Whatever length you opt for, ask your stylist to create textured ends rather than a blunt line. This will help it look more organic and will allow your bangs to blend better with the rest of your hair. As for how to wear it, we like it tucked nonchalantly behind the ears, or kept as a feature with a messy up-do.
Who does it suit? With its soft, ’60s feel, this is a look that suits everyone, although it should be noted that those with a cow’s lick or noticeable kink at the front may find it requires a little more maintenance when styling. As an added plus point, it works well on those looking to disguise a larger forehead, as the sweeping strands help break up the space a little more. If you have oily hair, you may find yourself reaching for dry shampoo or texturizing spray more often, but otherwise, all that’s needed is your fingers to break it up and a little laissez-faire attitude.
The modern cut: the shaggy bob
What is it? Whether you call it a shag, a lob or a bob, the basic premise of this cool cut is a longer base length that skims on or just above the shoulder, with shorter pieces in front that hit the jaw or lips. You’ll need those, says Hersheson, to avoid that heavy ‘curtain’ look, and so you can flick it from side to side in that effortless, California-casual way. If you need proof, just look to Hailey Bieber and actor and model Amber Valletta, who both pull it off with enviable ease.
How to get it When it comes to tasking your hairdresser, Hersheson explains that this kind of style requires someone who cuts in a visual, rather than paint-by-numbers, kind of way. “You need to make sure the ends aren’t cut too perfectly,” he says. “It’s not about a precision-perfect bob. Your hairdresser needs to get in there with their hands, use a mirror to see how it falls, maybe even use a razor. It needs invisible layers that enable natural movement and texture to shine through.”
Who does it suit? The good news is that this cut, as well as being easy to wear, is universally flattering and suits all hair types, from poker-straight to super-coily. As it relies so heavily on a great cut, product requirements are thankfully minimal. If you suffer from unwanted frizz, you can keep flyaways at bay with a bit of moisturizing crème, while a spritz or two of a good dry-styling spray will help enhance natural movement and texture.
The big chop: the cool crop
What is it? Pixie crops have always been a timeless look, but thanks to our collective desire for a fresh start in every aspect of our lives, 2021 could well be the year that this liberating style explodes. A word of warning, though: this is a cut that demands confidence from its wearer, so prepare to channel your inner warrior before you take the plunge.
How to get it As with any statement cut, there are certain rules with the pixie that will stop it from looking too nostalgic and keep it feeling fresh and modern instead. “Avoid a hard outline around your ears and the nape of your neck, and make sure all the edges are kept soft,” advises Hersheson. “That’s what will make the difference here between a barber-shop cut and a more feminine one.”
Who does it suit? Anyone who favors low-maintenance styles; generally speaking, this is a cut that can be left to air-dry, without investing time and effort into blow-drying it. Speak to your stylist to determine what kind of crop will work best for your hair type. Those with tight coils could opt for a tapered pixie, as seen on Taraji P. Henson, while finer, straighter hair can get away with shorter, choppier layers, to add dimension and body. See Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson for tips.
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