The biggest haircut trends that will dominate 2021

We’ve heard of a breakup cut, but multiply that angst for a new beginning globally, and you have the post-pandemic cut. In celebville, expect some drastic, experimental and liberated styles to spring from Hollywood as the world opens back up.

As for ourselves, the bold among us will be serving some very statement strands, while the rest opt for subtler but deliberate changes to help us feel refreshed.

“This year has definitely made us all reflect, and I see a sense of desire to experiment and not be boring,” confirms top hair stylist (and the man behind most of LA’s deliciously shaggy cool-girl cuts), Sal Salcedo.

“Some clients are allowing their hair to grow the longest it’s ever grown and others are being bold and chopping it all off. There’s a need to feel renewed altogether,” he says, “so I foresee 2021 being a year of letting go and for even the most conservative of people to do a complete 180 with their mane.”

Curtain bangs

“I’m predicting that curtain bangs or fringes will still be going strong, as there’s still plenty of people catching up to them,” says Sal. Versatile enough to be worn straight across your brows or split down the middle and swept off to either side (like curtains), they’re one of the easiest fringe styles to wear and the slightly longer length at the sides help to highlight cheekbones.

“They require the lowest maintenance,” says Sal, “as they slowly turn into a nice frame that looks good through any stage.”

In general, fringes in all their forms will be popular, Sal reckons. “We will see more people playing around with bangs of any sort to be quite honest; baby bangs, curtain bangs…” he says. “The best low-maintenance cut will always be a mid to long haircut with a variation in bangs. These are haircuts that can be worn and grown without too much attention and they stay looking strong with you. I only see some of my clients every 6 months to a year when they have these.”

Loaded-up layers

Whatever your hair length, one of the biggest trends for 2021 will be choppier layers and plenty of them. Sal suggests adding a few shorter face-framing pieces, “almost going for a grown-out bang look.”

It’s especially good for adding extra dimension to longer and mid-length hair, he says, “that way you can toss your hair up and have some hair falling from the sides. Another plus is that “shorter layers throughout allow you to create tons of volume,” he says.

Celebrity hairdresser and stylist at Her Definition, Heather Dapaah, agrees, citing her top trend as “definitely layers” – particularly for curly girls. “Layers in curly or coily hair creates volume, and highlights individual curls,” she says. “They also help frame the face, and stop the curls looking bottom heavy.”

XXL mane

Since so many of us fancy a change, we’re going for the opposite of what we have. While some are opting for a chop, others are embracing the unexpected length they’ve gained from spaced out appointments with their hair stylist.

“I’ve seen clients growing their hair out dramatically since they had already grown their hair out quite a bit during the quarantines,” says Sal. Bobs have become lobs, lobs have become long and long hair has reached XXL status. To really push the limits, fantasy Rapunzel hair has emerged with celebs like JLo and Kim K rocking hip-length hair.

Boyfriend bob

In news that will shock no-one: bobs are going nowhere. They were the smash-hit of 2019, and 2020 (although grown-out out of necessity), and they’re headlining 2021, too. “I predict bobs will be the most popular trend of 2021, whether it’s shoulder length lobs, or blunt cuts, bobs are definitely on the rise,” says Heather.

“When most people say ‘new year, new me’ they’re normally visualising some kind of hair change,” she says, and a bob absolutely fits the bill.

As for the style she’s putting her money behind, it’s blunt bobs all the way. “They’re chic, they’re timeless and they take years off you,” she says. They also work for all hair types, making your hair look lush.”

Top hair stylist and UK Editorial Ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel, Adam Reed, agrees. He’s backing the ‘Boyfriend Bob’. “Think a square outlined, shorter, blockier bob,” he says. “What’s great about this is it can be ironed smooth and glossy to get it looking super sharp, or it can be left looking tousled.”

Natural, sexy, shaggy texture

If you’ve ditched heat tools in favour of letting your hair do it’s thang, you’re already on trend. “More people have been embracing their natural textures, so we will definitely see more curls, and natural waves having their moment,” says Sal. People are styling their hair differently, “I’ve seen more of a 90s influence – hair styled softly and more experimentally,” Sal adds.

“People are playing with creating faux textures, either by braiding their hair,” he says, or using tactical heat styling, “such as using curling wands with one or two barrels to create tons of texture.” Three styles Sal singles out for beautiful texture are long hair with shaggy bangs, big curly manes and short, sassy air-dried bob with lots of texture, like the French bob.

More ways to wear mullets

This one’s not for the faint-hearted. The mullet is a bold commitment but one that has tons of attitude, and has been softened in its recent resurrection to make it more fashion forward. “Any variation on mullets will continue to keep up speed,” says Sal, who is himself, King of the mussed-up style. Rowan Blanchard, Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Halsey, Barbie Ferriera and Rihanna have all rocked the style in recent months. As for Sal’s favourite update, he’s a fan of pixie cuts with a mullet air “a hybrid of both,” he says.

The glossy blow-out

From one extreme to another, as much as we’ve enjoyed a more laid back texture throughout 2020 and into 2021, we’ll also want to feel pulled together. “I think right now people want a cut that feels like low effort,” says Adam, which air-dried styles, easy lobs and grown-out fringes cater for perfectly. “But, I expect looking ahead to later next year, we will see a return to glamour, perhaps even a nod to 20’s style,” adds Adam.

“People will want to dress up again. This has been a year for leisurewear and we all miss the feeling of getting dressed up, so I expect we will start to see a return to long, glossy, blow-dried locks once the climate settles.” So don’t throw out your hot tools just yet.

Short back and sides

As for those looking for a dramatic chop, Heather reckons a stunning short back and sides is the answer – “with a longer front section and some colour, like Ruby Rose,” she says. “It’s a very edgy, chic and sleek cut that can show off your face,” she adds. “And it can easily be styled in so many ways. It’s a very playful and adaptable style.”

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