03.12.2021

These are the biggest hair colour trends taking over in 2021

Before we get cracking with the emerging trends that the pros have predicted will take off big-style next year, it’s important to remember that each and every option should be tailored specifically to you.

“Colour should always be completely personalised based on skin tone and hair texture,” explains top hair stylist and UK Editorial Ambassador for L’Oreal Professionnel, Adam Reed. “Colour should be applied in a way that looks multidimensional to make facial features ‘pop’.

You can also apply colour in clever ways that give the illusion of ‘thickness’ if your hair is finer or play with light to help illuminate and define curls.” So make sure you really maximise your consultation time with your colourist to get the most beautiful, bespoke colour experience.

Fact, our hair colour preferences have shifted through what’s been an unpredictable year. Already, top hair colourists have started to see this change play out in even their most conservative clients.

We’re ready to come out of our comfort zone, or at the very least switch things up in order to feel refreshed. This could be through a bold colour (which by the way, has boomed during 2020), or through teensy hair glow-ups, such as cleverly updated highlighting techniques. Either way, we’re ready to feel liberated, shiny as we roll into a new year of possibilities.

70s blonde

To complement the return of heavy seventies fringes and loose bohemian texture, seventies golden blonde will be big, reckons Bryony Cairns, colourist at Larry King. “Sharon Tate is a huge influence”. Bleach London’s creative director, Alex Brownsell seconds this – “strawberry blonde and golden honey tones will be popular,” she says.

As will butter blonde. “It’s very easy to maintain at home because bleached hair naturally has yellow undertones, so this look will soften into a honey effect,” adds Alex. For more dimension, Bryony recommends opting for “lots of fine babylights throughout the whole hair to give the illusion of an all-over HD colour.”

Tonal brunette

“Brunettes often suffer from too much warmth running through their hair,” explains Bryony. “Adding slices of cooler tones mutes the warmth without taking away the depth of the colour, and this helps to even out the tone,” she explains.

Adam Reed London’s ‘Cool Down’ colour menu is specifically geared toward dialling up or down your colour, and neutralising brassiness (which is on the up since we’ve been spacing out salon appointments). “You can still maintain the richness of brunette but with a cooler base,” he says. “Have a conversation with your colourist who will be able to advise the best palette to suit you.”

Renaissance red

Sales of red hair colour were off the charts during 2020 as Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Kylie Jenner and even Ricky Martin gave the shade a spin. Heading into next year, “red will live on in all its glory with bold cherry red but also more natural blonde copper shades,” predicts Josh.

“People are finding ways to express themselves through all different shades of red,” he says, More so, since one application of the shade can take you through multiple different tones as it fades.

“Semi Permanent glosses are the way forward for a statement colour. A cherry red applied on a pale bleached hair can often fade over time to a pretty pink shade and give you many statement looks from one application,” adds Josh, though consult with your hairdresser who’ll be able to give you an indication of your hair’s porosity, how intense the shade will be and how it will react and evolve on your hair.

Particularly popular, will be renaissance reds – “think beautiful, deep, rich reds which give you those stunning copper and bronze tones,” says Adam. “You can have this as deep or as subtle as you want – the key is for it to look really healthy.”

“Money-piece” made modern

Once again, we’re referencing the nineties. “Many clients are referencing the decade, from the chunky caramel highlights that Jennifer Aniston has, to the shaggy champagne blonde haircut for Meg Ryan,” explains expert hair colourist, Josh Wood. But one nineties trend that’s set to go stratospheric is money-piece hair. Millennials may not yet have heard of it, but the nineties colour technique favoured by Geri Halliwell circa peak Spice Girls, is back – only toned down to make it more subtle. In fact, Queen Bey is partially responsible for its triumphant return after rocking it on her Instagram.

“This is all about lighting up the front section of hair and then toning it so there is a lovely blend,” explains Adam. “Moving away from the rogue blonde style which was a popular Instagrammable hair trend, softer ‘money piece highlights’ framing the face is an easy way to get the brightness around your face through winter while keeping really low maintenance,” agrees Bryony.

Crucially, it’s versatile. “What is lovely, is you can use any tone such as a bold rock n roll modern colour, through to something only slightly lighter than what you would normally have, still creating that chunky piece through the front,” says Adam. And it’s democratic, too. “Its malleable to all colours,” confirms Bryony, from red heads having strawberry blonde to brunettes having golden sun kissed tones.”

Under colour

The peekaboo hair colour trend started taking off this year. “This is a deeper panel through the back of the hair,” explains Adam. Imagine a half head of colour where the bottom layers are washed with a contrasting colour.

Hidden under the top layer of hair, they peek through as you move. “We’ve seen it with vivids but this is more about adding depth and density through the back section which offers a richer, deeper result. It doesn’t have to be a stark contrast either which makes it super wearable, you can go as vibrant and or as subtle as you want.”

Ombre’s back and balayage is here to stay

Alongside bold new choices, beautiful minimal maintenance will never go out of fashion. “In 2021 the balayage trend will stay with us, with its ability to offer low maintenance colour and subtle regrowth,” confirms Josh. “Balayaged lowlights and highlights are more forgiving as they don’t create a clean cut line,” explains celeb colourist, Nicola Clarke who counts Kate Moss, Dua Lipa and Charlize Theron as clients.

As well as speckling highlights throughout the lengths of our hair, ombre will be making a return says Bryony. The technique sees hair graduate from dark at the roots to light at the ends.

“It’s a really low maintenance colour that’s great for brunettes who don’t want to commit to sitting in the salon chair every 8 weeks keeping up the blonde,” she says, since your roots fade into the rest of your hair, so regrowth won’t be a problem.

“It’s adaptable with colours too as you can mix it up using direct dyes like pink and corals to get flashes of colour for a few days at a time,” says Bryony. “Toners and semi-permanent colours in peaches, pinks, mints and blues just seem to be growing,” agrees Nicola, “and the products on the market, especially for home use are getting much better,” she says. Therefore you can create a hybrid system of in-salon colour, adapted yourself at home if you feel like it.

Bubblegum pink

Searches for pink hair grew by 900% last year, so it’s unsurprising that it was Bleach London’s most requested shade. “A lot of people experimented with colour for the first time during lockdown this year and started by trying softer, pastel shades to dip their toe in colour,” explains Alex.

“For 2021, we’ve already noticed a trend towards the more vivid colours as people have become more confident to try something new. I think we’ll see a lot of brighter, bolder looks.”

The update to pastel pink? Bubblegum. “We launched our new Super Cool Colour Gobby Pink because it was so highly requested as a custom shade in our salons,” reveals Alex.

Dirty blonde

Dirty blonde has become our spirit animal hair during a year where we’ve all gone feral, but we’re actually really enjoying it. Pair warmer blonde tones with a smudgy natural root. Dua Lipa’s brush with blonde is a great example, “or think Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Annie Morton and Debbie Harry,” says Nicola.

“Charlize [Theron] has that grungy colour look at the moment, with the dark shade underneath,” she says. But Kate [Moss] will forever be the original dirty blonde.”

Root clash

How to make a problem into a trend: enter root clash. If you fancy dabbling with colour and you’re experience root regrowth, it’s the way to go, says Alex. “Think of this as a reverse dip-dye, with the colour starting at the roots and fading out into the mid lengths or contrasting with your grown out colour like Billie Eilish’s green and black hair,” she says.

“If you need to touch up your roots, this is a really fun way to experiment with colour without committing to an all-over tone. I love a bold colour fading into blonde like Tangerine Dream and Aubergine Dream, or if you want to try Billie’s colour, Slime Light is perfect.”

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