15 Looks That Prove Chunky Highlights Are the Coolest Hair Trend of 2022

When it comes to switching up my hairstyle, I can get a little shy. In fact, I've had the same hairstyle (long, bleached, center-parted) for nearly 10 years. And what's really quite funny is that despite the fact that my hair has looked the same that whole time, the techniques I find myself asking the hairstylist for have varied drastically over the years. First, I was asking for ombré, then balayage, and now it tends to be something along the lines of "babylights but kind of balayage and don't forget the root stretch, please?" Yep, navigating the world of hair color can be quite the minefield. And frankly, I'm a little fed up with the same old, same old.

Luckily, there's a new hair color trend on the block, and it's set to spice things up a little. That's right—it's the '90s chunky highlight. But before you start experiencing flashbacks of zebra-like orange stripes courtesy of your favorite box dye, fear not. This time around, the chunky highlight has had a bit of a makeover. Combining the original concept with other techniques such as balayage, babylights, or face-framing, the humble chunky highlight is back—and I'm kind of loving it.


(Image credit: @ANOUKYVE)

Whether you fancy keeping things chic and warm-toned or lightening everything up with some icy streaks (if so, I highly recommend Redken Blondage Express Anti-Brass Mask, $29, for keeping yellow tones at bay), there’s a style of chunky highlight for you. Keep scrolling for some serious chunky-highlight inspiration.


Alexis Foreman
(Image credit: @ALEXISFOREMAN)

Subtle but still very effective, Alexis's slightly thicker sections of caramel color blend perfectly with warmer brown tones to create the ultimate winter 'do. 


Janka Polliani
(Image credit: @POLLIANI)

Janka's thick chunks of caramel blonde give off serious cool-girl, beauty vibes.


Kim Kardashian West

Kim's chunky highlights might look subtle, but those light streaks teamed with a choker is the stuff that '90s dreams are made of. 


Symphony Soto
(Image credit: @SYMPHANISOTO)

Tonal streaks through thick, curly hair can create the illusion of even more volume and texture. I am loving this.


Lotte Williams
(Image credit: @ASOS_LOTTE)

Lotte's face-framing chunky highlights (otherwise known as "rogue blonde") are seriously on-trend right. And seriously cool, too. 


Celeste van Joost
(Image credit: @CELMATIQUE)

Everything about Celeste's look is goals. The popping pink eye, the butter-soft skin, and of course, the light streaks through her hair. 


Jennifer Lopez
(Image credit: @CHRISAPPLETON1)

Caramel tones in a sleek, straight bob? J.Lo, I salute you.


Sabina Socol
(Image credit: @SABINASOCOL)

Chunky highlights, but make them French-girl chic, right? Sabina's stretched roots and chunky streaks of bright blonde are at the top of my inspo board right now. 


Chichi of Chic Ama
(Image credit: @CHICAMASTYLE)

Chichi's contrasting blonde streaks take the blunt bob to whole new heights. 


Anne-Laure Mais
(Image credit: @ANNELAUREMAIS)

At first glance, Anne-Laure Mais's blonde lengths might not look obviously highlighted. However, her face-framing icy blonde streaks totally fresh up her balayage. I'm taking notes.


(Image credit: @BEYONCE)

Loose beach waves combined with chunky highlights around the face? Beyoncé, you have outdone yourself.


Anna Winck
(Image credit: @ANNAWINCK)

A contrasting streak of blonde through brunette hair? I'm all in if it looks this good.


Brittany Xavier
(Image credit: @JUSTINEMARJAN)

Turns out I'm not just taking notes from Brittany on how to master TikTok. I'm totally here for her contrasting highlights, too. 


Maria Macfarlane

Everything about the contrast between the brunette and blonde tones in Maria's hair is so right.

Products to maintain your chunky highlights: 

Accessories to show off your chunky highlights: 

This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK. Next up, 15 pictures that prove French bobs are the chicest hairstyle to have right now.

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous. Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics. While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best. When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.