15 Looks That Prove Chunky Highlights Are the Coolest Hair Trend of 2021

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.

Chunky Highlights: @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
Chunky Highlights: Alexis Foreman



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
Chunky Highlights: Janka Polliani



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

Kim Kardashian West
Chunky Highlights: Kim Kardashian



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
Chunky Highlights: Symphoni Soto



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

Lotte Williams
Chunky Highlights: Lotte Williams



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

Celeste van Joost
Chunky Highlights: Celeste van Joost



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
Chunky Highlights: Jennifer Lopez



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

Sabina Socol
Chunky Highlights: Sabina Socol



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
Chunky Highlights: Chic Ama



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

Anne-Laure Mais
Chunky Highlights: Adenorah



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.

Chunky Highlights: Beyoncé



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

Anna Winck
Chunky Highlights: Anna Winck



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

Brittany Xavier
Chunky Highlights: Brittany Xavier



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
Chunky Highlights: 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:

Use this topcoat and toning treatment once a week to keep blonde highlights looking bright. 

Defend your hair from breakage with this reviving leave-in treatment. 

Blondes of all hues swear by R+Co's daily blonde shampoo.

Pair it with the conditioner for ultra-soft strands. 

Don't forget the dry shampoo! This formula not only cleans your hair but also adds volume and UV protection for your new chunky highlights.

Accessories to show off your chunky highlights:

These smooth silk scrunchies will help prevent breakage, especially on recently dyed hair. 

The tortoiseshell pattern gives these '90s-style banana clips a 21st-century upgrade. 

Or glitz it up with this embellished version.

Channel your inner Cher Horowitz with these luxe-looking headbands. 

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.

Related Stories