We're off and running into 2021, and already, some buzzy beauty trends have begun to pop off. TikTok has dictated a lot of them, from unexpected skincare practices like slugging to makeup fads like adding blush to our noses. But when it comes to hair, the fashion set is always on the leading edge. Could it be that sartorial savviness and insanely good hair just go hand in hand? We'll wait for the research on this theory to surface, and until then, we'll just keep looking to our favorite fashion girls to tell us how to style our hair.
As we look forward to warmer weather and, hopefully, preparing for more positive changes in our day-to-day goings-on, we thought it wise to consult a few leading celebrity hairstylists to gain a little insight into the spring hair trends set to take over in 2021. Keep scrolling to learn about the 10 trends they're most excited about along with mood board inspiration courtesy of some of our favorite fashion girls.
Meet the Experts
1. All About the '90s
Hairstylists forecasted the '90s hair revival would dominate 2021, and they were right. As we head into spring, celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko says the vibes will get even more playful. Think braided antennas, space buns, Baby Spice–inspired mini ponytails, and more. "Anything goes. From updos to half-up, half-down, these styles are so popular right now because they are so fun and nostalgic," she explains.
2. Bombshell Pixie
Celebrity hairstylist Kendall Dorsey agrees that even more styles from the '90s are making their way to the forefront of the hair trends for spring, and one that he's majorly excited about is the return of the bombshell pixie cut that swept Hollywood in the latter half of that decade. You know the cut he's talking about—the one made famous by actresses like Halle Berry and Nia Long. According to Dorsey, it's a super-short, super-tapered cut that looks beautiful in rich, deep colors like black to accentuate shiny, healthy-looking hair. "Halle Berry's was cut just above the ear with not a lot of layers—super simple and very easy to maintain," he explains. "I think it's the perfect time and season for women to feel that newness."
Along with a flat boar-bristle brush, Dorsey says the key to styling this cut is a teeny-tiny hair straightener that can reach close to the roots and create shape on small pieces. Then, finish off with some pomade to lock in the shape and add more shine.
3. Big Chop
Dorsey also thinks the individual hair education many women have gotten after a year of maintaining their own tresses at home will start to manifest in major do-overs this spring. "I honestly think trend number one is going to be a lot about the big chop. A lot of women have been playing with their natural hair and figuring out how to transition into 2021 and whatever that will mean," he says. Hydration is the ultimate priority here to keep the tresses growing and thriving and, if you have curly or coily hair, to keep your pattern popping.
Curly and coily girl aren't the only ones who can participate in a big chop, though. The cut that's proving to be one of the most popular of the new decade, the bob, will also continue to gain traction. That's according to every last one of our experts, who all agree the bob is here to stay through the spring and beyond. "The '90s bob is rounded in shape, tapered, and ultrafeminine. It's so versatile," says celebrity hairstylist Nikki Nelms.
Not ready to commit to chopping your hair to your chin? Dorsey says this is the perfect opportunity to try out a wig. This way, you can maintain the length of your real hair and play around with a shorter style at the same time.
5. Electric-Pink Hair
This could very well be another callback to the '90s and the aesthetic that took hold during the grunge era, but pink hair has been bubbling up for a couple of years now. Until now, the trend has mostly shown up in pastel hues and subtle streaks of temporary color, but suddenly, more vibrant shades of pink all over the hair are emerging as the leaders of the pack. Demi Lovato and Naomi Osaka are already on board.
6. Hair Bubbles
Double-band braids have been a fashion-girl favorite for a while now, but there's another double-banded configuration becoming more and more popular right now: hair bubbles. Start with a ponytail (or two!) and secure evenly spaced sections of hair down the length with clear elastics to create the effect of bubbles throughout the ponytail. It's a more fun take on the chic braid that adds both playfulness and polish and takes just a few minutes to execute.
7. Tousled Topknot
We're still spending lots of time at home, but we're interfacing regularly with others via video calls and are increasing (socially distanced) IRL interactions. Suddenly, we need a style that can read both casual and put-together at the same time, and our experts agree that an updated take on the topknot is the perfect solution. "Traditional topknots can get very ballerina very quickly," Nelms quips. "Airy topknots are more America’s Next Top Model than Toddlers and Tiaras. A once-over of Sebastian's Shaper Hairspray ($20) is the perfect amount of reinforcement for this chic and tousled look." She says you can take a laid-back approach by scooping all your tresses into an easy knot but not worrying about smoothing down every single flyaway.
Polko agrees, adding that loose, face-framing tresses are another fun way to liven up your topknot. "One of my favorite looks right now is a full updo with front pieces to frame your face. They are easy to achieve but look so stylish," she says. It's giving Gwyneth Paltrow circa 1997, and we love it!
8. Curtain Bangs
Everyone is still going wild for curtain bangs, including Polko, who thinks we'll see an uptick again this spring. "Curtain bangs are perfect if you’re bored and in need of a change but aren’t ready to take the plunge with normal fringe bangs. They’re a lot more accessible than a full bang but still bring your look to the next level," she explains. She recommends sticking to a flat iron with beveled edges (like the T3 Lucea option she mentioned above) to flip the ends down before sweeping the bangs to either side of your face.
9. Unconventional Accents
We're not wearing our beaded necklaces as much these days, so we're not at all surprised to see the accessories repurposed as hair adornments lately. So resourceful. Nelms loves the idea, too, calling out the fact that other materials like thread are super accessible, come in tons of sizes and colors, and can play into so many different styles.
10. Casual Shag Cut
Dorsey is also forecasting renewed interest in a style that started to bubble last year: the shag haircut. "Not the mullet, but the shag," he clarifies. "For that more adventurous, fashion-forward woman, I think the shag is very in right now. The razor-cut, lived-in, and easy texture is perfect—almost as if your friend has cut your hair." (But seriously, don't actually let your friend cut your hair unless they're a professional.) Dorsey says the best part about this cut is that it's suitable for all sorts of hair textures and lengths and will be just as cool no matter the hair you're working with. "I think we're going to see long shags, mid-length shags, and short, tapered shags," he says.
To maintain the shag, Dorsey suggests keeping your hair adequately hydrated with a leave-in conditioner, letting it mostly air-dry, and hitting it with a quick blast from your Dyson Hair Dryer.