Feathered Hair Is Officially Back, so Here’s All the Inspiration You Need

It’s easy to forget, but trust us when we say that hair trends have come on leaps and bounds in the last 15 or so years. Nowadays, more often than not, we know exactly what we want when we sit down in the salon chair. Whether it be hand-painted balayage, rogue blonde, or a glass bob, we’re more clued up on the intricacies of hair techniques than ever before. But let us not forget where this all started. Cast your minds back to when every salon appointment started with you handing over a picture of a celeb torn out of a magazine. Soon enough, we picked up on new terms—things like "inverted bob" (VB, you owe us for the cold necks we suffered), "babylights," and, perhaps the most frequently uttered words in salons throughout the ’90s and early noughties, "feathered ends."


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Yes, hair feathering was the thing to be seen asking for. Looking at your reflection critically in the mirror and asking your stylist for "just a little more feathering around the face, please” showed not only that you knew what was chic, but also that you knew exactly what you were talking about.

The concept of feathered hair is simple. It involves the stylist chopping into the ends to reduce bulk and make hair look layered, softer, and feather-like. Do you want to know the crazy thing? It’s kind of back. Only this time around, feathered hair is cooler and more undone. Paul Edmonds, award-winning hairstylist and founder of Paul Edmonds London says, "Feathered hairstyles have become less finished and more undone, with waves and texture to make hair look air-dried. Because there’s been less ability to go to salons, it’s natural that this undone look will become more prominent going into 2021.” And we never thought we’d say it, but we’re officially back in love with feathered hair.

Not yet convinced? Keep scrolling for all of the super-chic, very cool feathered hair inspiration you need for 2021 and beyond.


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We're getting major Jen An vibes with these sun-kissed, choppy lengths, and we're not mad about it. 


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Proving that feathering looks just as great on curly strands as it does on straight ones, Joan Smalls's choppy ends look soft and oh so pretty.


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Helena's feathered shag style is reminiscent of Farrah Fawcett's iconic 'do and is perfect for thicker styles.


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This soft, feathery pixie cut proves that feathering looks great on just about every length. 


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Embracing a wispy, feathery fringe like Jourdan's is the perfect way to soften up your style. Plus, any grow-out will be less obvious and can be parted easily for a laid-back, no-fuss finish.



Curl your face-shaping feathering under (either with a round brush or hair straighteners) for a bouncy, glam look like Selena's.


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We couldn't be more in love with this swept-back blonde look if we tried. The way the feathered fringe blends with the rest of the hair is totally dreamy. 


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Shay Mitchell's chunky caramel highlights and super-feathered ends are the perfect example of how to make ’90s trends work for 2021. 


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This sleek, straight look perfectly demonstrates how subtle feathering can instantly update a style. 


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Flick feathered ends out for a super-chic, retro look like Emma Chamberlain's. 


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Keep things subtle and simple by leaving strands long and incorporating slight layered feathering at the front only. 


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Cropped hair suits feathering just as much as longer styles. Keeping a natural wave gives an updated edge that we can't get enough of. 


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Duckie's soft, feathery fringe is chopped in around the face too for a chic, wispy finish. 


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Keep strands healthy, glossy, and full of volume by using regular conditioning treatments and oils, as chopping into ends has the potential to weaken the hair and be drying.


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On first look, this curly style might not seem particularly feathered, but look closer and you will see varying lengths in the ends to keep things soft and light. 


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Incorporating feathering into a bob is the perfect way to make the usually high-maintenance cut a breeze to deal with. 


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This feathered fringe creates a sort of soft shag style that we predict will be huge next year.


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Blending feathering with blonde, sun-kissed balayage colour creates the ultimate beauty look. Blast some texturing spray into ends to amp things up. 


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The feather-light shaping and layering in this style creates added volume and shape, and the feathering around the face ties everything together perfectly.


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J Lo's super-feathered, wavy look is topped off with the curtain fringe of dreams.

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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.