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As the season turns, people tend to crave a fresh change — and a different ‘do is always one of the more exciting ways to embrace the transitional period. According to beauty experts, dramatic chops are currently dominating among the winter 2021 hair trends emerging in salon chairs across the country. “People are getting braver and braver with hair,” Marc Mena, celebrity hairstylist, tells Bustle, nodding to a rise in bold cuts and shorter styles. “They’re not holding onto it like a security blanket anymore.”
Mena also theorizes that after the last two years of lockdown, people are universally over sporting the same styles as usual. “Now is time to have fun, and the best way to have fun is with your hair,” Mena adds. And if this season’s forecasted trends are anything to go by, lots of fun will definitely be had.
From shags to bobs to “supermodel hair,” this winter is all about volume, movement, and starting anew. Depending on the look you opt for, experts believe that the top styles will either allow you to flaunt what you already have or feel inspired to free your scalp of the hair that’s been weighing you down. “You’ll be seeing a lot of fringes, layers, and lots of natural textures,” Mena predicts. Another note? “People are going to stop fighting their hair,” he says, explaining that this season’s reigning styles are all about keeping things low-maintenance — something that’s always alluring in the beauty world.
Read on for the winter 2021 hair trends experts foresee on the horizon (and their clients’ heads).
You’ll still be seeing plenty of mullets this season. According to Ona Diaz-Santin, celebrity hairstylist and owner of 5 Salon & Spa, the hairstyle is going to be everywhere. “Expect to see them in all different lengths, textures, and colors,” she tells Bustle, nodding to Miley Cyrus as one of the trailblazers of the trend.
As noted above, mullets are back with a vengeance — in all shapes and sizes. One especially trendy take on the classic coiffeur is the curly mullet, or at least “an interpretation of it,” says Mena, noting you’ll be seeing a hybrid between a mullet and shag.
“This curly, modern version of the mullet still has the iconic hallmarks of shorter sides and a longer back, and the bi-level shape is subdued with softly blended layers for connected flow and uniformity,” says Amy Abramite, creative director and stylist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon. Her tip? “The trend is best styled with a diffuser attachment on a blowdryer to define curls and boost volume.”
While there are countless beauty and hair trends that call back to the ’90s, the contemporary shag you’ll see this season has roots from an earlier decade. “Shags are still on trend, but with more of a ’70s styling,” Tatum Neill, creative director of Elevate Hair and North American creative director of Aveda, tells Bustle. “Imagine a curtain bang styled back and away à la Farrah Fawcett.” Diaz-Santin echoes this, adding that this look has tons of movement.
“Bobs are coming back in all shapes and sizes,” predicts Neill. One particularly popular take on the classic cut is the “power bob,” Abramite adds, crediting HBO’s Succession — and its characters Shiv Roy and Naomi Pierce — for fueling the trend.
“This one-length shape is free of all layering for sleekness at the top and a strong, clean, blunt line at the bottom with an angle forward,” she tells Bustle. “This length is worn at or below the chin for a swingy bob on straight textures.” Abramite suggests using a flat iron and/or paddle brush for a shiny finish and eliminating flyaways.
Wolf cuts, which are essentially the classic shag’s equally cool cousin, are rising in popularity as well. “A wolf cut is a shaggy style with short layers up top that blend into bangs that frame the face,” Abramite explains of the trend. “The longer lengths are wispy with soft, airy ends that flick out. A touch of round brushing or finger styling is all that is needed to set this low maintenance style into place.”
If you want even more volume or to enhance your natural hair texture, she recommends using a mousse or texture spray when lightly blowdrying or letting your strands air dry.
Bobs won’t be the only short style around come wintertime. Mena specifically points to the pixie cut, a style first popularized by ’60s icons Audrey Hepburn and Mia Farrow.
Devin Toth, a hairstylist at Salon SCK in New York City, agrees, noting that the pixie and other stylish chops are also quite practical in the cold. “In winter, clients tend to go shorter because their long hair gets lost in their bulky winter clothes,” Toth says. “But a short geometric haircut such as the pixie stands out, even with a hat, scarf, and jacket on.”
Stylists tell Bustle their clients really want their hair to move — hence the rise of layer-heavy ‘dos. “Haircuts are all about movement right now,” Katelyn Hunziker and Meagan Mueller, owners and stylists at Mane Local, explain. This means face-framing styles, long layers, and texture, according to the pros.
If you want this kind of cut, Hunziker and Mueller note you’ll have to do some styling. “If you want movement, use a curling iron — but don’t forget a heat protectant!”
Quite like mullets, Mena foresees another ’80s-influenced trend on the horizon: a look he dubs “supermodel hair.”
“Alongside the shag and mullet, there was also that supermodel look of big, voluminous hair,” he explains. “Those two trends are coming back hand-in hand: The mullet and the shag are more for the edgy girl, and the ’80s supermodel hair is more for the glam girl.” This means cuts with some layers that are best blown-out with a round brush and styled with as much volume as possible for all the throwback vibes.
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