I’m calling it: 2021 is all about hair. Sure, glowy skin and colourful makeup are having a moment too, but ever since hair salons reopened and we were reunited with our hairdressers, the chance to experiment with a new hairstyle is just too alluring to resist. And trust me when I say that there are already so many trending hairstyles out there with major strand appeal.
From low-maintenance layers to ’90s-inspired highlights, this year’s buzziest hair looks truly cater to all styles and comfort zones. Want to keep things classic with a chin-length bob? Turns out basically all of the fashion set is going for the chop right now. Looking for something a little more head-turning? You’re in luck—mullets are the most-searched hairstyle of the past year, and even celebs are embracing this throwback style.
So if you’re ready to embrace a strand switch-up, then you’re in the right place. Keep scrolling for the six trending hairstyles that are everywhere right now. Then get yourself to a salon pronto.
1. Wolf Cut
Emerging from TikTok, as all good 2021 beauty trends do, the wolf cut is undoubtedly the biggest trending hairstyle of the moment. With over 380 million views of the “wolf cut” tag on the app right now, Gen Z is going wild for this choppy cut thanks to its low-maintenance feel. An amalgamation of two of this year’s other trending cuts—the mullet and the shag—the wolf cut has short layers at the front, is tapered at the back and is all about the volume up top. Be warned, though: Despite its laissez-faire appearance, this artfully dishevelled haircut does require some styling. So if your hair is naturally flat, then have your texturising sprays at the ready.
There’s no denying that Billie Eilish’s choppier cut looks so cool—particularly when paired with her fresh blonde colour.
Curly hair textures look so good with a wolf cut thanks to all of that natural volume.
If you have finer hair, then try a fuller fringe with your wolf cut to create the illusion of extra volume at the front of your face. This one looks so chic.
2. Money-Piece Highlights
From fashion to beauty, ’90s looks are going to continue to big news this year, and this playful take on colour looks set to be one of the most popular hairstyles of the year. Effectively a chunky highlight, money-piece hair involves applying a lighter colour at the front of your hair to really frame your face. And it can be as bold or as subtle as you like. Contrast dark hair with bleach-blonde highlights like Dua Lipa’s, or go for honey-toned hints for a subtler sun-kissed look.
I love the contrast between Dua Lipa’s black hair and bright-blonde money-piece highlights—so ’90s.
Nnenna Echem’s tonal highlights are so chic and prove that this trend can be subtle, too.
Abinayaa’s face-framing highlights and beachy waves are a thoroughly modern take on this throwback hair trend.
3. Bubble Braids
As someone who is pretty useless at doing my own hair, I’m delighted that this trending hairstyle is totally foolproof. The bubble braid is basically a ponytail or pigtails with additional hairbands evenly spaced out down the length to create a bubble effect. It’s super cute and takes seconds to do, and I’ve seen so many fashion people stepping out in this style already.
Double the bubble braids = double the fun.
Layering up the hairbands on a mid-height ponytail looks so chic.
Make like Gigi and opt for mini bubble braids at the front of your face for an unexpected twist on the trend.
4. Curtain Fringe
The fringe is back in all forms for 2021, but it’s this soft, sweeping, split fringe that will dominate the end of 2021. Think less Nick Carter in the ’90s and more effortless French girl for this feathery finish that looks great with basically any hairstyle and texture. If you’re not sure about the blunt bangs or sharp fringes that are also having a moment right now, then the curtain fringe is the perfect foray into the trend.
How luxe does Jeannine Roxas’s full curtain fringe look? There’s so much volume!
Jennifer Lopez doesn’t often step out with a fringe, but her hairstylist Chris Appleton proves that she knows how to make a feathery split fringe work.
Curly hair works so well with a split fringe, as your bangs will never fall flat.
5. Long Layers
While there is nothing revolutionary about layered hair, this subtle style is already everywhere right now. With very little upkeep required, long layers are the easiest look to opt for if you don’t want to be traipsing back to your hairdresser every six weeks for a maintenance cut. Plus, it’s a great option for thin hair, as layers help to add movement and texture to naturally flat styles.
This centre-parted style looks effortlessly chic and totally timeless.
Gen Z might have declared the side parting to be over, but flipping your hair to one side like Aysha Sow did adds an extra dimension to a long, layered look.
For a more face-framing style, ask for your layers to be feathered at the front of your face like Sabina Socol’s, which adds shape without compromising on length.
6. Claw Clips
Claw clips started creeping back into favour last year, and there is no sign of them falling back into obscurity any time soon. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that they are the trending hair accessory of 2021. They’re easy to use and super versatile—get a large one to twist up long hair or a smaller size for a cute half-up, half-down ‘do. I hadn’t worn one since childhood until a couple of months back, and now I’m totally obsessed and quickly amassing a collection in basically every colour and pattern.
Everything about Mary’s look screams ’90s to me, and I’m very much here for it.
Jazmine Rogers’s tort-print claw clip looks so cute teamed with this colourful outfit.
Hair accessories don’t always have to be bright and bold. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley proves that with her neutral, pearly hair claw.
Up next, 16 celebs and fashion girls who are making me want to chop all my hair off.
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