What hair colors will you be asking for in 2021? No doubt it’s going to be an interesting year for hair, with colors trending on both ends of the spectrum, from natural to unnatural. “People want some excitement in their life, so they are being more playful [with their hair],” Jenna Perry, a celebrity hair colorist, told The Zoe Report. Some people are making drastic changes, going lighter and brighter, even using unnatural colors in the upcoming year. But just as many are looking for subtle color changes that will look perfectly natural once they start growing out.
Despite the temptation of pastel purple hair, rich chocolate browns, warm honey blondes, and spicy but subtle reds are also in high demand. Mark DeBolt, celebrity hair colorist and co-owner of Mark Ryan Salon in New York, explained that “some are asking for their color to be louder and brighter, opting for unnatural shades of pink, lavender, and peach,” while others are opting for beautiful natural shades.
No matter how you want to change up your look, there will be a color trending that you’ll have to try. So keep reading to learn which hair colors you’ll be asking for in 2021.
You'll be asking for pastel pink hair in 2021
One hair color you’ll definitely be asking for in 2021 is pastel pink. It just seems to be the breakout color trend that everyone will want, specifically in lighter pastel shades. Celebrities like Dua Lipa, Keke Palmer, and Taylor Swift have all gone baby pink and the results looked amazing.
With salons closed for a few months in 2020, many people gave themselves a bubblegum pink makeover with temporary box dye. But then they ended up loving the look, so they decided to make it more permanent, says Karissa Schaudt, a hair colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “We saw lots of pastel pinks at the beginning of the year and it’s still trending, because who doesn’t get bored?,” she told InStyle. “It’s a dramatic change, but also temporary.”
Schaudt also said that washing your hair is “the enemy of unnatural dyes.” So if you just decided to go pink, she recommends shampooing less and rinsing your hair with cold water to maintain the color.
In 2021, silver-gray hair will be for everyone
Silver-gray hair has become more popular since celebrities like Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian West popularized the look in the late 2010s. Ironically, gray hair can make you look fresher and younger, and looks great on people of every age. A silver-gray is especially good for people with natural grays who want a more uniform look. “Hair can lose pigment and become white, gray, or silver at any age,” Karissa Schaudt, a hair colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago explained to InStyle. “Embracing your natural doesn’t mean you can’t enhance it.”
But if you ask for this hair color in 2021, there are a few things to consider. Glamour UK recommends asking how gray will compliment your skin tone. “We all have our preferences on how different tones go together, but there is a risk that grey can wash out the skin if it’s not balanced,” Sapphire Driver, Brands Manager and Colorist at BLEACH London, shared with the magazine. Additionally, Schaudt says the right way to take care of your gray hair is to use a blue shampoo to keep your tresses shiny and healthy, and avoid fading or discoloration.
For simple but chic hair in 2021, go jet black
Jet black hair is a look that never goes out of style, so it’s no surprise you’ll be asking for the color in 2021. It’s sleek, chic, and easy to get done. And while changing fashion and beauty trends normally influence hair color trends, the pandemic has changed up the hair color industry. While some folks are looking for bright and bold colors to alter their look, many are seeking out low-maintenance hairdos that they won’t have to frequent a salon to upkeep.
According to Derick Monroe, celebrity stylist and Dark & Lovely ambassador, dark shades like jet black with a few highlights or lowlights are going to trend in 2021. “[Balayage and single process color] are processes that will allow you to not have to visit the salon as often, and that in the case of a second wave, you won’t be out of sorts if you can’t make it to the salon,” he explained to InStyle.
Colors like jet black, as well as chestnut and plum, are predicted to be popular in 2021 because they can easily be touched up at home if needed.
Copper hair will be everywhere in 2021
If you’re a fan of red hair, you’re in luck, as it will be hot in 2021. “Red is the best color because it can be customized to enhance your natural beauty,” Mark DeBolt, a celebrity colorist and co-owner of Mark Ryan Salon in New York, told The Zoe Report. “Everything from pale strawberries to rich garnet.”
Indeed red hair is having its moment, especially copper. Demi Passaris, master colorist at Spoke & Weal Chicago, told InStyle she’s had more requests than ever for copper hair. “While cooler fashion colors are coming in, every thing else is warm,” she revealed.
Zendaya — who’s undergone a stunning transformation — dyed her hair a rich copper color for the 2019 Emmy Awards, and it looks like many are using her as their copper hair inspiration. So if you ask for this color in 2021, you can do it at home yourself with Overtone’s Copper Conditioner Kit. This is the exact product Zendaya used to get her color, and it’s perfect for testing out your look as a redhead. Plus it only takes 10 to 15 minutes to use, and lasts up to a few weeks.
Caramel balayage will continue to trend in 2021
Caramel balayage is a popular hair color that’s never gone out of style, and for a good reason: it’s a simple upgrade to any brunette color, and is easy to maintain, which is why you’ll be asking for it in 2021.
Balayage is a technique that gives subtle highlights throughout your mane, and especially lightens the ends of the hair. If you keep the highlights close to your natural color, this results in a natural, sun-kissed look that grows out beautifully.
A caramel balayage is the perfect hair color for brunettes looking to dye their hair and not have to worry about upkeep for a few months. Though you can get lighter highlights for a style that’s more blonde than brunette, Byrdie recommends choosing a highlight shade that’s not too light for a more natural look. And for a true caramel, sun-kissed glow, get warm blonde highlights and darker lowlights for a stunning, dimensional look.
Test out red hair with cinnamon spice highlights in 2021
Just because red hair will be trending in 2021 doesn’t mean you always want a full head of root-to-tip red. So if you’re looking for a more subtle red accent, ask for a “cinnamon spice” balayage. Colorist and R+Co Collective Member Richy Kandasamy told Harper’s Bazaar he expects to see a lot of cinnamon balayage this spring because it’s a low-maintenance hair color that looks great on everyone. It’s also a subtle way to warm up your look.
People love cinnamon spice hair because it can be done on any existing hair color to add a little warmth. “You have cinnamon in your cupboard, so it’s easy to visualize that warm golden-brown color,” hair colorist Ryan Trygstad of the Mark Ryan Salon in New York told Refinery29. “You can keep any light strands, like your post-summer ombré or blonde balayage, then blend red-bronze tones throughout. The result is a full-bodied shade that’s warm, dimensional, and reflective.”
In 2021, chocolate brown will look sweet and subtle
Bring it back to basics in 2021 with the chocolate brown hair trend. Jenna Perry, a celebrity colorist who is works with Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa, told The Zoe Report she’s seeing lots of her clients, especially her brunette clients, embrace their dark hair. Some are even going a few shades darker in the winter months, too. “[It’s] something that’s striking and really shiny,” she said.
Angela Soto, founder of Baja Studio in New York, told The Zoe Report she’s also getting a lot of requests for “rich chocolate browns” among her clients. “We are also adding back some depth for our brunettes,” Soto said. “We are richening up the base, adding in some deeper dimension and glossing existing lightness back down to a caramel or maple tone.”
But you can go chocolate brown even if you’re not a natural brunette. The great thing about this trend is that it looks great on all skin tones, and can be warmed up or cooled down to complement your features. So go ahead and ask for it in 2021!
Go golden blonde for a warm wintery look in 2021
Just because fall came to an end doesn’t mean your blonde locks have to go; many are keeping their lightened hair around for the winter months. Demi Passaris, master colorist at Spoke & Weal Chicago, told InStyle that lots of her blonde clients switch from a bright white blonde to a warm and golden shade of blonde in autumn. “Just because it is getting colder and darker doesn’t mean your hair needs to tone down or get darker,” Passaris said.
Warming up your blonde hue will give your look more of a winter style without having to darken your hair. Best of all, with this trend you can get a full head of highlights or a more casual balayage for a low-maintenance style. And the richer, warmer tones of a golden blonde tend to fade more slowly than other shades. “With richer tones, the tone holds more shine and fades beautifully,” Angela Soto, founder of Baja Studio in New York, told The Zoe Report. But if you ask for this color in 2021, make sure to use a color-protecting shampoo and conditioner to protect your hair.
Pearl blonde is an up and coming trend for 2021
A beautiful hair color that’s already trending for 2021 is pearl blonde. Pearl blonde is the perfect shade to try for anyone who wants a super-light blonde look without going platinum.
Like platinum hair, pearl blonde hair is a shade of ultralight blonde, but it has very pale yellow undertones instead of gray or silver. “I love this look because it gives a slight tonal shift and iridescence on the platinum-blonde trend,” Jeremy Tardo, Clairol color partner, told Glamour.
Though you can get a whole head of pearl blonde hair for a stunning, shiny, and unique color, you can also make it look like a sun-kissed highlight with a balayage. Pearl blonde can be paired with darker roots to give it a gorgeous shadow root look, too. Though the ends of your hair will be very light, you can ask your colorist to meld the pearl blonde into your roots for a style that will grow out flawlessly.
Go greige like Gigi Hadid in 2021
For an effortless cool-girl look, try a greige blonde for a simple-but-stunning color in 2021. Celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Amanda Seyfried are known for their “flaxen” color hair, that’s “golden beige but also ashy,” according to Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Soho. Brown told Glamour that greige blonde is a popular shade among her clients because it’s low-maintenance and looks good on most skin tones.
Combining gray and beige, two flattering neutrals, creates an ashy shade that everyone can rock. And combining greige with blonde will lighten your hair in an almost guaranteed flattering shade. Brown recommends asking for “sandy tonal highlights” as light or dark as you want to get the perfect greige blonde. Because greige blonde combines two neutral tones, the color will grow out beautifully and look completely natural. But make sure to use a color protecting shampoo so the color doesn’t fade quickly or get too brassy.
Get honey blonde with dark roots for a grown-out look in 2021
One thing hair stylists can agree on is that 2021 will be the year of the grown-out dye job. Even with experimental colors, clients are making fewer trips to the salon, and need a look that will grow out nicely. “I think it’s going to be all about the grow-out,” Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Soho, told Glamour. “Whether someone goes natural or a little extreme, people are going to want their hair color to be able to grow out easily without having to touch up their roots as often.”
One way to achieve a beautiful look with dark roots is to start with a warm blonde color. Lightening the ends and middle of your hair more than the roots will lessen the contrast between the dark roots and the light ends. By starting with a slightly grown-out style, you can create a beautiful blonde look that will grow out nicely. Additionally, asking for a warm blonde instead of a cool tone can create a more seamless, “lived-in” look.
In 2021, '90s style colors are back
Like velour jumpsuits, wide-leg jeans, and animal print fabrics, ’90s hairstyles are making a comeback in 2021. But more specifically, color-block highlights are increasing in popularity. Young celebrities like Charli D’amelio and Billie Eilish have rocked chunky highlights in 2020, and the trend is expected to continue throughout 2021.
Erickson Arrunategui, a hairstylist at Bumble and Bumble, told The Zoe Report he expects lots of his clients will ask for ’90s inspired color in 2021. But chunky, brightly-colored highlights can also be done at home.
Neon hair was seen at New York Fashion Week – think neon pink, electric blue, and even bleach blonde streaks. And while many are trying thick, upfront “money piece” highlights, some are also dip-dying their ends or adding streaks of color throughout their hair. No matter how you approach it, ’90s inspired highlights are sure to add a bold pop of color to any look.
Platinum balayage will be a stunning trend in 2021
Going platinum is ultra trendy for 2021, but in true pandemic fashion, platinum hair is getting a low-maintenance makeover. You may not think platinum and shadow roots go hand-in-hand, but together they can create a stunning result. Derick Monroe, celebrity stylist and Dark & Lovely ambassador, told InStyle that icy platinum hair is in high demand for the winter. But instead of going straight platinum, many clients are asking for a platinum balayage with darker roots.
To create a shadow root effect, many clients are dying their roots a darker blonde. But since it is “the year of the grow-out,” you can dye your roots as light or dark as you want for a more subtle transition from root to end. But no matter what color you dye your roots, getting a color as light as platinum blonde is not an easy process. Passaris told InStyle using a reparative treatment is especially vital for hair health once you get a platinum blonde color. That’s the trick to going platinum blonde without damaging your hair.
Silver lilac is an enchanting 2021 hair trend
Silver lilac hair is giving pastels a winter makeover in 2021, as noted by L’Oréal Paris. A combination of silver gray and pastel purple, silver lilac hair is straight out of a winter wonderland dream. Celebrities like Euphoria star Hunter Schafer are already rocking the trend and it looks stunning.
Silver lilac hair can be styled in either an ombré effect with purple on the ends, or with a faint tint of purple throughout all the hair. You can combine a cool gray-blonde with a soft lilac for a unique color that anyone can rock.
Creating a silver lilac look is difficult, especially if you have darker hair, so you may want to ask a stylist for this look. But if you’re confident lightening your hair, you can add a lilac shade at home. Either way, it’s important to properly take care of your color. Use a color protecting shampoo, and wash with cool water to preserve the color for as long as possible.
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