What haircuts will you be asking for in 2021? After an apocalyptic 2020 — from COVID-19 and political unrest to record unemployment and unprecedented natural disasters — we're all hoping that 2021 offers a much-needed respite from the chaos. And after spending countless months stressing out over it all in quarantine, 2021 promises some interesting new beauty looks, too — some better than others. "It will be very interesting to see how haircut trends evolve in 2021," Briana Cisneros, North America ambassador for Wella Professionals, told The List. "In 2020 there has been an undeniable amount of experimentation and at-home haircuts. The exciting part is that people are breaking out of their comfort zones and making bolder decisions with their hair."
Whether you're going for a never-leave-the-house shaggy chic kind of cut, or you're in serious need of a new 'do after months and months without your go-to stylist, we caught up with hair pros to talk about the coolest cuts of the new year. We're talking about classic bobs, adorable pixies, natural curls, and old-school haircuts that are making a comeback — plus a whole lot more. Read on for the trendiest haircuts to look out for in 2021.
This haircut is making a comeback in 2021
Bobs are a classic haircut that have been around for ages. And while we've seen various iterations of the bob over the years, the latest bob will be a haircut you're asking for in 2021. It's been popular throughout 2020, and stylists don't see it going anywhere any time soon. But this time, it's more of a natural look, says Kien Hoang, principal educator of content and training at Oribe. "I think for those straighter hair types, we will see blunt, unstructured bobs at chin-level styled with the hair tucked behind the ear and natural movement in the back," they told Harper's Bazaar.
Other industry insiders agree. Ghanima Abdullah, a cosmetologist and consultant at The Right Hairstyles, told The List that she's excited to see more of the bob — but, this time, a low-manipulation version, courtesy of Prada. "Instead of wearing your hair flat-ironed straight, try a bob on your natural texture," she said. "Air dry it for just the right amount of frizz, then hold it in place with hair spray [and] use piece-y bangs."
Layered bob haircuts will be in style in 2021
Bobs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some are longer and some are shorter, while some are straight and some are curly. They fit virtually every face shape there is, which is largely why they've been a staple look through the ages. They're also one of the most popular haircuts for older women, adding to their universal appeal. And, while we saw a lot of them in 2020, you'll be asking for bobs in 2021, too.
While bobs are perennially popular in various forms, it's layered bobs that you'll be asking for in 2021, says Briana Cisneros, North America ambassador for Wella Professionals. "I definitely see haircuts with blunt lines and geometric shapes that are extremely softened with a ton of texturizing," she explained to The List. The bonus is that layers add depth and texture to the hair, which can give even fine and thin hair some more volume. And for thicker hair, bobs can feel breezier than long locks, too.
Bold pixie cuts will be all the rage in 2021
Pixies are another classic style that were adorable back then and are still adorable now, so you'll definitely be asking for this haircut in 2021. As Briana Cisneros, North America ambassador for Wella Professionals, told The List, she's expecting to see a lot of bold style statements like the pixie from her clients. The shorter the better, too. "Believe it or not, the buzz cut is making a huge appearance," she explained.
Why? It seems that women are evermore open to change in the year 2021, as noted by Cheron Hamner, a stylist in Atlanta. "I've been chopping off inches and feet of hair because women are feeling bolder, and 2020 has caused us to think differently about everything in life," she shared with The List. "Many women are willing to free themselves from old memories that have been tied to their long hair in a quest to live life to it's fullest potential."
Southern Living agrees that the pixie is pure gold as well. "When you're ready to take the ultimate plunge, call this boyish pixie á la Mia Farrow up," the magazine shared. "It'll do the job."
You'll be asking for shaggy haircuts in 2021
Briana Cisneros, North America ambassador for Wella Professionals, is excited about the haircuts you'll be asking for in 2021. "Overall, the feeling of the trends to come are bold, empowering, and liberating, and I'm all about it," she told The List. That includes super sexy shaggy haircuts, with lots of loose layers that flow naturally. Cisneros said that a lot of her clients with long hair are even wanting to cut more layers into their length.
Other stylists agree, including Ghanima Abdullah, a cosmetologist and consultant at The Right Hairstyles. "Long layers are back in the form of shaggy waves," she revealed to The List. "So go on and get your feathers and bangs. If the cut is done well, you won't have to use a blow dryer in the mornings."
Southern Living also chimed in about shaggy tresses. "Nothing flatters a head full of curls like a classic shag...the cool girl cut of the bunch," the magazine shared. Top it off with the fact that long, shaggy curls are the haircut men find most attractive, and you have a winning style.
Shoulder-length haircuts will be all the rage in 2021
If you've been trying to grow your hair out for quite some time, this is good news for you: medium-length haircuts are going to be a thing in 2021. You don't have to worry about that "awkward length" at your shoulders anymore because that length will totally be in style in 2021. "I believe 2021 haircuts will be very edgy, bob and shoulder length cuts," hair stylist Senada Ceka told The List. "I think they'll be popular for 2021 considering all the difficulties we faced during this pandemic." She added that these new styles will feel liberating after the perils of 2020, helping people to feel stronger than ever before. We are here for this!
Ceka added that women will be asking for short- and medium-length cuts since many of them are working from home, and these looks are easier to manage. So whether you go for a shoulder-length cut for the style or the management, rest assured that you'll be seeing a lot of similar cuts.
Edgier haircuts will disrupt the norm in 2021
The year 2021 is going to be one for the books, as it can only go up from a year like 2020 — and people are ready for it. The dawn of a new time is going to be reflected in hairstyles, too, as stylists are expecting bolder haircuts that symbolize women's yearning to break free from the craziness and chaos. We're talking about short haircuts that will stun you, as they're far from traditional, which is why you'll be asking for them in 2021.
Eric Fossett, a stylist based out of Detroit, told The List that he expects to see tons of "edgier" designs like pixie cuts, tapers, and fades with fun designs and etchings. Why? Well, with many women working from home these days, they finally have the opportunity to get risky with their looks — from the clothes they wear to the ways that they style their hair. They're trying out new looks that normally wouldn't fly in office atmospheres.
The grown-out crop haircut will be big in 2021
Crop haircuts are a bit longer than pixies, and they can be characterized by bangs. Grown-out crops takes this look one step further, as the length tends to brush the face and neck. They're easier to manage than long hair and short hair because you don't have to keep up with them like you would with say, long locks or a pixie; that's one of the reasons you'll be asking for this haircut in 2021. So, if you're growing out your pixie or buzz cut, take solace in the fact that grown-out crops are trending in the new year.
And don't sweat it if you haven't trimmed your crop in a while; the longer the crop, the better. Plus, you can go much longer without a haircut with the grown-out look. "This might be the most elegant crop cut we've seen all year," proclaimed Southern Living. "Side-swept bangs and flattering layers keep it wearable and long."
Want to know if you can rock the crop? This trick will tell you if you'll look good with short hair.
Curtain bangs will be super cute in 2021
Women will be asking for some daring hairstyles in 2021, tired of the same old, same old. One of the new looks that they're going for is soft and flirty curtain bangs, which can be done with a variety of lengths of hair. "Perhaps our favorite trend that's been gaining steam, curtain bangs looks super stylish and a little bit retro all at the same time," Southern Living explained.
Curtain bangs are also a solid option for women who don't want to have to do much to keep up with their bangs, says Cheron Hamner, a stylist in Atlanta. "It is a great option because it gives some interest around the face without being overly committed to a fringe that requires women to come to the salon for bi-weekly trims," she shared.
Curtain bangs aren't super high-maintenance because, even when they start to grow out, they can add beautiful layers to frame the face. It's a win-win situation, no matter how you cut it (pun intended). Want to know if this style is for you? Here are the best bangs for your face shape.
2021 is welcoming women's mullet haircuts
Love or hate it, but the woman's mullet is back in action — just ask Miley Cyrus about her mullet. Traditionally a men's look (and a largely controversial one at that), the mullet is a statement. To that end, it's a haircut you'll be asking for in 2021, stylists expect.
Why? Simply put: Women are finally ready to experiment with their hair; the new year is a time for radical change, and we are here for it. "What I've been noticing since being back in the salon post-quarantine is that women are ready to explore options that they never felt confident to try before," Atlanta-based stylist Cheron Hamner revealed to The List. "They've grown their hair not by choice and have grown tired of seeing themselves in a ponytail or topknot."
Hamner, who also rocks a mullet, said that the style has a message. "It fits right into the outrage of social injustices and the political climate," she continued. "When you wear a mullet, everyone notices — especially when you add variations of vibrant colors. You're going to be seen."
Wild, wispy bangs are going to be big in 2021
Bangs: you either love 'em or you hate 'em. And while not everyone has the face for bangs, those who do can really rock them.
So if you're in the latter category, get ready, as you'll be asking for wispy bangs in 2021 if you're a curly-haired person. That's right, instead of being blunt and straight, these flouncy bangs are tousled, layered, and razor cut to frame the face with texture and style. "Curls love a bunch of layering to add to their natural bounce, and wispy bangs refresh absolutely any haircut or length," Southern Living shared.
Because these fun bangs are meant to look a little wind-blown, they don't require as much maintenance, either. That means you don't have to spend your day worrying about how they're falling in your face! And while they won't work with every kind of hair texture or facial structure, they do work with any kind of haircut.
The bigger the better for afros in 2021
When it comes to afros, the bigger it is, the better in 2021. And the good news is that they're fairly low-maintenance, too. So instead of straightening your hair or wearing extensions, you'll be asking for this haircut in 2021, and we're here for it. That means you can also say goodbye to all the products and devices; let your hair dry on its own however it will — frizz and all. "Afros are looking great, complete with frizzy halos," Ghanima Abdullah, a cosmetologist and consultant at The Right Hairstyles, told The List. "This means you won't be blowing your hair out to achieve the look after it's cut into that perfectly round shape. Just diffuse-dry the roots for volume and allow the rest to air dry."
Natural looks like afros are trending because people want ease, Abdullah said. "We're going to be seeing more naturally-styled hair that's ditching heat and chemicals," she explained.
Side-swept bangs are coming back in 2021
Who remembers side-swept bangs? You know, from the early 2000s. It's like everyone had them at one point or another, and for better or worse, they're making a comeback in 2021. They're looking a little different this time around, though; they're longer and wispier, unlike those awkward short bangs that women used to force to the side of their foreheads.
That's why you'll be asking for this haircut in 2021. "You get a second chance to do side-swept bangs — correctly this time 'round," Southern Living shared. Just don't cut them yourself.
Side bangs can be either a super sexy look with a fancier up-do, or they can be cute and casual for those Netflix and chill nights, too. You can style them with your hair up or down, and you can play around with curls and waves to make the bangs seem more defined.
You'll be asking for natural, lived-in haircuts in 2021
Women are wearing their hair more naturally than ever before, according to Vogue, which covered Prada's spring 2021 fashion show. The designer's stylists let many of the model's manes dry naturally to let their natural textures shine through.
It may be because 2020 taught us all that our health and happiness are the most important things — and the way your hair falls in your face, like material things, doesn't really matter in the long run. That's why people are owning their natural beauty, as they've spent a lot of time doing some serious soul-searching in 2020.
Stylists agree that you'll be asking for natural, lived-in haircuts in 2021, too. "The reasoning behind women wanting more low-maintenance styles, I think, is largely driven by the times," Eric Fossett, a stylist based out of Detroit, told The List. "That's due to uncertainty, or because now, with more people working from home, they are able to explore looks that might have once been deemed unprofessional." We're starting to sense a theme here.
Lob haircuts will make statements in 2021
Lobs — also known as long bobs — are making a comeback in 2021, though lob haircuts were also big in 2020. Specifically, lobs that hit just below the neck are what you'll be asking for in 2021. "A lob that hits right at your collarbone is the most flattering length," Southern Living proclaimed. "Full stop. That's all we need to say on the matter." So, if you've been growing your hair out in 2020, rest assured that 2021 is your year.
Additionally, the mid-length lob is pretty easy to keep up with since you don't need to tame long hair or keep trimming short hair, says Charlie Martin, creative director and owner of Salon One Six One. "With the right stylist, growing out your hair doesn't need to be a dreadful experience," he revealed to Glamour. "Women are growing out their short hair and are into collarbone-length lobs. This cut works great with softened layers throughout the crown, not to compromise fullness around the perimeter or length."
People will be going crazy for The Queen's Gambit haircut
If you're looking for a 'do that transcends decades, the haircut on The Queen's Gambit's Beth is the look you want. Daniel Parker, who designed the hair and makeup for The Queen's Gambit, told PopSugar that he put a lot of effort into this look. "You're dealing with [the time] from the '40s all the way till the mid-late '60s, so it really is a period piece that spans several decades in its look," he said. "There was a lot of research and a lot of hunting around to get the look."
While Beth goes through a few different bold looks throughout the series, her bright red hair is always just above the shoulders with an old-timey curl. Regarding her hair and makeup, Parker told Vogue, "They're essential," adding, "She goes from being baby Beth to grown-up Beth. The makeup and hair had to tell that story." Why not tell your own story with your own '60s-inspired haircut in 2021?
Hair extensions are back
If you thought hair extensions were a thing of the early 2000s, think again. Getting that extra length or added volume is as easy as clipping, gluing, or stringing in hair extensions. And there are all kinds of colors, textures, lengths, and styles from which to choose. Ever wonder how celebrities and influencers get those perfectly long locks? (News flash: It's probably with a little extension help!)
"Extensions are a great way to get past that awkward stage of a short haircut instantly," hairstylist Bridget Brager, an Herbal Essences brand ambassador, told InStyle.
She added that it's important to make sure that the extensions are good quality and match your natural hair texture. From there, she said "your hair potential is endless!" If they're done neatly with the right kind of hair for you, you can wear your hair up, down, half-up/half-down, however you want it — and it should all blend to look natural.
Simple, low-maintenance haircuts are in
Since the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, many women have let their natural hair flow. In 2021, the same will be true as people still navigate this new normal. "With a lot of people still working remotely and leisure activities heavily restricted, people are going to be looking to keep things simple in 2021 with haircuts that still look good when you air dry," Brice, an amika pro educator, told InStyle. Whether you're still staying at home in 2021 or hopefully getting out a little more than we all did in 2020, you're going to want a haircut that's just as easy.
Brice recommended that people with straight hair stick to blunt haircuts that help the hair look thicker. People with wavy hair should add a few layers around the crown, she said. And people with naturally curly hair might want to keep some length. Whatever kind of hair you have, go with what's simple.
'70s-style bangs are back in 2021
Blast to the past — '70s-style bangs are back in 2021, and they're back big time. You can add them to any existing haircut with any hair texture for a retro look. They're curly, they're bouncy, and they're fun.
"We will see more curly girls embrace the '70s trend with bangs and shorter face framing pieces that really enhance the shape of their natural curls," Justine Marjan, a TRESemmé global stylist, told InStyle. "As with all curly haircuts, make sure your stylist cuts around the front dry and leaves it a little longer than you think so the curls don't bounce up too much."
Marjan added that on damp hair she likes to use TRESemmé's Curl Hydrate Curl Cream to add hydration and give shape to the curls where necessary. You can also use other hydrating curl creams and mousses to give your bangs some extra volume if you don't have naturally spiral curls.
Blunt chops will be everywhere in 2021
Whatever kind of hair you have, chopping it off with a blunt cut is going to be one way to go in 2021. Whether your hair is thick or fine, long or short, a blunt chop gives it life. Blunt haircuts appear fuller and thicker, adding volume to the hair, no matter the kind of haircut you have.
Celebrity stylist Sally Hershberger told Refinery29 that 2021 will be the year of blunt chops. She described the cut as "all one length, and read super blunt." Fortunately, this cut is rather simple, so it's difficult to screw up. There are tons of YouTube tutorials out there to show you how to do it yourself in the comfort of your own bathroom, so you don't even have to step foot into a salon. But, if you do choose to visit a stylist, the cut shouldn't take all day since there's no layering that goes into it.
Face-framing layers are a beautiful 2021 haircut choice
If you're enjoying the length of your hair now, you don't need to cut it any shorter. In fact, you can leave it be for the most part and instead just freshen it up so you can have a new look for 2021 without going too far out of your comfort zone. You can do this with face-framing layers that leave your length the same but take the front up a few inches.
Hairstylist Alex Brown, who owns a salon in Chicago, told Refinery29 that 2021 will see a lot of face-framing haircuts. Since so many women have been leaving their hair be during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, a lot of women have hair that's grown quite a bit. "A lot of women have been growing their hair out during quarantine, and are surprised with the amount of growth and how healthy their hair feels," Brown said. "The subtle face framing is a great way to spice up your long hair and give it some shape."
Dreadlocks are growing in popularity
Dreads are crushing the game in 2021. They're generally easy to manage and not all of them require so much maintenance. Dreads look great when worn up or down — or with the front pieces tied up. The best part about dreads, however, is that you don't really have to do much to them at all, though you can get them touched up to make sure they look clean and tight. There is also a wealth of products that you can use in order to keep your dreads looking good. You can easily follow #locjourney on social media to see how other people with dreads are doing it.
"Whether you're years into your loc journey or just getting started, there are so many different methods for maintaining a crown full of healthy locs (or dreadlocks, depending on your cultural preference)," writes Kindra Moné for Byrdie. "Even if you love a low maintenance routine, the right products can have a major impact on the look, softness, and manageability of your hair."
'70s-inspired long hair is back
If you've always wanted long hair, 2021 is the year to finally grow your hair out and enjoy it. The longer you can grow it, the better. Length is a luxury. It's reminiscent of the 1970s, and 2021 is going to eat it up again.
"The soft, feathered, and fluffy looks of the 1970s are not to be forgotten," wrote Southern Living. "This modern long cut gives a nod to the long-haired babes of decades past." Think about Lynda Carter, Catherine Bach, Jaclyn Smith, Susan Anton, Erin Gray... The list goes on. Just about every gorgeous actress in the 1970s had long hair at one point or another. It was the trend then, and it's the trend now.
If you can't grow your hair long, now is the time to look for those extensions. You have the option between permanent and daily-wear extensions that you can put in whenever you feel like rocking long hair and take out whenever you feel like taking on another look on this list.
The sharp shoulder cut is a look in 2021
Whether you have a bob or a lob or something else in between, cut your hair to graze your shoulders with a sharp blunt cut. This look is sleek and sexy and can give you some serious edge to navigate our new normal in 2021. It's pretty futuristic, too. It definitely reminds us of some kind of robotic space-woman vibes. While it's not for everyone, the look does seem to have a slimming effect on the face.
"This style could cut glass with just one look, and it makes any classic bob or lob look modern and on-trend," wrote Southern Living. Even if your hair is on the longer end of the spectrum, you can still give it a sharp razor cut on the ends. The point is to cut the back to shoulder-length and leave it longer in the front, no matter what the length ultimately is. It should be a nice, even, seamless transition that's a total show-stopper.
Textured fringe bobs marry the best of two worlds
Bobs are always a classic, and they're here to stay in 2021. Bangs are also another classic that are forging forward in 2021. And 2021 is marrying the best of those two worlds by bringing them together. Enter: The textured fringe bob. It's a traditional bob but with a bit of extra flair — some short, textured bangs. It's classy, yet fun and flirty.
Called "a take on a classic shag," Southern Living described one short bob cut by hairstylist Chris Jones that "[played] up all the texture with layers and thick curtain bangs." The textured fringe bob uses lots of layers that fall in the face in a sexy sort of way. You can always clip them back or pop a headband in whenever you're not feeling the fringe, too. And the beauty of a bob is that it's short enough so it won't take your bangs too long to play catch-up should you be over them sooner than you thought.
article written by ANNAMARIE HOULIS for thelist