Throwback styles are taking over.

Morgan Noll
Jan 07, 2021 @ 3:26 pm
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Credit: Melodie Jeng, Getty Images

A hair change can be good for the soul, and after the long, difficult, and monotonous year we all had, we're ready for something new. So, we're looking ahead at the forecast for 2021 haircut trends to find styles that will make us feel like revamped versions of ourselves. We do have to give some credit to 2020, though, because all the extra time at home inspired a wave of new hair trends to choose from—many of which are carrying over into the buzzy styles of 2021.

As we long for different times, nostalgia is still running high, and throwback trends like curtain bangs and mullets aren't likely to go anywhere soon. (Some evidence: Check out Keke Palmer's new look as she became the latest celeb to try out the edgy rocker chic look.) Experts say there are even more retro trends to be on the lookout for in 2021, alongside artistic, statement-making styles and some more natural looks that prioritize practicality and ease.

Keep reading for all the haircut trends experts predict for 2021.

1. Healthy bobs

Have your ends been suffering without salon treatments over the last year? You're not alone. Celebrity hairstylist and beauty entrepreneur Annagjid "Kee" Taylor says she's had a lot of clients going for big chops recently as a way to start fresh in the new year. "Many clients have asked me for bobs simply because their ends have gotten so bad that they'd prefer to take a lot off," she says. "A big chop is a commitment, but you get a chance to regrow your hair naturally. Think of it as therapeutic relief, releasing a lot of the energies from this past year." 

2. Modern shag

Want something with a little edge but not sure if you're ready for a full-on mullet? The modern shag, a haircut that hairstylist Senada Ceka predicts will be popular in 2021, is the way to go, offering choppy layers that can work on many different hair types and lengths.

For anyone flirting with the idea of a mullet-adjacent look, celebrity hairstylist Michelle Cleveland recommends taking baby steps to try out the style first. "Ask your stylist for a super layered look or overly textured cut," she says. "This will give you the lived-in and relaxed look without the super edginess of a full-on mullet."

3. Voluminous curls

Cleveland is excited to see curls getting the appreciation they deserve as more and more people rock their natural textures. This trend isn't reserved for a single length or style; instead, it's all about giving your natural waves, curls, or coils their best shape and definition. "Think 'Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman' curls! The bigger and bouncier, the better," Cleveland says.

Click here to learn about the difference between dry and wet cuts and which one is the best choice for your curls.

4. Shaved sides

A wave of people decided to shave their heads for the first time in 2020, and we loved seeing all the freeing energy that seemed to come along with the bold hair move. Likely inspired by this trend, Ceka predicts shaved sides will be trending in 2021, a style that allows you to rock the edgy shaved look while also keeping some hair on top to play with as you choose.

5. Hair tattooing

Ceka credits "pandemic playfulness" for this creative hair trend. With people looking to express themselves in new ways and make a statement while wearing a mask, shaving or dyeing designs onto your scalp is a surefire way to do so.

6. Swoop bangs

Taylor says Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have been leading the way with this trend, "rocking the updos with swoop bangs, styles that come straight out of the '90s." So whether you're trying to channel some "WAP" energy or just love a good '90s trend, this look is cute, statement-making, and hot-girl-certified.

7. Bowl cut

Maybe we have more '90s nostalgia to thank for this trend, or maybe Maya from Pen15 was behind the inspiration. Either way, Taylor says, "the bowl cut is coming back in full force," and she's all for it. "The short-hair trends are steering near that direction, and I am personally excited to throw my lil bowl cut wig on."