You know what they say about annual trends: out with the old, in with the new — or, sometimes, the even older. Such was the case for 2021, at least, a year that resurrected countless beauty looks from previous decades. Mullets, shags, and even ultra-thin eyebrows all resumed their places in the cultural zeitgeist, sending beauty buffs time-traveling down memory lane for the greater part of the year. But, as 2022 hair trends loom just around the corner, hairstylists and colorists are busy looking ahead as even more nostalgic fads are expected to return.
From blunt bobs to tendrils and bombshell blowouts, 2022 hair trends have something in store for everyone. That’s especially because their overall theme is leaning back and embracing your natural hair shades and textures. Nick Stenson, celebrity hairstylist, artistic director at Matrix, and senior vice president of store and services operations at Ulta Beauty, tells Bustle he predicts a particularly exciting and experimental year for the beauty world. “After a year of limitations, people are ready to look and feel their best,” says Stenson. “We’re seeing this come to life through hair trends that celebrate natural texture as well as those that push bold expression.” Another movement he’s seeing? A major revival of Y2K-inspired hairstyles.
Below, see 12 hair trends set to take center stage in 2022.
For those craving a short ‘do that has more texture than a blunt bob, Stenson says the shag is here to stay. “The shag will be a go-to low-maintenance option reimagined with a curtain bang or fringe,” he tells Bustle. “Expect to see this style in various lengths and textures.”
Fris echoes this, noting the short shag is one of his most-requested styles — especially since it’s easy to work with. “Just [using] a quick round brush through your hair makes it look like you walked out of the salon,” he says.
While some beauty buffs will opt to slash their strands off in the name of starting the year fresh, others will embrace serious lengths. “Long, straight hair is going to be huge,” celebrity hairstylist Sally Hershberger tells Bustle. “With inspiration coming from the ’90s and 2000s, you’ll be seeing pin-straight hair with middle parts everywhere.”
Keep your lengths shiny and nourished with a lightweight hair oil like the Sally Hershberger 24K Golden Touch Nourishing Dry Oil, which you can apply throughout your ends after styling.
Expect to see lots of wispy and long bang styles, says Raven Hurtado, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, Illinois. Compared to other kinds of fringe, these looks are much more low-maintenance, says Branch. “Since they’re so lightweight and feathery, it adds some texture and movement to the face without being flat or weighed down,” she tells Bustle. “I especially love this look on those with thick, curly hair as the bangs can help add dimension to the face and soften the style.”
Hurtado suggests parting long bangs down the middle and blow-drying with a round brush for the “swooped effect.”
Hershberger points to another throwback hairstyle making a comeback: “With the ’90s resurgence comes tendrils, which are thin sections of hair pulled out of a style to frame the face,” she tells Bustle. “This simple style can elevate your look into one that’s super cool, chic, and relaxed.” An added perk of the look? “It’s perfect for those that got trendy bangs this past year and decided to grow them out,” Hershberger adds.
You can expect tendrils in all shapes and sizes. Branch predicts a resurgence in braided tendrils specifically, which have recently been repopularized by celebs like Hailey Bieber and Dua Lipa.
If you’re looking to chop some — but not all — of your hair, the ’70s-era shag might be for you. “The choppy, layered hairstyle from the ’70s is now making a comeback,” says Fris. “Now, however, it’s better as it has been totally modernized. These are a great way to add some texture, volume, and depth to your style, which makes them look super cool and timeless.”
Hurtado suggests using something like the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray to really emphasize your shag’s texture.
Long layers, which are essentially an extension of bangs and shags, have also skyrocketed in popularity. “Clients have been asking for more dramatic layers around the face, with the shortest layer below the jawline,” says Hurtado.
To style layers around your face, Hurtado recommends using a one or one-and-a-half-inch round brush. “Wrap your hair around a round brush as you blow-dry downwards for a beveled-in style,” she says, pointing to the L'incroyable Blow-Dry Reshapable Lotion as an ideal product to keep your strands in place.
Another resurgence from the early aughts: “Thick, chunky highlights are back — but with a modern twist,” Gloria Bonilla, a hair colorist at Sally Hershberger Salon, tells Bustle. “Combined with popular methods like balayage and face-framing, these highlights are perfectly blended and super cool.”
Variations include the high-contrast money piece to frame the face or melted streaks of bright blonde and warm brunette, says Bonilla.
As highlights and platinum hair colors make their comeback, so too will dark roots — which is actually a good thing, especially if you like a more low-maintenance dye job. “Healthy hair is always trendy, so adding a shadow root to your color can be a great way to maintain hair health,” Bonilla tells Bustle. “Bright platinum is super popular, but notoriously difficult to maintain. Rather than touching up your roots every 4-6 weeks, you can easily let your roots grow out without having to worry about a stark contrast.”
Rich brunettes are having a moment. According to Dallas Benjamin, a hair colorist at Salon SCK in New York City, his traditionally blonde clients have been looking to return to their more natural — i.e. darker — hair color. “They’ve stepped away from the ombre and blonde balayage and embraced their natural brown tones, enhancing their color with rich chocolate brown tones or cool opulent deep browns,” he tells Bustle.
Bonilla has noticed the same, and predicts a surge in mushroom brown in particular. “Mushroom brown is exactly what it sounds like – an ashy, medium brown reminiscent of a mushroom,” she says. “The earthy mix of ashy browns and grays creates a gorgeous color for any skin tone.”
Deep brown isn’t the only hue you’ll be seeing come 2022: Make way for red. “I’ve been getting a lot of requests for different tones of reds,” Lorena Martinez, a colorist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon, tells Bustle. “For reds, I think a lot of inspiration came from The Queen’s Gambit, and also Madelaine Petsch, who has continued to rock her red locks for a few years on screen.”
This next year is all about embracing your hair’s natural volume — or getting a blowout to temporarily fake it. “Those big, bombshell blowouts seen on runways are going to be so trendy in 2022,” Hershberger tells Bustle. “This full-bodied style can be easily achieved with rollers or a round brush and blow dryer.”
Stetson agrees, adding that much of the volume will also come from natural textures. “We’ll continue to see a greater emphasis on embracing natural hair types and maintaining hair health,” he says. “Think effortless on-the-go looks, and the use of products that enhance curls and coils.”
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