I don’t know about you, but the shift from 2020 to 2021 has left me feeling like a grizzly bear blearily lumbering out of hibernation. As things are opening up and there seems (knock on wood) to be some light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel, I’m slowly but surely remembering what life felt like pre-pandemic. Don’t get me wrong—I have a newfound appreciation for the collection of slippers that now outnumbers my sneakers, and wearing fleece-lined bottoms for work meetings feels just as innate as flossing or brushing my teeth. (What’s denim?) However, I’d be lying if I said some masochistic part of me didn’t kind of miss swinging a flat iron through my strands on a regular basis, and I’ve most definitely had some serious separation anxiety where my hair salon is concerned.
Not only are we on the brink of a new and exciting reentry phase of life right now, but spring is also officially here, and daylight savings has graced us with longer, lighter days. Summer is just around the corner, so why not talk about spring and summer hair trends? Sure, there are plenty of hair-centric takeaways from 2020 that will tag along right into the rest of 2021, but there are sure to be some new and exciting twists and turns on the trend horizon as well. No one knows this more intimately than the industry’s best hair experts, and we’re chatting with three of them just below—Jeremy Tardo, a celebrity colorist, and Matthew Collins and Drew Schaefering, two celebrity hairstylists who just launched their very own podcast, The Strands That Bind Us, discussing all things hair with fellow hairstylists and clients. From color trends to cuts to styling, we’re covering 2021’s biggest spring and summer hair trends. Keep scrolling!
According to Tardo, bold, “look at me” color contrasts will take center stage as one of the top hair trends of spring/summer 2021. “Gen Z is bored of blended highlights and is opting for larger sections of color in the hair,” he points out. “From the bright, face-framing ‘money pieces’ and creatively placed single streaks to juxtaposing dark color on lower layers with lightness in the hair above it, this season will see the most playful hair color placements of the 2000s to date.”
Variations of red always seem to be on-trend, but this season, celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Sarah Hyland have made an extra-strong case for going crimson by debuting radiant copper and auburn tones, which Tardo says will only become more and more popular as we ease into spring and summer.
“I think that this trend is being embraced right now because it feels energetic in a time when so many people are ready for a fresh, new vibe,” he explains.
Don’t fret—curtain bangs are still very much here to stay this season. That said, Tardo predicts an uptick in softer takes of the fringe trend.
“Curtain bangs are everywhere, and this trend will be even bigger in spring and summer, but you can expect to see wispy bangs and other shapes as well,” he tells us. “Birkin bangs,” he explains, fall below your eyebrows and are heavier than a curtain fringe but are still soft looking. We might also see “baby bangs” make a comeback thanks to celeb influences like Doja Cat. “Different types of fringe are currently gaining popularity as a way to wear a new look without having to deconstruct the shape of your entire haircut,” he adds.
According to Collins, big, overdone curls will lose traction this spring and summer, and more natural wave patterns (think mermaid-like, S-shaped strands) will step up to the plate.
“People are less and less concerned with perfect locks, especially when our outfit choices have really been forced to be a bit more casual,” he explains. “I see this lower-maintenance trend continuing even as things open up a bit. It’s also less stressful to achieve and can be done by anyone at all skill levels.”
“Because of all of the Zoom meetings and virtual calls we’ve been taking, spring and summer will continue to be all about the casual updos, especially looks that bring back the ’90s-inspired nostalgia,” shares Collins. “With this particular trend, you don’t need to worry as much about what’s in the back. Instead, focus on the money pieces in the front. The ’90s updos are back, baby.”
There’s no arguing that many of us embraced a natural, “less is more” mentality when it came to our strands last year, but that au naturel vibe will continue to hold influence as we make our way into spring and summer 2021.
“This trend is all about embracing what you have and working with it, not against it,” confirms Collins. “Over the last year, people have been experimenting with their natural hair more than ever, and the trick typically involves less styling and putting more emphasis and experimentation toward how much or how little product you actually need to be using. I would say 90% of people have hair well-suited for a wash-and-go, but it can definitely be intimidating, and it does take lots of trial and error. Take the time to really get to know your hair and what does and doesn’t work for your type and texture.”
As we mentioned earlier, curtain bangs have had an exponential takeoff over the last year or so, and the retro-inspired style will continue on as one of the most notable hair trends for spring/summer 2021.
“I see a lot of people wanting to opt for shorter, bolder looks this spring and summer,” Schaefering tells us. “After a year of letting our hair grow out and dealing with mismanaged self-trims, there is excitement around having a new look as our world begins to breathe a bit. Curtain bangs are the number one request I am hearing and seeing with clients this season. By adding curtain bangs, you are incorporating a visual change around the face without the commitment of a full bang. They grow out more gracefully, and since they inherently already resemble grown-out bangs, there is less need for maintenance.”