From New York to London, Milan to Paris, we’ve collected the most popular runway fall 2021 hairstyles, cuts, and hues to dye your hair this year. Colors in the fall are set to saturated, prints to the past, shoes to chunky, and hairstyles? They might be filled with many options, but short hair is back, and red is the new popular color for hair dye, along with a heavily saturated blue and deep browns.
As always, runways help us understand the fashion world in a top-down way, and the hair on our heads is no different. Some of the fall/ winter 2021-2022 hair trends brought in a futuristic style, while others took us back to the ‘80s (who knew that mullets would ever become chic again?), and for those jumping with joy at the prospect of another roaring twenties, the bob is back!
Other options might require more hair gel than you thought possible or a professional stylist (how else could those Simone Rocha braids be done?). Still, one thing is for sure – those monthly salon visits? A thing of the past because embracing natural hair was another key component to the fall 2021 hair trends, where easy and simple styles took charge.
So, yes, hair was a big deal this season. Despite restrictions, celebrities still prioritized influencing us, and Rhianna’s pixie cut along with Barbie Ferreira’s mullet certainly did. And all those looks you’ll find popping up on the streets in the coming months? In this article! Because cut, color, and style are just as crucial as the shoes on your feet and the clothes on your back.
Whatever hair color you choose, blue or pink or green or natural or a combination of all the above, go bold with the choices! This is the year to play with how the color was put in your hair: Dua Lipa did blonde on top and dark on the bottom (then promptly shifted it back to pull in root contrasts at a heavier level). Root touch-ups seem to be gone, and while Billie Eilish may have changed her hair to blonde, the green streaks with black are still there to stay.
As for the color? If you’ve been dying for that icy blue hair moment since Ciara died her hair that color last year, now’s the time. Or really any blue – just go for it!
SZA played with auburn red tones in her gorgeous afro, and Zendaya tested it out in highlights this year. Still, celebrity hairstylist Adam Reed predicts a move towards more terracotta auburn tones to the 2021 hair color trends.
For those with naturally brown or black hair, it would be best to use this color in highlights to create a reflective red that plays with your natural color palette. However, if you’re blonde (lucky!), you can go all in on this trend in whatever degree of intensity you might wish. The popular auburn will compliment you beautifully, and a full-out Beth Harmon red will stun.
#2. Fantasy Blue
Pink hair, it’s time to move aside because blue tones are taking charge. It might be a favorite of designer Jeremy Scott, but this season, it wasn’t Moschino that relit the blue hair trend but rather Dolce & Gabbana. The Italian brand proved that blue could look stunning and bring out the fairytale aspects of life. Still, the reason remains as to why pink was once more popular than blue: the cool tone needs to be lightened so it doesn’t tinge green. If you still are aching for the blue hair though, now is the time to go for it.
#3. Black Hair
Black is a color that symbolizes both power and glamour. It makes sense that after the hectic year many people reached for the black dye bottle for a sense of control. Rich and glossy black was most popular with paler skin since it can make you look like Snow White. And for darker complexions, it brings the rich jewel tones in the skin out wonderfully. On the runway, rich black hair colors were seen on the models at Gucci and Balmain, all highlighting both the outfits and their skin.
#4. Brunette Power
Along with the rise of ashy blonde tones, brown hair has also been growing in popularity. So, if you have naturally dark hair or want to buck the ordinary and move from blonde to brunette, now is your chance. Shiny, rich browns have been selling quickly for hair dye brand Madison Reed.
Along with going completely brunette, brown highlights have also become popular. Ashley Graham’s hair color is a perfect representation of this. Her brown hair contains pale brown highlights, making the light shine off of her hair in a glamorous way. On the runway, many brunettes struck a pose for designers, from Elisabetta Franchi to Moschino.
#5. Ashy Blonde
Brunette to blonde? A classic color transfer! This year, though, the transfer isn’t into the bleach blonde territory or glossy Serena van der Woodsen blonde either. Ashy tones have reached a peak this year, as Madison Garret, colorist at Spoke & Weal in New York, told Byrdie.
Reaching for ashy blonde tones allows for less frequent touch-ups, something many are itching for out of both capacity restrictions and time constraints. The lovely thing about this tone is that as it grows out, it will appear less obvious and more into the 2021 style trend of root contrast. So, if you’re in the mood to just test out this trend, then try a blonde balayage like Jessica Alba to test out the color with your skin tone.
#6. Root Contrast
You knew this one was coming up, didn’t you? A year without salons and all of us loving to test out new colors, roots have really grown out. Thus, there was no other option but to turn root contrasts into the MAJOR 2021 hair trend. Not only is this useful if you’re looking to stretch out the time in between salon visits, but also the high contrast can be very eye-catching. Try to keep the face-framing areas brighter and focus on the difference between roots and ends to create a pop. The goal should be a dip-like dye job that looks like Dua Lipa’s.
#7. Face-Framing Highlights
As previously mentioned, Billie Eilish changed her hair color to blonde (it broke the media, it’s going to get a couple of mentions!), but the green and black face-framing highlights she used to wear are still iconic. In 2021, some have said to expect even bolder contrasts, such as black and ashy blonde.
Bella Hadid played with this trend using part orange, part red highlights as the front piece, and Gen Z everywhere has been taking hold of this look. While it may not have appeared on the runways this season, I predict it will next, in a classic street style to runway evolution.
Cuts and styles can be those ever-tricky choices not only because they are so personal but also because what looks good on one person might not look good on another. So, if you cut your hair in a bob and instantly regret it, turn it into the effortless pixie that is all the rage in fall/ winter 2021! But, before reaching for that pair of scissors or making a salon appointment, it’s probably best to think about if you really want that cut.
However, styles are a bit more forgiving because if braids don’t suit your face, the only remnants left behind might be a bit of frizz. So, take a dive into all the cut and style trends for the later half of 2021 below!
#8. Shaggy Mullet
Oh, yes! The mullet is back, and like 2000s nostalgia, you can either love it or hate it, but it appears to be taking root. Part of the popularity might have come from Ella Emhoff’s fashion week debut in New York for Proenza Schouler, where her voluminous curly mullet reminded us that she was also the Vice President’s stepdaughter.
But if you need a ‘70s example to show your hairstylist, Tom Ford brought that in, and Ferragamo represented the sleek version that could be out there. So, if there’s ever a time to bring back a slightly relaxed version of the ‘70s and ‘80s hairstyles, it’s now.
#9. Bob Time
For 2021, ditch long hair and switch to a retro-chic bob that is reminiscent of the 1920s. This chin-length style can be worn in a straight, structured, and sharp line like Gucci, or mussed and textured like it was done at Chanel. While the cut will need a certain amount of maintenance to stay in its shape, that certainly isn’t stopping Viola Davis, Cate Blanchett, or Kaia Gerber.
And for Philippe Depeyrot, co-founder of Salon Bisoux in Washington D.C? According to his interview with Allure, “It has been a really popular cut. I did two different versions of this cut today alone.” So, jump on the bandwagon of this 2021 hair trend now!
#10. Cute as a Pixie
If Rhianna’s new pixie cut is making you itch for a change, you aren’t alone. Pixie cuts were exceedingly popular for models at Milan Fashion Week, from Fendi to Salvatore Ferragamo. This haircut trend shows just how much we are all ready to let go, and the sheer versatility is lovely. A more groomed Audrey Hepburn à la Roman Holiday style of the cut can just as easily be spiced up into a punk-rock look with the right products. So, like Italian designers, play up this look and find just how easy it is to transfer from day to night.
#11. Blunt Bangs
Curtain bangs are officially out, and blunt bangs have taken hold of high fashion houses. From Valentino to Tod’s to Victoria Beckham, blunt bangs took hold in many ways. Some models had their hair far above the brow, but model Aylah Peterson sported auburn-toned blunt bangs that fell far over her eyebrows.
And if you want to assume that micro-bangs were just a look for girls, you are so wrong. Hairstylist Guido Palau fixed both Cosmo Caspers’ and Lucas Barski’s hair for the Valentino and Versace shows with the look of blunt bangs as well.
#12. Side Bangs
This is a hairstyle trend that can be traced back to the renewed adoration of the 2000s. Popular then, and popular now, side bangs took charge on runways. While Fendi, Armani, and Alberta Ferretti focused on exaggeratedly sweeping bangs, Nine Zero One went back in time to the ‘70s.
Co-founder Nikki Lee explained the choice to use this decade as inspiration in an interview with Allure, where she stated, “Instead of doing a full-on bang, we opted for more of a curtain bang that sweeps to both sides. The vibe is very ’70s and a perfect way to switch up (a) look.” So whatever brand you follow for influence, all different styles of the side bang are back.
#13. Protective Braids
Finally, it’s actually becoming accepted for hair to be worn in a natural and comfortable manner. For instance, model Maty Fall wore cornrows while walking in shows for Valentino, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Etro. And at Chloe, the afro was seen on the runway with complete nonchalance.
So, while many countries are still racked with racism, it seems that the fashion world is taking steps forward with cornrow-sporting models at one high-end show to afro-sporting models at another. At least one industry is taking steps to accept all people without trying to change them!
#14. DIY Impossible Braids
These are the complex, avant-garde braids that waltzed down the runway for Simone Rocha, Prabal Gurung, Christian Siriano, Kim Shui, Nina Ricci, and many more. While some seemed to have floated out of a fairytale with twisting patterns and pearls intertwined, others reminded me of an Amazon warrior hairstyle, such as the ones at Prabal Gurung, who had three models wear high-slung, serpentine-style braids.
So, while some of these styles would be impossible to do at home – unless you’re a professional hairstylist – we can all play with takes on looks mixing Dutch, French, and regular braids together for a unique style that is so high-fashion.
#15. Top Knots for Days
If you’ve been throwing your hair up in a messy bun each day for the past year, this hairstyle trend goes out to you. At Sportmax, Marni, and GCDS, topknot styles crowned the heads of the models in various ways. Next time you reach to flip your hair into a half bun, think of Sportmax. Playing with braids and twisting them up into a bun? Go for an utterly stylish take like Marni. But if you are still a fan of the classic and refined topknot, GCDS will be your inspiration.
#16. All About That Natural Hair
If you’re playing with curling irons, flat irons, and squirting yourself in the eye with too many hair products attempting to do a DIY look (I warned it was impossible!), then this fall 2021 hairstyle is for you because it’s quite literally highlighting you! Ella Emhoff didn’t change her hair for Proenza Schouler, and few models fixed up their hair at Marni, Maison Margiela, or Rebecca Minkoff either.
Hairstylist Justine Marjan explained the reasoning to Allure: “As more and more people are working from home and social distancing, many are taking this time to focus on self-care and lay off heat-styling while salon visits are stretched.” So, lazy girls, it’s time to wake up out of bed, spritz in a bit of texturizing spray (if you ever feel like that), and head out the door.
#17. Side Parts
If you have TikTok and scroll on the app until a notification tells you to drink some water, then odds are you’ve also probably come across the side part vs. middle part debate. If you don’t happen to waste your time through endless scrolling, then you might have missed one of the viral videos debating side parts and middle parts.
Thankfully fashion labels have helped us settle the debate because at Jil Sander and Paco Rabanne, along with Stella McCartney, the models proved side parts are just as chic as middle parts. If you need a bit of celebrity influence, then scan the 2021 Golden Globes red carpet and see how Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Stewart, and Anya Taylor-Joy pulled off the side part. So, debate over?
#18. Low-Slung Ponytails
Keeping in line with the natural hair trends of the season comes the effortless low-slung ponytail, a perfect hairstyle to give that polished elegance in no time while taking little time and effort. Whether you like it slightly undone like at Budapest Select, more glammed-up with a wide headband like at Erdem, or sleek and minimalist like at Sonia Carrasco, a ponytail is the way to go when you want to gather your hair up.
Photos via Vogue, Livingly