Stylists are predicting some dramatic transformations next month as we get ready to embrace change with cuts and colour after tending to our own locks for so long – but low-maintenance will still be a buzzword
As hair salons and barbers prepare to reopen next month, those eager to secure an appointment are adding their names to waiting lists and combing the internet for post-lockdown hair inspiration.
When salons first reopened back in July, the chic and timeless bob emerged as the biggest post-lockdown hair trend. This time around, stylists are predicting a new style direction, and some dramatic hair transformations.
“Coming out of the last lockdown, I initially thought that everyone was going to keep the length and just get a little trim, but everyone wanted to go short and have it all cut off,” says Mark Byrne of new Dublin hair salon NHO.
“So this time, I think everyone is going to embrace change, whether it’s with a cut or colour. Everyone has been stuck with the same look so they are going to want to do something different. We’ve all been locked down for so long and people are looking forward to getting out and having a bit of a party.”
‘Manageable’ and ‘easy’ are still the buzzwords for those who have spent the better part of a year tending to their own locks, but it seems we now want to have some fun with our hair too.
Here are the key trends that are poised to dominate when hairdressers reopen:
Trend-spotters think the 1970s will be a major influence, with the ‘shag’ style, as seen on Margot Robbie at the Oscars, taking centre stage.
“The shag is huge at the minute, but it’s not the typical shag,” explains Pamela Morrissey of Sobe Brown in Cork. “It’s more the concept of cutting where the hair is wearable and doable, so you’re not overcommitted to a hairdresser and daily grooming.”
The shag style has come in and out of fashion over the years. Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac popularised the choppy, undone style in the ’70s. Jennifer Aniston introduced the world to a softer shag known as ‘The Rachel’ in the ’90s. Alexa Chung reinvented the style with a contemporary, cool-girl twist in the noughties.
The 2021 shag is perfectly imperfect. Soft, tousled and textured, with just the right amount of rock ’n’ roll insouciance, it’s the ideal style for people who want to revamp their hair without losing their length.
The look will also appeal to those who have taken a DIY approach to their hair over the last year, explains Andrew Dunne of Hair By Mane.
“People have taken ownership of their hair and some are cutting their own hair,” he says. “They aren’t as focused on symmetry and balance, so there is a bit more of an acceptance that if a haircut isn’t perfect, it’s OK.”
Mark says there are many variations of the shag, from the dramatic to the subtle.
“You can have that lovely grown-out fringe, where you get that slight shag shape around the face without having to go with all the rest of the layers. And then you can have the full mullet that Miley Cyrus is rocking at the moment.”
Of course, the success of the style will come down to the hairdresser, notes Andrew, who says the shag can “look like Billie Eilish… or it can look like Rod Stewart”.
Fringes are also having a moment, not least because many of us attempted to cut our own during lockdown. Again, the ’70s is a major influence, with the ‘waft fringe’ (shorter towards the centre of the forehead and graduated towards the sides) making a big comeback.
“The heavy Farrah Fawcett
bang has come back with a bang,” says Pamela, who thinks we’re taking our cue from “the glamour and abundance” of that era. The shorter pixie fringe — think Halle Berry at the Oscars — is also on trend, she adds.
If you’re thinking of getting a fringe, it’s important to consider your face shape.
“Those with a petite face will suit a short ‘pixie’ fringe above the eyebrows,” Pamela advises. “Those with a high forehead, or a wider, rounder face, will suit a shag-style fringe.”
The natural hair movement is gaining ground as women learn to love their natural hair texture.
People of African descent are ditching perms and relaxers and embracing their natural afro hair, just as people with naturally curly/wavy hair are abandoning the straightening irons and letting their hair do its thing.
Celeste, Viola Davis and Zendaya went au naturel at the Oscars last week, while other A-listers eschewed the once ubiquitous ‘glass-hair’ trend in favour of untamed curls.
“There’s been a huge movement towards organic style,” says Andrew of Hair By Mane. “People with natural curls haven’t been blow-drying their hair for the last few months and, with the right products, they’ve found ways to make their curls work.”
If you want to embrace your natural curls, try the Curly Girl Method. The step-by-step hair care routine is designed to enhance the hair’s natural curl pattern without the need for heated appliances.
LONGER, LIVED-IN BOBS
The chic and timeless bob is still a key trend, but women now want styles that are easier to manage.
“From speaking to clients, a lot of them are saying that they are sick of the length of their hair and they want something to take the weight off their shoulders,” says hair stylist Aidan Darcy, recently named Editorial Stylist of the Year at the Creative HEAD It List Awards.
“They want something to give them a new lease of life and a fresh feel to their hair, but they don’t necessarily want a sharp bob. They want something a little more grown-out.”
The longer, lived-in bob, as seen on Penelope Cruz, has more texture and movement, and doesn’t require daily styling. “The bob will never go away,” says Pamela, “but the new bob style is more maintainable and ‘out-of-the-shower-able’.”
After a year of grown-out roots and box-dyes, people are starting to reconsider high maintenance hair colour, says Aidan.
“After the first lockdown, a lot of my clients were rethinking traditional colour. Rather than highlights, they wanted something that was softer and lower-maintenance. I think we’re going to see a lot more lived-in blonde and a lot more people working with the natural colour of their hair.”
Pamela says people are beginning to appreciate their natural hair colour, and they now want to enhance it rather than change it.
“People used to think that if they didn’t get their roots done they looked older and more tired, but they have now realised that their natural base is actually very youthful,” she explains.
“It’s in sync with the hair on your eyebrows and your eyelashes and it gives you depth. I think people are going to become very respectful of their natural base, and we’re going to see much more free-hand highlighting and tonal stuff coming through.”