New year, new you…new hair? Well, maybe, that is, if you just had a little bit of inspiration to figure out exactly what to do with your ho-hum locks. Spicing your look up for this year is easier than you think though, and that’s because so many of the biggest hair trends coming out of salons, debuting on the runways, and being spotted on your favorite celebrities and influencers are decidedly mellow, fairly low-maintenance, and all about working with—rather than against—your natural color and texture.
Of course, there’s a little boldness and drama to be had for those who want it (glassy hair and wavy tendrils, I’m looking at you!) and plenty of throwback ideas from iconic hairstyles that defined the late ‘90s and 2000s (hello, Jennifer Aniston).
Ready to find out what the next year is going to look like for hair trends? Then you’ve come to the right place. Four different hair pros weighed in on the hottest color, cut, and styling trends out there right now. They also revealed a few of their hero products for achieving some of these looks at home and spilled the tea on exactly what you should ask your stylist for if you want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to your hair.
Take the time to browse this list now. That way, whether you’re sitting in the salon or shopping for a few new accessories, you’ll know exactly what you want for your hair for 2022.
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Mushroom Brown Hair Color
The inspo behind the sultry, neutral medium brown shade that’s going to be everywhere this year might not be what you’re expecting: a mushroom. Yep, a mushroom—think the cap of a portobello mushroom—and it’s much prettier than it sounds.
“This year a mushroom brown is what all natural brunettes should be asking for, if you are looking to spice things up,” says Katerina Proko, master stylist and co-owner of Arisa Salon. Instead of warm caramel hues, this trend features earthier, cooler tones on an ashy base, says Proko, applied to your hair with traditional highlights, balayage, or babylights.
Despite the name, blondes can get in on the trend, too, without totally losing their lightness. “If you are blonde and looking for something different but are not completely committed to being darker, ask for a toner to tone your hair looking for more beigey, tan tones,” says Proko. “This will make you feel like you are glowing even if you haven’t seen the sun in a while.”
From Carrie Fisher’s cinnamon roll-esque spirals as Star Wars’ Princess Leia to Audrey Hepburn’s chic chignon in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there’s just something about a bun. In fact, Tara Simich, founder of Mermade Hair, thinks 2022 is the year of the bun. “Buns are the MVP of hair trends,” she says. “They are practical, meaning you can keep your hair off your face while on the dance floor with friends, or look super-sophisticated in your next Zoom meeting.”
Simich sees inspo from two throwback time periods fueling the major resurgence of buns today. First, it’s the 2000s, the decade known for its sleek, spiky buns with a middle part. Then there’s the slightly more elegant bun that features romantic, loose wavy tendrils framing the face. You can thank Netflix—and Shonda Rhimes—for that. “Bridgeton Season 2 will also inspire a bit of a Georgian era vibe with updos by experimenting with waving the front sections,” Simich says.
The great news here is most hair lengths and textures can make some form of a bun work. “Short-haired sisters can also do a half-knot if you are struggling to get your whole mane into a bun,” says Simich. For your best bun ever, all you need is some bobby pins, elastics, and maybe a Mermade PRO Waver if you want to go the wavy route with your side pieces à la Lady Daphne.
’90s Layered Cuts
Remember “The Rachel”? Well, Proko says choppy layered cuts inspired by Jennifer Aniston’s famous Friends do are top of mind for 2022. Want in on this trend?
“Your next haircut, you should ask for short angles around your face and long layers throughout the back,” she says. “When styled, it looks bouncy and fresh, even when you leave it to air-dry. There is something still soft and beautiful about it, especially for the gals that don’t like to blow dry their hair.”
Celebrity stylist and Mane Addicts creator Sienree Du agrees, adding that your stylist should always take face shape into consideration when cutting face framing layers. Du also likes the variety of styling options a layered cut offers and says that layers can work for anyone with medium to thick hair. “Throw in some loose waves to maintain separation in the haircut, or give your hair a nice bouncy blowout,” she says.
“Bobs also are about to happen once again,” says Proko. Think mid-length for this cut, similar to the chic “lob,” short for longer bob, that arrived on the hairstyling scene a few years back. This time around though, Proko says the cuts are a little blunter for extra edge.
“You should ask for something above the shoulder and below the chin,” she says. “This could be done on anyone from fine to thick hair.”
Money Piece Highlights
Money piece highlights might sound expensive, but this color technique actually gives you major bang for your buck and can be a great way to lighten and brighten up around your face on the cheap. That’s because this technique only involves dying the closest strands to your face, meaning less time spent in the chair for those who like a fuss-free salon experience. Even better, money pieces generally work with all hair colors and hairstyles, from soft waves to braids, with the exception of close cropped or pixie cuts.
You can go bolder and chunkier with your money pieces if you so choose—picture pink or blue strands alongside your natural color. That said, many people favor a more subdued version of this trend, where you stick to shades closer to your base, which is what Sahin has been seeing in his salon.
“My clients want to look natural,” he says. “They don’t like big chunky highlights. They want a softer look—a money piece around the face.”
For 2022, embracing your natural hair texture—rather than changing it—is finally *officially* a movement, and it’s about time.
“The biggest hairstyle trend that has slowly made its way here, and now it’s here for everyone, is to not underdo or overdo your hair,” says Proko. “Allow your hair to express itself; allow it to curl, allow it to remain soft and undone like you don’t give a damn.”
The upshot here? Back away from your blow dryer, straightener, or curling iron every now and then to give your hair a chance to breathe and be its best self. Ask your stylist for recommendations or research products that’ll enhance rather than erase what makes your hair unique.
If you don’t want to go all in and commit to a layered look or a blunt, mid-length bob, you can still frame your face with a trendy coloring technique called hair contouring. Similar to how you’d use a contour stick and highlighter to chisel your cheekbones and jawline, hair contouring utilizes strategically-placed highlights and lowlights to give your face a sunkissed, more sculptural appearance.
A variety of looks and shades can be achieved with this treatment, but the coolest thing is, just like contouring with makeup, you can actually create the illusion of a wider or more elongated face, depending on what tones you place where.
“For hair color and hair contouring, it depends on the client’s face shape, skin tones, hair texture, and what kind of style they are looking for—corporate, business, high fashion, edge, daily use,” says hairstylist Yuksel Sahin, owner of Yuksel Sahin Hair Salon.
It’s best to consult your stylist to see what your goals are to determine how the contouring should be painted on. “Some people do very fine, multi-tonal highlights and lowlights, so that when their roots begin to grow out, they blend right in naturally,” says Sahin.
Sleek & Glassy Styles
Maybe you’ve heard of the glassy skin trend, which comes from K-beauty and basically equates to skin so smooth and poreless that it’s basically reflective. Well, imagine that same, almost wet-looking luminosity—only on your hair—whether it’s pulled back in a ponytail or bun or left down, pin straight and sleek. “It’s just such a timeless and romantic look while still looking chic,” says Du.
According to Du, this style works for most hair types; even curlier, more textured tresses can sport some sleekness at the crown of the head with the right product. Du recommends Color Wow Mist-ical Shine Spray to get that super-shiny, glass-like finish. “If you’re lacking thickness on your ends, throw in some clip-in extension for some fullness,” says Du. “Finish it with a flat iron and some shine spray.”
Jumbo claw clips, large satin scrunchies, and fuzzy bucket hats—when it comes to hair accessories, the 2000s are back and better than ever. Proko loves how little you have to do with these old-school Y2K pieces to punch up your hairstyle, whether you’re sporting a soft bun or ponytail. They’re also incredibly user-friendly and great solutions for sprucing up second- or third-day hair, when you’re maybe trying to distract from greasy roots or lots of flyaways or frizz. The bucket hat, in particular, says Proko, is a one-and-done styling solution when you need to get out the door quickly and “could make you feel cool without even trying.”
If your hair is too short for claws and scrunchies, not to worry. You can always try a stack of late ‘90s/early 2000s butterfly clips instead. Whichever you choose, these Y2K accessories are all on the small side, easy to throw in a bag, and can even be used without looking in a mirror.
Embracing Your Natural Roots
The biggest color trend for 2022 just might be going back to your natural roots and letting your real hair color shine through. “It’s universally flattering and super-easy to maintain by visiting your colorist to boost the shine by applying a gloss,” says Du. “This works with all hair types.”
If you’re hesitant to go au naturale with your color, Du points to Hailey Bieber as an example of someone rocking this lived-in look effortlessly right now. She still has honey blonde tips, but her natural brown roots fade nicely into the rest of her hue, almost like a gradient.
Danielle Blundell Danielle Blundell is a New York City-based lifestyle writer and editor who has written on topics ranging from home to health for a variety of publications including Rachael Ray Every Day, Redbook, Family Circle, This Old House, Elle Decor, Esquire, Domino, and Apartment Therapy.
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