2020 was the year of cutting, styling and dying our own hair at home. Basically, we all took some chances during quarantine—whether they were regrettable or not only you can say. But one thing’s for sure, now that we’ve let our adventurous side out to play, we’re stepping into 2021 with more beauty confidence and curiosity. From ruby reds to pastel pink, here are the biggest hair color trends for the new year.
The Top 8 Hair Color Trends for a Brighter 2021
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. You can learn more about that process here.
1. Copper Ginger
Yup, you have The Queen’s Gambit to thank for this fiery pick. “Copper Ginger is one of the most attention-grabbing colors out there,” said George Papanikolas, celebrity colorist and MATRIX brand ambassador. The red shade brings incorporates a mix of subtle copper, auburn and blonde highlights, and it’s shiny finish complements all skin tones, especially people with fair skin.
Colorist recommendation: MATRIX Total Results Keep Me Vivid Shampoo ($14)
2. Bronde Foliage
This low maintenance style involves minimal bleach, so it’s a great way for those with dark hair to gently lighten things up. “Bronde Foliage is the perfect way to transition out of the dark times of 2020. You’ll get a gorgeous balance of color by pairing delicate babylights and framing the face and roots with a stronger balayage,” said Papanikolas. “This look has a universal appeal since it works for most hair colors within the range of dark black to dark blonde.”
Colorist recommendation: MATRIX Total Results Brass Off Color Blue Shampoo ($14)
3. Pastel Balayage
2020 was a year of hair experimentation, just look at Hilary Duff, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Love Hewitt. And it proved that pastel shades (especially pink, teal and orange) are here to stay. Here’s Papanikolas’s tip to get the perfect pastel look: “Start with a foundation of beautiful blonde balayage, and make sure the ends are light enough to accept the pastel tones. If your highlights are more caramel toned, then I would suggest opting for more of a vivid hue to make it more noticeable.”
Our recommendation: Lime Crime Unicorn Hair ($16)
4. Glossy Black
This is not your average all-black shade. While it might sound like the easiest color to do, there’s actually an art to getting the right amount of shine and the perfect cool tone. “There are actually multiple tones involved to get the right shine and movement without looking inky and solid. Hair color comes in ten levels, and half of them are in the dark family, ranging from Level 1: Black, to Level 5: Medium Brown,” said Papanikolas. “Glossy black incorporates all of these. The easiest way to achieve this is to have your stylist gloss you with a sheer acidic brunette toner when coloring your dark roots.”
Colorist recommendation: MATRIX Total Results Envy Green Shampoo ($14)
5. Sand Tropez
“In 2021, I think we will see a warmed-up evolution of the color trends we saw in 2020. For blondes, gilded, golden strands will become popular as a way to infuse sunshine and warmth into their day to day,” said Aura Friedman, Sally Hershberger colorist. Friedman predicts it’ll be the complete opposite to the platinum blonde look we’re used to seeing.
Colorist recommendation: K18 BIOMIMETIC HAIRSCIENCE Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask ($75)
6. Chunky Money Pieces
Money pieces were big this year, and celebrity hairstylist Guy Tang thinks the ‘90s trend is going to spill into January and beyond. “Social media platforms like TikTok have many girls doing iconic looks front the late 90s and 2000s, such as the chunky highlights. We have learned to take from the past and give it a more modern take,” said Tang. How to achieve this look? Simply focus on the strands right around the face (aka your moneymakers), but be sure to add a few more light strands throughout your whole head for an updated approach.
Colorist recommendation: Olapex No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment ($28)
“I feel like a lot of people have spent most of 2020 getting their hair healthy, so they’re going to be into rich warm tones for brunettes that are reflective and shiny,” said Nikki Lee, celebrity colorist. “Sticking to just shifting their natural color just a level or two as opposed to doing dramatic changes that could risk damaging the hair.” For brunettes, consider subtle highlighters or even a hint of ginger to brighten up the dark color.
Colorist recommendation: In Common Velvet Cloud Universal Mask ($40)
8. Bright Colors
For an opposite take on pastels, try bright shades, like the ruby red Lee did on Sarah Highland here. “Although it seems like a big change, the color was only a level lighter than her natural hair color,” she explained. “The tone made it feel like a big change. No lightener was needed to create the look just a base color and a gloss through the ends.”
Colorist recommendation: Garnier Nutrisse Color Reviver Hair Mask ($7)