While most of us are still desperately clinging to the final weeks of summer, industry experts have their sights firmly set on the season ahead as they make their predictions for the biggest autumn trends in the worlds of beauty and fashion. And with so many trending hairstyles emerging in 2021 already, I was particularly keen to find out what's in store for our strands as we head into autumn.
"In summer, we all love to experiment with our hair, trying out different styles from braids to beachy waves and opting for shorter haircuts that are less maintenance," says Callum Standen-May, creative stylist at Bond Shoreditch. "However, in autumn, some of us can find it difficult to find the right hairstyle or cut that will continue to look healthy throughout the colder months."
All of the experts that I spoke to stressed that adding a nourishing hair mask or strengthening treatment to your haircare routine was a non-negotiable for autumn haircare. But what cuts, colours and styles did they predict everyone will be wearing?
Ahead, keep scrolling for the seven biggest autumn hair trends for 2021, according to experts.
1. Grungy Bobs
In one iteration or another, the humble bob is a classic hairstyle that re-emerges every season with a new lease of life. For autumn 2021? "We are already starting to see a lot more androgynous bobs that are very reminiscent of the '90s," explains celebrity hairdresser George Northwood. "It's a classic box bob, the same length the whole way round, with no shape at the front. Just think of that cool, grungy Calvin Klein campaign from the '90s for the right vibe."
"If you're opting to try the androgynous bob, then I'd recommend a good flat iron to try out a flat iron wave," says Northwood "This gives a really subtle wave and some nice texture to the hair and a nod to the '90s grunge era."
The grungy bob really benefits from a little natural texture, so work a little of this air-drying cream through the lengths of your hair, and say hello to perfectly dishevelled strands.
2. Strong Fringes
This has been a big year for fringes, and bangs definitely aren't going anywhere as we transition into the final few months of the year. "We've seen the curtain fringe leading the trend for 2021, but I'm so excited for this to evolve into a more dramatic bang trend," says Adam Reed, UK editorial ambassador for L'Oréal Professionnel. "Strong, choppy fringes are in and can be perfectly tailored to you—be it blunt, side-swept and beyond!"
A fringe of any kind can always benefit from a little bit of styling, so Reed suggests we all "have a good heat protector in [our] hair arsenal," and this is his hair weapon of choice.
There's no risk of your fringe falling flat with this volume-boosting hairbrush from Denman that actually speeds up drying time thanks to its vented barrel.
3. Modern Mullets
Possibly this year's most controversial haircut, the mullet will continue to be a popular choice for those seeking a more dramatic hair switch-up for autumn. "Mullets will be the must-have haircut, but—don't worry—they don't have to be extreme," says Darren Fowler, Kérastase expert and owner of Fowler35. "Variations on this cut will be seen on everyone from the fashion to financial set, and it's all about keeping the texture alive."
"I always reach for my heat protectors, as your hair will be getting dried and styled more when creating a shaggy, textured mullet," says Fowler. "If your hair is prone to breakage, then this one is the best."
Prevent your mullet from veering too far back into '80s territory by adding some much-needed oomph to strands with this volume-boosting, thickening powder-foam.
1. Platinum Blonde
"Just as with the mullet/wolf cut becoming popular thanks to Billie Eilish, she is also leading the way with her platinum, bleach-blonde hair colour," says Northwood. "After a boring year of lockdowns, a lot of people are after a dramatic change in their hair colour, and striking shades of white-blonde are where it's at."
Once you've embraced a cooler approach to blonde, keep orange and yellow tones at bay with a violet-toned shampoo like this one from Bleach.
This conditioning blend of lavender flower and Brazil nut extracts nourishes fragile, bleached hair and ensures that colour stays vibrant all season long.
2. Pumpkin Patch
"Autumn is one of my favourite seasons for hair colour, and we always see guests looking for a little switch-up from summer," says Reed. "Beautiful auburn, copper and pumpkin hues will be hot on everyone's wish list for a perfect bright hue that matches the scenery around you."
When it comes to styling your own hair at home, there's one editorial style that hairstylists are predicting will make its way off the runway into real life: wet-look waves. "This cool style is incredibly glamorous looking and a great look to experiment with for any special events you have lined up," says Standen-May. "With this style, the key lies in the products you use. I love mixing a hair gel and shine cream together to create this look."
Standen-May uses a gel product, like this one from IGK Hair, to "slick the hair back off the face for a more luxe finish and then distribute the products with a comb through the rest of the hair." Finish by using your hands to scrunch the product through the ends to create that "effortless wet wave."
Finish the look with a shine spray to really elevate that wet-look finish.
2. More Low-Key Styling
We're firm believers that embracing your hair's natural texture is always a good look, but while autumn's trends usually call for heat-styling and blow-drying, this year will definitely see a shift towards more low-key looks. "It's all about making the most of your hair's natural texture," explains Standen-May. "If you have natural curls or waves, then now is the time to enhance them. Use a mousse or curl-defining product, and scrunch this in damp hair before leaving to air-dry for a natural yet flawless finish."
This conditioning, leave-in cream leaves curls and waves bouncy and defined.
All of the hairstylists we spoke to recommended adding a mask to your hair routine in autumn, and they don't come better than this reparative formulation from Olaplex.