Keke Palmer and Rihanna

The 6 Biggest Hair Colour Trends for 2021

Think modern classics, warm undertones and punchy hits of colour. 

Wondering what hair colour trends will be big in 2021? Switching up your hair colour is a great way to signal new beginnings, and after a year like 2020, we’re welcoming this type of change with open arms. While lockdowns may impact your ability to book your usual colour appointment, the good news is you have ample amounts of time to dream up your next hair colour while you wait. Whether it’s enhancing your natural shade or going for a complete colour overhaul, there’s a way to keep it fresh and current in the new year. We spoke with Canadian hair experts to get their top colour predictions for 2021. Here’s what they had to say.

1. All Red Everything

All shades of red hair have been making a huge comeback lately. Case in point: Kylie Jenner’s Ariel moment, which made major waves on Instagram this month – and survey says it will be one of the biggest hair colour trends in 2021. “I think it’s the number one hair colour trend we will see next year,” says Jason Lee, expert colourist and owner of Jason Lee Salon in uptown Toronto. “Auburns and ginger tones, like cinnamon, will be really popular,” he adds, noting deep red velvet hues, as spotted on Lizzo and Keke Palmer, will also make an appearance.

Victoria Hunter, colour specialist at Toronto’s We Are We Are Hair Studio, agrees. “Copper has slowly been making a comeback and I personally think it should take the stage in 2021,” she says, referencing Anya Taylor-Joy’s striking signature hue as Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit. Keep in mind, red tends to fade quickly, so consider incorporating an at-home colour mask or toning treatment, like Overtone’s Red Color Conditioner (used to create Zendaya’s unforgettable 2019 auburn Emmys look), into your hair routine to extend its life.


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2. Lived-in Blonde

Natural-looking, low-maintenance shades of blonde will continue to be in high demand, according to David D’Amours, owner of Privé by David D’Amours in Montreal. “Warm undertones, like sandy golden highlights make the hair look healthy and shiny,” he says, adding that maintaining colour with nourishing products – like the new Kérastase Blond Absolu Cicaextreme line launching in February 2021 – is key to eliminating brassiness and nailing the St.Tropez-esque sunlit effect.

“Whether it be a strong pop of colour around the face, or baby lights blending in a previous balayage using softer tones like neutral beige and warm honey, we’re finally moving away from platinum, high-maintenance blondes and focusing on enhancing softer tones that compliment the client’s skin tone and eye colour,” says Hunter. “Deeper and darker blondes also feel very 2021,” says Lee. Think Jennifer Lopez and Chrissy Teigen, who both favour this subtle take on golden blonde.


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3. Solid Colour

Picture Emily in Paris star Lily Collins’ chocolate brown S-waves and you’ll get this trend. “After a year of feeling frumpy and not getting dressed up, a clean and classic hair colour will be very popular,” says Lee. Other celebs that have embraced solid colour recently include Meghan Thee Stallion, RiRi and Dua Lipa, whose chunky highlights practically defined 2020. “What I love about Dua is that she wasn’t afraid to switch back to dark brown,” says D’Amours.


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4. Subtle Balayage

“We will continue to see balayage but instead of these big, chunky balayages that we’ve seen throughout 2020, it’ll be more natural; think Alessandra Ambrosio,” says Lee. “While a pop in the front is still so much fun, the idea of that super strong money piece is a trend I think we’ll look back on and cringe at in 20 years.” So how are we updating it? “Tame down that money piece and add subtle, very fine baby lights in the front area to keep things softer and more natural.” And if you, like many others, have rediscovered your original hair colour during lockdown, and want to elevate your natural shade, D’Amours suggests incorporating a warm balayage, like adding hazelnut brown highlights to dark brunette hair, to add a barely-there hint of dimension.


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5. Peek-a-Boo Colour Blocking

Ultra-vivid peek-a-boo highlights will be the under-the-radar colour trend for 2021, according to Lee. “We’re seeing the under half of the hair being a totally different colour than the top, and we’re also seeing blocks of colour throughout the hair that are visible when the hair is pulled up,” as spotted on Lourdes Leon in recent Juicy Couture ads. And of course, when we’re talking peek-a-boo colour, we have to mention Tik Tok’s most-followed creators, Charli D’Amelio, and her sister, Dixie D’Amelio. “The two social media star sisters have a cool raw fashion sense that really appeals to the youth of today. I think we’re going to see a lot of colour blocking in the way that they both have done recently.”


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6. Signature Shades

Up-and-coming celebrities are leading the pack when it comes to adopting statement colours that end up becoming major trends. “Some celebrities have the ability to intertwine their hair as part of their status,” says Lee. “One of my favourite male models is Evan Mock and his iconic pink hair is going to inspire so many people.” Blackpink’s Rosé also comes to mind: “Rosé definitely has that star quality. Whether it’s a subtle hue of pink or golden rose, she always keeps her hair as a big part of her personality.”

Keep an eye out for Gossip Girl reboot star Emily Alyn Lind, whose dimensional chunky blonde highlights done by NYC colourist Nikki Ferrara have garnered plenty of attention on the ‘gram. “I love that we get our inspiration from social media,” says D’Amours. “It’s accessible, and it’s the best way to visualize yourself with a new colour. It’s why people are daring to do something different,” he says. “And I think this is the biggest trend for 2021: It’s to be daring and to try different things.” We’ll toast to that.


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