For most people, 2020-2021 will mark a time period in which everything shifted and slowed down — at least a little bit. With that came, pants without real waistbands and an inability to see trusted hair stylists and colorists for months on end. The proof is in the pudding: "How to color your hair at home" was one of Google's most searched terms in 2020. Now, however, mask-wearing and working from home feel more "normal" by the day — and with this new lifestyle comes a very different forecast for 2021 hair color trends. Hair colorists are steering their clients toward looks that are easy to maintain (with a couple at-home tips, tricks and products), and even working to make visible roots an intentional part of the equation.
Yes, 2021 is going to be all about embracing "natural, low-maintenance looks since this year feels unknown and getting into the salon still may be more of a struggle," says Larisa Love, hairstylist and Joico Brand Ambassador.
Below, more on the looks celebrity stylists recommend for the year ahead — and their tips and tricks for maintaining them at home.
2021 Hair Color Trends: "Rooty" Color
Never before have visible roots been so warmly embraced — but such are the times! "Rooty blondes, brondes, and brunettes will go strong through 2021," celebrity colorist and Redken brand ambassador Matt Rez predicts. "With lower capacity in salons for the foreseeable future, having intentionally shadowed roots will stretch your time between salon visits," he says. As for the how to? "Have your colorist do a shadow root over freshly done highlights," Rez advises, explaining that he "formulates a root shadow to match my clients' base color for the perfect marriage of colors." To help prevent fading, Rez recommends Redken's Acidic Bonding Concentrate Collection, which, he explains "lowers the pH of the hair so the cuticle remains shut and color does not fade." It also helps prevent breakage in hair that has been lightened.
2021 Hair Color Trends: Cool Brunettes
One fascinating thing about hair color is just how important light is — that is to say, colorists have to formulate colors that play off the light and remain flattering as it changes. This trend allows for that. "Ash-toned, cool brunettes will keep going strong through 2021," says Rez. This, he explains, is a timely trend because the cooler tones "reflect less light at the root, and so regrowth and lines of demarcation look less obvious." In the salon (if you get to go to one), he suggests asking your colorist to "use truly acidic liquid glosses to get the ultimate cool results."
2021 Hair Color Trends: Money Pieces
Another way to add flair to your 2021 color look, and still keep it low maintenance? Money pieces (also known as face-framing highlights). "Working off the natural base and adding a bright, face-framing money piece with pops through the ends allows clients to still feel blonde, without worrying about seeing a colorist every six weeks," says Nikki Lee, celebrity hair stylist, colorist, and co-founder of Nine Zero One Salon in Los Angeles and beauty brand In Common Beauty. (Of course, you can do non-blonde money pieces too.)
2021 Hair Color Trends: Shiny, Deep Brunettes
"All my brunette girls are deepening their colors with demi-permanent glosses," Lee says, adding that "we're all about super-shiny warm tones this year." Like so many of the year's trends, deep brunette allows you to embrace a low-maintenance color care routine.
2021 Hair Color Trends: Balayage & Baby Lights
Like so many other colorists, Amanda Lee of Mane Addicts is looking to styles that will work for her clients as much as three to six months later. She recommends balayage and baby lights, both of which, she says, are "a great option to add subtle pops of color without having a harsh grow-out line"
2021 Hair Color Trends: Peach, Copper, & Gold Tones
"I see warm tones trending like peach, copper, and gold," Love says. "These tones require much less upkeep and tend to look healthier, because the light reflects off of them more, creating a shinier, healthier look."