While makeup might have taken a back seat over the past year and a half, it’s no secret that many have used the time spent at home to undergo drastic hair transformations. For further evidence, just look to your favorite celebrities (see: Gigi Hadid’s red hair and Billie Eilish’s platinum blonde), or just take a walk down the streets of Manhattan. And while hair shades typically get darker once September and October roll around, as it turns out, experts say the fall 2021 hair color trends will continue to be full of more experimental shades, too.
“I'm actually really excited to see what the fall 2021 color trends have in store for us as colorists,” Christin Brown, a celebrity colorist whose clients include Yara Shahidi and Tamera Mowry, tells TZR. “I feel like folks that are emerging from lockdowns are really stepping to their most bold selves and allowing a beautiful level of color-risk taking to commence.” In fact, the Los Angeles-based expert says she’s currently seeing exciting styles like chunky money pieces, half and half colors on one head of hair, and color blocking.
To that point, Aura Friedman, a colorist at Sally Hershberger, says bold is big this upcoming season. “Whether it’s bright pink hair or a high contrast, two-toned look, fall 2021 is going to be all about expressing yourself through hair,” she explains.
But, if natural shades are more your speed, you’re in luck: Karly Cerrone, a colorist at Suite Caroline in Soho, is predicting a rise in earthy tones. “It’s [about] incorporating the tones that are found in nature into hair color,” she says about the emerging trend. “[For instance,] really taking those sun-bleached highlights and repurposing them into a whole new feel.” Unsurprisingly, she says everyone’s hair feels a bit dry and crispy after months sitting in the sun and from bleaching out their ends. “Think of this polished, earthy revamp as the aloe vera to sunburnt hair.”
Now’s the time to put your colorist on speed dial and grab the next available appointment, because you’ll want to try out one of the top 10 fall hair shades below, and stat.
“Wheat-toned blondes that are diffused with a person's natural color, rather than contrasting against it,” Jenna Perry, a celebrity hair colorist who works with Bella Hadid and Jennifer Lawrence, tells TZR. In fact, the colorist thinks it gives off that "I just left the salon" look while still appearing effortless.
With the arrival of fall, obviously rich, dark shades are always in fashion, but Brown says she’s expecting to see more Halloween vibes this year with hair, meaning bold oranges and deep reds. “Even though the holiday is only considered one day, the whole month of October can be a real game-changer for taking hair all the way,” she explains. “Whether it's a super dark, bold root color with neon orange tips or actually creating designs through color placement in the hair, no stone will be left unturned.”
Pro tip: once she colors the hair, Brown sends her clients home with OLAPLEX No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask because, “it has its patented technology to strengthen the hair as well as avocado oil, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and rosehip seed extract to give the hair an incredible amount of moisture.”
“We can thank Tik Tok for popularizing the bold, fun two-toned hair trend,” Friedman explains. “I love that there are so many variations of this color trend — bold streaks on the front pieces, color split right down the middle for a more subtle peek-a-boo moment.” Currently, one of the most popular variations the expert is noticing is dark hair contrasted with an icy, platinum blonde in the front. However, she says the trend also works well with basically any color — for example, soft pastel blue or vibrant emerald green.
“Rose is finding its way into the fall tone change conversations I’m having with my summer blonde clients,” Jaxcee, a colorist and founder of The Coily Collective, tells TZR. “Many of them are interested in turning their blonde [color into] something fun and less permanent than toning it down for the fall with low lights.” And if you have commitment issues, this color is for you as the expert says it’ll likely wash out within two months.
Friedman says a deep, rich brown is a classic shade that looks great on any skin tone, face shape, or hair texture. “Since it’s dark and typically one-dimensional, it’s very easy to maintain and can fade into a really pretty medium chocolate brown over time,” she explains.
Friedman says red is always a staple for fall, and as it turns out, this season is no exception. “A fiery red can come in so many different shades, making it a go-to option for a variety of skin tones,” she explains. “A warm, shiny copper looks gorgeous on paler skin, while a vivid auburn is stunning on deep skin tones.”
To add to that, Kathy Debski, a colorist at SPACE by Alex Brown in Chicago, says copper will be huge this season, and there are tons of variations you can test out. “Some popular colors are strawberry blonde, deep ginger, and a deep penny copper,” she notes.
According to Perry, rainbow colors are making a comeback. “There's a big ‘90s influence in the air and, with things going back to normal post-pandemic, I think people really want to express themselves in a care-free way,” she says.
According to Jaxcee, there’s been a drastic switch away from the once-coveted ash blonde/ beige blonde look. “Golden blonde is brighter and stands out more in a crowd,” she explains. “I think people are ready to be seen after so many months of being inside.” In other words, she thinks people are ready for a little glamour.
Toffee Chocolate Brunette
Stephanie Brown, a colorist at IGK Salons, is seeing an uptick in toffee chocolate brunettes. “It’s subtle toffee-colored chunks of balayage throughout the hair,” she explains. “It gives brunette hair a beautiful dimension, [and] it’s soft with a lot of impact.”
According to Cerrone, blue is an unexpected, but stunning color choice emerging for fall. “Not just any blue though; a very pale, cool-ice hue of blue,” she says. “[It] has a similarity to the tones of the iced-over mountains in Iceland. This color is here for those who march to their own beat.”