The 5 Biggest Summer 2021 Hair Trends, According to Hairstylists

From braids to blonde.

Summer Hair Trends

Byrdie

This summer will be one for the books for many reasons. As vaccines become more widely available, many people are ready to venture outside safely. But, we're not just excited about the return of outdoor concerts and dinner parties. The warm-weather season is slated to be an exciting time for beauty, especially when it comes to hair. 

After a year of tending to our hair at home, many of us are leaping at the chance to visit our stylist for a bold new cut or color. Stylists are equally eager to have us back in their chairs. "I love that people are getting the vaccine so we can start going back outside and show off our summer hair," Unilever global haircare brand ambassador Lacy Redway says. As many of us prepare to freshen up our style, we asked Redway and Matrix brand ambassador Greg Gilmore to fill us in on the looks that will be everywhere this season. Ahead, we've rounded up their top five trend predictions.

Meet the Expert

  • Lacy Redway is a celebrity and fashion hairstylist with a client roster that includes Tessa Thompson and Zazie Beetz. Redway is also a Unilever global haircare brand ambassador.
  • Greg Gilmore is a cut and color expert with over 18 years of experience. The Los Angeles-based stylist has obtained seven diplomas in cutting, coloring, and education throughout his career. Gilmore is also a Matrix brand ambassador.

Braids, Braids, and More Braids

Coi Leray

Byrdie/Coi Leray

Protective styles are popular year-round, but Redway expects clients will highly request select braided styles during the summer. "I think braids are going to shorter this summer," Redway says. "You'll see more shoulder-length box braids with curls or beads at the bottom. You'll also see the ends being left undone with box braids."

To extend the life of your braids, Redway has a few tried-and-true recommendations. "If you're not someone that loves to wear a scarf at night—which I do recommend—you'll want to invest in a silk pillowcase because cotton can dry out our hair," she explains. "If you're someone who likes to exercise and you're sweating a lot on your scalp, you might want to use a sweatband or a bandana. It keeps the hair flat so that when there is some extra moisture, it's not expanding and causing flyways to come out of your braids."

When it comes to maintaining braids, Redway prefers to use a minimal amount of product to avoid build-up. Instead of taming frizz and flyaways with heavy gels, she suggests using a lightweight mousse.


Cool Cuts

Justine Skye

Byrdie/Justine Skye

Want to experiment with cool cuts? You're not alone. "With everyone returning outside and having discovered so many parts of themselves in 2020, I expect that we’ll see a celebration of new haircuts in the next wave of reopening," Redway says. "This will include many variations of short cuts like mullets, pixies, and bobs" 

 Natural Texture 

Choyce Brown

Choyce Brown

Summer is the perfect time to forego heat styling and embrace your natural curls. Redway is particularly excited about natural styles this season. "I think we'll be seeing less perfect curls," she points out. "More people are embracing what their hair naturally does instead of fussing so much about strong definition. It's important to embrace our natural texture and flyaways — it adds to our personalities and individuality."

If you plan to rock your natural texture this summer, there are a few tips to keep in mind. "If you're swimming in chlorine or seawater, it's still important to make sure you're keeping your hair healthy while doing that," Redway says. "You want to make sure you're repairing your hair and not letting chlorine sit in it." She suggests using the Tresemme Pure Damage Recovery Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($6) and Pro Pure Damage Recovery Silicone-Free Conditioner ($6) to cleanse your hair of chlorine and harsh chemicals after swimming.

Longer Length Shags 

Cara Delevigne

Byrdie/Cara Delevigne

Be on the lookout for longer shag cuts this season. "It's a great cut for those who may have incurred breakage in their tops from over-processing with color," Gilmore says. "It's also a good way to camouflage breakage in the crown and top area." 

If you want to make your shag feel more lived-in, he suggests adding a few wand curls. Worried about your hair not holding a curl all day? Gilmore has a few tips. "I suggest using a little Matrix Total Results High Amplify Flexible Hold Spray ($18) to keep the curls from dropping too soon," he says. "You can spray a small amount on each section before curling or add a bit to the finished style while your hair is flipped upside down. Then, you can throw your hair back to give it that very uncontrived and airy feel."

All Things Blonde 

Georgia May Jagger

Byrdie/Georgia May Jagger

Gilmore is predicting blonde to be the color of the summer. "People are getting more familiar with the different tonalities blonde color can take and have become even more creative with it this year by adding temporary soft semi-permanent hues to them," he notes. "An example would be rose pink or lilac. You can also never go wrong with traditional ash blondes, but we may also see more violet blondes to switch up the palette."

If you're experimenting with color (especially blonde), it's important to care for your hair with the right products. "I recommend using Matrix's new Total Results Unbreak My Blonde Collection," Gilmore says. It is formulated with citric acid, which helps strengthen and protect hair that has been lifted to blonde. Keep Me Vivid shampoo and conditioner are also great for making semi and demi toners last longer and fade slower."

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