The Best Long Hair Trends Of 2021

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What to do with long hair? That has been the ultimate question plaguing women for decades. It's been difficult to know if long hair trends are really the best options for cut and style or if they're simply looks that fit the times. After all, there are some '80s hair trends that really never need to make a comeback (just think of the triple scrunchie moments and side ponytails). But still, long hair begs the question of what to do with it, and luckily, 2021 has some great long hair trends popping up.


There was a time when completely straight, lifeless hair was all the rage in long hair trends. Other eras saw a ton of layering, choppy highlights, and — don't forget — teasing. There were moments when crimping was all the rage (just think back to middle school). Long hair really has seen it all, and not always in a good way. Still, it's difficult to tell which trends are good to partake in and what trends should be an absolute miss.

So if your long hair needs revamping this year, but you just can't quite figure out what to do with it, wonder no more. Here are the best long hair trends of 2021.

The '60s are calling and 2021 is answering

Oh the 1960s — the era of The Beatles, colored television, and iconic wardrobes. And, of course, the trendiest hair. As noted by PopSugar, long hair that was styled to flip up at the end and face framing bangs were all the rage in the '60s, and get ready to start googling some images, because the trends are coming back. Thanks to celebrities like Keke Palmer and Ariana Grande, the bangs and the long hair flip are two of this year's hottest long hair trends. Don't believe us? An expert will change your mind. 


"The hair flip — where it's a bob haircut or long hair in a pony — gives a cooler-than-school, '60s retro vibe," Devin Toth, a hairstylist in New York, said. "And who wouldn't want that?" Toth is right, who doesn't want hair that's fun and flirty? Perfect for spring, the look is guaranteed to be everywhere. As far as bangs are concerned, go for the '60s length of "eyelash-grazing," as noted by Harper's Bazaar, and you can't go wrong.

Rethink your long layers for 2021 with this trendy style

When we were all in middle school, long layers set you apart from the crowd. Only the coolest of the cool could pull off such a look, and our 12-year-old selves couldn't help but pick up on the social hierarchy that layers (and chunky highlights — don't forget this was the early 2000s) established in our lives. Luckily for all of us who didn't partake in the long layer trend all those years ago, the look is back in 2021 and has had an upgrade. 


As noted by InStyle, long layers that create a sort of shaggy look are in for this year, not only because they look great, but because the style is perfect if you're growing your hair out. "Ask your stylist for fashion layers — you know, the kind of layers that are carved out from the inside of your cut, and face framing layers that are perfectly piecey and unapologetically sultry," Bridget Brager, a celebrity hairstylist, said. 

Stylist Rossana Rojas echoed the sentiment, telling Glamour that the look is perfect for "any length, hair texture, and face shape." Love this look.

Bust out your curling iron because long crimped-inspired locks are trendy in 2021

We're going to take you back to 2013, when crimping your hair was the thing to do. We all thought that we were ten times cooler than we actually were, but crimping is trendy again in 2021, albeit different from what we did all those years ago, as the look has had a boost. 


As noted by Marie Claire, the crimping look is now being used to create larger waves in the hair that "do not look like they were created by a curling iron." The look is going to "be all the rage," and it's really not hard to understand why — it leaves your long hair looking healthy and full of volume. But, of course, every person with long hair needs to remember to protect your hair from the heat. So if you want to rock this trend, don't forget to get a heat protectant cream or spray. The cream from Farewell Frizz is a great option and protects your hair up to 450 degrees. If spray is more your speed, this smoothing spray from TRESemmé is a great go-to, and it's only $5.

Add face-shaping curly bangs to your long hair in 2021

Not entirely sure what to do with your long curly hair this year? Don't worry, because we have a look for you that is the trendiest option for 2021. As noted by InStyle, '70s-style bangs really are all the rage — they're face-framing and work perfectly for just about every face shape. And if you opt for the bang look and keep your long locks, all you have to do is tie up your long hair into a gorgeous messy bun and you'll be good to go. 


"We will see more curly girls embrace the '70s trend with bangs and shorter face framing pieces that really enhance the shape of their natural curls," Justine Marjan, a stylist for TRESemmé, told InStyle. "As with all curly haircuts, make sure your stylist cuts around the front dry and leaves it a little longer than you think so the curls don't bounce up too much." 

So if the '60s aren't really your style but the '90s aren't either, then this retro '70s look will be perfect for you this year.

"Instagram waves" will make a big splash in 2021

The mermaid locks that we all dreamed of having when we were just little kids in the pool, playing with our long hair on the surface of the water, are back for 2021 and this time they're getting a gorgeous rebranding. As noted by Marie Claire, the labeled "Instagram waves" are the thing for long hair this year. The look leaves the hair looking shiny, voluminous, and full of luscious curls. 


So how do you get such a look? Elle talked to the hairstylist behind some of the best curls in Hollywood, Renato Campora — who is responsible for the gorgeous hair of Jessica Chastain, Amanda Seyfriend, and Margot Robbie — and asked all about the look. "This year's style is much more natural and modern," Campora said. "I use a barrel tong to curl and set the hair, then brush it out to loosen the curl. That way it stays full and voluminous but also fresh and natural. Avoid using too much hairspray to set the hair — you want it to look lifted but not rigid." 

Well, there you have it, everyone; this is the look for 2021.

The "shag" look is going to be a big long hair trend in 2021

If there is one look that truly seems to stand the test of time, it's the shag. The shag has gone through a variety of versions, but it is quickly becoming one of the best long hair trends for 2021. Justine Marjan, a stylist for TRESemmé, told InStyle that, due to the fact that curtain bangs reemerged on the scene in 2020, the updated shag is becoming a possibility for so many people who are needing a fresh look. "Versions of the shag have come and gone throughout history, but with the return of curtain bangs in 2020, we'll see more haircuts turn to shag territory as people get more comfortable with shorter layers around the face," Marjan said. "This cut is amazingly low maintenance when done well, as it complements the head shape." A cute cut that's guaranteed to be flattering? Count us in. 


So what do you need to rock this trendy look? A good stylist. According to stylist Erin Powers, the fringe on a shag look has to be just right. If it isn't, she told Byrdie, then "it's not a shag."

This trendy two-step haircut will be flattering on everyone in 2021

There is something about effortless long hair that just screams, "I have my life together." And if you're really looking to switch things up for your hair in 2021 and want an effortless trend, then go for the two-step cut. We'll explain. As noted by Marie Claire, the two-step cut is really simple. The cut uses two points of your bone structure to go off of: your chin and your chest. One layer of your hair is cut so it rests just below your chin, and then the second layer of hair is trimmed so it falls right above your chest. There you have it: the two-step cut. 


While it sounds so simple in practice, the two-step cut is perfect for that "I woke up like this" look. If you don't believe us, just look at Olivia Culpo, who so perfectly rocks the look. Her hair always looks thick, shiny, and full of volume. Would you believe that all she has is the two-step cut? Well, that's the truth, so don't miss out on this trend. You won't regret it.

Easy-to-manage long locks will be the big trend for 2021

Raise your hand if you didn't go to the hair salon once in 2020. Us too, and given restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, it looks like making it to the salon regularly is still going to be a challenge in 2021. But not to fear, because easy-to-manage long locks are not only a necessity but are actually very on trend this year. 


"With a lot of people still working remotely and leisure activities heavily restricted, people are going to be looking to keep things simple in 2021 with haircuts that still look good when you air dry," Jamie Brice, a hair educator, told InStyle. Just look at Gwyneth Paltrow for inspiration — her hair always looks effortless, it's easy to manage, and it's perfect if you're experiencing some untamed hair growth. 

Worried if your haircut won't grow out well? Don't panic. As noted by Byrdie, the shag is a perfect hairstyle to get because of its easy ability to grow out. Better yet, stick to Gwyneth's look at you can't go wrong. 

Worried about your long hair's bedhead look? Don't be in 2021

Here's the thing that happened to all of us in 2020: We went from incredibly busy bees with work and school and personal lives to homebodies who didn't leave the couch. Given the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of us didn't have to get up as early as we used to or even put an ounce of effort into our long hair looks. 


Luckily for you, one of 2021's biggest trends in long hair is the bedhead look, so if you were worried about reemerging into society looking like you just left your pillow, you have nothing to panic about. As noted by Marie Claire, the "appearance of effortlessness" is perfectly achieved with the bedhead look, leaving you still looking "supremely on point." A win-win. 

Need some inspiration for how to make the bedhead look work in your favor? Think of the Olsen twins, and embrace your inner Willie Nelson. Don't be afraid to throw in some dry shampoo and tease the roots just a tad to bring some life back into the look. This is the year to embrace the "I woke up like this" look.

Impatiently waiting for your hair to grow? Luckily, extensions are really on brand this year

Some people — no matter what they eat, drink, take as supplements, or put on their head — struggle to quickly grow out their hair. It is an issue that so many of us have faced, and to be honest, the marathon that is growing out your hair can be exhausting. But as noted by InStyle, extensions are actually having a major trend comeback in 2021, so while you might not naturally have long hair, who's to know? 


"Extensions are a great way to get past that awkward stage of a short haircut instantly," hairstylist Bridget Brager said. "Also, make sure the hair they have for you is similar to your natural hair texture — whether it is curly or straight, you want it to dry naturally and seamlessly as much as possible." 

With extensions comes a huge amount of freedom to play with different looks, so make sure you get some quality hair pieces. As noted by Byrdie, Bellami still has some of the best extensions on the market. If you want something a little cheaper, Vario hair extensions are also a really good option. Have fun!

Big volume and full roots are making a comeback as 2021 long hair trends

If there was one good thing about 2020, it was the fact that watching television practically became an Olympic sport. And if you watched The Queen's Gambit on Netflix, then you already know what we're going to say: big volume and full roots are the trend for 2021, thanks in part to actress Anya Taylor Joy and the amazing hairstyling that dominated the screen while she was winning chess games. 


As noted by Marie Claire, "there's just something about a little added oomph" that does the trick. You might want to find that brand of hairspray that you love; it's different for everyone, but just make sure that you find a brand that doesn't make your hair crunchy. Focus on your roots, make them the main show, and the rest of your long locks will follow suit. 

In The Queen's Gambit, the hair team used big rollers overnight to create the full look — it was even referred to as the "F***ing Drop Dead Gorgeous" hair look, as noted by Glamour UK. So what are you waiting for?

The best upcoming 2021 long hair trends to watch out for

There was something so quintessentially perfect about the 1990s. The fashion was superior, the introduction to the internet was exciting, and camcorders were all the rage. Things just seemed to be easier, a sentiment that 2020 and 2021 have not received. But 2021 clearly got the memo about the hair trends. 


Looks inspired by what was popular in the 1990s will take this year by storm. As noted by Who What Wear, celebrity hairstylist Hos Hounkpatin predicts that these '90s looks — like single braids and cuts with bouncy, flipped ends – will pop up everywhere. Why? Perhaps because it's indicative of "simpler times," or maybe because the long hair look lends itself well to hair accessories — and who wants to say no to a good hair clip? 

But if the '90s look isn't for you, then you should also be on the lookout for long curtain bangs making a comeback as one of 2021's long hair trends. Hounkpatin also predicted to Who What Wear that the effortlessness of long curtain bangs will make the look a must have. To make a good situation even better, the trend will look good on both straight and wavy hair. A win-win.