Thanks to the rise of DIY beauty—a result of lockdown ennui—when it comes to the biggest hair trends of the moment, things have never been so experimental. In fact, a quick scroll through TikTok, and you’ll see tens of thousands of videos of people trying new things with their hair, from buzz cuts to bold colours and everything in-between. And with lockdowns easing in some places around the world, people are beginning to take even more risks as they celebrate the opening up of society again.
If you, too, are looking to update your look, but you aren’t quite sure how to go about it, we’ve broken down some of the biggest hair trends on TikTok, from E-girl hair horns to Y2K-inspired hair feathers, bubble braids to zigzag partings.
1. Hair feathers
It’s no secret that Y2K beauty is back, and what better way to transport yourself to the days of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie than with a 2000s classic: hair feathers.
In fact, TikTok can’t get enough of them, with the tag racking up more than 666,000 views. Some of the platform’s favourite creators such as Addison Rae and Victoria Paris have worn an array of both natural-looking and bold, colourful feathers clipped through their hair. It’s an easy way to change up your look for summer and it’s pretty low maintenance because once you put them in with hair-extension tape or clamps, they can last for weeks.
“Feathers look great when there’s a slight bend to the hair,” says Jenny Cho, celebrity hairstylist and member of the R+Co Collective, which offers virtual consultations by hair and beauty experts. “That kind of California texture and a feather, which is an organic element, could look really good. It’s a 1970s vibe.” Cho suggests placing feathers near the front of the hair or underneath to have them peek out for a cool, unexpected burst of texture.
2. Cruella hair
Inspired by the new Disney movie starring Emma Stone, and perhaps the next step in the evolution of E-girl beauty, the two-toned Cruella look is here in full force. A popular colour choice is keeping one half of the hair light blonde and the other half black or dark brunette, but plenty of people are also trying pink, blue, red, orange and subtle pastels, which fade nicely.
@tattooedcruella216First time in a long time #Hair #Touchup #Beauty #Decadesofhair #Fyp #Halfandhalf #Cruella #Foryou #chemicalhearts♬ ppcocaine unreleased song – mist
The fun part about this trend is that you can easily do it yourself—if you’re already blonde or brunette, you can change one half. If you want to go more extreme, you can choose two contrasting colours. “In terms of picking colours, you want to look for tones that look good together and for your skin tone,” says Aura Friedman, creative director at Sally Hershberger’s Los Angeles salon. “Have fun with colour, but aim to pick shades that will complement your tone. It’s important to show your colourist a picture of the look and shades so you can be specific about what you like and how you envision it.”
3. Bubble braids
Another major Y2K hair trend popping up on TikTok is the bubble braid. It’s ponytails or pigtails (you can play around with size and placement) sectioned and plumped, covered in little rubber bands—it looks cool with little hair clips, too. It’s also a celebrity favourite, with Gigi Hadid wearing the style for her birthday in April.
“Using one solid colour of hair ties, like black, and not having it bubble too much looks great,” explains Cho. “You could do red, orange, white or navy blue, too, depending on your hair.” She also suggests keeping the texture natural and not playing with it too much for this look. “Keep it simple, don’t overdo it—that’s how you make the look chic and wearable.
4. Wolf cut
If you’re feeling up for something a little more low-key but with a chic, summery bounce, then look no further than the wolf cut. Comprising super choppy layers, shorter at the front and with a heavy crown on top, it’s one of the most popular hair trends of the moment the hashtag has more than 350m views. Think of it as a modified mullet that looks modern.
@x.sainai’m so inloveee with this hairstyle omg @unice.hair #wolfcut♬ good 4 u – Olivia Rodrigo
“The key to keeping it fresh is to do it soft and romantic — not too gelled, sprayed or placed,” says Michael Angelo, stylist and owner of New York’s Wonderland Beauty Parlor. “Close your eyes, channel your inner Joan Jett, spread a nice gritty pomade in your palms and rub it in circles on your head. R+Co’s Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste is great for this look. Otherwise it can get too fussy.”
Much like many of the other trends on the platform, people have been doing it themselves by tying their hair up and bluntly chopping it, layer by layer. “Depending on the hair texture, this style on bleached and platinum hair looks great so you can wear this as wild as possible,” adds Friedman. “But if you want to keep it tame, you should go for a red or darker shade. A solid colour is best for this cut.”
5. Zigzag parting
Another Y2K trend that has returned via TikTok is the zigzag parting. People have been making tutorials of themselves trying out the look in different patterns and the good news is you only need a rat-tail comb to get the look. You can also wear it with your hair down, or with a tight, slicked-back bun like Bella Hadid. Depending on how big you make the zigzags, you can come up with totally different styles.
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“It’s super cool keeping it in the centre, but keeping the strands straight is striking,” says Cho. “Or, if you’re going to do a side parting, keep the zigzag flat, super clean and neat.” She recommends using a gel or cream to set the hair so it’s free of flyaways.
It’s also a good look to experiment with colour. “This looks great with a chunky highlight,” adds Friedman. “You can also do a fun adjustable colour where you go for the split half and make one side one colour and the other side another colour, so when you zigzag it, you get the contrast between the two shades.”
6. Farrah Fawcett hair
Retro hair continues to trend, as people of all ages are taking to TikTok to recreate 1970s US actor Farrah Fawcett’s signature voluminous look. In fact, the Farrah Fawcett hair hashtag has more than 1.5m views, with people showing themselves brushing out their big curls and waves before flipping their hair upside down several times to reveal the star’s iconic style.
@ella_cristofanimy second attempt on farrah fawcett hair.. AND IM OBSESSED 🤩 #fyp♬ original sound – THE DON
“The Farrah look is the quintessential ‘hot girl summer’ vibe we all strive for—nothing says carefree and sexy like short shorts and a hair flip,” says Angelo. “Coming out of the past year-and-a-half, we’re all ready to bounce back better than ever, and this hair is all about bounce.”
He adds: “I’m a classicist, so I say if you’re going to do the Farrah Fawcett, do it the way she did it. That means mastering the art of the hot roller. You want to use the rollers to move the hair at the front away from the face and the hair at the top of the head away from the scalp. When I’m doing this look on a client, it’s a constant soundtrack in my head of, ‘Lift and bounce! Lift and bounce!’”
If you want to cheat, you can also use curling irons or even flat irons to get the look—just don’t forget to flip it.
7. Hair horns
Another E-girl beauty staple taking TikTok by storm? Hair horns. The pointy, choppy look is perhaps one of the most extreme looks currently trending, but it’s actually more versatile than you might think. Hair horns are what they sound like: tiny, short chunks cut into the top of the hair beneath the top layer. These are styled and pointed up — like little devil horns—using a flat iron, hairspray or gel. People are even shaping them into fun things, such as cat ears or hearts.
@palomaveinteztiny hair horns yup^^ #foryou #fyp #hairhorns #parati #castaways #bi♬ Castaways – The Backyardigans
“If your hair is super straight and silky, I would go heavy on the texture product and backcomb the base of the horns a little,” explains Mischa G, stylist and founder of New York’s Treehouse Social Club, who did the look on one of her clients on TikTok. “The more product the better, and using a hair straightener to heat up the spray almost glues the hair together.”