Here we stand, on the precipice of a third lockdown, staring into the abyss of what some more optimistic souls (fools!) thought would be a brave new year with brave new prospects.
And though the outlook may seem totally gloomy, there are a few bright spots on the horizon: the vaccination programme currently being rolled out being one, the fact that we’ve got a couple of months, at least, to mess around with our hair at home again being another.
When in the first lockdown we all took rookie steps in growing our locks out longer than ever before and in the second we took to the clippers to give ourselves (inevitably dodgy) buzzcuts, for 2021 the prospects are looking a little more, well, creative.
So here, to help you get a head start on your new ’do in what is already a very strange year, is my guide to the biggest hair trends you should be experimenting with right now.
1. The neo-mullet
Zac Efron is currently rocking a short version of a mullet on set in Australia, Troye Sivan – the aforementioned country’s crooner of the moment – got a bleached-out mullet at the end of last year and Rihanna has been rocking a mullet for a good few months now. It’s a potent trifecta that means the shaggy on top, long at the back, cropped at the sides look is very much back on the agenda.
To make a mullet work, however, there are a few things you need to consider before you take the plunge. Given the slightly flyaway bogan style of the cut, for instance, it really works best on those with well-defined features (enter, Mr Efron). Furthermore, your hair should have a little natural curl and you need to be prepared to maintain it on a regular basis to avoid looking like Pat Sharp (no offence, Pat).
“The mullet is a style that doesn’t take itself too seriously but wants to make a statement,” says Craig Meggs, expert barber at Ruffians. “Usually a hairstyle is all about blending and balance, yet the mullet actually flies in the face of convention and does the opposite of all of that: short on top, even shorter at the sides and with plenty of length at the back.”
2. Mini mohawks
A slightly more palatable take on the mullet, this – for those not willing or able to go the distance. If you’re bored of your long lockdown hair but really don’t fancy a full buzzcut, a good halfway house could be with a mini mohawk. The best example of the cut can be found on the locked-down head of German stylist Marc Goehring, who has been rocking one throughout the pandemic.
The key to getting this look right is to ensure that you have a neat grade-one buzz all the way round the back and sides of your head and then the two-to-three inch strip of hair in the centre should be left to taper up to around three inches of length, max. Again, a little natural curl won’t go to waste here. Ideally you’ll get yours cut at a barber, but if 2021 is going the way it seems to be you might be better off just taking the plunge at home. You can always shave it off, after all.
3. Acid pops
Although lockdowns one and two were arguably owned by the mighty pastel-hued buzzcuts and crops sported by everyone from Pharrell Williams and Kanye West to Zayn Malik and Justin Bieber, lockdown mark three looks set to be the period of the acid pop head.
Not only are brighter, bolder bleach jobs in shades of lime green, magenta and cobalt far easier to maintain than pastel hues, they also make a considerably stronger statement on social media (important when you can’t actually see anyone IRL) and they’re arguably easier to style up with neutral outfits.
Here, in collaboration with Bleach London, we've distilled the five essential steps you must follow if you plan on giving yourself an acid pop head this lockdown or, indeed, at any point this year. We’re going to want to look as celebratory as we feel when the pandemic finally does one, after all.
1. Bleach to a pale blond.
2. Tone to knock out any brassiness and keep any undertones from giving your final colour an unwanted hue.
3. Colour using your choice from Bleach London’s Super Cool Colour range.
4. Maintain by topping up your colour using your Super Cool Colour when needed.
5. Care using Bleach London's care products (Reincarnation Mask And Elixir) to maintain healthy hair, as this holds on to colour better than dry, damaged hair.
4. Grunge jobs
They say trends come back around once every 20-30 years or so, which means that grunge – which first emerged from the American Pacific Northwest, like a plunger in a syringe, in the late 1980s – is primed for a comeback. Defined by a thrown-together, slightly crusty aesthetic, when it comes to grunge-inspired hair the only reference you need is the king of Seattle’s 1990s slobs, Kurt Cobain (him or 2018 Justin Bieber).
Grow your hair out a bit, which shouldn’t be a problem with lockdown, give it a good bleach (see above) and let it grow out. Simple as that. The rootier the final look, the better. Just be sure to keep it in good, clean condition. It’s about being grungey in name, rather than nature.
5. The Rudolph Valentino
The perceived wisdom is that with the eventual waning of the pandemic will come a second Roaring Twenties, a period of post-disaster prosperity during which we’ll all eat, drink, dance, spend and be merry in a bid to make up for all that wasted time in 2020.
Stands to reason, therefore, that the clothes we will wear and the haircuts we will sport will most likely follow suit. Which is why I’m calling the Rudolph Valentino as the ’do of the year. Named after the sultry 1920s matinee idol of the same name, Valentino sported his hair high, tight and ultra glossy, whipped up into a perfectly varnished side parting.
The diametric opposite of the first two cuts in this list, the Rudolph Valentino is the perfect option for those with finer features and for those who’ve hated the follicular shabbiness induced by the sequential lockdowns. An easy cut for your barber to achieve and simple to maintain, simply run some classic pomade through your hair, style with a comb and you’ll be good to hit the town – in your spats and top hat, of course – before you can say “Gin Rickey, barkeep!”