With each change of a season comes another chance to reinvent ourselves, and this fall seems particularly charged. Whether it's due to something cosmic or you're looking to get over disappointment from the Hot Vax Summer that should've been, it feels like everyone is looking to do something new and different. Some people want to dye their hair after growing it out during the pandemic, while others want to shave it all off and start over. Whatever your style, the hair color and cut trends experts anticipate seeing this fall are about either starting fresh or building from the greatness that already exists.
Fall Hair Trends global artistic director of hair cutting, tells Health. "People are reinventing what they've already done or already seen." We consulted with some of the hair industry's biggest and brightest about this fall's biggest trends to source some inspiration for your next look.
The modern shag, or “wolf cut”
Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past year, you likely know someone who has a '70s-style shag, wants a shag, or has a shaggy dog (which is unrelated to the haircut). You may have also seen the modern shag (or the "wolf cut") all over TikTok. For anyone who isn't ready to commit to a shorter haircut, the wolf cut is a great way to keep most of your length without jumping in headfirst. It has a curtain bang, which is cut soft and over the brows, while the rest of the hair is worn collarbone-length or longer. There are also a ton of layers, which amp up the volume and create effortless texture, making this a great cut for basically all hair types.
Vibrant, rustic reds
Changing your hair color to be more autumnal to go along with the season can feel very "Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking." But it doesn't have to be quite so Devil Wears Prada— at least that's what Jamila Powell, founder of haircare brand Naturally Drenched and owner of Maggie Rose Salon in Davie, Florida tells Health. "Auburn hair and copper tones are so bright and fun, and they can really spice up your hair if you're feeling like you've been in a rut all summer. Not to mention that vibrant red is the perfect color to help you get into the fall spirit."
If you're thinking about going red but aren't ready to fully commit, Powell recommends starting off with a temporary color depositing conditioner, like Overtone's Copper Conditioner Kit or Biolage ColorBalm Color Depositing Conditioner in Saffron Red. "This will give your hair a perfect hint of red that will help you decide if you want to go all the way."
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Spending more than a year at home had all of us getting creative with our hair and gave those who love protective styles time to experiment. Butterfly locs are a '90s-inspired hairstyle reminiscent of Lisa Bonet, created by looping water wave-style braiding hair through a braid of your own with a crochet needle and then loosely wrapping the wavy hair along the length of the braid to create a textured look and feel. "This style offers the perfect mix of Goddess Locs and Passion Twists so you end up with a sexy, bohemian style that will look stunning on anyone," says Powell. If DIYing your own locs feels daunting—which is understandable—companies like Boho Locs create pre-looped locs to save you time and, hopefully, some anxiety.
"Typically, when fall happens, everyone wants to get warmer and take the summer out of their hair, so we're looking at dimensional tones, and colors are most inspired in the fall by the environment around us—so [people go for] really rustic reds vs. bright reds, and really rich chocolate browns," Britt Dion, Aveda North America's artistic director of hair styling, tells Health. "We are going to be seeing a lot of mocha and espresso chocolates and coffees."
To achieve a multi-dimensional brunette, Karissa Schaudt, colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, tells Health that she suggests asking for a full balayage. "This style should keep a rooted look while lightening the mids-ends. This melt is lifted two to three levels lighter than the natural color so it's not overly lightened, and is perfect for fall."
Dinis loves the undercut for its versatility. "People are experimenting with the undercut," he explains. "They're adding an undercut to revitalize their look and possibly make something look a little edgier—like someone might pull their hair into a ponytail and expose the undercut."
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Money piece highlights
Remember when Kelly Clarkson won American Idol? Of course you do, it was an iconic moment—and those chunky, face-framing highlights she had at the time came back in a big way this year. Though we're used to seeing the money piece highlight on blondes, this trend complements all hair colors, and Dion says it's going to be huge this fall. "Our blondes are going to be really blonde, so that money piece in the front will be key," she shares.
Much like butterfly locs, we saw the return of box braids in a big way over the past year, but expect to see them even more as people start DIYing the look themselves and getting creative with length and color. Braids of all kinds have always been a go-to protective style, but knotless box braids take all of the uncomfortable tension braids can sometimes put on your scalp, leading to less breakage and protected edges. They're also versatile: They can be worn in a high ponytail, in an Ariana Grande-style half-up and half-down situation, or you can let them flow free.
Schaudt loves a bright touch-up for natural blondes in the fall and says that keeping the bright parts closer to the face is the key to accentuating your features. "Keep the face-framing pieces fresh and bright while adding fine lowlights throughout the nape," she explains. "These lowlights will add dimension back into the hair from hair that's been overexposed from the summer sun."
Everyone needs to have a bob at some point in their life. Dinis agrees; in fact, it's his belief that the bob will forever be among the most popular hairstyle choices, no matter the season. "Now, we're seeing it in two lengths: chin-length and at the collarbone," he shares. "For chin-length, it's really short, split in the middle, tucked behind ears." Think Doja Cat—the edges of the bob flipping out in a '60s kind of style. "For a collarbone length, it looks much more blunt. This looks great for people with straighter or wavier hair who don't like the look of layering."
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