Y2K Hair

From ‘fluffy hair’ to ‘bottleneck bangs’ and ‘Y2K spiky buns’, 13 hair trends set to explode in 2022

Celebrity hairstylists break down the need-to-knows for the new year. 

If you take only one thing into 2022, let it be a heavy dollop of inspiration for your next hairstyle. Because, while we love the expensive brunette and shadow root hair trends of 2021, there are fresh and exciting hair opportunities to be found in 2022. Namely, stacked bobs, soft bangs, spiky buns and fluffy 90s-inspired layers – all waiting for us on the horizon. The only thing we need to do is learn how to ask our hairdressers for them. Read on. 

1. Bottleneck bangs

2022 Hair Trends Bottleneck Bangs
Bottleneck bangs seen on actor Margot Robbie.

“Bottleneck bangs are an exceptional technique to frame the face,” explains celebrity hairstylist Tom Smith. “Many people don’t suit a classic ‘fringe’ (the solid horizontal line across the face), but most can wear bottleneck bangs to add softness to the face.

“In essence, this hairstyle takes inspiration from the neck of a bottle; starting slim and short in the middle, curving longer around the eyes, and then longest following the line of the cheekbone. This allows the length and angle to be adjusted depending on whether you want to make your cheekbones appear wider or stronger, or maybe you’d prefer to slim and narrow a wider face, drawing focus to your eyes and lips.

“Bottleneck bangs also soften the face when tying your hair up into a bun or ponytail as you can leave them out to frame the face. You could also leave just the shorter softer fringe pieces or longer face-framing tendrils out, too.”

How to ask for this style 

“To get bottleneck bangs, ask your hairstylist to create longer bangs that skim your cheekbones at an angle that flatters your face, curving around to create a layer that sits somewhere between your cheekbones and jaw. 

“Then ask for the central part to be cut shorter, keeping the cutting line soft and choppy, with the shortest part in the middle and getting longer on the edges.”

2. Fluffy hair

Adele wearing Lanvin
Adele's signature 'fluffy hair' blow dry.

“Gen Zs are calling Adele’s blonde blow-dry style the ‘fluffy hair trend’ and it’ll be even bigger in 2022. The 90s layers are all about bounce and volume and are great for longer and thicker hair, providing fluffy, effortlessly glamour. It’s all about cushioned and airy volume with a soft blended contrast. The fluffier the better. Use your product to smooth and lift, not to weigh down,” says Smith.

How to ask for this style

“The colour you ask your hairdresser for is ‘Nectar Blonde’ which looks luxurious, golden and warm. It’s a cosy and comforting shade that looks expensive and rich. Bright and soft contrast highlights frame the face, giving depth to the style.

“The key here is to lighten the hair’s base colour to a dark golden blonde, adding warm vanilla cream highlights through the layers and to the face frame area.

“Avoid purple shampoo with this colour. Instead, enhance warmth and richness using products with beige and golden tones, such as Evo Fabuloso Beige. This works with the natural yellow undertone of blonde hair helping it to have the richness of nectar rather than the brassiness of yellow. 

“Ask your hairstylist for a beige or golden-blonde base colour with chunkier, hand-painted highlights around the frame of your face. Use Evo Fabuloso Beige as a five-minute conditioning toner when you feel your colour has begun to fade. This colour works best for those with medium to fair natural hair, as very dark bases tend to have more orange undertones to fight against.”

3. Contouring

“With Sarah Jessica Parker back on our screens, the famous Money Piece hair trend is back with a modern twist. In 2022 it will evolve into the ‘Hair Contour’.”

“Instead of clusters of highlights, hair contouring uses a softer-contrast lighter shade, painted around the face in a soft colour block, incorporating all the hair directly around the face including the shorter baby hairs,” explains Smith.

“This is a great technique for those who flip their hair over or push their hair back away from the face as the softer contrast between hair colour and skin tone lifts and brightens the face. 

“It is also reasonably low maintenance because there is less contrast with the colour along the hair part which does tend to look more obvious as it grows out.” 

How to ask for this style

“Ask your hairstylist for a soft contrast panel of colour painted around your hairline that is a shade or two lighter than the rest of your hair colour. It’s widely considered the most flattering hair colour trend ever.”

4. 3D curls

2022 Hair Trends
Voluminous 3D curls seen on actor Tracee Ellis-Ross.

“So many people have discovered (or rediscovered) their true hair texture and are embracing their natural curls thanks to multiple lockdowns. 

“However, natural curls require specific care and can easily feel or look dry or frizzy. ‘3D curls’ are all about embracing the multidimensional beauty of curly hair. 

“Using a strong hold gel or balm to define the curls will initially create a crunchy ‘cast’ but this should be encouraged and left alone until the hair is 100% dry. You then ‘break the cast’ of the curls by gently massaging – never run your fingers through the curls or be tempted to brush them. 

“3D curls look best when they are glossy and shiny so choose products that have a moisturising factor as well as strong holding ability, and consider finishing with a shine spray or gently scrunching through a few drops of shine serum. Remember, curly hair can handle much more product than straight hair types so don’t be afraid to load up the product to give definition and shine. 

How to ask for this style

“Ask your stylist to recommend a strong hold product that will define your curls. Apply a thick layer of it, scrunch and shape your curls and then leave them alone until 100% dry (or use a diffuser attachment on your hair dryer on low speed and high heat. Do not touch your curls with the diffuser or your hands as they dry. Then, massage out the cast once cool and dry.

5. Stacked bobs

2022 Hair Trends
Kerry Washington wears a one-length stacked bob.

“The ‘Stacked Bob’ (sometimes known as a ‘Table-Top Bob’) is a triangular silhouette that works best on textured or curly hair. Cutting a blunt horizontal line that allows the curls to stack up creates a triangular silhouette really shows off the beauty of natural curls as they are shown in contrast with a strong silhouette and a structured shape,” says Smith.

How to ask for this style

“Ask your stylist for a one-length bob that allows your curls to stack out in a blunt horizontal line. This works best with a middle parting but can also work well flipped over for extra volume. It’s the shape and length that defines this trend.”

6. Y2K spiky bun

Y2K Hairstyles – Olivia Rodrigo

“This look screams the 00s,” says Salvatore Ierna, a hairstylist at London salon The Bohemians. “Characterised by a high bun with an ultra-sleek finish, the spiky top knot has gained rapid popularity after being sported by Bella Hadid and Olivia Rodrigo.

How to do this style yourself

“To get the look, begin by parting the hair sharply down the middle from your hairline to your nape, securing it into a neat ponytail with an elastic towards the top of the head. Next, make the sides sleek using either a spoolie or brush covered with hair spray or clear gel to smooth flyaways.

“Then, the lengths of the hair are twisted together and looped around the ponytail, with the ends pinned or tucked through the front of the hair elastic and left loose to fan out around the bun in spikes.

“How the ends are styled comes down to personal preference – some preferring straight spikes, others prefer to curl the ends into tight, springy ringlets. You can also choose to leave some front framing hairs down or tie all hair back like Rodrigo. A quick spritz of hairspray and you’re good to go.”

7. Expensive blondes and coppers

2022 Hair Trends
The expensive blonde colour as seen on Chrishell Stause.

“In 2022, the ‘Expensive Brunette’ trend will evolve into a larger category of expensive blonde and copper too,” explains Smith. 

“The ‘expensive’ element is all about soft contrast and finely woven dimension and so the same rules will apply to lighter and redder hair. With blondes it means colouring the base colour lighter too as well as adding highlights.

“The brunettes that embraced the ‘expensive trend’ will see how far they can push it before getting into ‘blonde’ territory, evolving into softer more caramel versions and enjoying the added lightness. Many people will build on this and evolve into lighter, warmer, toffee, amber and soft light demerara shades.”

8. Y2K straight and sleek

2022 Hair Trends
Singer Dua Lipa goes sleek, straight and centre-parted at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

“The noughties are back with a focus on super straight and sleek tresses, as seen on Dua Lipa, Gigi Hadid, Rita Ora, and Kim Kardashian,” explains celebrity hairstylist and Tangle Teezer ambassador, Liam Curran. “It’s trending thanks to the millennial and Gen Z nostalgic obsession with the era.”

How to get this style

“Brush clean, freshly washed hair to remove all tangles and knots and place your desired parting. This style really suits a super straight centre parting. Apply your favourite blow-dry lotion and use a hairdryer to remove excess water from the hair.

“Once the excess water has been removed, section your hair in 2-3 inch sections (depending on hair thickness), working from the nape of the head upwards towards the crown. Then, starting from the roots, place a large brush, like the Tangle Teezer Easy Dry and Go Large brush, underneath the hair and glide it through to the tips, using the hairdryer nozzle to direct airflow downwards as you dry. 

“Repeat this process until the hair is dry and feeling smooth and silky. Work up towards the crown and use the same method for each side of the head.”

9. Baby braids

“One of the biggest breakthrough hair trends of 2022 has to be ‘baby braids’. It’s a quick and simple face-framing style, loved by celebrities like FKA Twigs, Addison Rae, Bella Hadid and Hailey Beiber,” says Curran. 

“This look suits all hair textures, lengths and styles and can be worn in different ways depending on your preference. They can have a boho 70s feel or more of a ’90s look, drawing from both grunge and street style influencers.”

How to get this style

Start with clean washed hair and brush through any knots or tangles, Curran suggests. A blow-dry can help give this look dimension, too. 

“Then, braid the front sections of your hair to your desired thickness. You can braid the hair from the root or from a few inches below to achieve a more effortless look. 

“Secure the braid with a band or your favourite hair accessory. Alternatively, you can leave the ends bare and loose for an even more relaxed and modern look.”

10. Shag 2.0

Wolf Haircut, Wolf Cut

“The shag-mullet hybrid has had a softer, more polished upgrade for 2022,” says Curran. “This look is more wearable in comparison to the more extreme, shorter-layered looks we’ve seen in 2021.

“Not only is the shag 2.0 softer, but the styling has more bounce, volume and a more polished finish.”

11. The Bixie

Hair Trends 2022: The Bixie
The Bixie is a cross between a bob and a pixie cut.

“The Bixie is more textured than a bob, but not as cropped as a pixie,” explains celebrity hairstylist and Unite ambassador Graham Nation. “It’s messy and free, with less shape and more texture.”

When styling a shorter hairstyle, such as a Bixie, it’s all about creating volume and weightless texture. “The key to this style is a lifting root spray and long-lasting texture spray,” says Nation. “I love to prep the hair with Boosta Volumizing Spray to lift and volumise the roots before blow-drying and then finish with Texturiza Spray for airy texture and fullness.”

12. The shoulder-length bob

“The shoulder-length bob is still coming strong in 2022,” says celebrity hairstylist Ayano Jinnouchi. “I love a shoulder-length bob because it’s not only super cute but there are tons of ways to style the look and it’s easy to manage.”

13. Zigzag partings

“I love this style because it creates a unique and edgy look and can be paired with any simple style,” says Jinnouchi.

“Not only is the style a throwback favourite, but it also has a stamp of approval from celebrities like Bella Hadid and singer song-writer Anitta, who were seen sporting zigzag parts this year.

“The key to achieving this style is creating a sleek, clean part. Parting is everything with the zigzag look,” says Ayano. “I love using the Unite Smooth&Shine Styling Cream to style, and then finish the look with GO365 Hairspray to lay short hair and breakage.”

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Main image: Getty