From makeup to skincare, it’s no secret that we frequently look to South Korea for the up-and-coming beauty trends to get some much-needed inspiration. After all, it’s the land where beauty innovations and trend creations are rife, and the Koreans just nail it every time somehow with every trend they champion.
Now, it’s time to ride the Hallyu wave for our crowning glory and check out the top 2021 Korean hair trends. While styling our hair has taken a backseat to a certain degree due to the pandemic, that doesn’t mean you can’t give your tresses a much-needed refresh to take on the brand new year.
From star stylist-approved jelly perm and princess haircut to chunky highlights with a twist, Daily Vanity has rounded up the top seven Korean hair trends that are sure to take off this year. From bold and edgy to effortless and even office-friendly, there’s bound to be something on this list for everyone.
- Korean hair trends in 2021: Colour me (maple) brown
- Korean hair trends in 2021: Back with a bang
- Korean hair trends in 2021: Chunky highlights 2.0
- Korean hair trends in 2021: Ashy hue is here to stay
- Korean hair trends in 2021: Bob and bangs = power couple
- Korean hair trends in 2021: One order of jelly perm, please!
- Korean hair trends in 2021: A royal princess cut
Korean hair trends in 2021: Colour me (maple) brown
For this year’s number one trending hair colour, leading luxury salon Chez Vous took inspiration from major K-pop stars like Lee Dong Wook and Han So Hee when designing its latest hair collection in collaboration with Goldwell.
The result? A copper-cinnamon tint known as Maple Brown that we can foresee to be a huge hit thanks to its high wearability. Incorporating a combination of reverse balayage, face-framing highlights, and ear-highlighting techniques, this neutral to warm hair colour is the perfect, low-maintenance shade to request for this season.
Classy, elegant, and totally office-friendly, the autumn-inspired hue is beautiful enough to feel like real hair colour without looking too typical. The best part? It’s less damaging on your mane since it doesn’t require any severe bleaching to achieve the look!
Korean hair trends in 2021: Back with a bang
Bangs are the perennial style du jour, mainly because of how transformative they are to a person’s appearance – just one snip across your forehead and you’ll get an entirely different vibe altogether, which is why bangs are often requested by those who are looking to refresh their mane.
For the year 2021, the following are the types of bangs that you’ll see more of.
For the ones who aren’t afraid of standing out from the crowd, make like singer-actress Kim Go-eun and go for blunt, horizontal bangs.
With the ends cut straight across your eyebrows, it’s not exactly the easiest to upkeep but you’ll definitely rake in a few more style points for rocking the fashion-forward hairstyle.
Also known as see-through fringe, the popularity of air bangs doesn’t seem to be declining this year. As evidenced by Dr. Romantic 2 actress Lee Sung-kyung, the featherlight bangs cleverly framed her face while looking effortless, undone, and romantic.
Even Blackpink’s Lisa, who previously preferred seriously heavy bangs, showed off some forehead with a girly, see-through fringe. Hey, if it’s good for Lisa, it’s good for the rest of us…
Those who don’t fancy curling their bangs to avoid the “cowlick” finish can opt for these wispy bangs. Best paired with short to medium hair length, the lightly shredded fringe looks ultra-feminine and cool at the same time.
The micro bangs have never been for the faint-hearted, which is why we’d only recommend this edgy look to fashionable individuals with a strong sense of style. Cut somewhere in the middle of your forehead, this hairstyle will get people to zoom in directly on your facial features instead of taking away the attention.
If Kim Go-eun’s version is too fashion-forward for your liking, you can take it down a notch à la actress Han Ye-seul whose bangs are still cut above the brows but look a lot less intimidating.
For those of you who like something romantic and ultra-feminine, the wavy bangs are perfect for you. The light-as-air look features gentle curls on the fringe that soften facial contours and make a noticeable difference in your overall hairstyle.
For those who have not worn a fringe for some time, Luna Kim, senior director at Walking On Sunshine, says that curtain bangs – like the ones on Girl’s Day Hyeri – are the best option.
“Compared to fuller bangs which tend to cause breakouts on the forehead due to perspiration, the curtain fringe is more lightweight and also much easier to grow out, making it highly favourable to those who do not have time to squeeze in a fringe trim,” she explains.
Korean hair trends in 2021: Chunky highlights 2.0
Last year, we witness the return of chunky highlights that were dubbed the Y2K hair as the trend was super popular in the early 2000s. And it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere this year, so expect to see a lot more of chunky highlights in 2021 – but in a more muted fashion as demonstrated by Korean actress Lee Yu-bin.
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a leaf out of crooner Taeyeon’s books and pull off two Korean hair trends in one look. As seen above, she mixes a full horizontal fringe with subtle chunky highlights just peeking through from below her ears.
Korean hair trends in 2021: Ashy hue is here to stay
Ashy hair has been a firm crowd-favourite over the last few years, but you can definitely expect to see this two-toned colour profile on your social media feed more often this year, according to Ted Kim, senior director of LeeKaja Beauty Salon.
The reason? The cool ashy undertones are flattering on Asian skin because they cancel out the yellow and red tones that we genetically have in our dark-coloured hair so that any hair dye that’s applied afterwards will appear more vibrant.
That’s also the reason why many Korean celebs – whether they’re going silver or blonde – tend to go for ashy hair. For Ted, he’s expecting brown shades with an ashy base to be in demand this 2021 as this blushing colour profile gives a sense of airiness.
Korean hair trends in 2021: Bob and bangs = power couple
The hottest hair combo this 2021 has got to be bobs and bangs, as proven by A Korean Odyssey star Lee Se-young. We highly recommend this layered hairstyle to those with thicker hair, as it does a great job in adding shape while retaining the volume.
Korean hair trends in 2021: One order of jelly perm, please!
Blackpink‘s Jisoo recently graced the covers of W Korea’s spring issue, and netizens went crazy over her tight, springy curls.
Turns out, she got the memo for her stylish locks from Korea’s star stylist Cha Hong, who releases a series of specially designed perms annually (sort of like a perm bible, if you will) that become the go-to reference for perm trends all around the country.
After all the loose, beachy waves that we’ve seen on almost every influencer on earth, we say it’s definitely time to bring back those tight curls that would make Diana Ross proud.
This dreamy look can be easily achieved with digital perm, and it’s an easy hairstyle to maintain on your own at home too. You can even brush it out with your fingers when you want looser, more natural waves for a more casual look.
Korean hair trends in 2021: A royal princess cut
A style that was once reserved for Japanese anime and manga, the princess cut has now been brought to life by Korean stars and for some strange reason, we love it!
That’s because it can be super versatile even though it’s one of the boldest hairstyles on this list. Check out Korea’s femme fatale, Hyuna, who simply oozes edgy vibes with her combination of princess cut and micro bangs.
And then there’s Han Ye-seul who jazzed up her standard princess cut with a two-toned hair colour for a totally bold look.
Meanwhile, model Park Sora shows that the princess cut can be equally as flirty and feminine if you give your fringe a few soft bends with a curling wand or flat iron, and pull the rest of your hair back.