Popsugar December 21, 2021



The Pros Have Spoken: These Are the 6 Hair-Color Trends to Bookmark in 2022


  • There's no better time to switch up your hair color than the start of a new year.
  • The color trends for 2022 include chunky highlights and new twists on red.
  • We asked a handful of pros to share the coolest hair colors to look out for next year.

In the last 18 months, hair color went from boxed hair dye, "banded" roots, and the decidedly unintentional DIY "home-bré" to some semblance of normalcy. Now, with New Year's resolutions on the mind — and yet, still not a damn clue how the impending months will unfold — experts say the biggest color trends you'll see in 2022 will lean one of two ways: either very low-key or kicked up 10 octaves.

"This has been an exhausting and emotional year for everyone, and many people are steering toward a low-maintenance direction," celebrity hairstylist Bianca Hillier said. "In the past, people were more dedicated to visiting the salon and committing to color that requires frequent upkeep for highlights and bases that demand frequent toners. Right now, color that's extremely low-maintenance will be the vibe."

The upside about this approach, she said, is that these easier-to-upkeep hues "tend to have more depth and muted dimension for movement." The downside: it doesn't scratch that itch for a big hair transformation that so many people are experiencing. "For those of us getting restless while stuck at home, we want to see a big change," Hillier said. That's where the next wave of trends comes in: of brighter blonds, streaks of copper, and bold, single-process colors.

No matter which camp you fall under, there are countless hair-color ideas to look forward to in 2022. Ahead, we've asked a handful of pros to break down each and every one (because haven't we all done enough guessing this year?).

2022 Hair-Color Trend: Winter Flannel Highlights

The prettiest tweak on balayage: winter flannel highlights. "This look creates ribbons of color while still maintaining dimension," said Lorena Martinez, colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. "These chunky highlights and money pieces frame the perimeter around the face and look great styled with a round brush for movement. The benefit is that you have a pop of color while still maintaining a high-dimension look."

The best part? This color goes with virtually any haircut you choose. "[It] works well with curtain bangs or face-framing layers and traditional layered haircuts that complement the bold contrast."

If you're looking for a bigger color punch, consider playing with the contrast between your base and highlight: "Ask your colorist for ribbons that pop and to leave a lot of background color to ensure the color stands out. Create this with a traditional balayage where it really showcases each piece rather than the overly saturated 'balayage' that we commonly see."

2022 Hair-Color Trend: Red Clay

"I have been working a lot with earth tones," colorist Jeremy Tardo told POPSUGAR, adding that the "red clay" color is an earthy "copper with depth." Not only does this shade look stunning the second you walk out of the salon, but it also looks more natural as it fades.

"This look works well for you if you have dark or light hair that you want to change up and brighten," he said. Those with a lighter skin tone should go for strawberry and light copper hues; darker skin tones should opt for auburn and rich copper shades.

If you want something slightly lighter, try a toned-down version of rouge that teeters into copper territory. "Copper-ginger is one of the most attention-grabbing colors out there — just look at model Carmen Solomons," said celebrity colorist and Matrix expert George Papanikolas. "You can't not see her wild and curly copper hair, which shows that copper hair is not just for those who are fair skinned. This tone can be warmed up for golden skin tones or also cooled down to a more auburn copper."

2022 Hair-Color Trend: Buttery Blond

When you hear the word "butter," maybe you think The Great British Bake Off (and you're not wrong). But in 2022, it's also forecasted to be a huge hair-color trend for blondes.

"Soft baby blond is always a mood — something that pops but can be mistaken for natural color," Hillier said. "This is a great look for those who have a natural blond base — it's harder to achieve this buttery, creamy type of color on anyone with a natural brunette base. With a natural light canvas to work off of, you are already cutting through several layers of underlying warmth that takes a brunette hours to accomplish. This color grows out nice and easily without much maintenance. You can get away with highlights once or twice a year."

2022 Hair-Color Trend: Glossy Black

Turns out, glossy black is the new black — especially when it comes to hair color. "This sounds easier than it is since most people think of glossy black as one color, but there are actually multiple tones involved to get the right shine and movement without looking inky and solid," Papanikolas said. "Hair color comes in 10 levels, and half of them are in the dark family, ranging from level one, black, to level five, medium brown. Glossy black incorporates all of these."

Hillier agreed and added, "Jet black is a vibe, it's a whole commitment. Cool-tone black gives off an eclectic feel, helping any artist get into the groove. Be sure to specify with your colorist what tone you want the hair to shine in the light to nail it exactly."

The easiest way to achieve this is when coloring your dark roots, Papanikolas said, have your stylist give you a gloss with a sheer, acidic brunette toner. "Maintain this look at home with a green-based shampoo and hair mask to neutralize unwanted red tones in dark hair."

2022 Hair-Color Trend: Reverse Highlights

This is one you've probably seen 10 times over on TikTok, but reverse highlights — or glorified chunky highlights, as some people call them — aren't going anywhere in 2021. "The reverse highlight has been making a grand appearance," Hillier said. "This has been quite the trend, a mix between a super-chunky lowlight and extremely thick highlight. For extreme contrast, this look has even been featuring the darkened bottom half of the hair from the ears down, not the tips."

She added that "this is something from the '90s," so the key to bringing it from 1991 to 2022 is to take it down a notch, weaving in subtle hits of color that look chunky — but natural. If you're digging that bolder contrast, opt for fewer strategic streaks smattered across the head; if you want something subtle, choose a hue closer to your base color.

2022 Hair-Color Trend: Icy Blond

Another blond hair color trend is "alpine ice," as colorist Karissa Schaudt calls it. "This icy shade is achieved by using foilayage or balayage. It keeps minimal dimension at the base with full saturation of blond through the ends. A toner can help achieve this ash blond, along with frequent use of blue shampoo at home. Toning is important so there's minimal damage by overlapping lightener."

No matter which color you choose, Hillier recommended you keep it healthy in between appointments to ensure the least amount of damage. She suggests Olaplex treatments, which features a "patented formula, which allows for the color molecules to latch inside the hair bonds for an antifade-like treatment."