L: @malcolm.marquez R: @weiwesleywei

Future hair trends for 2022

From minimalist y2k silhouettes in LA to radical self-expression in Taichung, we asked four experts for their insights.

by Frankie Dunn
08 March 2022, 10:10am

L: @malcolm.marquez R: @weiwesleywei

Fashion week is almost over, and looking back across the last month, it seems AW22 brought with it a generally muted, natural hair mood save for a pop of colour here and there. In Milan, peachy slicked-backed looks were sported by i-D cover stars Kendall and Hunter Schafer. Similarly neat, wet-look moments played out across Ambush and MM6. But while, sure, scanning the shows is a good indication of what’s to come in the mainstream, we want to know what’s going on across the rest of the world.   

To get a clear picture of the near future, we called on four hair experts and salon owners from across the globe to fill us in on the trends they’re seeing take off in their cities. Naturally, there’s still a lot of playful colour going on, but things have very much moved on from the wolf cuts of 2021. Read on for insights from LA, Barcelona, Bombay, Taichung, and Shanghai — and learn how to get the looks at home.

Malcolm Marquez, Los Angeles, USA

Who remembers Barbie Ferreira's Met Gala ringlets? RiRi's elevated mullet in the latest Savage x Fenty campaign? Every iconic hair look Kelsey Lu has rocked in the past five years? The point we’re trying to make is that you’re probably already a fan of Malcolm Marquez’s work. Raised in Arizona and now based in LA, the hair artist began his journey in high school, just for fun, but quickly saw his hobby blossom into a career. Today, when he’s not turning hair into wearable art or crafting theatrical, headline-worthy creations for magazine covers, he’s working backstage at the runway shows that so inspired him as a teen. “Art, fashion and culture inform all of my work,” he tells us. “I find inspiration throughout history, and find ways to infuse futurism into what we already know. My goal as a hairstylist is to make people feel inspired and like the most realised versions of themselves.” 

What hair trends are you predicting for the rest of 2022? 
90s- and early 2000s-inspired silhouettes are going to keep going strong. For a more modest client, the 90s gave us some strong minimal silhouettes that will never go out of style and were universally flattering: one length, face-framing layers, etc. On the flip side, the updos from the same time were more playful but still had an ease to them. The haircuts may have been simple but people really showed personality in their updos.  

And do you think those y2k updos are an LA-centric trend?
LA definitely has the y2k vibe going strong. The city is playful and adventurous in spirit and you see it reflected in beauty trends. You may see more 90s minimalism on the west side, but you’ll easily catch the twisty flipped updos on Melrose or downtown. 

Where do you think the inspiration behind this trend comes from?
The kids! I think the TikTok gen is rediscovering a lot of trends that they were too young to take part in. The 90s shapes are just so classic — I think collectively we’re happy to revisit most of them. Like fashion, beauty trends in cycles, so it’s not surprising that the revival of y2k/90s fashion carried beauty with it. 

Got any tips for people hoping to recreate the trend themselves? 
Go for it! I think the beauty of the era was the ease and simplicity. Partings weren’t perfect, and loose ends became part of the look. All you really need is a few hair ties and some bobby pins to create a fun shape that’s all your own. I also always recommend a haircut as a strong base, but maybe don’t do that part yourself!

Sonam Solanki, Barcelona, Spain + Bombay, India

Born and raised in northern India, Sonam Solanki moved to Bombay at 18 to study at a leading hair academy and ultimately work for Bblunt’s film division, collaborating with upcoming Bollywood stars and models. “That was the seed of everything and crucial in developing my career,” she says. Ever keen to learn, a few years later she relocated to the UK to study wig-making, putting her new skills to the test across a series of theatre jobs and a show by the renowned art director Tim Yip. Now living in Barcelona, Sonam travels between Spain and India for work — mostly commercials, film and editorial – and recently set up a studio.

What hair trends are you predicting for the rest of 2022? 
Braids are coming back, as is keeping a natural crimped texture. With the pandemic, I’ve seen more people with longer hair approaching a more natural style by going to bed with braids to have a natural crimped look. I also see more men growing their hair longer — nobody can say that having long hair is feminine anymore. Centre partings are back too, along with really short, sharp bobs. Fashion has started using wigs more than ever and I’m really enjoying bringing wigs and hair pieces into my work. I’ve actually started using a lot of wigs for my editorial work on natural objects — for me it's just not about bringing beauty through hair, but also the shapes and unusual placements. As soon as you put hair where it’s not supposed to be, it brings character.

And do you think these are trends specific to Barcelona and Bombay?
I come from a very traditional country where hair is not just considered an element of beauty but also has a spiritual story to it. Most of the people you see in the street — no matter their status, rich or poor — their hair is always kept well-combed using oils for shine, or in braids accessorised with real flowers. It's just something I feel has nothing to do with one city or place: each city has its own lifestyle, and at this point, people are embracing their hair culture but modifying and wearing it in their own way.

Where do you think the inspiration behind fashion embracing wigs comes from?
Take theatres, for example, where wigs were used to create anything from a simple style to something avant garde in order to build a character. These days, fashion is also embracing this.

Got any tips for people hoping to recreate the trend themselves? 
My only advice to people is that the beauty of hair is that it grows back. Stay open minded with hair trends — you don’t have to go for looks from runways, it could be something that you liked from old photos of your grandma or your grandpa instead. Basically recreate yourself as much as you can. Thats all.

OOO-ing Studio, Taichung, Taiwan

Somewhere in the Nantun district of Taichung, OOO-ing Studio is on a mission to turn everybody’s hair various shades of rainbow. Founded by hair stylist May Wang and her art director partner Light Liou three years ago, the pair welcomed their friend Wesley Wei on board and the rest is history. Nothing to do with being out of office, the salon was named with the intention of those three OOOs acting as a placeholder for the names of their clients, “since Chinese names usually have three characters,” the trio explain. ‘Ing’, of course, means force or power, which is what the studio provides in the form of bold new looks. “We believe everyone should be themselves,” they proclaim.

What hair trends are you three predicting for the rest of 2022? 
We believe that in the new era of internet information explosion, the popularity of trends from almost all eras can be easily combined and derived from, and at a very fast speed. Therefore, we believe that the uniqueness of different “vibes” or personal charm will be the trend this year. The vision displayed by hairstyles is no longer limited to a certain style or even a mix between styles.

Is this extreme self-expression something you’re noticing in Taiwan especially?
We believe it will be the trend worldwide but feel that Taiwanese society has become more inclusive and diverse in recent years, which makes young people more courageous to express their ideas and themselves. 

Got any tips for people hoping to embrace the rainbow hair trend themselves? 
Everyone is unique. You don't need to look for an existing style that suits you — we all have our own style, so it’s more about creating and designing. At OOO-ing, we always give ourselves a chance to try and change.

Issac Yu, Shanghai, China 

“It doesn't have to be perfect,” reads Issac Yu’s Instagram bio. “It's organised chaos.” A motto to live by and, if the Shanghai-based hair stylist’s portfolio is anything to go by, to work by too. There are multi-coloured tiger stripes, neon pink fringes contrasting with dark natural hair, messy floor-length extensions. When he’s not busy on set, Issac is at the helm of Salsa Hair, a professional hair team for which he is a creative director with a preference for a “natural and freewheeling style”.

What hair trends are you predicting for the rest of 2022? 
Crazy colours will dominate. It has been such a delight for me to see the trend getting even more and more iridescent. I’ve fashioned many a look for my friends. It’s cheerful, it’s optimistic: colour is what we need to reflect on the past and to welcome the future.

And you’re noticing bright hair colours in Shanghai right now?
Yes. Genetically, it takes much more effort to colour Asian hair, since our hair needs to be bleached more first, which has [previously] stopped many people from doing so. However, with the rising trend of colourful and radiant hair in social media, Chinese girls have been enticed to follow it — this will only get crazier and more playful. It comes from the diversity of culture and fashion that naturally generates ideas. Just go check the amazing Loewe SS22 show! Additionally, icons such as Billie Eilish with colourful hair always play a major role in changing the game and inspiring followers to be as creative as them.

Got any tips for people hoping to embrace the rainbow hair trend themselves? 

Feel free to try anything you want, and you will be next tastemaker or trendsetter.

Follow i-D on Instagram and TikTok for more beauty.