It’s easy to forget, but trust us when we say that hair trends have come on leaps and bounds in the last 15 or so years. Nowadays, more often than not, we know exactly what we want when we sit down in the salon chair. Whether it be hand-painted balayage, rogue blonde, or a glass bob, we’re more clued up on the intricacies of hair techniques than ever before. But let us not forget where this all started. Cast your minds back to when every salon appointment started with you handing over a picture of a celeb torn out of a magazine. Soon enough, we picked up on new terms—things like "inverted bob" (VB, you owe us for the cold necks we suffered), "babylights," and, perhaps the most frequently uttered words in salons throughout the ’90s and early noughties, "feathered ends."
Yes, hair feathering was the thing to be seen asking for. Looking at your reflection critically in the mirror and asking your stylist for “just a little more feathering around the face, please” showed not only that you knew what was chic, but also that you knew exactly what you were talking about.
The concept of feathered hair is simple. It involves the stylist chopping into the ends to reduce bulk and make hair look layered, softer, and feather-like. Do you want to know the crazy thing? It’s kind of back. Only this time around, feathered hair is cooler and more undone. Paul Edmonds, award-winning hairstylist and founder of Paul Edmonds London says, “Feathered hairstyles have become less finished and more undone, with waves and texture to make hair look air-dried. Because there’s been less ability to go to salons, it’s natural that this undone look will become more prominent going into 2021.” And we never thought we’d say it, but we’re officially back in love with feathered hair.
Not yet convinced? Keep scrolling for all of the super-chic, very cool feathered hair inspiration you need for 2021 and beyond.
We're getting major Jen An vibes with these sun-kissed, choppy lengths, and we're not mad about it.
Proving that feathering looks just as great on curly strands as it does on straight ones, Joan Smalls's choppy ends look soft and oh so pretty.
Helena's feathered shag style is reminiscent of Farrah Fawcett's iconic 'do and is perfect for thicker styles.
This soft, feathery pixie cut proves that feathering looks great on just about every length.
Embracing a wispy, feathery fringe like Jourdan's is the perfect way to soften up your style. Plus, any grow-out will be less obvious and can be parted easily for a laid-back, no-fuss finish.
Curl your face-shaping feathering under (either with a round brush or hair straighteners) for a bouncy, glam look like Selena's.
We couldn't be more in love with this swept-back blonde look if we tried. The way the feathered fringe blends with the rest of the hair is totally dreamy.
Shay Mitchell's chunky caramel highlights and super-feathered ends are the perfect example of how to make ’90s trends work for 2021.
This sleek, straight look perfectly demonstrates how subtle feathering can instantly update a style.
Flick feathered ends out for a super-chic, retro look like Emma Chamberlain's.
Keep things subtle and simple by leaving strands long and incorporating slight layered feathering at the front only.
Cropped hair suits feathering just as much as longer styles. Keeping a natural wave gives an updated edge that we can't get enough of.
Duckie's soft, feathery fringe is chopped in around the face too for a chic, wispy finish.
Keep strands healthy, glossy, and full of volume by using regular conditioning treatments and oils, as chopping into ends has the potential to weaken the hair and be drying.
On first look, this curly style might not seem particularly feathered, but look closer and you will see varying lengths in the ends to keep things soft and light.
Incorporating feathering into a bob is the perfect way to make the usually high-maintenance cut a breeze to deal with.
This feathered fringe creates a sort of soft shag style that we predict will be huge next year.
Blending feathering with blonde, sun-kissed balayage colour creates the ultimate beauty look. Blast some texturing spray into ends to amp things up.
The feather-light shaping and layering in this style creates added volume and shape, and the feathering around the face ties everything together perfectly.
J Lo's super-feathered, wavy look is topped off with the curtain fringe of dreams.
Shop Styling Products for Feathered Hair
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue (£41)
This rich oil will help to protect thinner ends against dryness and breakage.
Kérastase Extentioniste Thermique (£19)
Cutting into ends with feathering can increase the risk of damage, so protect lengths with this heat protectant treatment cream.
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil (£26)
This repairing oil will help keep strands looking strong, sleek, and healthy.
Shu Uemura the Art of Styling Uzu Cotton Wave Defining Cream (£24)
Run this cream through strands to give feathered ends amped-up definition.
Sisley Paris Hair Rituel Regenerating Hair Mask With Four Botanical Oils (£58)
Keep fragile hair strong and healthy with this regenerating hair mask.
Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil (£17)
For dry, coarse, or coily hair, this moisturising oil is the perfect way to prevent breakage, split ends, and brittleness.
Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Treatment Oil + (£20)
Amp up shine with this treatment oil for a super-sleek, glossy finish.
Ouai Hair Oil (£24)
Run this divine-smelling hair oil through ends to nourish, condition, and define.
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Soft Texture Finishing Spray (£19)
Give your feathered look some soft texture without causing any dryness with this oil-infused spray.
We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir (£30)
Smooth flyaways and add strength, shine, and bounce with this super-eco hair oil.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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