Make Way For The New Wave Of Summer Hair Makeovers — They're Coming In Hot
It's a familiar cycle at this point: As the weather thaws and social plans commence, hairstylists are up to their ears in bookings. A fresh chop here, a few buttery highlights there—the experts are no strangers to the tidal rush of summer hair transformations. After months of braving the chill and stuffing our poor strands under hats, parkas, and scarves, we hope to gingerly emerge from our winter caves with a brand-new style (and no evidence of dehydration from the previous season).
Summer hair makeovers are not new—they're clockwork! And yet, this year's class feels immensely different: New looks still command the scene and populate our Instagram feeds, but they're charged with a layer of hope, excitement, and a pinch of liberation. Essentially, they feel much more complex than mere warm-weather inspiration.
Make way for the new wave of summer hair transformations: This is a debut we won't soon forget.
Many are itching for a summer reveal, in more ways than one.
As COVID restrictions ease across the country, many are gearing up to reenter their social circles—and they want to do so with an updated look. "A return to life and all the excitement and fun to be had is even more thrilling when you've unveiled something new to your look," says celebrity hairstylist Marcus Francis, brand ambassador for new natural brand Better Natured. Like you're reintroducing a 2.0 version of yourself: stronger, wiser, and emotionally resilient—with a bold hairstyle to match.
Not to mention, the monotony of the last year and a half may have people itching for something—anything!—to express their personalities and switch up what they see in the mirror (or their webcams) every day. "It's a great way to break the boredom we all felt during quarantine and experiment with new and exciting looks," says celebrity hairstylist Annagjid "Kee" Taylor.
That boredom is very much real (some even call it "Zoom fatigue"); although, it makes sense why you might yearn for a noticeable chop, as opposed to, say, a wardrobe overhaul—after all, the screen only captures you from the neck up.
"Hair makes it into the frame," adds New York City–based hairstylist Matt Newman. "If you want to express your style virtually, hair is a great way to incorporate a little signature [look]." Maybe you braved the DIY haircut, learned how to braid your own hair, or experimented with heatless curls to add some flair to your video call—and as our world slowly expands past the four corners of the computer screen, you might be ready to opt for a more dramatic, longer-lasting shift. "We've all just stared at ourselves a little too long, and I think people are ready for a change," says Newman.
With all the fun and excitement a new hairstyle brings, there's also a taking back of control.
It's also not uncommon to crave a brand-new look after a major life event. In fact, psychotherapist Annette Nuñez, M.S., Ph.D., says big makeovers represent big life changes—be it a breakup, a new job, a new baby, etc.
Oftentimes, that urge to start anew is provoked by stress or trauma: "People want to create a new persona for themselves, and they often do it with makeovers, like cutting their hair drastically," she explains. "COVID is a traumatic, highly emotional event, so it has the same motivation." It's like by shearing off inches, you can shed some of the emotional weight associated with said life event—a cathartic release as each strand floats to the floor.
And after such a challenging, uncertain time period, even something as small as a new hair hue can help you cultivate a sense of control over your life. "We love immediate reinforcement," Nuñez adds, and a fresh hairstyle is a relatively easy, tangible way to take back ownership. Taylor seconds the sentiment: "It can feel incredibly empowering to have control over what you do with your hair," she says.
To circle back to the oft-mentioned breakup makeover: Once you decide to separate from a long-term partner (especially someone who perpetually drags you down), you may elect a new hairstyle and flaunt it like an emblem of your regained independence. In the case of COVID, you could say we're (finally) ending our relationship with the past year and a half—and we want the breakup haircut to show for it.
The bottom line? The summer hair makeover takes on a whole new meaning.
The urge to refresh your hair when warm weather rolls around is not a new one—but it is buzzing with a different energy. Not only are we long overdue for a summer debut but there's also a sense of control and relief associated with the style change.
That's not to say you must opt for a big chop, fantasy color, or chunky highlights (which are back and better than ever; don't come for me). For some, a summer makeover might not entail some huge metamorphosis: Maybe it's a few '70s-inspired layers or root retouch. Or maybe you've stowed the hot tools, coddled your hair back to health, and want to show off your thriving, shiny locks.
"We want to see ourselves evolving," says Francis. "Even if the change isn't drastic, like adding more layers, the day-to-day styling will be slightly different." No matter the makeover: If it's new to you, it's a big deal!
"Use [the makeover] as a chance to take care of yourself and treat your creative side," adds Newman. And if you're teetering at the edge of the hairstyling waters, afraid to dive? Take it from Newman, and take the plunge: "It's so fun to make your hair an accessory, not just this thing that grows out of your head."
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