12 winter hair trends to know before your next appointment

 Winter hair trends shown by Priyanka Chopra, Sienna Miller and Thandiwe Newton.
Winter hair trends shown by Priyanka Chopra, Sienna Miller and Thandiwe Newton.

Looking for some winter hair trends inspiration to take to your next appointment? We’ve saved you precious time scrolling by collating them all in one place, freeing you up for other important cold-weather activities like lighting candles, bulk-buying soup and shopping for cosy knits. 

Hair trends, or really trends of any kind, are a funny thing. Some people are staunchly against them, preferring timeless classics over flash-in-the-pan fads, while others get a buzz from being up to date with the next big thing. “People will often say to me, ‘I don’t really follow trends’, or ask ‘if I’m not into fashion do trends still apply to me?”, explains Zoë Irwin, colouring and styling trend forecaster and Creative Director at John Frieda.  “I think the thing that’s worth noting is that everybody at some point will need to replace their winter coat or buy a jumper for the season, and even if you’re not aware of trends or colour movements, you’re still influenced by them. For example, the camel that’s this season is different to the camel of previous seasons.” Following hair trends doesn’t have to mean going for a dramatic cut like a mixie (an intimidating hybrid between a mullet and a pixie haircut) and can be a subtle, almost imperceptible shift, in your hair like from liquid brunette to jet brunette – but more on that particular trend later.

If you’re thinking of updating your cut, colour or simply trying out a new styling technique, these are the winter hair trends to look out for during 2023 and beyond.

Winter hair trends 2023: The cuts and colours to ask for in the salon, and the styles to try for yourself at home

1. The French bob

Thandiwe Newton
Thandiwe Newton

If a summer’s worth of sunshine has left you with tatty-looking ends and an urge to make a change, then you might be thinking about giving a bob hairstyle a go. There are so many autumn bob trends to choose from, but the French bob is quickly becoming the stand-out star. “The French bob is a timeless classic and a great style for autumn/winter as it works perfectly with a winter wardrobe,” says Emma Vickery, Art Director at Percy & Reed. “Think shoulder-grazing cuts with turtleneck jumpers and high neck pieces. It really helps to elongate the neck and enhance the natural beauty of your bone structure.” It’s also quick and speedy to style – a welcome bonus when it’s still pitch-black outside at 7.30 am. “I love this look with a natural, air-dried texture,” continues Vickery. “An easy tip is to tuck the hair behind the ear when it’s still damp, and it’ll dry with some shape to give you a soft effortless wave at the front. Alternatively, you can blow-dry with a medium-sized barrel brush to pull the ends under for a more polished look.” Effortlessly chic, how very French indeed.

Hershesons Air Dry Spray

RRP: £16

If your hair needs a little persuasion to take on texture when it dries, this is just the thing. Apply to damp hair and leave your
strands to do their own thing.

2. Birkin bangs

Dakota Johnson
Dakota Johnson

Forgive us the Americanism, but In our humble opinion, sometimes a hair trend needs alliteration to make it snappier, and there’s no denying that the US ‘Birkin bangs’ is way more catchy than ‘Birkin fringe’. Inspired by the actress and singer Jane Birkin, it’s all about creating a full fringe with a side helping of volume. It can technically be teamed with every hair length, but (as your hairdresser will likely advise you) it works best with medium hairstyles and longer lengths to create a contrast. “This trend celebrates Jane Birkin’s signature swishy fringe and is the revival of a classic, timeless look that exudes an effortless vibe,” says Alicia Dobson, celebrity stylist and Bellissima Italia ambassador. The secret to Birkin bangs is as much in the styling as it is the cut – this isn’t a fringe that’s been perfectly tamed and rolled under with the help of your best hairdryer brush, but one that’s rough dried with your fingers ruffled through it to give it texture and movement.

Ouai Matte Pomade

RRP: £20

A little of this matte pomade ruffled through your Birkin Bangs will give even the glossiest strands a more relaxed, lived-in feel.

3. The mega crop

Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts

If you have long or mid-length hair and are in the mood to do something quite drastic, allow us to introduce you to what London’s Live True salon is calling the ‘mega chop’. It’s essentially a no-frills haircut that involves one, blunt length – as if someone has cut your hair horizontally across with a big chunky pair of shears in one swoop. “This cut is achieved with no layering, just a sharp crop across the chin,” explains their expert stylist Tyler Moore. “This look works well for anyone, although the more textured your hair, the more styling it will take to create a more sleek look. For curlier hair, there’s an exception with the cut, and we’d recommend trying this with some layering from looking too triangular.” It’s a great cut for making naturally fine hair appear fuller and thicker. But, if your hair is naturally dense, then you might find that it looks a bit bulky.

Arkive The Good Calmer Cushioning Moisture Cream

RRP: £13

A cut like the mega chop really puts the health of your hair on show, so you want it to look its best. Apply this moisturising cream before blow-drying for an ultra-sleek finish.

4. Floating layers

Suki Waterhouse
Suki Waterhouse

You’d be forgiven for thinking that we left layering in the 90s and 00s, as hair that’s all one length has been the go-to for a while now. But, as we know, trends are circular and the resurgence of all things 90s has brought the layers back with it. Floating layers though, are slightly different to the classic choppiness you might traditionally expect. “It’s quite an interesting technique,” says Irwin. “On the middle section you shatter through a layering technique which means that as you move, the top section floats while the length stays still.” It’s a nice way to add interest to an otherwise quite simple long hairstyle and also makes the hair appear fuller while encouraging more natural movement. Anything that enhances our swish-factor is a winner for us.

Living Proof Full Texturising Foam

RRP: £27

This dry texturising foam is great for encouraging extra movement into your floating layers. It's suitable for all hair types, but you'll see the best results on fine hair.

5. Jet brunette

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway

Jet brunette is a brunette so deep that it almost teeters on the edge of black. The key to making it look natural, rather than over-dyed, is in the technique. “The main difficulty with jet brunette is how to wear that amount of depth in the hair without it looking wiggy,” explains Irwin. “What we’ve designed for this at John Frieda is something that is a super dark base at the root, but then goes into something that’s probably half a shade lighter with different dimensions. Different types of colour will give you a heavier pigment or a sheerer colour, so what we’re doing is learning how mixing all of these can be super flattering.” So, instead of asking your hairdresser for an all-over tint, ask them to only use permanent dye at the roots and a combination of toners and glosses on your lengths. “This is really good for brunettes coming from summer into winter who have seen a lot of sun and have lightened ends,” adds Irwin. “What we’re doing is flattening them so they’re not too orange or red, calming the tone down without taking away all the warmth.”

Garnier Good Permanent Hair Colour in Dark Chocolate Brown

RRP: £12

At-home hair dye is almost always a bit messy, but what we like about this is the no-drip formula that makes application easy. It leaves hair super glossy too.

6. Bambi Blonde

Sienna Miller
Sienna Miller

Post-summer, not many of us can pull off very cool blonde tones without golden, sun-kissed skin. “Most people feel quite washed out when they’ve lost their tan and their hair is bright blonde, so we tend to incorporate warmer tones within the colour,” explains pro hair colourist at John Frieda, Nicola Clarke. One way to do this is with what Clarke and Irwin are calling ‘Bambi Blonde’. “The name works really well because with Bambi you’ve got those different flecks,” Clarke continues. “You’ve got a bit of beige, lovely melted gold, a few darker pieces and then those sprinkles of vanilla on top.” Achieving this isn’t a straightforward process, but arguably worth it to create a very soft finish. “I’ve been working with Nicola on a technique where we’re layering colour, so taking slices of fawn and caramel and just above those we’re going a very fine microlight on the top, and then at the end we put a glaze over the whole thing. The process of Bambi Blonde is not like highlights where you’ll have a colour next to your natural colour. You’ve got thicker slices but because they’re all really soft it sort of blends.” This is a great winter hair trend for anyone with dark blonde hair looking for a refresher, or even those with light brunette or mousey tones.

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Prickly Pear Oil

RRP: £50

Any colour process that involves lightening the hair with bleach can lead to damage. Upgrading your conditioner to a nourishing mask will help to counteract any associated dryness.

7. Mushroom brown

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

We’ve had mushroom blonde, and now for mushroom brunette. When you think of brunette hair in autumn and winter, it’s often those very rich, chocolate-toned browns that come to mind. Mushroom brown is the opposite, bringing earthier hues that give the hair a slightly less polished feel, resulting in an overall more relaxed feel.  “For the perfect mushroom brown, ask your hair stylist for a cool-toned brown that’s earthy and sits close to your natural root colour,” advises Stéphane Ferraira, Senior Colourist at Live True. If you’re not keen on all-over brown, don’t worry, as it works well with different dimensions, just like last winter’s chocolate balayage.

The Hair Boss by Lisa Shepherd The Corrector Drops Brunette

RRP: £8.99

These blue drops will prevent unwanted warm tones from creeping into your cool mushroom brown shade. Just add to your shampoo or conditioner.

8. Shades of red

Nicola Coughlan
Nicola Coughlan

Red is a colour traditionally associated with this time of year anyway, so it makes sense to incorporate it into our hair too. “Red has been massively requested by our clients and I can see it will continue into the new year,” says Ami King, Signature Colourist at Gielly Green. “We’ve seen many celebrities rocking the red tones this year including the biggest hair icon Megan Fox and Nicola Coughlan.” Nervous that it’s too big a shade switch-up or that it might suit you? Dip your toe into the trend instead. “Not everyone can wear a block red colour but everyone can introduce a warm injection of tones into their hair, whether it’s just a golden hue toner over your blonde, strawberry blonde lights or a bold mahogany brown all over,” continues King. “Just ask your colourist to warm it up!”

Maria Nila Bright Red Colour Refresh Non-Permanent Colour Masque

RRP: £32.50

Red fades faster than any other colour, so using a pigment-packed mask like this will help keep your shade fresh between salon visits.

9. XL Box Braids

Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee Ellis Ross

Box braids (a braiding style characterised by sectioning the hair into boxes and plaiting down the length of your hair as opposed to flat across the scalp) are a great option if you prefer to wear your hair in a protective style rather than loose. As you’ll know if you’ve had braids before, it can be a long process (snacks are advised) but this season they’re thicker than before, with larger (and therefore less time-consuming) sections. “The bigger the section, the bigger the braid will be,” says Liz Wilson, hair expert and Marketing Manager at Live True. “You can use a gel or pomade to lock in the style and finish off with a styling spray to tame flyaways and make sure the hair lies flat.” For longevity of the style and the health of your hair, make sure that your strands have been freshly trimmed and treated to a deep conditioning treatment before getting box braids of any width.

Cantu Protective Styles Braiding & Twisting Gel

RRP: £8

Harnesses the nourishing properties of castor oil to hydrate the hair and keep your braids slick.

10. Wet look

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

We never thought it would be considered chic to look like you’ve left the house without time to blow-dry your hair, but with celebrities including Margot Robbie, Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Kirby all rocking I’ve-got-out-of-the-shower-like-this strands in recent years, it’s clear we got it wrong. And if the 2024 shows from Miu Miu and Prada were anything to go by, then slicked-back hair will be big news for winter 2023 into the new year too. The problem with trying to achieve this look by simply leaving your hair wet is that one, it will dry throughout the evening, and two, you’re setting yourself up to catch a chill. Instead, it’s best faked with products. “To create a smooth, slicked-back look, use a styling gel or mousse to slick back the hair with a dense boar bristle brush,” says Moore. We’re seeing a shift towards grungier hair rather than the perfectly preened too, so “for something a little bit more tousled, apply a generous amount of gel or wax to your hands and comb through your hair with your fingers, leaving it a bit more undone,” Moore adds.

Pattern Strong Hold Gel

RRP: £25

A firm gel for long-lasting hold, this is a great product for creating a wet, slicked-back look and also works well on flyaways.

11. Waves, waves and more waves

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

More relaxed than a curl and less high-maintenance than poker-straight hair, we’ve been riding the wave of well, the wave, for a while now, and this winter hair trend doesn’t seem to showing any sign of slowing down. In fact, the experts are predicting that beachy waves will come with us to the colder seasons, so don’t put down your best sea salt spray just yet. “Neptune waves, as the name suggests, are all about channelling an ethereal, sea-kissed vibe,” says Dobson. “The style is perfect for those who appreciate the beauty of relaxed, flowing waves with an air of natural elegance.” If you have a long hairstyle, even better, as you can try what’s being referred to as ‘Rapunzel waves’. The key to this, as you’d imagine, is length, and exactly how you create your waves is up to you. “For quick and easy Rapunzel waves, use a mermaid hair crimper, or, for a more natural look, separate the hair into sections and use a large barrel curling iron,” advises Wilson. If you prefer to avoid heat, try a heatless curls technique and use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to tease ringlets into waves once dry.

Bellissima Italia Beach Waves Styler 2 in 1

RRP: £59.99

One of the smartest tools we've seen in a while, the plates can be rotated depending on whether you want to create wide waves or narrow ones.

12. High shine

Priyanka Chopra-Jonas
Priyanka Chopra-Jonas

Switching up the colour of our hair and experimenting with different styling techniques is exciting, but can come at the cost of naturally shiny, healthy hair. If your hair is exhausted and over-processed, you’re not going to get the glossy results we hoped for with any of the other winter hair trends on this list. Nicola Clarke at John Frieda has recently started offering what they’re calling the ‘Radiance Reset’ treatment, which aims to restore the health of your hair. “As colourists, what’s not talked about enough is that when we’re colouring, we’re colouring the quality of the hair that’s in front of us,” says Irwin. “Yes we can add glosses and glazes but to me, this treatment is the equivalent of having a facial. It starts with a complete reset of the hair, so we use products that take out copper and other elements from within the water which will instantly give you a brighter colour before we use a chelating shampoo to remove product build-up. Then we address the scalp, using a scrub and showing the movements to the client. Once we have a clear base, we can work on the strength with different bonding products and moisturising products before finishing with a clear glaze.” An in-salon treatment like this isn’t cheap, but you can replicate part, if not all of the process at home to keep your hair in tip-top, super glossy condition as we move through winter.

Glaze GlaziPlex Bond Repair Mask

RRP: £19.99

This four-minute, bond-repairing mask will go a considerable way towards making hair feel healthier and look shinier.

From jet brunette and Bambi blonde to the mega chop and Rapunzel waves, this season is bringing with it winter hair trends to suit the big-changers and the staying-in-their-comfort-zoners alike. What will you be asking for at your next appointment?