With our favourite Korean celebrities stealing the international spotlight with record-breaking music and bold takes on style this year, we’re looking straight to them to help us stay on top of brand-new hair trends in 2023.
Blackpink’s Jennie might have inspired us with her vibrant orange-copper hair colour mid-last year, but a myriad of stunning ‘dos has emerged since then. This year, there’s so much more to look forward to including shorter ‘dos, creamier hair colours, and messier “just out of bed” hairstyles as spotted on Korean stars like TaeYeon.
We spoke to Creative Director of Superblades Jason Lim, Senior Director Stylist of You Are My Sunshine Issac Ng, and insights platform BEAUTYSTREAMS to find out the best Korean hair trends that’ll be huge in 2023!
We’ve been a long-time witness to K-pop idols flipping their tumbling tresses every time they show off their best moves on stage, but we’re also seeing many Korean stars snip off their locks for a fresh, youthful look. It’s no wonder that Creative Director Jason predicts that long and luscious hair will be making way for shorter ‘dos in 2023!
Just look at Korean artists like TaeYeon, Hyun Ah, and Yubi Lee who have ditched their long hair for above-the-shoulder hairstyles in recent months.
“Not only is short hair easy to manage, but it can also instantly [give] the effect of age reduction,” shared the stylist. It means that you can expect shorter ‘dos to take years off how you look.
Some of the short hairstyles that he anticipates will take centre stage in the year ahead include short hair with airy bangs, high-layered short hair, and clavicle short hair; if you’re looking for ideas, you’re in the right place.
Short hair with airy bangs
Match your short hair with airy bangs “to make the whole look sweeter and lovelier,” said Jason. Unlike thick, blunt bangs that give an edgy, statement style, airy bangs soften your look for an adorable sweetheart fashion.
Short hair with high layers
Compared to a classic blunt bob, this short hairdo features many layers for a top-heavy and bottom-thin effect, like the most recent one seen on TaeYeon from Girls’ Generation.
“Generally, this hairstyle is more suitable for girls with a strong personality or high sense of fashion,” offered Jason. “High layers will give the impression of a relatively high and cold aura.”
Since the layers also make the mane look “softer and [more] weightless”, you can also try this hairstyle if you’re hoping to take some heaviness off your thick tresses and embrace a lighter, fresher look this 2023.
Clavicle layered short hair
If you’re torn between sporting longer locks and keeping up with Korean-favoured short hairstyles in 2023, request this collarbone-length ‘do during your next visit to the salon.
This hairstyle is characterised by tresses that touch the shoulders (or, collarbones), so it won’t be too drastic a change for those of you wanting only to dip your toes into a short hair aesthetic.
Even though clavicle (collarbone) haircuts have long been recognised as an “age-defying” hairstyle, they tend to look heavy, emphasised Jason. Therefore, by pairing a shoulder-length ‘do with lots of layers, you’ll lighten the look of the hair, flaunt more “linear” locks, and “change the entire appearance of the head and face shape”.
“It is also very suitable as a general favourite,” he cheered.
Warm milk tea hair
Imagine the creamy colour of your favourite milk tea with a hint of toasty orange, and you’ll get what Jason describes as “warm milk tea hair”. “Milk tea” shades, defined by milky beige undertones, boast a lightness that’s very flattering against Asian skin tones, shared Jason.
He has spotted “warm milk tea hair” on two members of Blackpink: Rosé, who wore a paler, more subtle version of the creamy colour, and Jennie, who made orange-copper hair popular again with a surprising “milk tea” twist.
This must-bleach Korean-style hair colour will require maintenance after you step out of the salon, which is why Jason recommends using a coloured shampoo that matches your new hair and a moisturising hair mask for healthier, fresher-looking strands!
Light line highlights
Bring an elegant twist to single-toned hair colours with light line highlights, which Jason dubs as a to-be hottest highlight style in 2023.
Featuring ultra-slim ribbons of colour that cascade down the mane like the gentle trail of shooting stars, light line highlights are a softer version of the popular balayage. Since the highlights grow out naturally, this style is easily maintained and is suitable for those who don’t dye their hair often, underlined Jason.
It also emphasises the “lines” of the hair, which can make the hair “appear shinier and more voluminous”, he concluded.
Fluttery locks will be taking flight in the year ahead thanks to the butterfly cut that features layers that are flicked away from the face, celebrated Issac.
Also called the “new Rachel” haircut, the ‘do is a tribute to the American sitcom Friends’ Rachel Green’s iconic short and highly-layered locks – only with face-framing curls and longer lengths. This hairdo is “ultra sexy, feminine, and lightweight” and “suitable for most hair textures and lengths” too.
Since there are many layers that twist and curl, the hairstyle also adds movement to your ‘do; that means you get to enjoy a lighter bounce in your hair as you start afresh in 2023.
Wispy cheekbone-length fringe
Curtain bangs have thrived for the longest time, but there’s a new way to wear a long fringe in 2023 and it’s by embracing this gently slanting style, volunteered Issac.
The difference? Curtain bangs are thicker and chopped off at the cheekbones – at a length that clearly distinguishes the fringe from the rest of the hair. However, a wispy cheekbone-length fringe features subtle slanting layers that blend seamlessly with the rest of the hair.
These “grown-out bangs” frame the face without looking too obviously like a fringe, allowing anyone to flaunt this graceful hairstyle with ease.
One great way to wear this haircut is with peekaboo highlights as the colours will help to “enhance the flowing feminine shape” of the fringe.
Messy, textured hair
TikTok has revived the ‘90s looks that we so adored and put a modern twist on them; these include the shaggy wolf cut, octopus cut, and butterfly cut hairstyles. Surprise – because Korean celebrities are also welcoming a comeback of the early 2000 ‘dos and finding many ways to rock a messy, textured style!
Singer-songwriter Hyun Ah is just one Korean star who has switched up her style this season with a “messy hair don’t care” short haircut, which spotlights lots of layers and out-of-place curls.
Issac revealed that this fun “bed head style” looks best with choppy, mid-length hair and long bangs – we think it’s perfect for those who want to boast a cheeky, fun ‘do as a toast to all things good in 2023.
How can you wear this ‘do? The stylist’s pro tip is to use a texture spray after washing your hair, before applying a conditioning powder and using your fingers to tousle through. You can also use a hairdryer diffuser attachment after washing your hair to create this curly, intentionally messy style!
Fruity blonde colours
While milk tea hair colours are characterised by a creamy beige undertone, fruity blonde hues have a pale golden-blonde undertone, which helps to warm and lighten the colour of the hair for a softer, sweeter style.
Issac predicts that fruity blonde hues will thrive throughout 2023, especially since the blonde undertones let you put a sweet twist on any hair colour that you choose.
Instead of vibrant red, for instance, you can opt for a juicy strawberry blonde colour, or, instead of bright sunset orange, you’ll get to wear a soft peach blonde shade.
Reminding us of the ripe strawberries hanging from the vines and plump peaches that are ready to eat, fruity blonde hair colours are surely going to be at the top of our list the next time we visit the salon!
Long feathered hair
Even if you never got on board with TikTok’s shaggy wolf cut style, we think you’ll adore its sweeter, more elegant counterpart: long feathered hair.
“Long feathered hair focuses less on volume and more on a feathery texture to give [the wolf cut] a modern twist,” suggested Issac. We’ll describe it as a mangy wolf cut style but longer – the perfect ‘do for flaunting fluffy, twisting layers in a more everyday-wearable style.
If you’re tempted to go big on hair colours in 2023, don’t forget to also give extra attention to the health of your tresses because the “skinification” of hair is what’s in this year!
“We expect the ‘skinification’ of hair to reach new heights [and to see] a growing number of products at the intersection of skincare and haircare,” said insights platform BEAUTYSTREAMS.
For the uninitiated, the “skinification” of hair refers to more skincare ingredients and textures showing up in our haircare formulas. It also means that haircare will go beyond the basic wash-and-rinse (imagine, a 12-step Korean skincare routine but for your hair) and “the language of haircare becoming like that of skincare”.
“Ingredients usually associated with the skin such as hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, collagen, peptides, AHAs, BHAs, PHAs, and niacinamide are expected to pop up to boost haircare formulations”, elaborated the platform.
Beyond shampoos and conditioners, you can also expect to embrace upgraded haircare formulas that target specific hair and scalp conditions.
“Problem-solving haircare solutions focusing on the overall health of the hair and scalp – like scalp formulas to reduce inflammation or itchiness, hair growth solutions to treat alopecia, and anti-ageing products promoting hair appearance and vitality – will also grow,” BEAUTYSTREAMS explained.
Since healthier hair and scalp will give you shinier, glossier, and smoother strands, you’ll get to enjoy hair that doesn’t just feel good but looks oh-so-gorgeous too.