Cool, cold brew and flannel hair are a thing now—but like, what exactly are they?


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Photo: Unsplash/Dios Darius

When I was actively dating, a big part of my strategy was rooted in my belief that people are always looking to find pieces of themselves reflected in others. And because subtlety has never been my strong suit, I coined and perfected a makeup technique thereafter known as “mirror face.” Basically, I’d use copious amounts of glotions and highlighters to make my complexion so shiny, my potential paramour would literally be able to see his face reflected on mine…and instantly fall in love with me. Ridiculous? Most definitely. A savant ahead of my time? Probably! I was certainly ahead of the curve in one sense: christening a new beauty trend.

Fast forward a few years, and here we are in a time when no inanimate object or frozen drink is off limits for beauty forecasters. Starbucks orders? Make it a beauty trend. Flannel shirts? Beauty trend! Oil slicks? For heaven’s sake: Yes, beauty trend. Alongside the ingredient glossary I keep handy to tell my AHAs from my BHAs and my Retin-A from my retinol, I now find myself needing a daily report to keep up with what the heck cold brew and flannel hair are. (Because, apparently, they’re both A Thing.)

If you’re rolling your eyes, I know. Because I basically turned into :face_with_rolling_eyes: when “news” of a trend out of Australia called smelting broke. But after thinking about it quite a bit, it kind of hit me that the rebranding of brown or blonde or red hair to the term-of-the-moment is a good thing.

Beauty gives us the ability to constantly reinvent ourselves. It’s a celebration of the fact that we can in the first place. So despite personal opinions that “cold brew hair” is simply brunette balyage, to some, it’s their chance to try something new and get that confidence boost only a new hairstyle can bring. And that, I can get behind.

So, my friends, we raise a pumpkin spice latte (yep, there’s a hair trend for that) to the fact we’re able to traverse the earth and breathe the air and dye our hair whichever crystal color we find inspiring. Just as soon we figure out what the eff each of these new crazes actually means…

Keep scrolling for a quick guide to falls’ hottest hair trends and how to achieve them at home.

Hair color ideas for fall
Photo: Getty Images/ Westend61

Cold Brew Hair

Brown hair. It’s really just brown hair. If you’re DIY-ing, look for a box that has warm undertones, which, according to my trend report, is what distinguishes this brunette variety from others. If you’re hitting up the salon, you might opt for a variety that uses balyage (AKA hand-painted) techniques to make the tips slightly lighter than the rest of the espresso-colored strands, as if it were being splashed with some alt-milk.

Oil-Slick Hair

Remember the mermaid or unicorn hair that made blondes go all heart-eyes a few years ago? Oil-slick hair is that, but for brunettes. To achieve it (without ruining the oceans), choose a deep base color, then dye specific strands hues of purple, blue, and green that blend in with the dark roots, while creating the optical illusion of an oil slick happening down the hair.

Glass Hair

Whoever came up with glass hair is far cleverer than I. The style of the moment, glass hair doesn’t just refer to hue but to the fact that your hair is so shiny it reflects like glass (told you my mirror face was onto something). Dried-out strands can wreck this look (and fast), so start by treating yourself to a hair glaze or gloss (AKA a shine-boosting treatment) at the salon.

Flannel Hair

This deep red dye mimics the classic boxy print’s MVP color. If images of bad-dye-job lines are coming to mind, fear not: Flannel hair is about the hue over pattern.

If you’re wondering more about hair, this is how to deal with heat damage and these are the supplements for thicker hair.

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