The Best Hair Products That Launched in 2021

American rock singer Tina Turner, wearing a dark crocheted mini-dress, singing while her long dark h...
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Apart from losing our minds in 2021, many of us began to lose our hair, too. Even if it wasn’t due to Covid-19, we do blame the pandemic—and potentially the vaccine—for thinning out our locks (But for the record, who cares? I would much rather have thin hair than question the validity of science and not get vaccinated). There were also the usual, inevitable culprits: heightened levels of stress, anxiety, hormone fluctuations, and pregnancies messed up our hair game.

That said, during a year that called for heightened hair care and awareness, the focus in 2021 was undoubtedly scalp health, calibrating the PH levels of hair, and, as always, finding the most hydrating products to rescue your locks from the effects of coloring and styling tools. To help guide you on your hair repair journey, we tried and evaluated the newest hair launches of 2021. (As a reminder, don’t forget the other key elements that go along with proper hair care: take a break from styling occasionally, apply deeply hydrating masks once a week, get proper nutrition, and decent sleep.) Below, we’ve assembled a list of our favorite releases from this year.

This serum ensures and activates stronger, thicker hair using the power of ashwagandha exosomes, which are 150 times smaller than any other composition on the market. Like many supplements and topicals, all natural formulations can take about 90 days for proper results. During the early stages of the pandemic, this product was a saving grace for Dr. Shino Bay Aguilera’s clients afflicted with thinning hair. “Stress-induced hair dysregulation was running rampant during the first and second waves of Covid-19, and a common concern my patients were vocalizing in our dermatology clinics,” the Florida-based dermatologist says. “Hair loss became a collateral pandemic-related adverse event stemming from fear, distress, and the viral infection itself. When it comes to this cortisol-driven impact on the hair follicles, naturally derived ingredients are crucial to address the underlying root cause of hair loss. Stress adaptogens, such as ashwagandha, help to regulate our internal stress pathways through naturally sourced ingredients. They differ from conventional oral and topical medications that simply target microcirculation, micronutrients, and block DHT only.”

All you need is 10 minutes with Olaplex’s first at-home hair mask to restore strength, shine, and softness to your locks. The salon-favorite brand’s product uses reparative avocado oil, meadowfoam seed, rice bran, and specialized ceramides—and its impact on the environment is minimal, too: it’s a carbon-neutral, non-toxic, vegan, cruelty-free, plathate-free, and paraben-free mask. Famed for transforming the likes of Miley Cyrus, Kristen Dunst, and Nicola Peltz to their best shades of blonde, celebrity hairstylist, Justin Anderson, feels the No. 8 Mask is essential for healthy hair, especially when going lighter. “The Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask is an extremely concentrated mask that intensely moisturizes your hair, giving you a professional-level treatment that’s easy to use at home whenever needed,” he says. :The patented technology makes your hair feel strong and, of course, hydrated—smoothing the hair, giving it body and a ton of shine.”

Over time, the combination of mineral deposits in the water and damage from color and styling tools wreak havoc on the delicate PH levels your hair. This causes strands to appear dull, damaged, and unruly—especially when attempting to style your hair. This past February, Redken launched a new sulfate-free shampoo and conditioning duo to minimize hair’s alkalinity, repair ends, and help retain color long-term. Matt Rez, the prominent L.A. colorist behind the striking highlights of Angelina Jolie, Adele, Kaia Gerber, and Hailey Bieber has been a loyal devotee of the product. “This shampoo and conditioner completes two birds with one stone for me,” he says. “It takes the PH levels down to a healthy level while bonding and maintaining the color. I use it constantly.”

This hydrating, conditioning rinse draws out harsh metals and pollutants to deliver soft, shiny hair. Sunflower Extract is used in the formulation as a gentle magnet, drawing out harsh metals like calcium and iron that have built up over time. Peacholine, the hero ingredient, gives hair protection against free radicals, gently removes pollutants, and helps retain color. Celebrity men’s stylist and cofounder of R+Co, Thom Priano, often relies on this light hair rinse to give his clients a shiny, purified boost. “It’s a brilliant product because it’s a detox for the hair and scalp in one. It draws out pollutants, harsh metals from the hair, and protects against environmental aggressors. Dry, damaged hair will benefit from it because it helps to seal the cuticle and moisturize. I really love it because I live in L.A., where we have a lot of pollution and it really helps to protect your hair while leaving it soft, shiny, and healthy.”

This cleansing shampoo is gentle, yet effectively removes excessive sebum and flakes that build up on the scalp over time. The salt-free composition uses purifying properties of rhassoul clay and the power of hibiscus flower extract to exfoliate without stripping the scalp or your locks. Hair is shinier and less frizzy as a result. Additionally, there is an ecological component: for each bottle sold, Reverie will donate twice as much of the product’s mass to remove plastic in the ocean.

For anyone who works out daily and sweats up a storm, this gentle no-rinse hair wash works beautifully to neutralize the smells from perspiration without having to wash hair the traditional way. The lightweight foam has bright, clean fragrance notes and unlike most dry shampoos that can contain aluminum, this all-natural product not only protects your hair color, it also rebuilds damaged ends with amino acids.

Vegamour’s new sustainable overnight hair mask is a plant-based product using high-grade essential oils to repair the driest of strands with a special vegan iteration of Keratin called Karmatin. Recommended to use once a week overnight for up to ten hours, you can even see improvement after one hour. Marula and ximenia oil work together to hydrate the scalp and locks, and magnolia officinalis bark extract delivers scalp and strand nourishment.

This heat protection spray delivers the softest hair, period. “It’s my go-to to protect the hair before heat styling without weighing the hair down,” says Paris-based hairstylist Eduardo Bravo. It’s the primer of all my haircare foundations.’’ Balmain Hair Couture’s new spray protects hair and gives a beautiful, shiny, and cashmere-soft feel, with vitamin B5 and silk proteins working together to protect hair against temperatures up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, it can be used on either damp or dry hair post-color treatments and before heat styling.

A superb texturizing spray if there ever was one. This lightweight spray supports both polished glam and undone hair looks, leaving behind no filmy excess. The invisible spray is enriched with vitamins B3 and B5 to add a long-lasting shine and retains volume impeccably. All of this—and it still leaves hair still feeling light, while simultaneously full of bounce.

If you’ve got hair with an oily scalp but dry ends, this shampoo will be a game-changer. Results after use produce cleaner hair without any feelings of being over-stripped after washing. The consistency when applied produces less suds, but still works enough to feel and see a difference. Cleaner-feeling hair also means an extra day until your next wash.

Created to address hair loss caused from stress, pregnancy, or hormonal shifts, the new serum by Monpure is formulated with potent pumpkin seed extract, which inhibits 5-alpha reductase, which produces a chemical known as DHT from testosterone and can often cause hair loss. Two additional key ingredients assist with scalp heath—retinol and alpha hydroxy acids—which exfoliate and speed up cell renewal properties. The formulation also contains castor oil, a long-chained fatty acid revered to feed the scalp, increase blood flow, and prevent inflammation of the hair follicle. Two to three drops of this product should be massaged into the scalp daily.