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Embracing Dopamine Glam Might Be the Mood Boost You Need

Formulaic, cookie-cutter looks will always be popular. After all, there’s a reason why “The Rachel” has withstood the test of time. Tried-and-true hairstyles don’t require reinventing the wheel, tend to have universal appeal, and feel approachable. They’re like the comfy, worn-in gray sweatshirt you always go back to. But after a decade of minimalist trends and pared-back pandemic routines (with plenty of WFH sweatsuits to boot), it’s clear that people are itching to break out of their routines and move towards the experimental. Enter: Dopamine glam.

(Image Source: Getty / Axelle / Bauer-Griffin)

About the Expert

Shelley Gregory is a Las Vegas-based hairstylist and colorist.

Cherilyn Farris is a celebrity hairstylist out of Los Angeles.

What Is Dopamine Glam?

Coined by Sir John, celeb makeup artist and frequent Beyoncé collaborator, “dopamine glam” is embracing color and individuality through beauty for the warm and fuzzy feels, a.k.a. hits of dopamine. Now, this trend is popping up in salons and social feeds everywhere.

“Dopamine glam is the perfect pick-me-up to help us take a little escape from all the negativity in the world. We can create this escape through beauty and dressing in bright, happy colors and fun, satisfying hairstyles,” says Las Vegas-based hairstylist and colorist Shelley Gregory, whose takes on rainbow hair will have you booking an appointment ASAP. And while using hair as a means to influence emotion isn’t new, the resurgence of nostalgic hairstyles and whimsical touches hint that the desire to seek joy is on a collective level, rather than an individual. “There is something especially fun about seeing and doing hairstyles like the ones you grew up seeing. Spiky buns and intricate updos are back,” adds Los Angeles hairstylist Cherilyn Farris.

We get that not everyone is looking to make a permanent change on a whim. Luckily, there are plenty of options to explore dopamine glam’s movement of self-expression-as-self-care without a total hair overhaul. “Pops of color around the hairline or bright vivids are so expressive but with a lower commitment,” explains Farris. Gregory also offers an alternative: “It can include accessories, such as a claw clip, glued-on subtle pearls or rhinestones that catch the light, or even a ribbon braided in.” (And for the record, we highly recommend getting your hands on a hair blinger.) Ultimately, the goal of dopamine glam is adding joy to your every day, so the degree to which you do that is totally up to you.

Dopamine Glam Hairstyles to Try

Need a little inspiration? These are the dopamine-spiking hairstyles we’ve been bookmarking—from simple embellishments to full-blown color.

Red Hot Tips

Los Angeles colorist Daniel Moon takes the dip dye effect to the next level with these molten lava ombré ends.

Technicolor Highlights

Leave it to Kacey Musgraves to give us a space cowboy-approved style. The neon rainbow streaks from wig whisperer Giovanni Delgado provide a flashy contrast against Musgraves’ naturally deep brunette hue.

Blingy Baby Braids

Euphoria gave beauty enthusiasts everywhere permission to return to rhinestones. Try sticking these flourishes onto baby braids, like Mane Addicts hairstylist Dina DiPietro, or wherever you want a touch of sparkle.

All-Over Ombré

This cropped bob length and vibrant pink-to-fuchsia blend is worth a save. Plus, we can only imagine how beautiful the fade will turn out.

Y2K Spikes

Whether you’re a first-timer or were old enough to live the trend, spiky updos are back and cuter than ever—and proving that volume can be just as dramatic as color.

XXL Length

Tessa Thompson is no stranger to thinking outside the box when it comes to hair. (Anyone else remember her braided cowboy hat?) Now, her mermaid-length braids are here to make long hair dreams come true.

Neon Money Pieces

Can neon green be considered a neutral? We think yes. From colorist Sarah Kim, this front-facing pop of color shines on its own and complements just about everything under the sun.

Artful Edges

Proof that you don’t need to go all out to make a big statement. Alicia Keys’ swirly baby hairs are an elegant companion piece to the braided bun up top.

Ready to try going bright? Learn how to preserve your bold new color HERE.

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