Nothing bids adieu to another unusual year quite like celebrating the best and brightest in all things hair with our Mane Addicts Awards 2021. Here at the Mane Addicts HQ, we’re constantly sourcing out the most talented, up-and-coming artists, the newest styling and color techniques, and testing out Tik Tok trends and shampoos aplenty, all for the sake of serving up the best in class in hair, just for you.
Our entire team– including seasoned experts, industry veterans, and our in-house editorial staff– weighed in on the below 25 categories to compile the best of the best in all things hair. From new launches to old favorites, drugstore finds and splurge-worthy must haves, our comprehensive list sheds light on the real stars of the year.
Read on to see who and what snagged a spot in our annual Mane Addicts Awards 2021.
Best Stylist-Owned Hair Brand: Vernon François
Vernon François is a British-born, Los Angeles-based, celebrity hairstylist, educator, and founder of his namesake line Vernon François. Known for styling up the tresses of some of your favorite tastemakers like Amandla Stenberg and Willow Smith, Vernon has garnered quite the A-list client list, making him an obvious choice for our Mane Master feature earlier this year. But what really sets him apart? His cult-favorite line of hair products that really has an offering for everyone. Whether your hair is heat damaged, dry, wavy or kinky–there’s a product for you in his line, which you can currently shop at VernonFrancois.com.
Most Influential Hairstylist of 2021: Lacy Redway
Lacy Redway has had one hell of a year. The hairstylist and braid artist put her fingers to work in 2021, creating the most masterful hairstyles featured on the covers of V Magazine, W Magazine, Elle, Vogue, and even New York Magazine. Her artistry knows no bounds, as evidenced by her work with the likes of Hunter Schafer, Tessa Thompson, Zazie Beetz, Simone Biles, Sadie Sink, and many other celebrities—showcasing the beauty of every hair texture on red carpets and magazine covers. More than her career achievements and stunning hairstyles, we continue to be inspired by Lacy’s constant push for greater inclusivity in the hair and beauty industry. She is singlehandedly reshaping the future of hair. It’s about time we all stepped up to support her.
via Lacy Redway
Most Influential Hair Colorist of 2021: Jenna Perry
If hot girl hair is your thing, then you need to book an appointment with Jenna Perry, stat. That is, if you can get in between all of her superstar clients like Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajowski and Jennifer Lawrence. The NY-based colorist has her own salon, Jenna Perry Studio, and has made sexy hair… specifically #hotgirlhair her signature.
via Jenna Perry Instagram
Best Extensionist: Priscilla Valles
It’s no secret that Priscilla is the person to go to in Hollywood to achieve a dream mane. Priscilla works on the creme de la creme, thanks to her brilliant ability to seamlessly blend extensions. In fact, this is Priscilla’s second win for our extensionist of the year and it’s easy to see why. Chances are if there is a celebrities’ mane you’re coveting, it’s thanks to the handwork of Priscilla herself.
via Priscilla Valles Instagram
Best BFF Hair and Makeup Duo: Jen Atkin and Mary Phillips
You know if the call sheet has Jen Atkin and Mary Phillips slated for glam, you’re probably on set with one of Hollywood’s biggest “It” girls… because Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber pretty much have these two on speed dial. Jen Atkin and Mary Phillips are easily the most well known artists in their respective fields for good reason, and the obvious choice for BFF hair and makeup duo this year. Not only do these two turn out some of today’s most iconic looks, they set the trends while still managing to keep glam timeless. As if their work doesn’t already speak for itself, they also are so kind, positive and fun to be around.
via Jen Atkin
Follow: @jenatkinhair @maryphillips
Best Clean Hair Brand: Vegamour
Best Drugstore Brand: Kristin Ess
It’s safe to say that Kristin Ess totally upped the anti on drugstore hair products. Her eponymous line, which is available at Target, is comprised of standout formulas, stunning packaging and more recently, hot tools and accessories galore. Not only is her entire line affordable (washing and conditioning products average about $20), it looks super stylish perched in your shower. If you haven’t tried anything yet, we recommend picking up The One Shampoo and Conditioner on your next Target run.
via Kristin Ess
Breakout Hair Brand of 2021: Pattern Beauty
Celebrity brands pop up each day these days, but only a few of them really stand out. One such brand that really caught our eye this year was Pattern Beauty, launched by Tracee Ellis Ross. Her uber inclusive line is your new go-to line for all things curls and beyond. We love the distinctive yellow and black packaging, powerhouse formulas and affordable pricing.
via Pattern Beauty
Best Curls Brand: Curls Dynasty
CEO and founder of Curls Dynasty, Nickie Nou, set out to create a brand that “empowers women with textured hair to experience and embrace hair freedom.” She nailed it. Curls Dynasty provides those who are transitioning from relaxed to natural styles all the products they need to make the transformation a breeze. Whether you’re looking to tackle dryness or define curls, this brand makes it achievable. Say buh-bye to hair woes once and for all!
via Curls Dynasty
Best Natural Texture Hair Brands: Bread Beauty Supply
If you’re looking for the basics for not-so-basic hair… Bread Beauty Supply has you covered. Bread Beauty specializes in all things texture, ranging from curls and fuzz, to frizzy bits and bantu – there’s surely a product in this stellar line-up with your name on it. The brand launched in 2020 and has since has expanded their distribution to the mecca of all things beauty, Sephora. Don’t sleep on the Wash Day Essentials kit and the creamy deep conditioner, they’re two of our faves!
Best Shampoo: Monpure Strengthening Silk Shampoo
Do you want the softest, strongest strands of your life? One wash with the Monpure Strengthening Silk Shampoo and your wish will be granted. Formulated with a hydrating and strengthening blend of aloe vera, vegan silk peptides, and keratin, it gently cleanses your scalp and strands while also leaving you with plenty of body and movement after your wash. The revolutionary vegan silk peptides operate as a sort of second skin for your scalp and hair to effectively protect them from pollution, irritants, and bacteria. Not many shampoos can boast that.
Best Conditioner: Pureology Smooth Perfection Conditioner
This creamy formula smoothes hair for a soft, frizz-free finish. The ZeroSulfate®, 100% vegan formula smells delicious and restores vibrancy for color treated hair.
Best Scalp Scrub: Briogeo
We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again–Briogeo makes a killer scalp scrub! The Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo has been favorite at the Mane HQ for years, so it’s no surprise that Briogeo snagged our fave scalp scrub this year. The multi-hyphenate scrub has a more serum-like texture which super fine exfoliating particles, allowing you to scrub the scalp while simultaneously shampooing your strands. The result? A minty fresh finish.
Best Leave-In Conditioner: Ouai x Byredo Leave-In
For silky hair that legit smells like a dream, look no further than Ouai’s epic collaboration with Byredo. Ouai’s Leave-in Conditioner was already a Mane Addicts HQ favorite, but add in the touch of Byredo’s iconic mojave ghost – a woody composition inspired by the soulful beauty of the mojave desert – and the product is truly a home run. It’s limited edition, so walk don’t run to grab yours before it’s gone.
Best Hair Mask: Gisou Honey Infused Hair Mask
Nothing is sweeter than a honey-infused hair masque, right? This deliciously scented Gisou hair mask is as hydrating as it is bursting with scents of honey from the Mirsalehi bee garden in the Netherlands. It’s super moisturizing, keeps hair silky without weighing it down, and smells like a total dream. Needless to say, it’s our top pick right now.
Best Dry Shampoo: Hairstory
We’ll admit, we were skeptical about trying this talc-free and aerosol-free dry shampoo powder. But the second we splashed it on our scalp, we fell head over heels in love with the Hairstory product. The translucent powder absorbs oil instantly and seamlessly blends into every hair color, even the darkest shades won’t experience any white residue. What we really love is that it works for all hair types and textures. From fine hair to natural braids, everyone can benefit from this dry shampoo.
Best Hair Oil: Prose
There’s nothing quite like a product that’s made specifically for you. When it comes to hair oils, hair type, thickness and even color all play and important factor to which oils will work best for you. Those with heavily color treated hair might want to stay away from oils with lightening and cleansing properties, like coconut oil, while those with super thick and heavy hair can handle even the weightiest of oils. That’s where Prose comes in and why their Custom Prose Hair Oil continues to top our list. It’s build just for you, based on your hair type and ingredient preferences. We know you’ll be as obsessed with yours as we are!
Most Underrated Hair Product: Emi Jay Claw Clips
Just one scroll on your Instagram feed and you’re bound to run into a brightly colored, bedazzled Emi Jay clip. These trendy claws are the staple of Gen Z and millenial cool girls alike, all thanks to their chic designs and sparkly phrases.
Best Drugstore Dry Shampoo: Batiste
Call us dry shampoo obsessed, it’s true! We know our way around a great dry shampoo formula and take extending the period in between shower sessions very seriously. Batiste’s retro-designed can not only stands out on the shelf, it really works! We swoon for their original formula and know you will too at first spritz.
Best Hairspray: Got2B Glued Blasting Freeze Hairspray
Never discount the value of a good hairspray. When it comes to styling up the craziest manes, the right hairspray can take you from the red carpet, the stage and an afterparty without so even a hint of a flyaway. Our team of stylists praise Got2B Glued Blasting Freeze Hairspray for it’s ability to “spike, set and finish” with a hold lasting the whole way to your next shampoo. Perfect to keep your high, snatched pony in place allll night long.
Best Brush: Tangle Teezer
There’s really no tangle that this teaser can’t handle. All jokes aside, we’re die hard fans of the Tangle Teezer, mainly for its simplicity. This is one of those brushes that’s so easy to use, practical in size and really removes even the toughest of tangles.
via Tangle Teezer
Best Hair Dryer: Dyson Copper x Prussian Blue Supersonic Dryer
Our editors all agree that you never really forget your first Dyson. She’s sleek, sexy, makes blow drying a cinch, and basically changed the landscape and aesthetics of the blowdryer forever. These beauties are built to last, and if you’ve been eyeing to snag one for yourself, look no further than the copper and blue iteration that is as stunning as it effective.
Best Curler: Anh x Sultra Curling Wand
When the master of lived in texture decides to co-create a wand, it’s bound to be good! Anh Co Tran–who single handedly all made us want / get a LOB a few years back (don’t lie, we know this photo of Arielle still has a home on your Pinterest board)–is one of the most in demand stylists. If you’re not able to snag a styling sesh with him, look no further than his incredible wand: the Anh x Sultra collection.
Follow: @anhcotran @sultrabeauty
Best Flat Iron: GHD Platinum Styler
Sleek strands are sure to be in your future with this superstar styler! GHD is known for their high performance tools, and the GHD Platinum Styler is no exception. It has predictive technology, which gives you the optimum temperature for styling on every hair type. The brand’s ultra-zone™ technology monitors heat 250x a second to maintain the healthiest temperature without extreme heat damage!
Best Hair Supplement: HUM Red Carpet
Who doesn’t want long, luscious hair? The HUM Red Carpet hair vitamins will get you there. The key with these is to be consistent, with full results including longer hair and nails in four to six weeks. The supplement contains ALA and GLA for hair growth and vitamin E to neutralize free radicals.
Check out last year’s winner’s here!