The 90s have come and gone but we’ve still got a little nostalgia for some of the hairstyles that were way cool back in the day. Some are inspired by popular actresses and pop music starlets—others we’ve seen on our old favorite TV shows. From pin straight styles to the beach wave craze, hairstyles are a fun way of expressing ourselves. A new 'do can be the ultimate accessory to our OOTD and a way of transforming our look from every day to ‘oh heyyy!’
Like makeup or fashion, hair care is a big part of getting ready each day. From the shampoo and conditioner we use to the hair tools we buy, it's something that reflects how well we take care of ourselves and a big contributor to how presentable we look. Most women find a style that works for them and stick to it, but it can be fun to have a few secondary styles to add into the rotation for weekends and special events.
Magazines at the hair salon or photos on social media may highlight what's new, but seeking inspiration from some of our old-school faves is a great way to find a tried-and-true look that flatters you. Who knows, you may even influence hairstyle trends for women of 2050!
20 Bring It Back: Hair Glam
As seen in In Style, hair jewels were all about giving your hair some bling-bling. These could usually be found at the mall in kiosks or stores like Afterthoughts and Claire’s. While they were especially popular for proms or formals, some girls rocked them on random days when they wanted a little extra sparkle.
It would be great to see these as a comeback, but with a bit of variation in the jewels like rose gold, birthstones, or pearls.
Since women are still very much into embellishing with body jewelry, it seems like it won’t be long before bling for our hair is back in style. Get ready to sparkle!
19 Stay Put: Fly Away Little Butterfly
Butterfly hair clips are basically the culmination of nostalgic hair accessories and were made popular by 90s stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lizzie McGuire. According to Newscult, butterfly clips are set to make a comeback- but proceed with caution: "Words like ‘tacky’, have been thrown out there when discussing the comeback of this 90’s style hair accessory. It all comes down to how you wear something, and in this case, if you wear the item in excess it will look tacky."
A few tips for those looking to recreate this look: don't overdo it, keep clips small, and try colors that coordinate the rest of your look.
18 Bring It Back: Bands For Your Strands
Skinny headbands (featured in In Style) were great for about an hour or so, but then they got too tight behind the ears and would be uncomfortable to wear, left in a backpack or purse for another day. They came in fun bedazzled shades but also stretchy hair-type material so that you could wear your hair in a ponytail and a headband at the same time—still questionable if that looked good.
With athleisure on the rise, skinny headbands are bound to make a comeback and maybe be a bit more sports-focused.
With the skinny headband trend, fitness girls don’t worry about their hair in the face while they're doing jump squats! Skinny headbands with cat ears are trending at Forever 21 as well.
17 Stay Put: Highlight Frights
According to Allure, "Everyone got highlights in the '90s, and they wanted to make sure you knew it. Lightened sections were big, bright, and super-obvious. Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt were unforgettable in their his-and-hers zebra stripes." 90s ladies requested two-tone looks at the salon that looked that they were executed with a paint roller. Let's hope this unflattering style stays where it belongs—in the past!
As an alternative, salons have seen a rise in requests for balayage, a technique for highlighting the hair in which the dye is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect.
16 Bring It Back: Super Tight Ringlets Were Everything
While we've been embracing loose, free-flowing beach waves for quite a while now, some of us are starting to think it's a better idea to bring back the tight, taut, spiral curl. Remember those twisted tendrils that stars like Julia Roberts flaunted as though it was natural?
Yep, ringlets are making their way back onto the beauty scene- right alongside those crushed velvet mini dresses.
We just hope no one takes it too far and brings back the spiral perm. Ringlets and pin curls are great, here and there, but permanency? Let's not overdo it Donna Martin style. As In Style notes, "Before the perm became more of a permanent beachy wave treatment, it was known for giving customers Mariah Carey-level curls."
15 Stay Put: A New Take On Tendrils
As mentioned in Birchbox, "With the half-up hair trend back in heavy rotation, it was only a matter of time before another '90s mainstay caught our attention. This time around, it's the two face-framing tendrils that were the cherry on top of every prom updo of the Clueless generation."
While the 90s version of this 'do tended to look a little forced and cringy, today's options are a bit lighter and tousled. Tendrils have recently been seen on songstresses like Cardi B and models like Kendall Jenner. Be sure to avoid no-nos like overwhelming strands with a product like a spray or gel.
14 Bring It Back: The Ultimate Flower Power
Flowers as hair accessories were made popular by 90’s actress Drew Barrymore. She was the definition of flower power with fun and fresh daisies in her hair—rock on, Drew! Fun fact: Drew’s love of flowers has blossomed into a popular cosmetics, skincare and fragrance line called Flower Beauty.
Today, flowers as hair decor are making a comeback with the rise of flower crowns (on Snapchat and in-real-life) festival-chic hairstyles, weddings and other special occasion glam.
Flowers give a special kind of flair because they are usually only worn one time and smell amazing- plus, who wouldn't want to be a queen with a flower crown?!
13 Stay Put: Suns Out Buns Out
Bustle says, "Leave it to Gwen Stefani and Sabrina Spellman to be responsible for yet another major '90s hair trend. They single-handedly made mini buns a thing back in the day. "
Today, mini buns are experiencing a revival and can be spotted on many pop culture celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Kendall Jenner, and Bella Hadid. This look is cute for trendy millennials, but it may be harder to pull off for the rest of us. Maybe this look is best left to the original icon Leia—may the force be with you!
12 Bring It Back: She’s All That The Sequel
For anyone who’s seen She’s All That, it's hard to forget Laney Boggs' (played by Rachel Leigh Cook) first foray into the cool crowd. For those who don't here's a quick recap: Zack Siler (Freddie Prince Jr) aims to woo Laney and recruits his sister, Mac (Anna Paquin) to give her a makeover before going to a party.
Laney ditches her dorky look for a chic, collar-length bob with slight layering through the ends- and the result is simply stunning.
This look was showcased on Buzzfeed, and it better make a comeback because it is classy and elegant at the same time! Bonus perk? It was even proven to win her Zack Siler!
11 Stay Put: Pretty In Pink
As per Bustle, "Although she wasn't the only one to do it, let's hail Gwen Stefani, the undisputed champ of pink hair during the '90s. The pop star did it all: Highlighter pink, pastel pink, and even mixes of pink and blonde. But we can't give her all of the credit. Even Drew Barrymore had a stint with a pastel 'do."
Women love pink hair because it's a fun break from the mundane. Still, it has a tendency to look like a scream for attention. Though we hope pink hair doesn't make a comeback, it does make for a good excuse to switch up your makeup routine with a bright, new palette.
10 Bring It Back: Accent Braids
90s girls really got fun and creative with their tresses. According to Bustle, “It's not really surprising that accent braids are back in style. TBH, I don't think they ever truly went away.”
Accent braids can be the perfect way to switch up your look, whether it's a ponytail, loose waves or super-straight style.
But today's braid game is only getting better. With YouTube tutorials to try different styles like French, Dutch, Rope or Fishtail, there's no shortage of ways to make new kinds of waves. Braids can also be great for travel or days at the beach to keep hair out of the face.
9 Stay Put: The Rachel
No list on 90s hair is complete without reference to “The Rachel.” But this hairstyle has had its day! Even Rachel herself, (Jennifer Aniston) does not want “The Rachel” to come back.
According to an article in Glamour, Jennifer was "not a fan of the 'Rachel'." That was kind of cringe-y for me. Looking back—honestly, even during that time—I couldn't do it on my own. I needed [my hairstylist] Chris [McMillan] attached to my hip. Left to my own devices, I am not skilled with a hairbrush and blow-dryer." Jennifer's new routine? "I'll wash it, brush it, then put styling cream in and let it air-dry on its own."
8 Bring It Back: Blow Them Away
As per Bustle, "A blow-out is just as classic today as it was 20 years ago. Compared to the '90s, celebs are keeping their strands a little sleeker when rocking blown-out styles. Nevertheless, all voluminous blowouts are sizzling hot."
You can create your own salon-worthy blowout at home just like 90s girls did.
It comes down to using the right tools (like a good blow dryer and Living Proof hair primer), drying in sections, and locking in style with a cool setting to close the cuticles and amp up the shine. Remember to set hair by gently combing strands with fingers and using a small amount of smoothing cream to finish off the look.
7 Stay Put: Mixed Feelings On High Pigtails
High pigtails were so much fun—these were definitely a thing! As seen via In Style, Baby Spice made these popular in the 90s and rocked them while she belted out songs like “Wannabe”, “Spice Up Your Life,” and “Say You’ll Be There.”
The nostalgia is real! Though pigtails were fun and looked cute from the front, they tended to look funny from the side or back views. That being said, these could definitely be on track for a comeback and with more extensions around, maybe a voluminous high pigtail look could be made cool again.
6 Bring It Back: Flippin' Out
According to Bustle, " IMO, you could never go wrong with glamorous, Old Hollywood waves and a deep side part. We can thank Drew Barrymore, Cindy Crawford, and Cher Horowitz for showing us how to flip our locks to perfection. There was always something so effortless and attractive about this 'do."
The famous-flip over style is still seen today and looks especially cute on ladies with long, wavy hair.
To rock your own flip, start with volumizing shampoo and conditioner and dry with a texture spray or sleep with hair in a bun. Then part your hair opposite the side where it naturally falls to emphasize the lift at the roots.
5 Stay Put: Leave It On The Chopping Block
It hurts to look at this one a little. As seen on In Style, Meg Ryan’s choppy bob was made classic in movies like “You’ve Got Mail,” we’re hoping this style does not make a comeback. The shorter cut can be flattering if a woman has a nice neck and cheekbones, but for the most part, looks boyish and unfinished.
This hairstyle seemed to be the answer for women who were bored with long hair, but the choppiness can seem frazzled unfinished. Longer bobs or ‘lobs’ seem to be on the rise, so maybe women seeking a shorter do may consider a lob for a short but polished look. Seriously, Meg is the only one who can pull this off, right?
4 Bring It Back: Surplus Of Style
As per Allure, "Before Ariana Grande and the ponytail conspiracy theories she inspired (it's a wig; she's covering a third eye in the back of her head; it's where her antennae are hidden), wearing a high ponytail fountain jutting out of the crown of your head was kind of common. Janet Jackson did it with long braids and a turban."
Fortunately, you don't have to imitate Ariana to achieve a polished and glam 'do.
This over-the-top style is surprisingly flattering and can be worn with a scrunchie for a vintage vibe, a turban for an exotic look, or cute waves for a straight from the beach feel.
3 Stay Put: Cut The Crimped Look
This look was fire! Definitely a fun memory from the 90s, and our favorite pop stars like Britney, Christina, and Mandy (before she was on This is Us) wore it well! As seen via In Style, the crimped hairstyle could be achieved in two ways 1.) by making tiny braids and running a straightener over them or 2.) if you were lucky enough to own a hair crimper.
These zany waves looked really cute alongside curly strands or with colorful extensions popped in. There could be the right time or place for this look, but generally, more women are taking better care of their hair and use heat tools more sparingly so this look may not make the cut.
2 Bring It Back: Got Me Frontin'
As per Byrdie, "Layered haircuts have a bad rap. Thanks to the '90s obsession with layers, the early 2000s were mostly filled with sleek, straight, mono-length hair. Today, however, we're slowly starting to embrace layers once again.
But the 2.0 version is more about creating cool-girl texture and a little well-placed volume in hair.
You can forget about that less-than-covetable mushroom shape that became so intrinsically linked with '90s celebs. And while we'll always have a special place in our hearts for The Rachel, the modern version is subtler than that: These layers enhance your haircut rather than steal the show."
1 Stay Put: The Beach Bag Disaster
In the 90s. no beach bag was complete without your trusty bottle of Sun In... yikes! Us Weekly notes, "Bottle blonde was so much easier in the '90s when all you had to do was spray a few squirts of this at-home lightener. Now, Sun In is back—with its original lemon scent—to give you beachy, just-back-from-laying-out hair vibes."
Queue the shudders. Sun In was responsible for many orangey, reddish hair disgraces and we can only hope this product does not make a comeback. Opt for a fresh squeeze of lemon juice if you want a better solution for lightening hair in the sun.