We are never not loving the ’90s! Everyone’s favorite grungy/minimalist decade is back in full swing, and our inner pretty in punk girls couldn’t be happier. From ’90s hairstyles to clothes and makeup, this decade’s style is back bigger than ever. And the hair? Ahhh… All. Of. The. Hair! Faded, braided or, yes, left completely ignored—that refreshing audacious approach is the reason for the resurgence of these trends. This pre-social media decade featured hairstyles and fashion where everyone enjoyed dressing up for their own sake and followed their own rules.
If you’re still not convinced, do yourself a favor and check out our list below of the most popular hairstyles in the 1990s. We promise, there’s more to this decade than chokers and high fades:
’90s Hairstyles for Women We Love for 2021
1. Wispy Bangs with Half-Up Half-Down
There’s nothing anyone can tell us to turn us off from the half-updo. Seriously, what’s not to love? Whether worn college-coed-style, pinned back with a barrette or edged up with a proper bun on the crown, it’s versatility in its purest form.
2. Top Knot
Speaking of versatility, the top knot gets top marks as well. One of the original day-to-night hairdos of our generation, it was a clever way to upstyle your braids (or dreadlocks, or anything else you had going on) and still show off some killer jewelry and neck accessories. Yep, if you’ve ever lied awake at night wondering what hairstyle looked the best with those hoops and velvet chokers, now you know.
3. French Braids
French braids are the quintessential ’90s braid. It was the go-to style, first, because it showed off actual hairstyling skills (props!) and was a neat, dainty look for those who reverse-rebelled from the grunge subculture; and two, it kind of went with all your pastel outfits and scoop-necked tops. Especially when worn with bumpy bangs.
Baby bangs! Honestly, we were on the fence for a hot minute there when this trend reemerged on the scene, but we’re happily eating our words. We’ve kinda fallen hard for this, simply because it’s all about being comfortable in your own skin. A micro fringe is a confident style and is for those who aren’t afraid to commit to bangs, full stop. No hacks, no side-sweeping, no cheating—just straight-up, unapologetic, forehead-baring bangs…with maybe some vampy or matte lipstick to match. Be sure to use some dry shampoo like Dove Care Between Washes Clarifying Dry Shampoo to keep the slick at bay.
5. Stringy Texture
For all intents and purposes, nothing is better or sexier than bedhead. On long hair, this translated back then to half-rumpled, half-stringy texture, in all its second-day/morning-after glory. It’s a look that’s so chic in its complete effortlessness, it reminded us of French girls (because everything sexy reminds us of French girls). Especially when rendered in its favorite iteration, with a middle part, this look makes us proud to be normcore. Be sure to apply Nexxus Clean & Pure Nourishing Detox 5-in-1 Invisible Hair Oil to help you achieve soft and frizz-free hair.
6. Space Buns
Some call them space buns, we call them muses of the club scene. You couldn’t go to an underground party without running into a fiercely coiffed raver sporting two or more bulbs on her head. As far as ’90s hairstyles went, space buns succinctly added just the right touch of alt to your going-out attire, and, perhaps most relevantly, kept your head and shoulders free to do all the dancing in the world. It was also a more kickass version of pigtails, another micro-trend of the era. For a more of-the-now vibe, pair with a fabulous set of box braids, as seen above.
7. Hair Clip Accessories
Daisy chains, glitter roll-ons, hair mascara, neon butterfly clips—if you were a maximalist back in the day, then you knew going out meant going all out. Hair accouterments were an extension of your personality and were proudly celebrated and not merely confined to the grounds of a music festival. Unapologetically frilly and the choice of mallrats everywhere, we can’t help but give snaps to the first-generation flower crowns.
8. Face-Framing Accent Braids
Often worn as a hidden accent here and there, these thin plaits were a fast way to upgrade a regular, everyday look and didn’t require much thought or skill, apart from a general boredness in Chemistry, or life in general. Very grunge.
9. Blunt Bob
The angled, flattering bob of today took its sweet time evolving, but we love its ancestor just the same. The complete absence of layers gives the blunt bob a slight pageboy feel, especially when the ends are curled under, and the wearer a preppier, more collegiate aesthetic. It evoked freshness and also a certain innocence, a pretty unique characteristic not found in most looks of today.
10. Grunge Hair
And what would hairstyles of the 1990s be without awesome grunge hair? An ode to the iconic music of the era, which was an angst-laden, quietly rebellious call to action for Gen Xers everywhere, the look was all about could-care-less texture (mostly air-dried) and a natural fringe. Ringer tee optional.
11. The ’90s Lob
In the ’90s, lob haircuts all did one thing in common: the mini-flip. Some bobs flipped more than others, but they all had a semblance of a super flirty flip out, probably thanks to the bluntness of most cuts. To try out the ’90s flip on your modern lob, all you need to do is use your blowdryer and a roller brush to curl up the last inch or so of hair.
12. Crimped Hair
Crimped hair is one of those ’90s vintage hair looks that’s becoming extremely popular again. As spotted on the recent runways, hair that’s styled in tiny bends is back and stronger than ever. We even have a tutorial for faking crimped hair without the hot tools, for all those still on the fence.
13. Spiky Pixie
Super short hair wasn’t a huge ’90s trend, but for those who did go for the pixie, it was always spiky. The spiky look is easy to attain!
14. Center-Parted Straight Hair
Super-duper straight hair done with a center part was one of the top looks of the era. Fans of the hairstyle loved how it was versatile and fashionable/minimalistic at the same time. Pin-straight hair hasn’t really gone out of style since and has seen a few nuances over the years, like changes in part lines.
15. Sleek Half-Up Ponytail
If you look back through ’90s red carpet events, you’ll likely see many a young celeb with the slicked-back, half-up ponytail. The half-pony took a bit of a rest during the early 2000s, but now they’re back and better than ever! We love doing half updo hairstyles, but now with a little more curl and texture.
To get a super sleek look, use TRESemmé TRES Two Mega Firm Control Gel. This gel will smooth down strands and make your style last all day.
16. Wet Grunge 90s Hairstyles
The ’90s wet grunge look was so popular in the alt community. All you need to do to get the grungy wet look today is to rake a little bit of gel, like Suave Max Hold Sculpting Gel, through wet hair. Make sure to let your hair dry in a messy style for the ultimate grunge appeal.
17. Face-Framing Tendrils
Get the ultimate ’90s look by wearing skinny face-framing tendrils with center-parted hair. This trick softened up the severity of super straight hair, giving it a more romantic appeal. Just remember to spray locks with a frizz-fighting hairspray, such as TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Frizz-Control Hairspray, to keep away flyaways.
18. The Rachel Haircut
Adding tons of layers to a lob haircut was favored by so many in the later ’90s. This cut was swishy and fun (remember “the Rachel?”) and loved by all for its super-flattering dimensions.
19. Bandana Headband
Nothing fills us with childhood nostalgia quite like a bandana headband. You could add a bandana to every ’90s hairstyle to instantly make it more casual and street-style savvy. We still like bandanas today, worn with fun styles like the pineapple hairdo, or a simple top knot.
20. Tight Twists
Nothing quite says vintage hair looks from the ’90s quite like tight twists. These styles were often worn with spiky half updos with lots of butterfly hair clips. Alternatively, for a more formal flair, twists were paired up with a chic bun. This is one of those styles that have seen a major resurgence today.
22. Crimp Hairstyles
Back then this style was worn super defined and sometimes with a bit of a stiff crunch to it. Today, with the advent of new hair technology and new products, you can achieve this look day with a softer finish. To recreate, prep hair with a curl product that also adds shine like Suave Professionals Curl Defining Cream. Use a crimping tool to create your crimps and pull sections apart to spread them out to create a fuller and less defined look.
23. 90s Box Braids
From jumbo blonde braids, to jumbo braids with accessories, we are seeing many iterations of the look these days.
In a world full of balayage and ombré looks, the ’90s streak look is trying to have its moment… again! If you’re aiming to try this look on your hair, we recommend not going too high contrast. Opt for highlights that are just two shades lighter than your natural hair color. Keep your color from fading by washing your hair with a color-safe wash and care system like Love Beauty and Planet Blooming Color Murumuru Butter & Rose Shampoo and Conditioner.
25. Beanie 90s Hairstyles
Ah, yes the beanie. How we love you, especially with the bitterness that is the winter. Not only a functional fashion choice, this look, when paired with a lob or bob, is the ultimate classic hairstyle that’s ridiculously easy to pull off. Just apply TRESemmé Smooth Serum to your hair to get those frizzes to chill out, then brush your hair and place your beanie on your hair. Donzo!
26. Middle Part 90s Hairstyles
On the opposite side of the hair spectrum are the long ’90s hairstyles that include a straight middle part. A controlled hairstyle, you’ll need a good wide-tooth comb to help you define your part. For the effortless wavy look, use a small round brush, focusing on the ends as you create a mini-wave via your blowdryer. Use TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protectant to create a sleek look and protect your strands while blowdrying.
27. Teased 90s Hairstyle with a Hidden Mini Braid
Taking some cues from the glory days of the ’80s, the ’90s teased hairstyle wasn’t as big but still focused on volume. To achieve this, use a wide-tooth comb as you work section-by-section to comb your hair upward, creating volume and then release. Do this all the way around your head until you achieve the height that you’re digging. This look also features a cute hidden braid, which we think is always a good idea!
28. Hair Clips
Whether you sport claw clips, barrettes, or butterfly clips, the ’90s are all about this cute yet practical accessory. We love them because they can be worn in any style. From wearing your hair down to ponytails to half-updos, you can easily incorporate a hair clip into your look.
Whether you’ve tried out butterfly clips, french braids, or accent braids, there’s a good chance you’ve taken some hair inspo from the ’90s this year!