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These ‘90s Hair Trends So Good, They’re Making an Epic Comeback

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We already know you remember the best of the '90s. While we don't need to remind you about the reign of pop stars, body glitter, glitter lip gloss (so much glitter), platforms, halter tops, butterfly clips, and hair crimped within an inch of an audible sizzle, it's fun to reminisce. Well, baby, we're back at it one more time. With throwback makeup making a comeback (check out these super fun '90s-inspired makeup looks), you oughta know we've found ourselves reaching for frosty glosses again, considering chunky highlights, and craving new ways to channel our favorite decade.

And while our major appreciation (alright, obsession) for all of the hair trends from the '90s never truly simmered, we've found ourselves in a resurgence that seriously smells like teen spirit. And we want it that way. From claw clips and bright scrunchies to Baby Spice pigtails and zig-zag parts, '90s hair looks were all about creativity, experimentation, and fun. If you wannabe inspired, continue reading for major hair throwbacks from some of our favorite celebs, and a few tips for rocking them today from LA-based hairstylist Esther Foster. This is how we do it. Okay, we're done now.

About the Expert:

Esther Foster is a Los-Angeles based makeup artist with a passion for creating glowy skin finishes and a portfolio spanning fashion, celebs, and magazines.

1. The Scrunchie

Close-up of a model rocking shimmery blue eyeshadow, silver dangling earrings, and high ponytail hairstyle with a blue velvet scrunchie

Of all the fun hair accessories we stocked in our Caboodles, none ruled like the colorful scrunchie. From high ponytails like this look created by Foster, to double buns, messy buns, and more, topping your hairstyle off with a scrunchie added a touch of fun to your entire look. For a modern spin, give your hair some quick waves for texture, and pull it into a high ponytail using a silk or velvet scrunchie. Foster suggests using some finishing cream on your hands to smooth hair before pulling it back into a pony.

2. The Curly Updo

Nafessa Williams’ curly hair updo gives us instant Saved by the Bell vibes with her natural curls cascading loosely down her forehead. The best part about creating this look? Precision isn’t key. Pile your curls together and secure with a tie, then secure using hairpins wherever you need. Use a curl cream on your fingers to separate and define, and go.

3. Butterfly Clips

The last look being the perfect segway into our next look: butterfly clips are still the best way to take any hairstyle up a notch. The last time we wore these, Lizzie McGuire was on full blast at our parent’s house, but they remain a playful way to do something different with our hair. They’re fun, cute, and are total festival vibes.

4. Flipped-Out Bob

Brandy Norwood as Moesha gave us endless hair inspo—from her box braid lob to half-up space buns and so many cool bucket hats. Here’s one look we love from the era that’s as fun and flirty and it is stylish. This flipped-out look will give your hair so much movement every time you turn your head.

5. Crimped Hair

From Kelly Kapowski to Christina (or should we say, Xtina), crimped hair is a fun ‘90s trend that’s making a big comeback. Whether you crimp your whole head or just pieces of it, crimping is an easy way to get creative with your hair looks and add instant volume and texture.

6. Long Micro Braids

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Every time we see Zoe Kravtiz, we bow down to her unique style and beauty. We love her super long micro braids that are as beautiful up in an easy pony as they are flowing down past her shoulders. Half up, wrapped up at her crown—there are endless ways Kravitz has styled her micro braids and each one is as stunning as the next.

7. Supermodel Blowout

When we think of voluminous blowouts we often think of '70s hairstyles, but the supermodels of the ‘90s gave it a new spin with effortless, bouncy medium to long hair that looked less styled and more carefree. From Claudia Schiffer to Cindy Crawford, ‘90s supermodel blowouts ruled from runway to red carpet. You can easily DIY it today with a blowdryer and round brush, or a set of big rollers. A must-do? Flip your hair over, and from side to side as you wish to keep it bouncy and fresh.

8. Chunky Highlights

Dua Lipa rocking piecy, chunky highlights and metallic blue eyeshadow paired with nude lips
Photo by Amy Sussman / Staff/Getty Images

Before having super blended, natural-looking hair color like ombré and balayage were all the buzz, chunky highlights reigned supreme. From bleach blonde highlights to pinks and blues, chunky highlights placed anywhere from the front of your hair or scattered throughout are sure to make you stand out in the crowd.

9. Textured Side Part

Close-up of a model rocking a wavy side part hairstyle, silver dangling earrings, and a minimal makeup look with brick red lips

As much as we love ‘90s blowouts, some of the easiest and most gorgeous looks were all about texture. To create this cool bedhead-inspired look, Foster used two different-sized curling wands all over the hair and set it all with hairspray. Tip: Flip your hair over, then use your fingers to tousle at the roots for added volume and texture.

10. Snap Clips

Thank you, Drew Barrymore for so many iconic style and beauty moments (Never Been Kissed, anyone?). Barrymore’s signature ‘90s short hair launched a thousand look-alikes who loved its cute-meets-flirty vibe, topped with colorful snap clips.

11. Feathered Pixi

Victoria Beckham’s (although she’ll always be Posh to us) feathered pixie cut is still a winner today. The piecey bangs and tousled texture give it an effortless look, and it’s an easy choice for anyone seeking a fuss-free short hairstyle that goes from cozy to chic in no time.

12. Wispy Updos

We look to Alicia Silverstone's Cher for fashion and beauty inspo all the time, and this messy updo does not disappoint. All you need is a hair tie and hair claw to toss your hair up into a bun and secure it. The key is to let the ends hang loose and to allow pieces of hair to fly freely. It’s a soft, romantic, and super comfy style to wear from school to work to a dinner date.

13. Pigtails 2.0

These double pigtails are anything but precious. One of the most iconic ‘90s looks worn by everyone from Drew Barrymore to Britney to Baby Spice, this easy-to-create and fuss-free hairstyle is made even cooler with colorful hair ties, accessories, crimps for texture—the sky’s the limit.

14. Half-Up Flip

Bobs are more than just a pretty length.. This shoulder-length cut transcends time thanks to its versatility—and when you flip out the ends and pop it into a half-up pony, you’ve got an instant flirty-fun look. Use a flat iron or curling iron to flip out hair just at the ends and spray up from the bottom for hold and bounce.

15. Ultra Short Pixie

All hail Halle Berry for being queen of the ultra-short pixie for like, ever. This super short style is a literal game-changer for anyone looking to save time on their hair routines. Short pixies are cute, sexy, and super versatile. Pixies look great on oval, heart-shaped, square, and even round faces (check out our guide to know your face shape to see if it will work for you). And the best part? The messier it is, the cooler it looks.

16. Bedazzled Hair

It started with an engenius tool that made its rounds on late-night commercials and turned any old pair of jeans into a sparkly rendition fit backstage passes at a Backstreet Boys concert. Then, came a similar tool that turned your hair into its own bedazzled masterpiece. Little did we know a dab of eyelash glue on the back of a rhinestone would do the trick.

17. Face-Framing Tendrils

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Dua Lipa, JLo and Margot Robbie are all behind the resurgence of the face-framing tendrils, and over on the gram, we've been seeing them pop up more and more. Wear them pin straight and chunky or wispy and relaxed. You can also transform them into baby braids for a sweet look.

18. Bubble Ponytail

Perfect for adding volume (and hiding extensions), this look is cute, whimsical, ‘90s-inspired look is sure to turn heads. Create a ponytail (high or low) and secure with an elastic. Use thin elastics in two-inch increments to create the bubble illusion from the base all the way to the ends. Be sure to fluff up the sections in between for maximum volume.

19. Head Scarves

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A post shared by Aysha Sow (@aysha.sow)

Bandanas and silk scarves ran the gamut from Aaliyah to Nicole Richie in the ‘90s and we can’t be more excited the look is back. Perfect for hiding second- (or third) day hair, a scarf wrapped around the forehead and tied into a knot at the nape of the neck is both stylish and utilitarian.

20. The Claw Clip

When you're looking to pull your hair back in a fashion-person way, a center part paired with a low bun and face-framing waves is the way to do it. Secure with a claw clip for a '90s twist. It’s all very Rachel Green.

21. Zig-Zag Part

If you have a comb (or really, anything pointy) within reach, we urge you to swap your straight-back 2022 part for a ‘90s one that boasts a rad zig-zag pattern. The whole thing screams Christina Aguilera, Lizzie McGuire or Scary Spice. Pick your fighter and try the look for yourself.

22. Space Buns

Space buns are not only super cute, they’re actually the secret to lazy-girl glam—greasy roots or wet hair actually make it easier to recreate the look. Once the buns are in, now’s a good time to bust out those butterfly clips and snap clips to dress them up.

Get ‘90s hair with our IPSY Glam Bag staples. Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Stephanie Montes
Stephanie Montes
Stephanie is a freelance contributor covering all things beauty. She writes about her adventures testing the latest trends in skincare, hair, and makeup. Stephanie's bylines have also appeared on Who What Wear, Elle, Byrdie, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated July 24, 2023 12:00 AM