The 90s renaissance is reaching its peak. It started with accessories, as we welcomed the return of Alice bands (hello extra day between washes), scrunchies and statement clips. We moved onto flirting with baby bangs and wispy updos over the last year or so and now we’re ready to revisit this decade of legendary haircuts.
From Bella Hadid working ‘the Rachel’ to FKA Twigs taking Mel B’s space buns to the next level, the fashion pack are already getting in on the action. But are you ready to join them for a trip down memory lane (that leads you straight to the hairdressers)? Just stay away from the All Saints chunky highlights. For now, at least…
Then: the Rachel
“The Rachel” needs no introduction; Jennifer Aniston’s Friends haircut, created by Chris McMillan, spawned a million copycats and made “choppy layers” a standard salon request. All about honey highlights and face-framing layers, the style eventually fell out of favour, but it could be time to dig out that hot brush and bring back the feathering once again.
Now: the Bella
Then: box braids
Now: braids with a twist
Then: space buns
Mel B could fill an entire feature of great 90s hairstyles, from bantu knots to natural curls, but when it comes to copycat-inspiring looks, her space buns (or ‘spice’ buns) definitely deserve a place on the list.
Now: space buns upgrade
If you thought you were too old for space buns more than 30 years on from the original style, think again. Jennifer Lopez proved that two buns is better than one, with a look styled by Chris Appleton, leaving the front section of the hair loose (also tapping into another 90s trend, for a double whammy win).
Then: the short bob
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sliding Doors bob, in hindsight, looked good mainly because it was worn by Gwyneth Paltrow. Nevertheless, that didn’t deter an army of lookalike cuts in the 90s, spilling into the early noughties and merging seamlessly into the ‘Pob’ in 2006 when Victoria Beckham claimed the look as her own.
Now: a bob with tousled volume
As with most covetable looks in 2020, the appearance of effortlessness is key to this style’s success. Our short bob icon is US model Hannah Kleit (above), who takes Paltrow’s 90s side-parted bob and makes it infinitely cooler with choppy lengths and a little tousled volume. And when it grows out? We can aim for the Kaia Gerber phase.
Two decades later, and we’re most certainly not over pigtails. In fact, they’re having something of a revival for 2020, with an ironic retro edge.
When you think about it, the comeback makes sense. Pigtails are sort of a ponytail split in half for the front view. Since most of our socialising takes place on Zoom at the moment, a hairstyle that looks great from the front and usually a bit crooked from the back is ideal.
Then: the pixie crop
Three decades on, and still no haircut turns heads quite like a pixie crop. Pinkett-Smith has shown that this statement cut works at any age, still rocking a bleached pixie in 2020.
If you are ready to trial this 90s throwback but want an updated twist, look to Demi Lovato (above), who has blurred 90s and noughties lines with a side-swept grown-out pixie by Amber Maynard Bolt.
Then: fancy high pony
Let’s be honest: almost everything Tyra Banks did style-wise in the 90s could be lifted and recreated to great success in the 2020s. But perhaps her most iconic look was the styled ponytail, which has been recreated over and over, complete with side-slicked bangs and blow-dried ends.
Now: throwback evening pony
The ponytail is a forever favourite, not least because it works best on those in-between wash days. Translate Tyra’s high-polished pony to the everyday with a slightly more relaxed take on the trend. We love this curly version of the high pony worn with a scarf for an off-duty feel.
If it’s an evening ponytail that you’re looking to bring into the now, look no further than Ariana Grande (above) who is single-handedly flying the flag for ponytail lovers everywhere, and has recreated Tyra’s 90s look almost to a tee.
Then: pink hair
Not many stars experimented with their looks in the 90s quite as much as Gwen Stefani, and not many of her hairstyles turned more heads (for the right reasons) than her ombre pink dye job circa 1999.
Now: pink hint
So how can you get in on the trend? Pink hair works best on lightened hair, so blondes or highlighted hair can hit the bottle in full confidence knowing that the colour will fade within a few weeks if you opt for a wash-out dye. And pared-back tones work just as well as Stefani’s brasher hues. We love Kaia Gerber’s dip-your-toe-in approach.
Want more 90s nostalgia? Read about The Fresh Prince of Bel Air reboot or remember the 16 weird things we all remember from playing The Sims. The 90s is the new now, after all.