Numerous things defined the 90s: some of the most amazing boy bands of all time, unforgettable fashion, the growth of fast-food outlets, excellent television shows, and some of the most iconic hairstyles of all time. Some of the best pop culture moments were born in the 90s. Hairstyles in that decade were characterized by bold looks, voluminous hair, and pretty much everything fun. So which were the best 90s hairstyles that need to make a comeback?
If you are looking for something to take you back to the 90s, here is a breakdown of some of the decade’s best hairdos.
The best 90s hairstyles
What hairstyles were popular in the 90s? Here is a look at the best hairstyles from the 90s for both men and women.
90s black women’s hairstyles
The decade’s best hairstyles were popularized by the likes of Toni Braxton, Britney Spear, Gwen Stefani, and Jennifer Aniston through her world-famous character on Friends. Here is a look at some of the most memorable 90's hairstyles for females.
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1. The Pixie
The pixie is inarguably one of the most iconic 90s hairstyles. Popularized by the likes of Winona Ryder and Toni Braxton, this hairstyle screamed chic and confident. Those who wore this style did so using subtle layers arranged into one block of hair with several edges.
Other famous people who have tried out the pixie recently include Katy Perry, Cara Delevingne, and Teyana Taylor.
2. The ‘Rachel’
This one is straight from Friends, one of the best sitcoms ever created. The iconic Rachel Green hairstyle was created in 1995 by renowned stylist Chris McMillan. The ‘Rachel’ was a massive success in the 90s and was recently revigorated when rumours of a Friends reunion surfaced.
According to the stylist, the ‘Rachel’ was so popular in the 90s that women from all over the world would visit his salon to get it. Still, the style is not as easy to pull off as one might think. The style requires voluminous hair with characteristic face-framing layers and subtle highlights.
In 2022, one could try out the look using shorter layers and a fringe to open into the facial area.
3. The face-framing messy bun
The messy bun was undoubtedly one of the most popular hairstyles in the 90s. However, what was even better than a messy bun was one with face-framing tendrils giving it that additional chic look. The tendrils can be given a consistent texture by using a thickening spray and then lining it up to match a person’s facial bone structure.
The higher the bun is, the more elongated the face appears with this style. To create the ideal look, people with round faces should place the bun on top, while those with slimmer faces could opt for a lower-placed bun for a more flattering look.
4. Bold box braids
Blonde, waist-length, bright-coloured, bobbed, beaded, the 90s box braids came in numerous styles. One of the most popular celebrities to popularize these bold braids was Janet Jackson. She was hands down the queen of bold box braids throughout the 90s. The hairstyle seems to be regaining its popularity today, albeit with a minor twist in the form of knotless box braids.
These modern knotless braids skip the knots placed at the scalp resulting in a hairstyle that is almost weightless and quite easy on the hair edges. One can also try bold box braids by letting their natural hair peel from beneath the braids or leaving the ends loose to show off the natural hair curls.
5. The prom updo
This was among the most popular 90s updo hairstyles. Yes, the hairstyle draws inspiration from the 90s prom events. Recently, actresses such as Yara Shahidi have brought back the prom updo by adding some twisted edges towards the back of the head for an edgier and more youthful look.
To create the perfect prom updo, gather your hair on top of the head and then tie up a ponytail. Backcomb the base of the hair and then separate the optional pieces to create the twists on the back. Feel free to touch up the curls with a hair iron to make them more defined.
6. The crimpled look
The crimpled hairstyle effectively ended the then long-running trend of straight hair. Christina Aguilera was among the first high-profile celebrities to wear the crimpled hair look. She wore the look while attending a Billboard Awards event, setting off a trend that would turn out to be one of the most popular in the 90s.
In recent times, women have been trying out the look with varying hair types, including mermaid hair, bangs, and updos. Modern-day celebrities such as Anna Kendrick, Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Kylie Jenner have also appeared in the crimpled look hairstyle.
One can give the crimpled look a twist by crimping the ends, leaving the roots straight, or trying the look in a ponytail. For an even more exciting look, try working in larger crimps as opposed to the conventional, tiny ones.
7. Butterfly clips
If there was a single hair accessory to define the 90s, it would be the butterfly clip. While not a hairstyle by itself, this versatile accessory worked perfectly with a wide range of hairstyles. The accessory would look great when paired with modern-day afro hair, ponytails, space knots, and many more hairdos. One could use the clip to hold back a fringe, decorate a braid, or as an accent on the base of a pigtail.
Besides butterfly clips, you could also consider related accessories such as claw clips, daisy clips, coloured clips, and headbands, all of which became quite popular in the 90s.
Undoubtedly one of the most feminine hairstyles of the 1990s. The tendril look was a low maintenance hairstyle that still looked great and suited a wide range of facial structures. The tendrils are essentially strands of stray hair that would be fashioned to frame one’s face.
Tendrils can be used on numerous hairstyles, including braids, buns, and ponytails. Depending on the hairstyle, one can choose to have them thin, chunky, textured, or wispy. Some of the celebrities who have recently tried out this style include Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Dua Lipa.
Most people might not consider pigtails an iconic look. However, they were a big deal in the 90s. Popularized by musical girl groups and the likes of Britney Spears, this timeless style can still be used to create a sophisticated and sleek look.
For a modern-day look, feel free to accessorize your pigtails or change the parting to achieve a unique look.
10. French braids
The only French thing about this hairstyle is the name. Besides that, the braids are not in any way emblematic of the European country. The hairdo was among the most popular in the 90s, and rightly so. These gathered braids are effortlessly beautiful and timeless and can be worn by people with varying head and facial features.
Bangs were popularized by the likes of Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell and Candace Cameron in Full House, both of whom wore the style amazingly well. The hairstyle is one of the most diverse and can be worn in numerous variations. Here is a look at some popular variations of bangs.
- Claw bangs: These were defined by beautiful face-framing peekaboo tendrils.
- Wispy bangs: Popularized by Ashley Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, wispy bangs were best worn by those with voluminous hair.
- Mall bangs: There was a time in the 90s when it seemed like every young television character sported mall bangs. These were defined by feathered edges and got hugely popular thanks to the likes of Kelly Bundy.
12. Space Buns
Space buns are created by gathering hair and dividing it into two, then making ponytails using the two sections. To get the perfect space buns, start by brushing your hair to ensure there are no knots that may affect the final look. You can keep the buns in place using bobby pins or hair bands.
13. Side Flip
The 90s side flip has recently been brought back by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Zendaya, and Rihanna. The hairstyle was quite popular in the 90s and is widely associated with celebrities such as Cher and Kelly Bundy.
By gathering hair onto one side of the face, the side flip gave one’s hair voluminous looks, making it one of the coolest looking hairdos of the 1990s. While the side flip is essentially a 60s style, it was popularized in the 90s with a chunkier baseline.
The side flip can be worn on formal or casual occasions, which probably explains why it seems to be gradually making a comeback in 2022.
14. Half-up half-down
The ever-sleek half-up half-down look is among the best-looking hairdos from the 90s. For a modern touch, one can add some accessories such as modern clips and earrings. Those with dry hair can apply shine sprays to give their hair that glossy look associated with the half-up half-down style.
15. Middle part
Popularized by Angela Chase from One Piece, the middle part hairdo is among the easiest ones to pull off. To create the look, part your hair into two sections, straight down the middle. The middle part should look as polished as possible.
Give the two sections glossy looks to enhance the middle partition for an amazing 90s look.
Cute 90s hairstyles for men
In the 1990s, men’s hairstyles were as iconic and memorable as the cars, dance styles, and television shows associated with that decade. From hip hop greats to the likes of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, the decade had some unforgettable male hairstyles.
Here is a look at the male hairdos that need to make a comeback.
16. The bowl cut
The bowl cut was one of the popular haircuts for men who wanted easy-to-style short hair. The look was characterized by bangs cut to the same length as the rest of the hair and left to hand slightly over the forehead.
While the style is quite edgy, the regular cut around the head made the style formal and tidy. When done correctly, the bowl cut could be worn in formal or casual events. Keep in mind that the bowl cut is possibly one of the boldest male hairstyles out there and might not fit a conservative person.
17. Spiky hair
Popularized by boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys, spiky hair was a staple of the 90s male fashion. To achieve the look, one has to pomade or gel their hair into spikes by twisting it. Choose between a few thick spikes or several thin spikes, both of which were quite popular in the 90s.
The mullet was one of the iconic albeit controversial 90s male hairstyles. Created by young men living in America’s southern states, the mullet was later popularized by the renowned hip hop band Beastie Boys. The group even had a track titled Mullet Head that made the hairstyle even more famous.
The mullet was inarguably one of the most recognizable male hairdos of the 90s decade. The style is characterized by hair cut shorter on the sides and top than on the back. It was commonly taken to represent ‘business on the front and party at the back,’
19. Afro hairstyle
There is barely any male hairstyle synonymous with the 90s man than the hugely popular afro. While it originated back in the 1960s, the 90s gave this hairdo a completely different meaning. With the addition of curls and kinky hair, the afro was the staple of the fashionable black male.
The afro could often be extended into the famous round shape or left to take its own shape using hairspray and grease. Celebrities like Snoop Dogg made the afro mainstream, making it one of the definitive styles of the 90s.
Male athletes with kinky or wavy hair loved cornrows due to the ease of maintenance. The style took a new twist when it was paired with a braid on the back for an unmistakably fashionable look.
21. Slicked-back hair
While the classic slicked-back style inarguably dates back to the 90s, there have been modern variations that have classic fades on the side or undercut for a more elegant look. To slick back your hair, you need to wax or pomade it so that it remains in the slicked position. You can then comb it straight from front to back for a more polished look.
22. The flat top
The flat-top became remarkably popular due to Will Smith, one of the most iconic television characters. The hairdo quickly became one of the top 90s black hairstyles for men. Will was among the main cast members of the popular TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. One needs tightly curled hair to pull off the look. The flat-top can be as high as one needs to be and is only limited by the hair length.
23. Hip-Hop hairstyles
Hip-Hop and rap music were quite popular in the 90s, as were the hairstyles worn by popular artists in those music genres. Some of the popular hip-hop hairstyles included Tupac’s easy shave, Jay-Z’s buzz cut, and others mentioned in this list, including the flat top, afro, and cornrows.
24. The heartthrob
A list of the top 90s male hairdos would be incomplete without the heartthrob. Popularized by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, the hairdo is achieved by cutting one’s hair into a bob ending at the chin level and then pushing the hair away from the face.
You then fashion some strands to slightly frame the face, giving you a somewhat carefree vibe. The style is best for people with straight hair but also works for those with wavy hair.
25. Male perm
Permed male hair is so reminiscent of the 90s decade. The style was widely used by men with straight hair. The perm was mostly applied on the top while leaving the sides and back straight. The likes of Ian Ziering and Steve Sanders from Beverly Hills 90210 popularized the hairdo in the 90s.
Unsurprisingly, the male perm was among the most polarizing male hairdos. While some totally loved it, those who hated it did so passionately.
90s hairstyles are inarguably some of the definitive aspects of the decade. These hairdos were popularized by celebrity figures, mostly in the music, television, and film industry. While most of these styles have since dropped in popularity, some were incredibly elegant and need to make a comeback in today’s fashion world.
Legit.ng published an article about the best braid hairstyles to try. Braids are certainly among the most versatile hairstyles for pretty much every age group. The numerous accessories, styles, and colours that can be used on braids make them quite appealing.
Some of the most popular include Ghanaian styles, cornrows, and faux locs. Braids have always been part of popular culture, especially in black communities. Which are the best designs to wear braids, and which one would suit you best?