90s Hairstyles: Glam Looks That Defined the Decade

Joanna Elizabeth

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Updated January 21, 2024

90s Hairstyles
See the top 90s hairstyles.

The 90s was a decade of change that boldly redefined beauty and fashion, creating iconic trends that are still appealing even today. Among these, the 90s hairstyles showcase the era’s innovative spirit and its penchant for playful experimentation.

From messy buns with headbands to the sleek and straight locks that defined understated elegance, each 90s style held its own character and charm.

90s Hairstyles

Flipped Ends

Flipped Ends 90s Hairstyle Cindy Crawford
Embodying the effortless chic of the era, flipped ends worn by Cindy Crawford are so glam. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

A throwback to the 60s, Flipped Ends captured the glamorous side of the decade. The style is characterized by its smooth, straight locks that convey a polished look, with the ends turned outwards to add a playful twist.

90s supermodel Cindy Crawford rocked this look with ease. It can be achieved with a round brush and blow dryer or flat iron to create that signature flip.

The Rachel Cut

Jennifer Aniston Rachel 90s Haircut
The Rachel haircut worn by Jennifer Aniston is the decade’s most famous hairstyle. Photo: IMAGO / Zuma Wire

The layered haircut known as The Rachel became one of the decade’s most popular and enduring styles, made famous by Jennifer Aniston’s character on the hit TV show Friends. Aniston’s hair featured voluminous layers starting from the chin and cascading down, often styled with a blowout to give the hair movement and body.

The highlights and lowlights added depth and dimension, giving the hair a sun-kissed, lived-in look.

Braids with Texture

Braids 90s Brandy
Brandy embraced braids with wavy texture for a creative and stylish look. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

During the 90s, braided hairstyles were a prominent trend among Black women, epitomized by the iconic looks of R&B singers such as Brandy Norwood. Her signature Braids with Texture set a fashion statement.

These styles ranged from individually sculpted box braids to creatively arranged braids gathered into a high ponytail. They could also be adorned with a flow of waves for added dimension.

Long Layers with Bangs

Long Layered 90s Hairstyle Claudia Schiffer
This iconic style combines sultry long layers with bangs, as shown by Claudia Schiffer. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Flattering to any face shape, a Long Layers with Bangs channels soft femininity. Designed with multiple layers that create volume and movement, the feathered ends add a light, airy quality to the look. And the bangs end at the eyebrows for the perfect length.

Bangs with Highlights

Bangs Highlights 90s Janet Jackson
Merging playful highlights with bangs, this hairstyle worn by Janet Jackson features a high bun. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

The decade was a period of bold experimentation with hair color, and Bangs with Highlights was one of the standout trends. Classic straight-across bangs were transformed with the infusion of red highlights, creating a captivating look that added complexity and richness to the hairstyle.

The spectrum of highlight shades was broad, ranging from the vibrant reds reminiscent of Janet Jackson’s iconic style to striking platinum blondes. This daring trend would go on to influence Y2K hairstyles.

Crimped Hair

Crimped Hair 90s Calista Flockhart
Bringing back the electric vibe of the 90s, crimped hair, as Calista Flockhart shows, is all about being free-spirited. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

One unforgettable beauty trend from the 90s was Crimped Hair. It defined the era’s playful and experimental approach to hair. This style featured medium to long locks that were intricately crimped to create a unique, zig-zag texture, resulting in a voluminous and funky look.

Whether uniformed or looser, the crimped effect was achieved using a special iron, giving the hair a series of tight waves.

Pixie Cut

Pixie Cut 90s Winona Ryder
Bold and daring, the pixie cut was a favorite of actresses like Winona Ryder. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

The decade saw short hair updated with the Pixie Cut. This particular variation of the pixie played with different lengths, incorporating choppy layers to add texture and depth. Actress Winona Ryder rocked this short hairstyle effortlessly.

The hair was often styled to create a piecey look, with the strands casually tousled to give a sense of movement and an effortlessly cool vibe. This hairstyle was a favorite for its bold departure from traditional long locks.

Cornrows

Cornrows 90s Halle Berry
Cornrows with baby hair make a fashionable statement. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Cornrows have long been a cherished style within the Black community, and the 90s saw celebrities adopting and adapting this hairstyle in various forms. The era witnessed cornrows combined with tight curls or chicly laid baby hairs, showcasing the style’s versatility.

Halle Berry, for instance, made the look her own by pairing her cornrows with chestnut brown curls, adding a touch of Hollywood glamour to the traditional braiding technique.

Messy Bun

Messy Bun 90s Jennifer Love Hewitt
The messy bun channels a perfectly laid-back yet chic vibe, as shown by Jennifer Love-Hewitt. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

The Messy Bun, often accented with a sparkly headband, was a hallmark of 90s fun and flirtatiousness. This casual updo was excellent at formal or laid-back events. Young stars like Jennifer Love-Hewitt embraced this no-fuss look at red-carpet events.

The addition of glittering accessories provided a touch of whimsy and reflected the decade’s penchant for combining laid-back hairdos with eye-catching elements.

Feathered Bob

Feathered Bob 90s Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan made the feathered bob a must-have style, offering a lightweight look. Photo: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

And who could forget the Feathered Bob? The textured style emerged as a defining hairstyle of the decade. With its choppy layers, this bob cut exudes a playful edge while maintaining a sense of sophistication.

Stars like Meg Ryan and Ellen DeGeneres embraced the unique bob look. It was celebrated for its ease of styling and its ability to complement various face shapes, making it a universally flattering choice.

High Ponytail with Tendrils

High Ponytail 90s Baby Spice
A sleek high ponytail with tendrils is an essential 90s look worn by Baby Spice. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

The High Ponytail with face-framing tendrils was another beloved style of the era. This style was made popular by Baby Spice and other pop stars. It involves sweeping the hair up into a high ponytail and securing it to allow the length of the hair to cascade from the crown of the head.

Delicate tendrils were often pulled out at the front, softening the look around the face and adding a touch of whimsy. The ponytail could be straight and sleek or have a wavy texture for more volume.

Hair Accessories

Scrunchies

90s Scrunchie Hair Accessory
Practical and chic, the scrunchie delivers perfectly retro vibes. Photo: Free People

Scrunchies were the ultimate 90s hair accessory, embodying the decade’s spirited fashion. These fabric-covered elastics ranged from neon and pastel to patterns and denim, suitable for every style and occasion.

Worn in hair or around the wrist, they were a statement of carefree youthfulness and remain a nostalgic symbol of the decade’s pop culture.

Hair Clips

Hair Clips 90s Hair
Hair clips helped keep tresses in place like this style Daisy Fuentes wore. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Hair clips were the cornerstone of 90s hair artistry, ranging from tiny, glittering butterfly clips to larger, functional claw and banana clips. Butterfly clips added a dash of fun, clipping back small sections of hair with their charming, colorful designs.

Claw clips offered a quick, chic updo, gripping hair securely in place, while banana clips allowed for sleek ponytails and French twists, capturing the minimalist elegance of the era.

Headbands

90s Headband
The headband with teeth is making a comeback. Photo: Urban Outfitters

Headbands in the era traversed the spectrum from athletic bands worn by Serena Williams to slender, ornate bands that crowned the heads of pop princesses like Christina Aguilera. And zigzag headbands also brought some playfulness to the looks.

They could be simple, understated, bold, and bedazzled, often used to sweep back bangs or add a polished finish to casual and formal ensembles.

Total Tresses

Choppy Bob Jenna Elfman 90s
From short to long: A choppy bob worn by Jenna Elfman is 90s chic. Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

In revisiting these iconic 90s hairstyles, we uncover a rich tapestry of cultural expression and bold creativity. This decade was about challenging norms and embracing individuality.

From crimped hair to sleek bobs and textured braids, each style tells a story of an era that dared to experiment and redefine beauty.

The enduring appeal of these styles reminds us of the decade’s unique influence on fashion, an influence that continues to resonate in today’s styles and 90s party outfits.


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