As ‘90s babies, you can imagine we love everything about the decade. From the classic television shows to the (sometimes questionable) fashion choices, there’s so much to admire from the time. When we think back, however, the one thing that always stands out is the ‘90s hairstyles. Lucky for us, a quick scroll through Instagram and TikTok’s discovery pages shows us dozens of ‘90s-inspired hair tutorials, proving just how wearable ‘90s hair is in 2023.
Is ‘90s hair back in style?
The short answer is—yes! ‘90s fashion has been creeping back into our closets since 2020. Perhaps because of the rise in pre-loved fashion platforms, we’re suddenly rediscovering the joys of all the old favorites. First, it was crop tops, then bucket hats and flared pants, and now low-rise waists. It’s only natural that we want the ‘90s hair to match.
What hairstyles were popular in the ‘90s?
A range of hairstyles were popular in the ‘90s, and it's hard to sum up exactly what the ‘90s hair aesthetic was. There were popular short haircuts based on our favorite New York City sitcom, on-trend protective hairstyles like box braids, cute hairstyles with accessories like scrunchies, and edgier grunge looks like spiked pixies and undone waves. What hairstyle you wore depended on what aesthetic you were going for—and it’s the same if you’re looking to channel your inner ‘90s girl in 2023!
How do I do my hair like the ‘90s?
That’s where we come in. We’re sharing 30 of the best ‘90s hairstyles that are still totally wearable. There’s something for every aesthetic, from ‘90s-style braids to grunge waves.
30 Wearable ‘90s Hairstyles to Try Now
Boy Band Shag
It would be an injustice to start our roundup without first mentioning the hottest hairstyle of the ‘90s: the boy band haircut. Remember swooning as you watched your favorite heartthrob bust out his best choreographed dance moves? Us too. Luckily, in 2023, the style is as unisex as ever. Watch the quick tutorial from Matrix global educator Philip Wolff above for one of our go-to styling ideas.
Fluffy hair is a modern take on ‘90s blowouts, a look that focuses on smooth, soft hair but also embraces imperfections. It’s bouncy, airy hair that you can run your fingers through. All you’ll need to achieve fluffy hair is a blow dryer and a lightweight volumizing product like Redken Big Blowout Heat Protecting Jelly Serum.
Claw Clip Updo
‘90s claw clips are back and trendier than ever! Watch the video above to learn how to create a claw clip updo on thick hair.
Edgy, grunge hairstyles were huge in the ‘90s, but so were cute and colorful hair accessories like butterfly clips. Place a few nostalgic clips throughout your hair for serious 1990s hairstyle vibes.
Half-Up High Ponytail
We’re two decades past the ‘90s, but one thing is sure: The half-up high ponytail will always be on-trend. If you prefer to soften the look, secure your ponytail as high as you can on top of your head and loosen the strands framing your face. Complete your ‘do with a few spritzes of hairspray like Pureology Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray.
Unlike modern fringe trends that graze your eyebrows, baby bangs typically fall about an inch from the front of your hairline. If you want to make a serious statement with your cut, this is the ‘90s trend for you.
High Ponytail With Scrunchie
Maybe we’re biased because we have a drawer full of scrunchies, but this throwback hair accessory is one of the most popular revived ‘90s trends of the past few years. They’re one of the easiest ways to add a simple ‘90s touch to any hairstyle. Try a high ponytail if you’re looking for an easy look to get started.
In recent years, long layered cuts and choppy layers have stolen the spotlight, but in the ‘90s, blunt bobs were all the rage. If you don’t love the idea of an ear-length bob, go for a slightly longer variation of the classic style with a blunt lob. A lob can warm you up to the idea of shorter strands while maintaining some length.
Best of all, blunt-cut lobs help to give the illusion of thicker hair, making them an ideal choice for ladies with fine, thin-looking locks.
Obsessed with ‘90s hairstyles grunge? Whether you were a rockstar-loving teen in the ‘90s or just admire the decade’s grungy hair looks, ask your stylist for a shoulder-length haircut with shaggy layers for an easy way to wear the trend in 2021. Use a texturizing spray like L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Next Day Hair Dry Finishing Spray to give your mane a tousled, disheveled look.
Searching for black ‘90s hairstyles? While Bantu knots have long been a go-to style for women with natural hair, these small, coiled buns were a favorite of ‘90s stars, and we’re seeing a major resurgence in recent years. The best part? Depending on your hair texture, Bantu knots leave you with stunning waves or curls upon taking them out.
If you’re looking for a fun and simple way to channel your inner ‘90s girl, space buns are the perfect way to do so. Click here to find out exactly how to achieve the look.
Flipped Out Ends
Much like in the ‘60s, women of the ‘90s loved the look of dramatic, flipped ends. If you have mid-length hair, this sleek hairstyle is perfect for you. Wondering how to achieve flipped ends the right way? Click here for our full guide.
Box Braid Ponytail
This high box braid ponytail is a tried and true ‘90s hairstyle for women. Not to mention, it makes for an easy and on-trend protective hairstyle for natural hair.
Maybe you were inspired by your favorite popstar, or maybe it was your mom’s go-to hairstyle before sending you off to school, but if you were a kid in the ‘90s, you undoubtedly wore pigtails. Luckily, there are so many ways to make the style work for you in 2023. Click here for pigtail hairstyles you can wear at any age.
Another grunge look for the books, the spiked pixie is a ‘90s classic. If you have a pixie haircut with a little bit of length at the top, use a texture paste like Redken Texture Paste (formerly called Rough Paste 12 Working Material Hair Paste) to deconstruct any haircut with texture and separation.
Crimped hair may have come on the scene in the 1980s, but it solidified its place as an iconic style in the 90s. Whether you first discovered crimped hair on Tik Tok or swore by your crimper back in the day, this iconic ‘90s hairstyle has definitely stood the test of time.
In the late ‘90s, girls said goodbye to the over-the-top volume of the earlier part of the decade and made flat irons a permanent part of their routines. Start by applying a heat protectant like Redken Thermal Spray 11 Low Hold throughout your hair before you begin styling. In one-inch sections, clamp the hair closest to your scalp with the flat iron and drag it down the length of your hair.
Once you’ve finished, complete the look with an anti-frizz or shine serum like Pureology Style + Protect Shine Bright Taming Serum.
Sure, the supermodels of today may have revived the super-sleek spiky bun, but we’ll never forget its 1999 roots. Team it with barrettes to take it to the next level, then fend off flyaways with a generous mist of Matrix Vavoom Extra Full Freezing Spray.
The Middle Part
It’s super simple, but sometimes the best things in life are. The middle part is back in fashion for the first time since before the millennium, and it’s the ideal introduction to experimenting with ‘90s hair.
The Prom ‘Do
Nothing had a hold over the ‘90s imagination like prom night. Just think of any teen movie from the era, and you can almost guarantee that the pivotal scene happened in a school gym lit by a disco ball. An ornate up-do like this is your chance to channel that main-character energy.
Silver was the color of Y2K, and it was everywhere towards the end of the ‘90s. This stand-out shade still manages to look sleek and futuristic. Sure, it may be high maintenance, but is that really such a bad thing?
Eliminate yellow tones in your platinum hair with a toning system like Matrix So Silver Shampoo + Conditioner Duo.
Sleepovers were probably the highlight of our social calendars in the ‘90s, and braiding our hair was as much a part of the fun as the popcorn and pillow-fights. It might take you a few tries, but we bet those braiding skills are still there—put them to good use with these more-is-more micro braids.
Everything about the ‘90s was loud and proud, just like these highlights. Bold streaks of color were all the rage until fashion started to favor a more natural look. Now the tide is turning again, and we’re totally here for it.
The hair jewels of the ‘90s were like the accessories you might see on your favorite doll—think jewels on little spiral pins that you’d twist into place. This pearl-studded look is a more sophisticated take on the trend.
These are a thinner spin on the full bangs we know and love. For maximum ‘90s points, blow-dry these bangs using a round bristle brush for volume.
Tomboy fashion was a big deal in the ‘90s, and a boyish pixie cut was its ultimate expression. This style is every bit as daring now as it was then. Bonus points if you bleach it blonde.
Every ‘90s girl knew that teasing a few strands out of your up-do was a great way to soften the look and really frame your face. Put your hair up any way you like, then try it for instant prom queen vibes.
Tight, High Pony
The ‘90s was the golden era of the high school movie, and what’s a high school movie without cheerleaders? This slicked-back style will have you looking like you’re on your way back from the bleachers.
Prep your hair with Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil for an ultra-high-shine finish.
This particular ‘90s hairstyle has a real space opera feel about it. We can almost feel ourselves waiting in line at the box office for tickets to see our favorite iconic female protagonist.
Okay, okay, it’s not a hairstyle as such. But adding a bandana will turn any hairstyle into a ‘90s throwback.
Interested in trying a ‘90s hairstyle? Stock up on all our best professional styling products on Hair.com.