Are you nostalgic for the ‘90s? For Gen Xers, it was a decade when Friends was on TV and so was Sex in the City. TV characters Carrie Bradshaw and Rachel Green were certainly style icons, but there were other hairstyles worn by musicians and movie stars that became classic ‘90s looks.
These five retro hairstyles are the ultimate throwback to a time before selfies.
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Carrie Bradshaw Curls
Here’s how to recreate the wild and curly look of Sex and the City’s fashionista and style icon.
First, prep your hair roots with styling lotion. Blow out hair until it’s straight.
Next, clip the top section of your hair out of the way. Taking small sections of hair, twist and roll them around a 1-inch curling iron, leaving several inches near your root uncurled. Continue until the lower portion of your hair is all curled.
Now, unclip the top section of hair and part in the center. Keep adding curls to this top section until all hair is curled.
Spray to set using a wet texture hair spray. Use fingers to fluff and separate the curls.
Pro Tip: Sarah Jessica Parker’s stylist said: “To create all those curls, I would always use like five different style irons” to create variety “rather than just barrel-curling her hair.”
Winona’s Pixie Cut
After the tousled shag of the Gen X classic Reality Bites, Winona Ryder cropped her hair short to create the perfect pixie.
To recreate this ‘90s look, start by asking your stylist for a Winona-inspired pixie cut. They’ll know exactly what you mean because it was named one of 26 best short haircuts in history.
To style the pixie cut, use pomade or hair wax to emphasize the texture. Keep in mind that short hair isn’t necessarily low maintenance. Be prepared for regular trips to the salon to keep the length in check.
Janet Jackson Box Braids
This classic look took off after the 1993 movie Poetic Justice. Note that the braiding process can take 5-8 hours, but if you take care of them, you’ll have a month of a low-maintenance style. Here’s how to do a box braid:
Part your hair into small, boxy sections. Dampen hair with a little water, and working from ends to roots, seal in moisture with cream.
Take long hair extension pieces, and tug the length so that your braid will taper at the ends. Separate the hair extension piece into two pieces (one with twice as much hair as the other). Place the center of the smaller half directly over the center of the larger half. Gather both pieces of the smaller half together so that you have three even pieces of hair.
Holding the overlapping extensions at their center, bring the length up to the root of your natural hair. Combine your natural hair into the center section.
Braid the full length with an under braid where outside pieces are brought under instead of over. Keep braiding the rest of your hair until you have a full head of braids.
Optional: To seal the braid, dip the ends into boiling hot water one at a time. Then trim off any unnecessary stringiness.
Jennifer Aniston debuted this haircut on season one of Friends in 1994, and the trend caught on quickly.
To get the cut, ask your stylist for a shoulder-length lob cut with lots of layers. If you’re looking for something a little less retro, you can modernize the look by changing the length. Have the length be a little longer and hit a couple of inches below your shoulders, and lengthen any face-framing to below your chin.
To style this classic ‘90s look, blow dry with a round brush to start building shape. Use a flat iron from roots to your jaw and then curl it under. For a modernized version, add some beachy waves or loose curls.
For some added definition, use a small dab of molding wax and pinch together small sections of hair.
Gwen Stefani Retro Blonde
Stefani says she hasn’t seen her real hair color since 9th grade, and she’s been dying her hair platinum blond since 1998. Color is a huge part of this look, and her stylist touches up the color every seven to eight days.
For Stefani’s weekly touch-up routine, her stylist adds color to the roots and coats the rest of her hair with deep conditioner. Then let rest for 45 minutes.
Because excessive hair coloring also requires excessive hair conditioning, start each style with clean, dry hair and add leave-in conditioning cream. Then add your volumizers or mousse. Shape your colored and conditioned hair with a mixed-bristle brush and blowdryer.
To recreate the vintage-punk ponytail from the Just A Girl music video, start by separating the front portion of your hair. Gather the rest of your hair into a high ponytail. For the front section, first create a high poof by brushing up, adding hairspray, and pinning to secure.
To create a swirl, start with the ends and loosely wrap the length of your hair around two fingers. Continue the curl when it meets your head and pin to secure it behind the poof. Spray to set.