It’s official: Your favorite old-school haircuts are making a comeback. Whether you’re recovering from a broken heart, feeling burnt out from work, or are just simply bored, a look that’s equal parts nostalgic and modern may be just what you need. After all, a fresh cut can be invigorating. “The decision to cut your hair during a transitional period, whether it be a positive or negative transition, symbolizes to the individual themselves a new start,” mental health counselor Danielle Forshee told Elite Daily. Clarissa Silva, relationship coach, a behavioral scientist, and creator of the Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, added, “When we cut our hair for the purposes of change, psychologically, we are experiencing a rebirth.”
With an influx of so many retro haircuts and styles, there’s never been an easier, or better, time to be “reborn.” These are all of the old-school haircuts — from the 1920s to the 2010s — that are coming back in a big way.
This old-school pixie cut is back and chicer than ever
In the 1950s, the “Italian haircut” reigned supreme, according to Allure. Stars like Sophia Loren sported this chic, loosely curled pixie-type style. The style also earned a “‘bad girl’ reputation,” after Rizzo from Grease debuted the style. Lena Horne and Audrey Hepburn also embraced the no-fuss pixie in the ’50s. In the ’60s, the pixie cut was still popular, but it hit the height of its popularity in 1966, thanks to model Twiggy’s haircut.
The pixie’s popularity eventually waned, but Harper’s Bazaar revealed the old-school haircut to be one of the most popular haircuts for 2020. Stars like Zoe Kravitz and Jurnee Smollett-Bell have been spotted with the pixie. The Coach Spring 2020 show also featured models with a fun ‘do. If you like this trend but are afraid it won’t be flattering, you may be surprised to learn that all faces — yes, even round ones — can pull it off. If you have a circular face shape, just be sure to add volume to your hair and you’re good to go.
The Castle bob is an old-school haircut you're going to want to try
The bob has a surprisingly controversial history. It’s known for being the rebellious flapper look of the 1920s. Irene Castle, a ballroom dancer and fashionista, sparked a craze when she was the first well-known woman to chop off her locks, Smithsonian magazine explained. Women had to go to barbershops to get a bob because their hairdressers wouldn’t cut their long, feminine hair. Once hairdressers decided to start giving this haircut, thousands more hairdressing shops opened up in just a few years’ time. Everyone wanted to get their hair cut into a “Castle bob.”
As it happens, the bob is having another a moment. Actress Laura Harrier wore her bob with textured, voluminous waves to the 2020 Golden Globes and, at the end of 2019, model Kaia Gerber posted a photo on her Instagram that showcased her super-short bob. Actress Lucy Hale also flaunts a fun old-school bob. Thankfully, the bob is flattering on any face shape, but it’s especially versatile and easy to wear for oval faces, according to InStyle.
The shag may be an old-school haircut, but it slays even today
The old-school shag haircut uses lots of layers to add volume and frame the face, Allure explained. This look is often shoulder-length, but it can work equally great with shorter hair. It has a reputation as a hairstyle for the rebellious and adventurous. Jane Fonda was one of the first famous ladies to wear it in the 1970s, according to The Cut. You can see her rocking the iconic haircut in the 1971 movie Klute. Singers Joan Jett and Debbie Harry continued the trend of the shag haircut into the 1980s and actress Meg Ryan brought the shag into the ’90s.
Jumping to modern times, Taylor Swift debuted her shag haircut in 2019 and Alexa Chung continues to rock a shaggy ‘do as of this writing. Models Mica Arganaraz and Freja Beha Erichsen also prefer the look. This style requires little maintenance, so you don’t have to do much styling if at all. Instead of trying to tame your mane, you can let your natural hair texture work with the cut.
Farrah Fawcett's old-school haircut is bouncing back
Farrah Fawcett’s feathery waves found fame in the 1970s. Similar to the shag, feathered haircuts are usually layered, but the ends are soft and fine instead of blunt. Fawcett often wore the old-school style with her locks flipped out, but the hairdo is especially obvious when layers are curled inward. In the 1980s, even Princess Diana tried the feathered look on for size.
While you may not have imagined the style coming back, Southern Living predicted that the lengthy, feathered style will be big in 2020. Paris Hilton and Tyra Banks are often seen wearing her hair like Fawcett. This look isn’t just for celebs, though. According to L’Oréal Paris, anyone can wear this style. You can try it straight or curly and at any length; it’s super versatile. To wear it like the iconic Charlie’s Angels star, you’ll want big curls to accentuate the feathery layers. A middle part is also key for pulling off this look, Fawcett’s former hairdresser, Ted Gibson, told HuffPost.
These old-school bangs are straight out of the aughts
We’ve all had side bangs, right? It was probably the most popular hairstyle of the early 2000s. A deep side part and a thick side bang was the most desirable hairdo during that time. Celebrities like Lauren Conrad and the Olsen twins showcased this look, along with pretty much any Disney Channel actress on TV at the time. So, naturally, the rest of us needed to get side bangs, too.
Interestingly, the old-school style is making a comeback. In January 2020, Taylor Swift graced the cover of British Vogue wearing a chic tweed jacket and — you guessed it — side bangs. Versace’s Fall-Winter 2020 show featured models with deep side bangs as well.
Today’s side bangs are different from the early aughts’ iteration, though. Of the reinvented cut, hairstylist Sarah Klein told InStyle, “Keep them very soft and blended, rather than heavy and blunt.” So, keep that in mind when going for your haircut. Good Housekeeping also recommended applying glossing serum to your bangs for a polished look. Adding hairspray will stop them from getting in your eyes and, if you don’t feel like wearing your hair down, side bangs can also soften the look of an updo.
Audrey Hepburn's old-school bangs are back, baby
In the 1930s, curled short bangs became popular, according to Allure. These wispy bangs were a stark contrast to the “Dutch boy” haircut of the 1920s, which featured bluntly cut, heavy bangs. In the 1950s, baby bangs came back on the scene; Audrey Hepburn wore them with her pixie cut in Roman Holiday. Fellow actress Natalie Wood styled her bob with baby bangs during the decade as well. Short fringe continued into the 60s, Allure revealed, and were often worn with a pixie cut like in the ’50s, or with the beehive hairstyle.
Whether you’re a big fan of tiny bangs or not, Good Housekeeping declared in late 2019 that baby bangs were officially coming back. In September 2019, Little Women star Eliza Scanlen donned a pixie cut with short fringe as did actress Alison Sudol, some three months later.
To emulate the old-school trend, L’Oréal Paris advised adding a mini hair straightener and some dry shampoo to your arsenal. A small straightener will make it easier to style your short bangs and dry shampoo will keep them from looking greasy before the rest of your hair shows oil. Short bangs like these are a serious commitment, L’Oréal warned, because of the daily styling they require.
The old-school lob is making a triumphant return
The lob (aka the long bob) is obviously a trendy haircut these days (just ask Southern Living), but it’s not a new trend by any means. This old-school long bob goes back to the 1930s, when actress Jean Harlow wore hers in bouncy curls. A decade later, Vivien Leigh wore her hair in a lob and victory rolls (the signature style of the ’40s) in Gone With the Wind. In 1958, actress Rita Hayworth wore her curly hair in a lob similar to Harlow’s and, in the ’60s, Dorothy Dandridge also embraced the lob.
In the ’70s, the Diana Ross went with the lengthy bob. Rock queen Debbie Harry even had one in the ’80s and Karyn Parsons from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air styled her curly hair in a lob into the ’90s. Yes, pretty much every decade has had its iteration of the lob — and that’s not expected to end any time soon.
These days, celebrities from Hailey Baldwin to Gabrielle Union rock the lob. Obviously, this style has stood the test of time. Lobs are especially flattering on round faces, but the length of this cut looks good on everyone, and it’s easy to maintain.
Celebs may be helping to bring back this old-school haircut
Long layers can be found on many characters in many early 2000s TV shows, like Summer Roberts from The O.C. and like Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. In a 2009 article, Allure asserted that long layers were one of “the hottest cuts” at the time. The article goes on to say that this cut works well for lightening up thick hair and also for keeping curls bouncy. In 2010, Cosmopolitan awarded Angelina Jolie’s long layers with the honor of being one of the “best hairstyles of the past decade.”
The love for long, layered hair didn’t stop there. Celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons told Entertainment Tonight that this look is hot for 2020, especially for super long hair (think waist-length). In late 2019, the stylist posted a photo of Kourtney Kardashian and her long layered hair to his Instagram and Kourtney’s sister Kylie Jenner, who shares the same hairstylist, appears to have taken to this look as well.
Long layers are ideal for fine hair that isn’t thick enough for heavy layering, according to StyleCaster. This look also makes a smooth transition for growing out bangs. If you’re looking for a way to freshen your look without taking off too much overall length, this is the perfect haircut for you!
It's time to work Jackie O's old-school haircut
The flippy, short hairstyle from the 1960s has been popping up on various high-profile celebs, from Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B., in 2020. Southern Living confirmed that the unique style is indeed trending once again. Flipped ends can be worn with a variety of haircuts, but medium-length cuts are especially similar to the 1960s style.
One of the first women to rock the look was Sophia Loren. In 1965, she wore her lob with the ends flipped out for the movie Operation Crossbow. Another ’60s actress who wore her dark blonde hair similarly was Lesley Gore. This style reached all the way to the White House: First Lady Jackie Kennedy famously had flipped ends.
For a modern twist on this look, you can take some inspiration from Kim Kardashian and wear a high ponytail with flipped ends. A full ponytail that hits your shoulders gives the illusion of a shorter cut, so this version of the style is great for long hair.
Old-school curtain bangs will have you looking French-girl cool
Sex symbol of the 1960s Brigitte Bardot wore her full bangs cut in the curtain bang style. Old-school curtain bangs are traditionally parted in the middle and frame the forehead. In the 1970s, Goldie Hawn also embraced the fringe cut in this manner.
This classic style was brought back into the mainstream in 2020. Camila Cabello wears her hair with playful curtain bangs, as does Kacey Musgraves. To get the look for yourself, keep in mind your hair texture. “[Curtain bangs] work with straight hair and they also work with wavy hair as long as it’s not too wavy in the front,” Frederic Fekkai hairstylist Jordi Martinez explained to Allure. The expert advises applying a leave-in conditioner and then blow-drying the hair in either direction so that it frames the sides of your face. Lastly, spray it with hairspray so it sets.
Hairstylist Emily Heser pointed out to Glamour that curtain bangs can be worn several ways. They can be cut short or you can keep them longer in order to have the option of clipping them back. Curtain bangs are thankfully a little easier to get out of the way than traditional bangs.
The old-school round afro trends again
The 1970s featured lots and lots of round afros, aka the “lion cut” because of its similarity to the big cat’s mane, hairstylist Annagjid “Kee” Taylor told Allure. Back then, actresses like Tamara Dobson and Pam Grier showed off their stunning natural curls in movies and iconic ’70s singer Diana Ross was also known for her big, bold afro. Disco was popular in this decade so ladies often donned curls as part of their look.
Disco may in fact be dead, but these old-school afros are not. Zendaya resurrected the style at the Met Gala in 2017. Actresses Jessica Williams and Tracee Ellis Ross also rock a rounded ‘fro. Celebrity hairstylist Irinel de León confirmed to Entertainment Tonight in January 2020 that not only have rounded curls begun gaining popularity, they will continue to be trendy.
The expert also emphasized the importance of using hydrating shampoo that doesn’t contain sulfates or alcohol so that your hair stays healthy and polished. And, while hair might already grow this way, your hairdresser can shape it for you if not. Plus, a rounded cut will help keep curls full and buoyant.
This old-school asymmetrical bob is ready for its reboot
Bobs were super trendy in the 1920s and there were many variations of the haircut. The “shingle bob” was one of those variations. It was a bob that had varying lengths; it started out shorter in the back and got longer toward the front. In the 2000s, a longer version of this look became trendy. Similar to the shingle bob, the “lob” iteration can be shorter in the back and gradually lengthen at the front.
According to Allure, a take on the old-school bob is back in style. Instead of being shorter in the back and longer in the front, though, 2020 calls for the haircut to be longer on one side of the head and shorter on the other side. The shorter side is often tucked behind the ear and the hair is parted toward the longer side. Demi Lovato has been spotted wearing her dark hair in this cut, and so has fellow celeb Lucy Hale.
This old-school '70 haircut is having a glow-up
Hair that’s one length and free of layers can look sleek and chic. Take it from Meryl Streep, who wore her hair this way in the ’70s. Maureen McCormick also kept her hair at just one length for her role as Marcia Brady in The Brady Bunch, which was popular in the early ’70s. Perhaps most famously, ’70s star Cher styled her raven hair in one long length.
Old-school, one-length hair is in fashion again, reported Allure. Kim Kardashian is a fan of to sleek style, as is Awkwafina. Hairstylist Riawna Capri told Allure that the 2020 trend is to wear the hair straight with blunt ends, instead of in tousled waves like in the past. The goal is shiny, thick-looking hair. No layers also means that this cut is easy to put into fun updos without worrying about pieces coming out of place. It also grows out well without needing much maintenance in between.
The old-school Rachel 'do is coming back
Is there a haircut that has ever been more famous than “The Rachel” cut? Ladies of the ’90s loved this Friends haircut so much that it became requested in salons all over, according to InStyle. And yet, the woman who started it all, Jennifer Aniston, actually hated this haircut. She told Glamour that the old-school haircut was challenging for her to style without a hairstylist there to help.
The Rachel is an ultra-layered cut that’s similar to a shag haircut. The ends were curled under toward the face to frame it. Even though Aniston didn’t love the look, Real Simple asserts that this style is back for 2020.
Hairstylist Tinamarie Possidoni told the publication what to ask for when you get this cut: “layers starting at the tip of the nose and ending at the bottom, framing every angle of the face.” All of those layers give the hair movement, hairstylist Sarah Klein told Allure. She added that this cut can be styled to look bouncy or it can be left alone to look more casual like a shag cut.
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