Perhaps more than any other style choice, hairstyles of yesteryear provide a glimpse into the culture at large. When you look at photos from any time period, it’s usually the hair that betrays the age. “Look at my hair,” we often say. “It was terrible!”But hair is a fascinating way to categorize the overall style of a certain period and, looking back, we see that the most attractive hairis the hair that has personality without being over-the-top. Take a gander through the decades to see what we mean.
The 1970s: Feathers, Fringes, and Fros
The hair of the disco era was, arguably, a response to the decade that came before. The supremely neat and polished beehives and perfectly smooth flips of the 1960s gave way to a more natural, almost messy aesthetic, with hair icons like Farrah Fawcett and others showcasing feathered cuts with plenty of volumeand shaggy curls. This was also high time for fringy, brow-skimming bangs á la Joni Mitchell.
The 1970s gave us the Golden Age of the Afro(may it soon have a revival), with statement-making, grown-out manes rocked by Angela Davis, Michael Jackson, andDiana Ross. The guys of the 70s were all about sideburns and length, with surfer hair and mustaches making their way to the mainstream. To sum it up, this decade was all about a grown-out, deliberately unpolished aesthetic, and we loved every second of it.
The 1980s: The Bigger the Better
The 1980s were one of the most infamous eras in hair, marked by the sky-high teased trend that caught on like wildfire and spread to almost every corner of culture. From Whitney Houston’s puffy ringlet curls to the iconic perm of Dolly Parton, in the 1980s the saying was true: the bigger the hair, the closer to God. Side ponytails, poofy half-up styles, andcrimpy hair were also big in the 80s. Basically, anything funky was totally in.
The large, shaggy look permeated to men’s hairstyles, too. In fact, the trend grew into such a bigdeal that an entire genre of 80s music were known as “hair bands.” The heavy metal and glam rock scenes of this decade were dominated by dudes sporting big, puffy hair—permed, crimped, curled, and teased. Throw in a headband and some makeup, and you’ve got yourself the perfect 80s costume to pay tribute to the Golden Age of Volume.
The 1990s: Stick-Straight with a Center Part
Just as 70s tastemakers reacted to the 60s, so, too, did 90s icons react to the 80s. Here, we see a total 360-degree turnaround from the over-the-top, over-teased ‘dos of the 1980s to the ultra-smooth, perfectly straight styles rocked by turn-of-the-century trendsetters like Jennifer Aniston and Alicia Silverstone. Finger waves, micro-braids, and super short styles (think: Halle Berry in “Boomerang”) were big in black hair.
For the guys, the 1990s were just as much about keeping things stick-straight. Parted in the middle or cut into a bowl-shape, the ideal cut during this era was a bit grown-out, wavy, and surfer-inspired, with plenty of blond highlights. Some of the most iconic 1990s men’s styles were rocked by Leonardo DiCaprio at the height of “Titanic” and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (otherwise known as Zack Morris) in “Saved by the Bell.”
The 2000s: Smooth, Sleek, and Spiky
The ultra-sleek, Aniston-style straight hair persevered well into the new millennium, with hot-ironed locks sported by all the biggest style icons of this era, from Aaliyah to Tyra Banks, to Lindsay Lohan. Basically, volume and body were a thing of the past (and, we now know, the future), and it was all about the smooth and flat. Ladies during this era loved to accessorize with butterfly clips, and can you blame them?
Men’s hair of this time period was equally as iconic. This was the time period that we started to see guys rock the frosted spikes—Ethan Hawke, Brad Pitt, Mark McGrath, and Guy Fieri (who, we believe, is still sporting this look)—were all living for this ‘do at the turn of the century. Dudes were also partial to working their hair into perfect fauxhawks—this was the era of pop punk, after all—as well as rocking “emo” haircuts with side-swiped bangs.
The 2010s: Loose Waves and Clean Fades
It’s the era we’re living in (at least for another year), so it’s a bit difficult to say which hair trends will mark this decade. With that said, there have been a few massive shifts in the way we style compared with the decade before. For ladies, it has been all about the loose curls and beach waves with long hair and no bangs. In other words, the return of volume. Today, it’s all about the gentle painted-on highlights (balayage) as well as funky pastel colors.
We’ve also seen a revival in natural hair trendsamong African Americans in the past nine years, with stylists embracing natural textures and curls. For the guys, this era has been all about reverting to the neat, tailored styles, with perfectly cropped fades and slicked-back undercuts. Oh, and we’ll never forget that this decade gave us one of the most talked-about men’s hair trends of the decade to date—the man bun.
Looking to the Future
Any guesses on how hair trends will look in 10 years from now? We can’t say for sure, but, with the advent of high-tech beauty—from super-realistic extensions to cutting-edge hair growth treatment options—we’re willing to bet that the theme of the future will be total customization. Things like thickness, baldness, damage, and lack of growth won’t be much of an issue, with any hairstyle imaginable totally within reach. We look forward to seeing what the future brings when there are no limitations!
Article by Capilus Content team