The Most Popular Hairstyle the Year You Were Born
Many of these 'dos are on the don't list now.
When you look at an old picture of yourself, you can probably pinpoint about how old you were based on your hairstyle. Whether it’s the pin-up bangs of the ’50s or the huge perms of the ’80s, your hair really speaks to the era in which you styled it. We looked back at the main manes from 1950 all the way up until to 2000 to find the most popular hairstyles, so get ready for some serious nostalgia!
1950: The Chignon
Elegance reigned supreme at the start of the 1950s and with it came the chignon, a sleek low bun popularized by the queen of class, Grace Kelly.
1951: Pin-Up Bangs
To this day, pin-up model Bettie Page is perhaps most recognizable for her famous short bangs. In certain circles, this hairstyle is still popular. But in the early 1950s, it was truly everywhere.
1952: The Poodle
By 1952, salons were reporting three out of five haircuts were “The Poodle,” thanks to Lucile Ball and her hit show I Love Lucy. The look gathered tons of hair up top and was sleeker on the sides.
1953: The Pixie
1954: The Blonde Bombshell
By 1954, Marilyn Monroe was one of the most famous women on the planet and she inspired an entire generation to go for the blonde bombshell look.
1955: Barrel Curls
By the middle of the decade, Jayne Mansfield’s barrel curls became the definition of glamour. It was a lengthier, more styled version of Monroe’s look.
Ponytails were always a functional hairstyle. But when Brigitte Bardot made her U.S. film debut in 1956, she managed to make this mundane style a stand out.
1957: Soft Full Curls
Soft and textured hair was a staple in the 1950s, but actress Elizabeth Taylor made it seriously en vogue as she dominated the silver screen in the middle of the decade.
1958: The Italian Cut
Actress Dorothy Dandridge, a revolutionary African-American figure in Hollywood, rocked this curly, short cut that became popular in Italian cinema, hence its name. And after she opened at the Mocambo nightclub in West Hollywood, the style earned quite a few admirers in the 1950s.
1959: The Bouffant
Just as the decade came to a close, the most glamorous women in the world, like Sophia Loren and Jackie Kennedy, were donning big bouffants that were soon on women everywhere.
1960: The Stacked Updo
As a new decade rolled in, hairstyles started to veer from the super polished, sleek ‘dos of the 1950s. Instead, the ideal look was the perfectly imperfect stacked updo, made famous by Bardot.
1961: The Pageboy
Serving as the precursor to the mod look, the pageboy became the hairstyle in 1961. Actress Hayley Mills rocked the look—a round top with smoothed-under tips—for her role in The Parent Trap that year.
1962: The Beehive
The Beehive was first created by Margaret Vinci Heldt for Modern Beauty Shop Magazine in 1960, when the owners pushed her to think outside of the box to find the next innovative hairstyle. Eventually, the style became ubiquitous with 1960s hair, largely thanks to Breakfast at Tiffany‘s, which opened at the end of 1961.
1963: Fringe Bangs
Whatever Bardot did with her hair, the world followed. Such was the case with her heavy, middle-parted bangs that were everywhere throughout the decade.
1964: The Flipped Bob
When Bewitched made its debut in 1964, the flipped bob Elizabeth Montgomery sported came with it. First Lady Jackie Kennedy made this her signature ‘do in the early ’60s.
1965: The Five-Point Cut
In the mid-’60s, hairstylist Vidal Sassoon invented the geometric five-point cut. This simple hairstyle was an attempt to liberate working women from seriously time-consuming styling, according to Elle Magazine.
“Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power. They didn’t have time to sit under the dryer anymore,” Sassoon told The Los Angeles Times of the look decades later.
1966: Long and Straight
This hairstyle would eventually epitomize the hippie culture of the 1970s, but it’s perhaps best embodied by Cher, who became a style icon during the middle of the decade thanks to her hit with Sonny Bono, “I Got You Babe.”
Before flatirons were invented, women used clothing irons to remove any kinks or curls from their hair to attain this desired look.
1967: The Deep Part Pixie
Another style icon of the decade, British supermodel Twiggy, popularized the pixie cut with a deep side-part. This hairstyle eventually came to epitomize the mod look, along with Sassoon’s five-point cut.
1968: The Mop-Top
Though you may picture The Beatles when you think of the mop-top hairstyle trend, women also sported this look.
Case in point: English musician and actress Julie Driscoll, who rocked the mop-top style in the latter part of the decade while she covered some of the biggest hits of the century by Bob Dylan and more.
1969: The Asymmetrical Bob
By the end of the ’60s, women everywhere were beginning to tire of their pixie cuts. The style grew out to become more of an asymmetrical bob that started to crop up everywhere, like on Diana Ross here.
1970: The Severe Center Part
Marcia Brady, portrayed by Maureen McCormick, first graced TV screens with her long, straight locks in 1969, and her middle part became the style to emulate.
This hairstyle gained even more popularity when Ali MacGraw paraded her straight locks around in Love Story, which came out in 1970.
1971: The “Shag”
Actress Jane Fonda’s “Shag” haircut in the 1971 film Klute challenged women to chop off their long hair in favor of a more unisex ‘do. If you flip through any yearbook from the 1970s, you’ll likely find this cut on more than a few women during that time period.
1972: The Afro
With disco reigning supreme, afros and natural hair in general became all of the rage. And there’s perhaps no female afro more iconic than Pam Grier’s as Foxy Brown. The actress garnered millions of fans for her coiffed bravery.
Actress Cicely Tyson made TV history when she sported cornrows on the television drama East Side/West Side in the 1960s. She continued to push boundaries with the look over the years.
A decade later, when she garnered critical acclaim for her role in Sounder, she appeared on multiple magazine covers—like Essence and Jet— with the cornrows, helping them gain popularity.
1974: Even Longer Fringe Bangs
Musician and icon Joni Mitchell—along with several other female folk musicians of that time period—popularized bangs that were even longer than Bardot’s. They were also less perfect looking, since they were all about the natural, bohemian aesthetic.
1975: Voluminous Curls
While many women at this point preferred straight hair or waves, supermodel Beverly Johnson started a trend that would resurface later on in the ’80s: voluminous curls.
In August 1974, she became the first African-American model to grace the cover of Vogue and soon enough, she was the “it” girl whose hair women everywhere emulated.
1976: The “Hamill Wedge”
When she won the gold medal in 1976, Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill’s haircut, which she’d gotten just before the games, became its own kind of icon.
“The night before I left for Europe, I had my hair cut by the world-famous hairstylist, Suga,” she wrote in her autobiography A Skating Life. “My dad had written him a letter, asking him if he could cut my hair for the Olympics. He graciously agreed to do it, staying very late at his shop. Of course, I had no idea that this wedge style would become so famous. I just thought if I had to have short hair anyway, I might as well have something fashionable.”
1977: Farrah Fawcett Waves
Charlie’s Angels premiered at the end of 1976, and it wasn’t long before Farrah Fawcett’s signature haircut made her arguably the most iconic hair model of the decade. Every girl yearned to have the same effortless layers cut into their own locks.
According to InStyle magazine, Fawcett’s hairstylist Allen Edwards said “people were lining up down the street” for the style.
1978: Bleached Blonde
Debbie Harry and her band Blondie were at the center of punk rock’s humble beginnings in the late ’70s. The band’s front-woman featured a bleached blonde ‘do that helped make her an icon.
1979: Teased Punk Rock Styles
At the close of the decade, punk rock style had taken over and their outrageous hair was the ultimate defiance. Musicians like Siouxsie Sioux would tease their hair and gather it in a wild way. The messier the hair, the better.
1980: Colorful And Crazy
The wild punk style of the late ’70s got even louder in the 1980s and no one epitomizes the look more than Cyndi Lauper.
Before she made a name for herself with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” in the middle of the decade, she was a founding member of Blue Angel, which released their debut album in 1980. Though her solo career is what made her a household name, even at the turn of the decade, she was sporting the kind of colorful, wild hair that was all the rage.
1981: Side-Swept Bangs
In the 1980s, there was no woman more fashionable than Princess Diana, especially in 1981, the year of her wedding. Her short, side-swept bangs became a style staple in the 1980s, with nearly every woman sporting this look.
1982: Soft Waves
Brooke Shields had captivated a huge audience with her cool, youthful girl-next-door aesthetic in the early 1980s. Her naturally wavy made a big impression on girls and women around the country, prompting a move towards the “less is more” realm of self-expression.
1983: Unhinged Ringlets
As with nearly every other trend in the ’80s, bigger was better when it came to hair, too. When Jennifer Beals sported her natural ringlets in Flashdance in 1983, the effortless style instantly became the definition of sexy.
1984: The Mullet
One of the most loathed hair trends officially gained its legs beginning in 1984 when celebrities like Cher and Joan Jett were unafraid to rock the short-on-top, long-in-the-back style.
1985: Scarves As Headbands
Madonna iconically tied her hair up with a scarf in the 1985 movie Desperately Seeking Susan. Soon, women everywhere were walking around looking like human gifts, with big bows tied atop their heads.
1986: Aqua Net Bangs
A beauty staple in the ’80s was Aqua Net, a hair spray used to keep big hair in line. By 1986, if you weren’t styling your sparse bangs with Aqua Net—so that they couldn’t move an inch—then you definitely weren’t sitting at the cool table.
1987: Crimped Hair
Those without natural curls or volume in the 1980s used a crimper, a tool that made your hair look like crinkle cut French fries. Even sleek hair maven Demi Moore rocked crimped hair in the mid-’80s with her role in St. Elmo’s Fire.
And if you got tired of using a crimper, then you probably went for a perm, which could make even the finest hair big and curly. During the late ’80s, perms—not diamonds—were a girl’s best friend. The process, which took hours at the salon, was all the rage. How else do you think Cher went from sleek and straight to those huge ’80s heights?
From the late ’80s through the ’90s, everyone was obsessed with the scrunchie, which held any type of hair.
And really, what’s not to love? They don’t tug on your hair and cause breakage as much as the average ponytail holder and they come in a variety of appealing prints and colors. Even little Michelle Tanner rocked them on Full House.
1990: Natural Curls
At the beginning of her career, “Vision of Love” singer Mariah Carey made the general public incredibly envious of her long, bouncy curls. Her hair was a far cry from the labored-over looks of the late ’80s. It made a statement and proved that “cool” didn’t have to come with a bunch of processes and hot tools.
1991: Big Bouncy Waves
Fashion model Cindy Crawford was truly the face of fashion in the early 1990s. When she showed up to the 1991 Oscars with her then-boyfriend Richard Gere with big bouncy waves, the retro look suddenly became stylish again.
1992: Grunge Hair
Grunge influenced everything in the ’90s, and hair was no different. No woman embraced this look more than Courtney Love, whose tousled and distressed mane became the thing of rock legends. The more it looked like you just got out of bed, the better.
1993: Box Braids
When pop icon Janet Jackson crossed over to acting in 1993 and made her big screen debut in Poetic Justice, she sported box braids, which became incredibly popular. And other pop artists like Brandy followed suit as the ’90s went on.
1994: The Rachel
Jennifer Aniston’s haircut on the television show Friends was so popular that it was simply called “The Rachel,” named after her character on the show, which premiered in 1994. It was the first time since Fawcett’s Charlie’s Angels look that a TV character made such waves.
1995: The Messy Pixie
By the middle of the decade, ’90s fashion icon Winona Ryder chopped off her hair inspired a new kind of pixie cut. Hers was a more tousled, imperfect version of the original and soon, it was everywhere.
1996: Chunky Highlights
Who could forget Spice Girl Geri Halliwell’s face-framing bleached streaks amid her sea of red hair?
During the middle of the ’90s, unnatural highlights were surprisingly stylish. Unlike the more subtle color techniques of the 21st century, these were blocks of intense color.
1997: Bantu Knots
This traditional African hairstyle also hit the mainstream thanks to a Spice Girl. With her half-up, half-down look, Mel B—AKA Melanie Brown—brought this look to the forefront. Soon, white artists like Gwen Stefani and Björk were culturally appropriated them.
When Britney Spears came onto the scene in 1998 with her hit single “…Baby One More Time,” her debut music video created a fashion frenzy. Suddenly, teens and even adult women were donning pigtails similar to the ones that Spears did in her video.
1999: Dangling Front Strands
While there isn’t a name for this look, per se, everyone at the close of the 20th century knows that your hair wasn’t complete unless there were two pieces hanging down in front of your face.
2000: Clips, Clips, And More Clips
Take the piece-y look of “The Rachel,” those aforementioned hanging strands, and throw in some butterfly clips and you’ve got the perfect hairstyle for the turn of the century. This look, as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen sported on their show Two of a Kind, might be the most recent hairstyle on this list, but it’s also probably the most cringeworthy. Truly, what were we thinking?
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