High school has always had a pecking order — just look at any straight-to-DVD movie and you'll find your proof. From choice of shoes to makeup techniques, cool girls have roamed the halls flawless in their choices, often making us mere mortals feel self-consciously foolish. In the early 2000s, there were hairstyles every popular girl had that made many of the rest of us want to tuck our locks into bucket hats and beanies out of shame.
For those of us who didn't have a hierarchy to protect, waking up and dragging a comb through our hair, letting it do what it wanted, was the norm. I was a personal fan of the messy high ponytail — one that my guy friends affectionately (or not so affectionately?) dubbed the pineapple hairstyle. But when you breezed through the front doors in a Dooney & Bourke bag and Uggs, the game was a little different. Highlights gleamed while bangs were flat ironed down. Layers were flipped, and mousse was globbed on by the bottle-full.
In every high school, there were likely certain hairstyles that popular girls indulged in — ones that we tried to recreate in the privacy of our own bathrooms and maybe didn't walk away from so successfully. Let's take a walk back into those years and relive the coolness. Below are 13 hairstyles every popular girl had.
1. Clipped-Back Bangs
Bangs that were teased to an inch of their life and then secured back with a bobby pin were very much in during those high school years. A fan-favorite of girls who wore Coach purses and Birks to and from biology class, it was usually topped off with crisply flat-ironed hair and some under-eyeliner.
2. Half Straight, Half Curly
Who says you can't have your cake an eat it, too? The noughties made it completely acceptable to have curly, moussed hair on the bottom, and perfectly straight bangs on top. While some today might argue that it looks a little strange with the sharp contrasts, we were tweens and we didn't care. Now all you needed were your low-rise jeans and Polo, and you were set.
3. Flat Ironed Bangs
If you decided to indulge in some fringe, you better believe those wisps were flat-ironed to an inch of their life. These were not the Jessica Day fluffy bang days — cool girls knew it was all about those twig-esque strands.
4. Natural Volume
Rocking your natural mane and all its glorious volume was everything back in the day — and the incomparable Scary Spice was at the forefront of the look.
5. Middle Part Bangs
On us mere mortals, middle part bangs usually looked like our moms brushed our wet hair before going to bed, but on the cool girls it turned all glamorous and sexy and flawless. Meanwhile, my bangs would be oily by fifth period because I'd be constantly trying to push them away from my line of vision. Ugh.
6. Flipped Out Layers
This took major round brush skills — skills that I just didn't posses and made me stare all the more in awe at the cool kids' table. The key here was to get about a thousand layers and then flip them out all Farrah Fawcett-esque.
7. Wispy Bangs
Ah yes, the wispy bangs. The bangs that are there but not really but enough to make you look flirty and turn the hallways into slow-mo incarnate when you walk.
8. The Wavy Bob
You didn't need to have hair up to your waist to be considered senior-level cool — even those with bobs could make us underlings look after you with terrified respect. The trick here was not to make it your mini-van-driving mom's bob. You had to curl the ends in a little, giving it this messy, dented look. It was very bohemian at the time, trust me.
9. The Diagonal Cut
From bangs to tips, your hairdresser just brought a ruler up to your face and then just slashed down in one clean line. It made sense then.
10. The Black Headband
If you were worth your tracksuit, you definitely had one of these black headbands on your dresser. Whether you wanted to pair it with your weekly towel-dress or your fancy backyard party clothes, this was the accessory.
Here Beyoncé is definitely reppin' Texas — volume was power in high school, and the more luscious, Herbal Essence-commercial-like hair you had, the higher up the food chain you were
12. The Stripy Highlights
There was nothing subtle about high school, and that included your highlights. Like the body spray of the hair world, your color was meant to overwhelm the senses, jumping out at you with a bold punch. And that was usually achieved with strong, stand-alone blonde highlights.
13. Straight As A Pin Hair
No matter what generation or what decade you're from, this one thing probably holds true: Straight as a pin, sleek hair is always worn by the cool girls. And the rest of us trudge around in top knots and frizzy manes, scratching our heads over how early these cool kids have to wake up to get their locks to cooperate like that.
Whether you loved your popular girls or hated them, their hair will likely always be imprinted in your memory.
Images: Fox (1); The WB (1)