Ah the '90s; it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. And when it comes to hair trends, it was the perhaps the wildest of times. Now, I'm all for old-school beauty trends coming back round, even if they're slightly out there; even the mullet has had a revival in recent weeks. But the fact that the 90s chunky highlights trend is back is filling me with dread a little. Looking back, there really wasn't anything cool about block highlights, and it's a look I'd bet most of us are glad to leave in the past. So what's up with the modern chunky highlight trend, and how can you realistically wear them now without feeling super retro and out of the loop. Yes they're back, but should we be wearing them?
Well, possibly, but there are some key rules to follow in terms of styling and taking care of your locks after getting them. In terms of styling them, chunky highlights are done differently these days, and are designed to look less severe and harsh, and to instead, add dimension to existing colour.
Those doing it best have to be Kim Kardashian, whose hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons created a subtle 90s look in honey-toned hues. Kim's highlights are distinctly chunky, but in a more pared-down, less obvious way. Her lighter chunks blend in well with her darker overall colour.
This subtle approach is one way to do it; another is to go all out and opt for a harsh chop with more distinctive highlights. Refinery29's Jacqueline Kilikita took the plunge and added a set of chunky blonde highlights to her already blunt shoulder length bob. The style, which was created by the colourist I see, Shannon Gallacher at Nicola Clarke at John Frieda Salons (who is a colour QUEEN, BTW), ended up looking incredible on Jackie, who had never before dyed her hair. One of the key elements of the look was to start the highlights further down from the scalp, rather than right at the root. This gave it more of a modern, unconventional feel.
She also spoke to Adir Abergel, hairstylist and creative director of Virtue, to learn more about this style, which he in turn confirmed is ideal for choppy haircuts like Jackie's: "The reason we're seeing all of these highlights and chunky colour placements is to prop up a blunt cut. We saw this in the '90s with the supermodels like Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Naomi Campbell. When they swooped their hair over, you could really see the movement."
So we know chunky highlights can look good circa 2019, but what about the upkeep and the toll they take on hair health? Well first off, it's important to go to someone who knows who they are doing when getting your hair coloured in this way. Highlighting super dark hair like Kim or Jackie's with lighter blonde hues can be damaging and cause breakage, so an expert hair stylist should be found. Gallacher made sure the blend wasn't too testing on Jackie's hair by mixing in a protein treatment with the colour to prevent breakage, which must have helped massively.
Then it's up to you to keep hair healthy and strong after colouring, which can be done if you're committed. While it's important to regularly use conditioning hair masks to keep things healthy, it's also a good idea to keep heat use to a minimum, and to invest in some strengthening serums or oils. Jason Hogan, Celebrity and Expert Colourist at Josh Wood Atelier, also recommended regular in-salon glossing treatments to GLAMOUR UK, in order to keep locks looking shiny and feeling super strong.