When considering the next big thing in beauty, one can usually look behind them. That’s because contemporary styles continually pull from the trends of yesteryear. Currently, there has been a particular boom in Y2K hairstyles. This is proven not only by search patterns on TikTok, but the looks worn by fashion icons — see: Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber’s perpetual blast-from-the-past inspired hairdos as prime examples.
It’s not only the two supermodels embracing the early 2000s aesthetic. Nick Stenson, celebrity hairstylist, artistic director at Matrix, and senior vice president of store and services operations at Ulta Beauty, tells Bustle that both beauty and fashion are on the cusp of a major expressive revival of Y2K-inspired styles. That calls for looks that are both lighthearted and colorful, adds Nick Drewe, a trends specialist at WeThrift. In terms of beauty, this is easily achieved via hair accessories and brightly colored eyeshadows, says Drewe.
While ’90s trends have cemented their status in today’s cultural zeitgest, it’s clear that it-girls are taking off into the next millennium, trading their middle parts for zigzags. Read on for the top Y2K hairstyles set to make a comeback this year, according to beauty insiders.
Inspired by none other than the ultimate nostalgic beauty icon herself, the Barbie ponytail adds a (literal) twist to a standard high pony. It features curled hair at the end along with an optional swoosh of side bangs for an elevated yet whimsical take on the classic updo.
According to Drewe, bubble braids are set to come back with a bang, and have already been spotted on Gigi Hadid, Olivia Rodrigo, Tessa Thompson, and other celebs. Similar to the Barbie, these are basically a variation of a ponytail. Rather than actually braiding the hair, secure small sections along your ponytail with an elastic to create the “bubble” illusion.
Similar to the also-trending “money piece” highlights, butterfly balayage is another term for brightening specific strands of hair around the face. Compared to money pieces, however, butterfly involves painting more than just one or two pieces and fully framing the face with highlights and/or a contrasting shade instead, depending on your personal style.
Vibrant hair clips and accessories are also back in style — just look at Rodrigo’s penchant for flower pins. Stenson points to a return of bedazzled accessories to add a pop to your hair. Consider this red carpet look worn by Lizzo, which features a trio of oversized glittery barrettes with a simple middle part.
Chunky highlights dominated the Y2K area, and Stenson tells Bustle they’re back to do the same in 2022. These contrasting strands of lighter hair give an alternative edge to any color hair, whether you’re adding platinum blonde to brunette strands or a copper red to a jet-black ‘do.
Remember Christina Aguilera’s black and red highlights from all her early 2000s music videos? Stenson predicts that clip-in color extensions will experience a rise in popularity this year, as they’re the embodiment of the Y2K aesthetic: They’re youthful, unapologetic, fun — and they don’t require the commitment of dye.
Stenson specifically cites vibrant pastels as an up-and-coming trend that has roots in the Y2K era. His prediction? Anticipate “fun” shades like pale pinks to be everywhere in 2022, serving as a throwback to Kate Moss and Gwen Stefani’s dye jobs from back in the day.
On the alternative side, Drewe says hair horns are becoming a thing. The hashtag #hairhorns has a shocking 65.8 million views on TikTok — meaning they’re definitely rising in popularity. Pulling inspiration from the staple half-up hairstyles circa Y2K, this brave and edgy look should definitely be kept on your radar.