Note from the KeraGirls: This is the first in an occasional series in which Keratin Complex stylists give hair advice for specific events taking place in cities around the country.
On the evening of Friday, Aug. 21, Boston-area hipsters, social animals and nostalgia buffs alike will converge on a big boat and party like it’s 1999 … or 1989 ... or even 2009!
“Perfect your side ponies, grab your MC Hammer pants, start steaming your white blazer, and meet us at the dock,” say the organizers of the Flashback Friday Cruise—which promises to celebrate the 80s, 90s, and 2000s with music and memorabilia from those awesome decades.
And, although costumes are presumably optional, we certainly wouldn’t want to show up without one! So, while party-goers scour attics or vintage stores for appropriate get-ups—leg warmers, acid-wash jeans, shoulder-pad jackets and Wayfarers (eighties); or crop tops, tracksuits, holey jeans and Air Jordans (nineties); or frilly micro skirts, mesh tops, low-rise denims and UGGs (aughts)—we’re here to provide guidance on the right hairstyles to go along with these retro looks!
We’ve done some research and talked to Keratin Complex stylists to get the lowdown on the biggest looks in hair for each era. Here is our guide for getting the top hairstyles from the 1980s, 90s and 2000s:
Big hair was big in the 1980s! Above: Madonna, Motley Crue
GO BIG OR GO HOME:
When considering hairstyles from the 1980s, the words “big,” and “voluminous” almost always come into play. This was the decade of the perm, scrunched curls, and sky-high bangs, as seen in popular nighttime soaps like Dallas and on female style icons such as Madonna.
Guys also wore big hair, taking their cue from the long volume, or frizzy waves and curls, worn by the so-called “hair bands” (think Bon Jovi, Motley Crue or KISS).
“Back in the 80s, we would scrunch the hair for lift and texture using mousse, glazing gels and hairspray, do some face framing by blow-drying pieces straight around the face, and then mix the whole look together for multi-texture,” recalls Keratin Complex’s International Artistic Director for Cut & Style, Woody Michleb, who has been working behind the chair for 30 years.
Since texture is in today, mimicking this look should be fairly easy—especially with Keratin Complex’s special in-salon services such as the Texture Bar!
“Today’s looks are a little more defined than the 80s, which was all about volume and harder hair,” Woody notes. “So, we can use volumizing products such as Lift Off gel and Vita Volume foam, scrunch the curls, and then use the Transformer styling rod to touch up some of the pieces. This would give an 80s feel of multi-texture but with a new, modern twist to it.”
For people blessed with naturally curly hair, a Keratin Complex stylist can perform a Curl Controller keratin treatment to add shine and manageability, then dry the hair and style it by taking some pieces, winding them around the styling rod and then blending them in to the rest of the hair to get that multi-texture look.
Black icons of the 80s wore their hair large and extremely styled. Above: Michael Jackson, Diana Ross
The trend toward texture in the eighties also allowed women and men of color to embrace their naturally big hair—with huge Afros and styled Jheri curls from pop stars such as Diana Ross and Michael Jackson spawning millions of copycats.
“Afros then were more of a rounded shape,” says Woody. “We used to use the pick on natural hair to get an Afro.” To achieve an Afro with more of a modern feel, he says, stylists would extend some of the pieces out in more of a free form. “It’s all about shiny, healthy hair; so you could create these Afro looks but still keep the shine in the hair by using Sweet Definition texturizing spray to enhance the curls.”
Influenced by TV characters and pop stars like Debbie Gibson, the side ponytail—sometimes with added pizzazz thanks to a hair crimper—also became a popular look.
To achieve the side pony at home, just pull your hair into a tight ponytail on the side of your head, secure with a big band or scrunchie (if you have one) and add desired texture with a curling wand and Keratin Complex’s Sweet Definition Texturizing Sugar Mist.
So, head to the 80s deck, and when someone says Let’s Dance, you’re ready with the perfect answer: All Night Long!
The 1990s was about layers on both men and women. Above: Jennifer Aniston, Joey Lawrence
The 1990s ushered in hairstyles for women that were softer and smoother, with flat ironing and razor-cut layers the preferred hairstyling methods.
For men, hairstyles of the nineties continued with length in the first part of the decade—who can forget the mullet, with Billy Ray Cyrus as its poster boy?—and then went shorter, with messy and tousled layers (as seen on teen icons such as Jason Priestley and Joey Lawrence).
Black hairstyles of the 1990s were inspired by the hip-hop culture. Above: Will Smith, Brandy
Riffing off hip-hop stars (including rapper-turned actor Will Smith), the flat-top was a big look for black men; while braids (worn by stars such as Janet Jackson and Brandy) were popular on women.
DO THE RACHEL:
Perhaps the most iconic look from that era was the “Rachel,” which was inspired by actress Jennifer Aniston’s character on the hit sitcom Friends. This definitive 90s hairstyle was a shoulder-length, layered style with a grown-out fringe and highlights around the face.
The cut, which features face-framing layers, is still very common, Woody says. “It can be done on many different lengths to suit the person’s features and face shape.” If you want that look, a stylist can do a cut to give you some layers and then style your hair in the Rachel.
If you’ve already got this haircut, get the Rachel at home by using Lift Off Root Amplifying Styling Gel from Keratin Complex at the root area and blow-drying with a round brush to create volume and movement with a straighter finish. To hold the look, finish with Flex Flow Flexible Shaping Hairspray.
The 90s also saw many men wearing curtained hair. Above: Keanu Reeves, Leo DiCaprio
PART THE CURTAINS:
One 1990s look that modern men might easily achieve is curtained hair, with a long fringe and a middle or side parting, with short (or shaved) sides and back.Stars who sported this style included Keanu Reeves’ surfer dude in Point Break and Leonardo DiCaprio’s doomed hero in Titanic.
This haircut—also called the undercut—is a popular hair trend for men right now, because of the versatility it provides the wearer to go sleeker/more tailored for work and messier/more casual for play.
“The hair is longer on top,” notes Woody. “Today, men are sleeking the hair back with a comb-over and securing it with hair gels. If you want to get the curtained look, style the hair down, using less product so it falls around the face for a more natural look.”
When dancing to the tunes of the nineties, these hairstyles won’t make you Unbelievable, but rather quite Vogue!
The turn of the century saw a return to longer, sleeker hair for women; in fact, in the latter part of the decade, the defining word became “smooth”—thanks in big part to Keratin Complex’s innovative keratin smoothing services!
One look that became popular was long, straight hair with a simple center part, modeled after the 1960s hippie era. This one should be easy to do at home, with the help of a flat iron and Keratin Complex Thermo-Shine to add modern sleekness and shine.
In the 2000s, men's hairstyles ran the gamut. Above: David Beckham, Zac Efron
Men’s hair in the 2000s became more eclectic and “anything-goes.” One strong trend was low-maintenance hair—either super-short (lathlete/style icon David Beckham) or long and shaggy (actor/teen idol Zac Efron)—which is good news for guys who might not want the burden of committing to much more than getting a short haircut or using styling products such as Mold Me Matte Texturizing Cream and Iconic Polish High Shine Pomade to get that messy, tousled look!
In the early 2000s, it was all about girls with curls. Above: Sarah Jessica Parker, Debra Messing
LOVE YOUR CURLS:
Textured hair also came back into women’s fashion, inspired early in the decade by the long, layered curls on Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City and Debra Messing in Will & Grace, then moving into a wavy, tousled look later in the decade.
If you want to get the long, curly look in a salon setting, check out Avanti Hair Salon on Newberry Street in Boston. Owner/lead stylist Stephen “Alex” Iacobacci says that lately, clients have been asking for hair with more texture or volume that will last for a couple of days; consequently, “we do a lot of sets in the salon, using Velcro rollers of different sizes. The hair comes out with a lot of curl and volume.”
So, for layered curls that will last until the closing song on the 2000s deck—Hey Ya, perhaps, or maybe Party in the U.S.A.?—head to Avanti for a customized curly look using rollers as well as Keratin Complex styling products, including Vita Volume Boosting Foam and Bold Hold Maximum Finishing Hairspray.
To get tousled waves at home, put your wet hair into braids, let dry naturally, and then use Style Therapy products such as Sweet Definition sugar spray, MoldMe cream and Flex Flow hairspray to get the perfect look. For even more authenticity, part your hair in a zig-zag.
And now, Boston party-animals, you’re ready to go back in time—for one night at least. … Enjoy the voyage, and the memories!