The Best 90s Hairstyles for Men to Revive in 2021
The 90s, a decade that started with residual exuberant 80s trends that were gradually taken over by simpler styles. 90s hair trends have been revived throughout the 2010s, and with a recent turn of the decade, more 90s looks are bound to come back.
While some hairstyles were only popular at the beginning or end of the decade, others transcended throughout the time period. Today, some of these hairstyles have begun to resurge, while the rest are due for a comeback. Read further to follow us as we mentally time travel through 90s hairstyles for men.
1. 90s Blowback/Brushback
Whether for work or leisure, this casual look was one of the most agreeable hairstyles for different occasions. Chandler Bing, played by Matthew Perry in the iconic 90s sitcom Friends, dawns a prime example of this hairstyle at the beginning of the show’s run.
Whether slightly grown out or paired with a taper, with or without layers, the key element of this style is for hair to be casually styled back with an unnoticeable amount of product, which can be achieved by applying a bit of hairstyling cream and brushing or blow-drying hair back.
Using a round brush and beveling the hair up and back can add some volume if desired. The result of this form of styling leaves the hair flowing back with a slight part, making it seem like a hairstyle between curtain hair and a disheveled pompadour.
2. Bleach Hair
Hair color became more commonplace for men as the 90s progressed, and with it came a set of hair coloring trends. One of the most popular colors was bleached blond hair, a hair color often worn by members of boybands.
Since this is a harsh process on hair, going to a professional for a hair-lightening job is the safest choice. However, if you must do so yourself, you can buy your own bleach online or at a local store.
You would also need to buy a developer, with a hair coloring bowl and brush to mix and activate the ingredients in hair bleach. If you decide to go with a hair bleaching kit, keep in mind that results may vary from what’s shown on the box.
3. Bowl Cut
While this might be the epitome of DIY kids’ haircuts despised by many, there’s something simple yet eccentric, youthful yet bold about this style on adults.
Not only is there a harshness to the bold lines that the classic bowl cut creates on the head, but it also takes someone with a strong sense of confidence to unironically pull this off.
In the 90s, it was a haircut option that also served as the structure of other hairstyles, most notably curtain hair. Essentially, bowl cuts could be styled as curtain hair, but not all curtain hair was cut like a bowl cut.
If the classic bowl cut is too blunt for your taste, a shorter, more textured version of it can help modernize it. Textured bowl cuts are also a viable option for those with wavy and curly hair.
4. Britpop Moptop
The 90s moptop was a hairstyle that countless men imitated in the 90s, especially fans of Britpop, which was a genre of music with strong British influence at the time. The Britpop movement in the 90s rose alongside 60s cultural revivals, particularly in music and fashion.
Upon the moptop’s increasing popularity in the 90s, the aesthetic of British Invasion bands of the 60s was brought back to life, transforming the moptop into a fashion symbol associated with Britpop.
Brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher of Britpop band Oasis were known for showcasing variations of this hairstyle in the 90s, and have worn it at different times in the recent decade as well, despite their differences.
5. Caesar Cut
Out of all the cropped cuts in the 90s, the Caesar cut is probably the most notable. This haircut usually consists of two to five centimeters, or one to two inches of hair on top, with variants where the sides and back are clipped shorter.
George Clooney is a well-cited example of wearing this hairstyle during his time on the medical drama ER in the 90s. With the Caesar cut, styling is optional. Some may choose to wash and wear their hair the way it naturally lays, whereas others might choose to add texture with styling wax, or slick their hair down with gel.
Cornrows were another way to wear longer hair in the 90s and early 2000s. As a hairstyle with African roots, this was first worn by people of African descent as far back as 3000 B.C., and has evolved to represent traditional African culture and social resistance in recent centuries.
By the 90s, it became associated with the hip-hop look, as worn by Snoop Dogg, and was also worn by ethnicities with straighter hair textures.
7. Curtain Hair
Out of all 90s hairstyles for men, curtain hair is probably one of the first that comes to mind, especially with the recent resurgence of them today among K-pop stars and e-boys.
In the 90s, this look was largely associated with boybands and famous actors like Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet, this style was easy to recreate, as there were a variety of versions that allowed a range of lengths, making timely haircuts less of a concern.
Dreadlocks are probably one of the oldest ways of styling hair, with records dating back to ancient Egypt. The 90s was a time when dreadlocks became a “trend” for individuals outside the traditional cultures that practiced wearing dreads, such as Rastafarian culture.
The rise of this hairstyle in pop culture coincided with the increasingly laidback culture of the 90s, and thus helped solidify its place in the array of 90s hairstyles.
Dreadlocks are most suitable for those with natural, coily hair, as the nature of this hair texture is to coil amongst itself, making the process of maturing dreadlocks easier. This process often requires twisting and teasing the hair for it to lock in place, especially for looser hair textures, like straight and wavy hair.
Fades are another men’s hair trend that began to gain traction in the 80s and were widely worn into the 90s. This trend was particularly popular among black men and the rising hip-hop scene of the time.
Fades were most commonly paired with lined-up flattops and hi-tops, while optionally accented with tramlines. Today, fades have evolved to be paired with boundless possibilities.
The flattop was a hairstyle that was worn by many men in the 50s and regained traction in the 80s and 90s.
This clean-cut hairstyle needs monthly haircuts to keep the sides and back short, and the top flat, and should be styled properly to look in shape, especially if it is a longer version. Styling requires combing the hair up and using gel and/or hairspray to keep hair in place.
11. Frosted Tips
This distinct 90s look was a combination of spiky and bleached blond hair trends. Another favorite for boybands, frosted tips were widespread among young adults and teens in the late 90s and early 2000s.
This style could be achieved on short hair by only bleaching the ends and then spiking it up with gel. Some may even choose to pair frosted tips with highlights.
12. Hi-Top Fade
Back in the 90s, Will Smith was in a very famous TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. With the show’s time starting while the hi-top fade was at its peak popularity, Will Smith’s professional identity as both an actor and rapper at the time showcased the hairstyle’s associations with both TV sitcom culture and the hip-hop community, with hip-hop artists wearing it as early as the mid-80s.
The hi-top is essentially a higher version of the flattop. Due to the structure of tighter hair textures, it is more easily achieved with natural, curly hair, although people with straight hair can still achieve this with dedicated use of hairspray.
Short 90s hairstyles for men aren’t the same without line-ups, which gives them the clean lines they need to set their boundaries.
A balanced yin-yang dynamic can be created when pairing line-ups with hair fades, another 90s trend. Today, this hybrid haircutting method has resurfaced among modern men’s hairstyles.
14. Long Hair
Most would agree that hair past shoulder-length is long on a guy. A textbook example of this hairstyle was worn by renowned actor Brad Pitt in the early 90s. Just like shoulder-length hair, longer hairstyles for men were also popular in the grunge community.
Those with naturally wavy or curly hair can opt to apply salt spray if they seek to enhance their hair texture while wearing their hair down.
15. Low Undercut
While undercuts have made a resurgence in the 2010s for men’s hairstyles, low undercuts specifically have not been as prominent as higher undercuts, such as high fades and tapers.
While the 90s had its share of higher fades, this lower height gave 90s medium-length undercuts their signature. The closest resemblance to this style among popular undercuts today would be the drop fade, which is where the fade gets lower as it goes behind the ears.
What differentiates low undercuts of the 90s and drop fades today is the hair length above the undercut and how it leads to it. Drop fades tend to be paired with shorter haircuts, such as pompadours, where the blend of the cut can be easily seen.
While low 90s undercuts tend to be paired with a few more centimeters, or a couple more inches of hair, such as with medium-length curtain hair, where the hair on top extends further down, taking up more space than the undercut.
Love it or hate it, mullets were an 80s trend that transgressed into the early 90s. Even though this hairstyle has long had a bad reputation after its golden years, it has its positives too. With business being short in the front, mullets can serve as a way to wear long hair down without worrying about pesky pieces of hair falling in your face.
There are also so many creative ways that a mullet can be cut, from more extreme differences in length and choppy sections, to more wearable gradual layers, to shorter versions that cause others to do a double-take, as its mullet status is debatable. Did Jerry Seinfeld have a mullet or not? – one might ask.
A close relative to the mullet is the rattail, with variations known as the Padawan Braid, as seen in Star Wars. This is another hairstyle that saw its peak in the 80s, but still stuck around on die-hard fans in the early 90s. Members of boyband New Kids on the Block could be seen sporting this hairstyle at different times through the turn of the decade.
It’s amazing how creatively the rattail can be intertwined with other hairstyles, and how such a seemingly small rebellious statement can be a long commitment that makes a big difference in how one’s hair is perceived. This is what makes the rattail so divisively diverse.
Typical variations include thickness, length, placement, texture, and style of the rattail, such as wearing it in a braid, dread, or just left undone. The previously mentioned Padawan Braid typically starts at the side of the head.
18. Shoulder-Length Hair
A step forward from neck-length hair is shoulder-length hair. This length is like the point of enlightenment during the hair growth journey, as it is finally long enough to fully tie back.
However, in the 90s, this length of hair was often worn down, which was impossible to separate from the grunge image, credits to Nirvana lead singer, Kurt Cobain. Nonetheless, put-together actors such as Tom Cruise wore this length in the early 90s as well. To keep this look organic, wear your hair down in its natural texture.
19. Spiky Hair
This is one of the short hair trends that began to replace longer 90s hairstyles for men as the decade transitioned into the early 2000s. This style is often strongly associated with the liberal use of hair gel and sometimes hairspray to keep the spiky appearance in place.
Using a blow-dryer to blow the hair upwards after styling it can strengthen its structure by allowing products to dry faster before the hair falls out of place.
This hairstyle also includes a range of looks, from more moderate, easier to achieve, textured styles to more extreme, defined styles that take on inspiration from the punk aesthetic, a look that foreshadowed the pop-punk era of the 2000s.
Tramlines are essentially a temporary tattoo design on your head, where hair is the medium and clippers are the tool used to sketch the lines. Thanks to hip-hop fashion, this style was brought into hairstyle stardom, and is still a fashionable hair statement today.
Depending on your hair color, density, and texture, the area of your scalp that is used to sketch in the tramlines usually has hair clipped down to half a centimeter or less, or under a quarter-inch, which translates to a number two clipper guard or shorter.
For those trying out something subtle, part lines or parallel lines on the sides of your head are a great place to start, for those desiring something more artistic, lines with more zig-zags and other dynamic elements allow the style to deviate from classic tramlines to something bordering a graphic hair tattoo.
21. Twisted Coils
If long dreadlocks felt like too much of a commitment in the 90s, a shorter, simpler alternative was twisted coils.
For those with curly to coily hair, taking advantage of your texture and twisting your hair into individual coils was a stylish way to add definition to your hair during the time.
This hairstyle also had its range too, with some styles being more cleanly and precisely coiled, while others were more casual and less defined.