Much like fashion, Y2k beauty is in the midst of a renaissance, and with it comes the return of some iconic hairstyles. From spiky buns to zigzag parts and baby braids, 2000s hairstyles are having another moment, and we're into it. But the resurgence of these trends isn't always exactly how you remember. Today’s Y2K inspired looks are a little more modern — and a little less bubble gum. Still playful and nostalgic, most require minimal effort and can be mastered at home, while a few require a trip to the salon. These are our favorite Y2K hairstyles plus the tips and products you need to pull them off.
Y2K hair trends are back — all with a modern take for today. These are our favorite accessories, hairstyles, cuts and colors from the 2000s.
First up on our list is a y2k accessory celeb favorite, spotted on screens and red carpets for years. Butterfly clips are back, but in much less bright bold sparkly patterns than before. Today’s clips are more natural looking, and there’s no wrong way to wear them in your hair. But remove them carefully. They can tangle and cause breakage if removed quickly, especially for those with frizzy hair.
Bleached bangs are a nod to the chunky face-framing highlights they were a mainstay in Y2K. In fact, the chunky highlights of the early 2000s is what inspired the money piece trend of today. A fun way to capture this style old school vibe aesthetically today is with bleached bangs. Rock them solo or add some blond highlights throughout.
The spiky bun is another fun throwback hairstyle that’s been seen on recent red carpets and runways. To get this spiky Y2K top knot, part your hair sharply down the middle from your hairline to your nape, securing it into a neat ponytail towards the top of the head. Then twist the lengths of your hair together and loop them around the ponytail, with the ends tucked through the front of the hair elastic and left to fan out around the bun in spikes.
Face-framing updos were all the rage during Y2K. These strands are making a comeback once again, but this time around, the thinner, the better. While this style is typically easier for those with bangs, it can also be achieved using the shortest layers of the front of your hair. For an updated take on the trend, pull out two very thin tendrils loosely to frame your face the next time you rock an updo.
A dramatically high ponytail is one of our favorite looks from this era. A sleek high ponytail flatters all faces and is great for all hair textures. Although those with fragile or thinning hair should be sure not to pull their strands back too tightly. If your ponytail isn’t full enough, try adding some clip-in hair extensions or backcombing your tail for extra volume.
The latest take on this classic 2000's look uses a three-barrel hot tool to achieve a similar, but looser crimped effect.
Adding a zig zag part is an easy way to make any hairstyle feel a little more Y2K, including the ones on this list. To get the look, hold the tail part of the comb parallel to the scalp and draw the zig zag as you want the part to be. Keep the tail of the comb on your scalp at all times so your part is clean. Once you draw your part with the comb tail, lift your comb up slowly and clean the part.
Flipped ends are another 2000s hair trend that can be added to many different styles including ponytails, updos, and pigtails. Use a round brush and blow dryer or curling wand to add an exaggerated flip to the ends of your hair to your next style. But don’t forget a heat protectant, which we all know is a must anytime you use hot tools.
This cute Y2K hairstyle was popular for all hair types, but looked specifically great on curly hair and coils. They’re also easier to achieve on naturally textured hair because they don’t require any tools. To try out today’s space buns, part your hair in two and twist each side into two buns at the crown of the head. This style can also be done as a half-up style by only pulling the top section of the hair into the two buns and leaving the rest of the hair loose.
Face-framing baby braids are great for all hair types but were most commonly paired with wavy hair during the early 2000s. To try these Y2K braids, section off the top part of your hair and part it as you normally do, then braid the two sections and secure with small elastics. Two baby braids at the front of your head is all you need to rock this trend.
The pop princesses of the early aughts donned sky-high pigtails and we love to see the comeback of this retro look. But just like with the ponytails of the era, the higher the better. Two high pigtails, complimented by a side part (or paired with side swept bangs) makes for a trendy 2000s throwback look.
What started as a Y2K accessory staple has become part of the modern-day cool girl’s uniform. A claw clip is the perfect lazy hair day accessory. Styling is as easy as twisting the length of your hair up to the back of your head and securing it with a large enough clip. Keep a claw clip on hand to throw your hair up into an effortless 2000s updo in a pinch.
The iconic Rachel haircut was an instant smash-hit when it debuted in the late 90s and remained one of the most popular cuts in the early 2000s. This short Y2K hairstyle features long layers and tons of movement, and it’s quickly becoming one of the most-requested cuts in-salon.
Another short haircut we’re seeing everywhere that’s reminiscent of the Y2K era is the pixie. A pixie cut refers to a style that is short on the sides and back and slightly longer on top. Adding a short, wispy bang styled to the side gives it a slightly more modern update for today.
Y2K hairstyles can be adapted to different hair types, including straight, wavy, curly, and thick hair. Below is a breakdown of the best cuts for each.
Straight hair is perfect for achieving the iconic Rachel cut, which features heavy long layers of hair that frame the face.
Wavy hair is perfect for achieving any of the playful, edgy Y2K hairstyles. Side bangs look especially great on wavy hair, as they can be styled to one side of the face,
Curly hair can also be cut into the Rachel cut but it may require more maintenance. Use a texturizing spray to add volume and texture.
Any spiky hair look from the early 2000s works well on thick hair, as it allows you a canvas to create a bold statement hair look.
These are all the products you need to pull off your Y2K hairstyle.
A multi-function hair oil formulated for all hair types will help you create frizz-free, shiny y2k strands without a buildup or a greasy finish.
Apply a heat protection spray before heat styling your flipped ends to create an invisible shield to protect your hair.
Give your big hair Y2K trends extra body and volume with a dry texturizing spray. Spray it liberally as needed for your styles.
A workable styling cream is a must for styling your short Y2K hair styles. Gives your strands a lightweight shine and soft definition.
A brushable hairspray works well really with styling and hot tools and it’s ideal for locking in your 2000s updos.
A workable molding gel provides long lasting hold and is ideal for a slick look that needs extra support, like the Y2K spiky bun.
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor