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That Cindy Crawford 90s fluffy hair can be hard to achieve - here's what to ask for.
I have been trying to achieve the 90s supermodel fluffy hair for what feels like years now. I have naturally straight hair so volume has always been a problem for me. But over the holidays, I decided to take a chance on a new haircut - and it totally changed the game!
90s fluffy hair was (and still is) an iconic and highly sought after look popularized by women like Cindy Crawford, Cher Horowitz from Clueless, and Denise Richards. Volumized, face-framing pieces create the perfectly tousled and effortlessly sexy look...but how does one get 90s supermodel hair???
It seems like some sort of gravity-defying magic trick. But if you have the right tools, you can get the job done. Trust me on that.
I'll give you everything you need to know to get this hair - and it's easier than you think!
90s fluffy hair generally refers to a voluminous hairstyle commonly worn by television/movie characters and celebrities from the 1990s. The 80s were known for big hair, but the 90s took the tease and added a little smooth, creating in my opinion one of the most flattering hairstyles ever!
If you look at celebrities from the beginning of the 90s, you'll see Cindy Crawford, Cher from Clueless, Denise Richards, Topanga from Boy Meets World, and many more sporting the fluffy hair look. As we get closer to the 2000s, sleek, straight hair became more popular.
The "Rachel" haircut from Friends further popularized layered haircuts and smooth blowouts.
All of these examples of 90s fluffy hair involve wearing the style down, around the face with volume at the crown of the head.
You can rock the 90s fluffy hair with any length, but it works best on medium to long hair! I have definitely seen some amazing layered haircuts on short hair, though!
*Disclaimer: Everyone has a different hair type and hair needs. Ask your stylist before making any major hair cutting decisions!*
When I initially started my foray into 90s fluffy hair, I would ask for long layers with some face framing pieces. Fair enough.
I figured it was enough of a risk to change something up but not enough for me to tell the stylist I love it, tip 20%, and cry about it in the comfort of my car (LOL).
But I was wrong. It was never enough of a risk.
So I marched into a new stylist's office (not having had my hair cut since prior to 2020...) and told her to go for it. I asked for this: lots and lots of layers (do not be afraid of shorter layers), very heavy face framing pieces, and baby bangs.
My fear with this request was always that I would walk out with a very shaggy 'wolf cut' or some haircut that resembled my "scene" phase circa 2008. You know, super choppy layers on top and long straight hair on the bottom. But you have to have a pretty inexperienced stylist for them to not blend your shorter layers with your longer layers so they're mullet-proof.
And more layers=more shape!
Let me explain. Long layers can work for 90s fluffy hair. But if you're like me and you're lacking a bit in the volume department, you need to add texture into your hair. Ironically, having hair that is perfectly untouched and smooth is great, but it doesn't really give you anything to work with as far as texture. When my sister's hair was the most bleached blonde it's ever been, her hair would literally stick up. I was oddly jealous of its shape, even though it was breaking off haha.
Texture helps hold styles in place and gives the hair a natural shape. I don't color my hair so it just ends up being...well, flat! Lots of layers gave my hair movement - something I desperately needed.
Another element that is so important you ask about is face-framing pieces. It may seem obvious, but pieces of hair framing the face can really accent your best features: cheekbones, eyes, lips, chin. Tell your stylist to not be afraid to create lots of layers toward the front of the face. You get to choose where to have your shortest layer. If you still want to be able to put your hair in a ponytail without pieces falling out, say the chin. If you want more movement and highlight of the cheekbones, ask for layers up to the cheekbone.
Baby bangs are sort of non-committal bangs that you can either sweep off to the side or wear rounded down like real-deal bangs. This is a great way to venture into bangs territory without feeling like you have to commit.
Pro-tip: If you're not finding the right stylist, keep looking. When I found a hair stylist that was more up-to-date with trends, I felt like she really understood my vision more. There is nothing more frustrating when you are trying to say one thing when the stylist thinks you want the opposite. When you use trending words like 'curtain bangs' or 'baby bangs' or so many others, it helps to have someone with skill and someone in the loop to be able to better understand your vision.
Like always, you'll have to tell your hairdresser how much hair you want trimmed off the ends. This all depends on your preference. This haircut works with lots of different lengths, but if you're curious, I had her cut my hair pretty low under my collarbones. Keep in mind when you curl it or blow it out, it will end up at that collarbone 'shorter' length, which I think is the cutest look for me!
Keep reading to find out how to style your new 90s haircut by yourself at home!
Like I mentioned earlier, I have tried many things to get the perfect 90s blowout. I'm not a hairstylist, but here's what I feel *actually* works from personal experience:
The first step is to wash your hair and then agitate the roots by towel drying. Basically, when I get out of the shower I lightly squeeze the water out of my hair and dry with a towel. I brush my hair out and then I take that same towel and scrub my head, going all different directions. This lifts the roots from drying too flat. Be gentle, of course, but make sure to get those roots sticking up. Don't brush again after this as the hair will go flat.
This small step makes a huge difference in my routine and gives me way more volume in the end. It also cut down time on your blowdrying.
After you towel dry, spray some root spray in your roots while your hair is still wet and rub in with your fingers. Take your towel and agitate the roots one more time, flipping your head upside down to get the very back of your head.
Here's a highly rated root spray:
"This is the first product that has ever worked on my thin baby fine hair. You must try it."
Then, take a heat protectant spray and spray the rest of the hair, especially down towards the ends. This will combat any potential heat damage:
"Hair is soft after using. Smell is great. My hair seems healthy, not dry or hard or frayed after blowdrying when I use this heat guard."
Next, you'll want to blow dry your hair with a one-step blow dry brush. My hairstylist even recommended this to me so it's a must-have:
"This thing is magical! Seriously. Where has this been all my life??? Why have I been sleeping on this!? Why have I been using a blower dryer AND a round brush all my hair drying life when I could’ve been using this all along? Well maybe this didn’t exist, but it does now and that’s all that matters."
If you haven't heard of the one-step hair dryer, it basically eliminates the need to hold a blow dryer in one hand and a round brush in the other. It's two in one. Such a game changer for people who want to blow dry their hair at home without feeling like their arms are breaking off haha.
It's easiest to start when your hair is about 60-70% dry. You can maybe make a cup of coffee and pick out your outfit for the day so your hair can air dry just a touch. This will cut down on the heat damage and make for less work for you.
I used to be a huge fan of air drying my hair, but have you ever noticed how good your hair feels, smells, and lasts after you get a blowout from the salon??? Especially when you have a haircut with layers, it's important to style the hair. The good part is you won't need to wash your hair very often so you're only blow drying maybe twice a week!
I usually use the highest setting of heat, but keep in mind this can be the most damaging. If you have color-treated hair or are concerned about damage, use a lower heat setting.
I usually start at the roots and the crown of the head, using the brush to pull up and away from my face. I do this because this is the most important piece and I want to make sure I dry the roots up before they air dry down. I also do my baby bangs by rolling up and forward, since I want the bangs/ curtain bangs to be rolled towards my face.
I do a quick one over with the one-step brush just to get my hair to the 70% dry mark.
Then I section off the hair and use the brush rolling under and towards my face for the side and back layers. Sectioning will help you complete your entire head evenly and define your layers. Try to lift at the roots and then round over and down toward the face. The goal is to have the roots drying "sticking up" to create volume at the base of the head.
Once this process is over you should have a pretty smooth and bouncy blowout. You can definitely stop here if you want a sleeker look. If you want even more vavavoom, keep reading!
Okay, there are a couple of options here, but I'll start with my favorite one: hot rollers!
I am a huge hot roller girl. I think they're the easiest and most effective way at getting that 90s bombshell hair. Blowing out the hair gives lasting volume at the root, but hot rollers really solidify the bouncy curls that are iconic of this era.
That said, hot rollers definitely add another layer of heat to your hair. Feel free to skip down to my velcro roller method if you have damaged locks.
These are my absolute favorite rollers. I use them all the time and they give that big, 90s curl. You can also buy hot rollers that come in a variety of sizes, but these are a good place to start.
"Been using these for years. These make great curls. Love and been using hot rollers for 30 years!"
If you've never used hot rollers before, they're pretty easy. Plug them in and keep the top closed. They will heat up pretty quickly. When the red indicator on one of the hot rollers turns white, they're ready to use.
You're going to start at the top layer and continue down. Roll up your hair into each roller in a similar pattern to your blow dry brush. Don't put too big of a section in each roller because the curl won't hold. Roll away from the face on the top section (besides your baby bangs, do those going towards your face) and then on the sides you're going to roll under and towards your face. I personally like to use the plastic clips they provide rather than the metal clips. I just find them to be more comfortable.
Also, hot rollers can be hot! Try to hold them on the sides. Make sure when you're rolling up that your starting piece is not folded under or kinked in any way. This ensure that your curl comes out nice and pretty!
Pro tip: If the rollers that are close to your neck are feeling like they're burning you, take a small piece of toilet paper and place it between your neck and the roller that is touching it. It will help keep the hot roller from touching your skin.
Leave your rollers in for about 30 minutes or as long as you can until the rollers are cool to the touch. I usually do my makeup at this point and take the rollers out right before I put on my outfit and head out the door.
If you don't want to use hot rollers, velcro rollers are my next favorite things. When your hair is still warm from the blow dryer, you will want to roll each section up in velcro rollers. The nice part is velcro rollers don't need clips. The hair just sticks to the velcro. Velcro rollers can be a bit tricky to take out, though. If you're not careful, you can rip out some hair! Velcro rollers also don't create as defined of a curl as hot rollers because not as much heat is used.
Use the same process as outlined above for hot rollers for sectioning the hair and rolling.
Here are the velcro rollers I use:
"Wonderful hair rollers. Conair makes quality hair rollers. I have been using this brand for years. I am a professional cosmetologist. I never use the clips. The rollers stay in place on their own."
These come in different sizes. Use the smaller rollers for the sections closer to the face and the larger rollers as you get closer to the bottom of the hair.
To remove velcro rollers, wait until the hair has had time to fully cool (20-30 minutes). Hold the base of the hair in the roller and gently unroll the roller until there is enough leverage to pull the roller away from the face. It should gently undo. Take the hair and twist to mimic the roller shape. This will allow the hair to sit with the same curl it had in the roller.
I think rollers just depend on personal preference. If you like less of a defined curl to your hair or are concerned about too much heat damage, go with velcro rollers. If you like a defined curl and/or your hair has trouble holding curl, go with hot rollers.
Another note about rollers: they take lots of practice! You will get better as you go, so don't worry if your rollers look a little crazy at first. It took me a long time to learn all the tip and tricks I'm sharing with you here today.
This step is optional as the blow drying/roller combo will give you lots of volume already. But if you want that 90s girl-next-door major fluffy hair moment (think Cindy Crawford á la 90s Pepsi commercials) you need to tease!
All Southern girls know the art of a good teased crown, but basically you'll need a comb like this:
"This brush is very compact and lightweight. I have relatively fine hair and this brush is perfect for lifting and styling."
A regular comb will do also, but this one really helps get my hair sticking up. Take some hair pieces at the crown of the head and tease. Lightly brush over the top layer so it looks smooth and repeat. Add as much or as little volume as you want. Done!
Spray your hair with some hairspray and add some hair oil to the ends. Here are my picks:
"This is my go to hairspray. It has a light hold and doesn’t weigh hair down. The fragrance is really nice too. Love this."
"This smells so good and you get so much product. This will last me forever. There is a couple different uses for this. I would recommend. You only need a little bit of product."
I know this process seems like a lot but it really makes my hair last for quite a few days. I love to do a full blowout and rollers for special occasions or events. It really makes me feel like a 90s supermodel! When I'm feeling lazy, I'll just use the one-step hair dryer and leave it at that.
What is your go-to method for getting 90s fluffy hair? I hope some of my tips here proved helpful. It's such a flattering hairstyle on everyone and it's pretty timeless in my opinion!