Top Hair Trends of the Last Two Decades — Ladies Edition

Explore the interesting history of the top hair trends of the last two decades. There are some good, some not so good and some, well, we’ll let you judge for yourself.

When you envision the women of the roaring ‘20s, images of flapper dresses and finger waves in their hair may come to mind. For the 1960s, your mind may turn to the perfectly sculpted bouffants and beehives with the flicked up ends. 

Our point is, hair can define an era. However, when social media arrived, hairstyle trends seem to be changing yearly, not just through a decade.

With this in our mind, we deep dived into the top hairstyles of the last decade for women to see just how fast trends change these days.

Feature image credit: Averie Woodard on Unsplash.

20 Top Hairstyles of the Last Two Decades for Women

1. Chunky streaks (2000).

The blended foils and balayage technique apparently weren’t a thing in the year 2000, with chunky streaks appearing left, right and centre. It seemed the ladies of the turning-millenium wanted everyone to know they were switching up their style and opted for as colour-contrasting streaks as possible. 

There were untoned blonde streaks in brunette hair, strips of black in blonde hair or, at the very least, some chunks of red, pink or other bold colour peaking through. For those who did want something a little more subtle, there was also the option of going 50 shades of blonde too. It may be cringe-worthy now, but back then, it was the height of cool.
However, a good hairdresser can make chunky streaks look fabulous.

2. The fringe (2001).

“I want the ‘Rachel’,” said any woman of the mid-to-late 1990s, aspiring to look like their favourite Friends character. However, while this look dwindled by the year 2000, the fringe did not.

We’re talking long side fringes, choppy short fringes, fringes the person regretted and twisted and swept back. All of the fringes! For anyone who has ever cut a fringe, you’d know you go from loving it to hating it 10 times a day, so it’s no surprise the style has clung on for so long.
A fringe can really transform your entire look.

3. Edgy hair (2002).

2002 was all about making sure your hair made you stand out from the crowd. While Halle Berry and Victoria Beckham were making waves with their pixie cuts and cropped ‘dos, Christina Aguilera wasn’t seen with the same hairstyles more than once!
The perfect example of a well-cut pixie.

4. Black or blonde hair (2003).

All of the colour seemed to have been sucked right out of 2003. Every actress, singer or popular girl you saw either had jet black or some form of beach-babe blonde hair. Maybe it was all the bleaching and bold colours from the years previous that called for a solid year of hair restoration, or Amy Lee made more of an impression than anyone thought.
Can black hair really ever go out of style?

Volume (2004).

Super sleek hair was officially out in 2004. Even when a straight style was chosen, a little bit of ruffling to frame the face and at the roots was apparently the ‘in’ thing to do. 

The odd slicked back style did pop up, but man, did they put some teasing under that hair to bring it up off their scalp.
Now that’s volume!

6. Loose curls (2005).

Sleek hair wasn’t something there seemed to be a whole lot of in 2005. Even those opting for straight ‘dos were flicking out the ends of their hair for a more ‘I just woke up like this’ look. 

As far as a lot of the top hairstyles of the last decade, 2005 seemed to be a tame year.
Loosen those curls like it’s 2005!

7. Retro chic (2006).

Classy and classic was the hair theme of 2006. We saw a lot of finger waves, elegant upstyles or simply left long and flowing, but well tamed, regardless of whether curl or straight was achieved.
How to: Create a retro hairstyle to survive the trends of any decade.

8. Scene chick (2007).

Ah, the elusive mullet and skunk-tail dye jobs, how could we forget about you? While majority of celebrities didn’t quite pick up on the trend (sorry, Hayley Williams), it was all the rage through your average high school throughout the Western world. 

If you have no idea what we’re talking about, imagine jagged fringes, a minimum of three different hair colours at once and seemingly-random, but-oh-so-precise layers.
Flashback to the 2000s!

9. Red hair (2008).

Cherry red, copper, natural red — 2008 was the year of the red head. It could be a coincidence that Ariana Grande was first making noises around time, and she was rocking a red dye-job, or maybe it was coincidence. Either way, if the streets of Australia are anything to go by, this trend has outlived its year of glory.
Red hair, don’t care.

10. Angular cuts (2009).

Again, 2009 was a bit of an edgier year for hair. If you weren’t sporting a pixie cut, you probably had a blunt fringe or some stand-offish layers doing their thing to joosh up your volume.
An angle cut so sharp you need gloves!

11. Bedhead (2010).

Undone fishtail braids and tousled waves were all the rage in 2010. Even if you were going for a more polished look, the ‘to-do’ thing was to tip your head upside down and give it a little shake, or at least run your fingers through.
A red lip and smokey eye are the perfect complement to some loosened up bedhead curls.

12. Low ponys and buns (2011).

If you are able to wear a low ponytail or bun and not look like an egg, you probably would have loved the year 2011. However, we do have to admit, the effortlessness of this look makes it one of our favourite hairstyles of the last two decades.
High versus low ponytails.

13. Balayage (2012).

Now we’re starting to get to the more modern hairstyles of the last 20 years. 2012 was when we first started to see balayage become trendy in Australia, while in the U.S. some were already playing with a bold balayage, using pinks or reds.
A black to platinum blonde balayage.

14. Un-blunt fringes (2013).

We warned you the fringe comes and goes as quickly as a summer storm. Although with its return in 2013 came a little twist. Most people were opting for a softer cut fringe, with either a side sweep, parted in the middle or feathered ends. Blunt was apparently not a trend to follow in this year.
A soft, but edgy, look with cropped hair and a soft fringe.

15. Subtle ombrés (2014).

Balayage may have made waves in 2012, but they became a little more refined in 2014. The trend in this year was to take a colour only one to two shades from your own natural colour, and have that transitioning throughout the mid-to-end lengths of your hair.
A subtle brunette on brunette ombré.

16. Bronde (2015).

And here you thought Bronde was a late 20-teens thing. Beyoncé may or may not have been the inspiration behind the wave of bronde heads you saw everywhere in 2015, but we aren’t made about it.

For those a little lost, bronde is that brighter version of brunette, where you may be confused if it falls in the dark-blonde or light-brunette category.
The bronde and the beautiful.

17. Silver hair (2016).

In 2016, the ladies of the world decided to embrace the ageing process with girls as young as in their teens dying their hair a stunning silver or slate. There were so many different levels to this you could go, from a very subtle ashy-grey to full-blown silver locks.
50 shades of silver…

18. Super sleek (2017).

No frizz seemed to have been the motto of 2017. Whether you had a bob or waist-length hair, the trend was to straighten it within an inch of its life, ensuring it shone like crazy. Normally the roots had no volume to them, creating the illusion of wearing a head of silk.
Super sleek, super sleek, it’s super sleeky.

19. Baby bangs (2018).

Love them or hate them, baby bangs were definitely a trend to be rivalled with. When we say baby bang, we mean SHORT as all-mighty fringes, essentially only an inch or so long. Yeah, it’s a look, but we’re kind of here for it.
Baby bangs and a pastel pink-purple.

20. Pastels (2019).

Pastel pink, blue, green, orange — anything was on the table when it came to colour in 2019. The best part was, if you already had light hair, you could simply by a colour-toning shampoo to switch up your pastel shade whenever you wanted.

Warning! Do not try and cut a trending styles yourself. Visit your local hairdresser.

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      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.