It may be 2023, but Y2K is alive and well. The blue eyeshadow, hair tinsel and chunky highlights that you rocked in the early aughts are back and better than ever, and this time around you get to document all of it on social media. Whether you love it or you’re still on the fence about this renaissance, this bout of nostalgia is anything but short-lived, especially when it comes to all things hair. From asymmetrical bobs to spiky, twisted updos to baby braids, we’re sharing our favorite 2000s hairstyles that are just good today as they were 20 years ago.
What Is a Y2K Hairstyle?
Y2K hairstyles were an edgy, eclectic breed. Some examples include space buns and the asymmetrical bob. Many also include baby braids, spiky chunks of hair, flipped out ends and accessories like butterfly clips or hair tinsel. Here are 13 hairstyles for all hair types and textures that embody the early 2000s.
1. Antenna Bangs
Trends come and go but face-framing layers are always hot in some iteration. This zany take on layers specifically refers to thin, pin-straight bangs that resemble a bug’s antennas. You don’t need to be an expert in Y2K trends to recognize this style because it’s a staple in many of the twisted updos and spiky bun styles that are making a comeback.
To get the ultra-straight look, prime your strands with a heat protectant like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In, and use a flat iron to smooth your face-framing strands into the sleek antenna shape.
2. Sleek Asymmetrical Bob
A sharp, asymmetrical bob with sleek, pin-straight strands reigned in the 2000s. Sported by your favorite R&B artists, actresses and models, the short haircut is still ultra-chic and flatters a number of different face shapes.
To get the smooth, shiny finish that makes this style so iconic, reach for a multi-benefit leave-in treatment like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free 21-in-1 Color Caring Spray, Leave In. Providing a long list of benefits, like boosting moisture, heat protection, banishing frizz and more, it’s perfect for achieving a sleek style without excess products.
3. Spiky Twisted Bun
The spiky twisted bun and any variation on this ‘do is peak Y2K styling with a pinch of girl group nostalgia. A sleek crown is combined with piecey sections of hair sticking out in different directions, combining texture and volume with the clean aesthetic that social media loves.
To give the look your own spin, try a spiky bun with a zigzag part, a half-up style or double them up and try a trendy, space bun variation. For the sleek crown that's essential to this look, grab the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel and an edge brush to smooth every hair into place. Finish the look with some butterfly hair clips or sparkly barrettes.
If your hair is tangled when you take out your spiky updo, use the L’Oréal Paris Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water Lamellar Rinse Out after you wash your hair. In just eight seconds, this in-shower treatment eliminates tangles, smooths hair and seals split ends.
4. Mushroom Cut
This voluminous short haircut is shaped like a mushroom, offering va-va-voom on the top with short, tapered sides. To maintain volume at the crown, keep a texturizing dry shampoo or hairspray like the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray - Color Treated Hair on hand.
5. Blunt Cut With Chunky Highlights
Chunky platinum blonde and black highlights to the early 2000s were what balayage highlights are for today — and now they’re both on trend. Unlike current hair color trends that sport a lowkey, lived-in look, chunky highlights feature a stark contrast that resembles stripes. Opt for a skunk stripe to keep the chunky highlights near your face or flex your full commitment to the trend and sport two-tone ribbons of contrasting color throughout your strands.
To keep your chunky highlights free of unwanted brassy tones, we recommend washing your hair with a purple shampoo and conditioner like the L’Oréal Paris Everpure Sulfate-Free Brass Toning Purple Shampoo and the L’Oréal Paris Sulfate-Free Brass Toning Purple Conditioner once a week.
6. Textured Layers with Volume
Call it the ‘90s blowout, the butterfly haircut or the modern shag — either way, this layered ‘do was a staple in the Y2K era, and it’s still just as popular today. The reason is a layered haircut like this works for a number of different face shapes and hair textures while offering a flattering face-framing style and all-over volume.
Wash your hair with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo and the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Super Detangler Conditioner. This reparative duo helps to seal split ends, reduce breakage and strengthen weak hair. Let your hair air dry to sport your natural texture, or use a blow dryer and a round brush to master the volumized look. If you’re opting for the latter, make sure to prime your strands with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Leave In to shield against the scorching temperatures of your hot tools.
7. Flipped Out Ends
Flipped out ends were super popular in the ‘60s and continue to make their way back into the beauty zeitgeist every few decades, including the 2000s and now. To get the look, prime your damp strands with a heat protectant like the L’Oréal Paris Everpure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant, let them air dry, and use a flat iron to flip the ends of your hair outwards and upwards.
8. Baby Braids
Make any hairstyle Y2K-inspired by simply adding a few baby braids throughout your strands. Our favorite ways to rock them are with a middle part to frame your face or with twisted, spiky updos for more texture.
9. Cropped Curly Cut
This edgy, short style spotlights your natural curls to keep your hair routine quick and simple. For soft and hydrated curls, wash your hair with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Push Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Seal Conditioner. This system contains hyaluronic acid and castor oil to nourish and define your curls without weighing them down. Finish the look with a curl-enhancing cream like the L’Oréal Paris Dream Lengths Curls Non-Stop Creamy Curls Leave-In Conditioner to help with moisture and shaping.
10. Braids With Beads
This early aughts ‘do doubles as a protective style with beads that serve to elevate the look, adding your own personal twist. It’s so quintessentially 2000s and looks just as good with short braids as it does with long ones.
11. Crimped Hair
Think of crimped hair as the Y2K equivalent of beach waves or mermaid waves. While crimped hair in the 2000s was more uniform and — dare we say — stiff, the looser, softer waves that people are opting for today serve as a much more wearable, modern take on the look.
For a heatless crimped style, try overnight braids. Apply the L’Oréal Paris Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream Leave In to damp hair, and section your hair into two, equal parts like you’re creating pigtails. Take those two sections and separate them again, creating four even sections of hair, two on each side of your head.
Braid each section: there should be four braids in total, and let your hair dry in the braids overnight. When you wake up, take the braids apart and you’ll have easy, crimped strands without ever having touched a hot tool.
12. Doobie Wrap
This hairstyle had a moment in the ‘90s and remained a trend well into the 2000s. The point of the wrap (placed with bobby pins) was to help keep your blowout shaped, but at one point women wore it wrapped up outside, too.
13. Side Swept Bangs
While more of a hairstyle feature, side swept bangs were so synonymous with the 2000s we had to include it. You could wear a side swept bang with many of the styles listed above — most especially when you took your doobie wrap down — and bonus points if you ‘rocked the boat’ and wore it over one eye like one of our favorite singers of the time [may she rest in peace].
Photographer: Stephanie Price