(Hair)

These Early 2000s Hairstyles Are Back & Better Than Ever

Chunky highlights, braids, and claw clips galore.

Written by Natasha Marsh
Updated: 
Originally Published: 
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early 2000s hairstyles

It may feel like it was just yesterday when you were rocking side bangs, piece-y layers, and streaky highlights. And although it was two decades ago that early 2000s hairstyles were really in their prime, they're already back and seen everywhere (Olivia Rodrigo’s spiky buns, anyone?). While you might consider your dramatic side bang from 2004 to be nothing more than a cringe-worthy memory, many of these Y2K styles are back, baby, and being looked at in a fresh new light.

“If the mid-2000s were all about being polished, perfectly curled, and the 2010s were all about being effortless, then the early Y2K era was all about being playful and rebellious with your hair,” “Braids, spikes, knots, and an over-abundance of hair accessories glittered the scene in the early 2000s,” Clayton Hawkins, a celebrity hairstylist who works with Olivia Rodrigo, Elizabeth Olsen, Rachel Zegler, Dove Cameron, and more, tells TZR.

When you think of the looks that stuck out most from the years of butterfly necklaces and roll-on glitter, styles like intentionally unblended highlights, half-up hair bumps, and baby braids are probably some of the first that come to mind. And thanks top top A-listers, many of them have crept their way back in.

Stars such as Rodrigo, Margo Robbie, FKA Twigs, and Dua Lipa have adopted money piece baby braids recently, which can easily be attributed to the likes of Brandy, Alicia Keys, and Jennifer Lopez in the early aughts. And the claw clips seen on Lizzo, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Bieber as of late could be found in magazine spreads and on celebrity red carpets just two decades back.

Ahead, you'll find a roundup of the best haircuts, dyes, and styles from the time when crimping, super spiky buns, and layers were a-plenty.

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Zig Zag Parts

With the ongoing debate between middle and side parts, TikTok would have a field day with the addition of Y2K zig-zag parts seen on celebrities like Christina Aguilera. Looking to include in your 2022 hair routine, make sure you have a shine mist or pomade on hand to ensure zig-zags are properly visible.

Flipped Ends

Long live the early 2000s carefree vibes where adding some oomph to any hairstyle only required a hair straightener, as seen here with the ultra-popular flipped ends iteration. If trying out at-home, be sure to douse ends with hairspray for extra-long hold.

Exaggerated Volume Up-Dos

Ruled by Alicia Silverstone and other buzzy celebs, the early 2000s were all about volume. The more you had, the better. And a great way to show off volume was by placing your hair in an up-do for all to see.

Spiky Buns

One of the peak early 2000s hairstyles was spiky hair — it appeared on basically every pop star and in every teen summer movie. Like Mandy Moore here, it’s typically styled with an ultra-sleek finish, helped with hair spray or gel. Adored by Rodrigo, Bella Hadid, and Hunter Schafer, the spiky bun hairstyle can be worn with not just one bun, but two, and maybe even three or more. The point is, 2000s hair was purposefully fun and experimental. “Now that it’s making a resurgence, remember: There are no rules when it comes to Y2K hair,” Hawkins says, “Make it your own and make it weird.”

Butterfly And Claw Clips

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Statement hair clips have officially made their way back into the 2022 cool girl aesthetic. “I’m obsessed with claw clips,” says Hawkins. “Something so chic and ‘model off-duty’ about them.” Stealing inspiration from late ‘90s and early 2000s celeb looks, such as those from Tyra Banks, Spears, and Paris Hilton, those wearing butterfly and claw clips as of late include Kendall Jenner, Lipa, Bieber, Yara Shahidi, and Emma Chamberlain. Not to mention, they’re being sold everywhere and super accessible to wear with any hairstyle, be it up or down.

High Pigtails

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Sporting a pair of high pigtails is the ultimate fun Y2K hairstyle. It’s whimsical, youthful, and oh-so trendy right now. “I’m put them on my clients all the time,” Hawkins says (re: Olivia Rodrigo and Dove Cameron). “Make sure to use a good elastic when securing.”

Channeling this look from Spears, other celebs wearing high pigtails today include Chamberlain, Fox, Grande, Eilish, and Lisa from Blackpink. For a slight alteration still in line with the Y2K aesthetic, turn your pigtails into space buns.

High Ponytails

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High ponytails hadn't been much of a thing since the '50s. Ponytails, sure, but not ones sitting pretty at the crown of celebrities' heads. This particularly silky ponytail on Beyoncé mixes two 2000s trends — the height and the side bang. Today, the sky high ponytail trend is still going strong. “I love a high ponytail!” says Hawkins, who styled Rodrigo in one for the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards. “Bonus points if you add some black snap clips (I’m obsessed with the Ouchless Forever Elastics from Goody) for that extra Y2K flair.” The only thing that's changed is that they seem to only be getting longer (think: Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, and Halsey).

Choppy Layers

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Choppy layers and wispy bangs were everywhere in the 2000s, and Spears, who rotated through some fantastic outfits, makeup, and hairstyles once the millennium started, was one star who knew exactly how to pull off this look. The blunt edges of the layers help distinguish it from your usual, subtly trimmed layers that are more common today. As Hawkins says, “This one is not for the faint of heart, but fortune favors the bold.” Today, you can find Billie Eilish and Miley Cyrus flaunting the bold style with a cool 2022 update.

Chunky Highlights

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If you've fallen hard for chunky highlights, you won't need to look any further for inspiration than Kelly Clarkson's take on them. The color, which she rocked at the American Idol Season 1 finale in 2002, was composed of a dark black base with bleach blonde pieces woven around the crown. After witnessing a dye job this good, you can see why stars like Jennifer Lopez, Lipa, and Lizzo thought it was worth trying out again. It really doesn't get more early aughts than this.

And remember, this trend can also incorporate color (think: Avril Lavigne) and non-permanent highlights for versatility. “Instead of taking the proverbial (bleach-y) plunge, opt for some clip-in extensions for a pop of highlight,” Hawkins says. You can look to Megan Thee Stallion for inspo on that front.

Money Piece Braids

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Face-framing baby braids are one of the most prevalent Y2K hair trends of 2022. As Amy Abramite, creative director and hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, previously told TZR, “Baby braids are small thin plaits (read: braids) on both sides of the face to add a roped texture to any hairstyle worn down.”

The microbraids that Raven-Symoné is wearing here are emblematic of a look that was prevalent in the early aughts. This gorgeous combination of curls and waves on the former Cheetah Girl is an iconic example, but there were many stars who rocked a similar look — such as Beyoncé, who took it a step further into '00s styles by sometimes wearing crimped ends. These days, you can spot Rodrigo, Kehlani, Zoë Kravitz, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, and many more flaunting the face-framing micro-braid style.

Wavy Blowouts

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J.Lo's blowout at the Third Annual Teen Choice Awards is the most perfect early aughts rendition of a hairstyle that swept the '70s, then got a refresh in the 2000s. While Farrah Fawcett rocked a heavily hair-sprayed set of blown-out waves, the early aughts version looks a bit more undone and soft. This type of style is spiking in popularity and has most recently been seen on Sydney Sweeney, Megan Thee Stallion, and Megan Fox. “A wavy blowout is eternal and never goes out of style,” says Hawkins.

Pulled-Back Poufs

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Anyone else remember Bumpits? The 2000s seemed riddled with them, or at least hairstyles that appeared to be using the accessory. Lauren Conrad's look here was a popular one among stars during this decade, and she, Gwen Stefani, Hilary Duff, Beyoncé, and Nicole Richie were some of the celebrities most frequently found with a variation of this half-up 'do.

Hawkins says he is itching for the trend to make a major comeback. “I’ve been trying to make this early Y2K hairstyle come back for a while!” says Hawkins. “Think more Gwen Stefani and less Snooki. So far none of my clients have taken the bait. But if you’re bold, I say go for it. Just be sure not to over-tease.” To add to his case, Florence Pugh wore one during the 2019 Little Women press tour, and tutorials are popping up everywhere on TikTok.

Side Bangs

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Blunt bangs had nothing on the side-swept wispy bangs that lasted throughout the early 2000s. Brenda Song's version during the 2005 Life & Style Magazine Presents Stylemakers event had a few sparse highlights and was mussed up ever so slightly for an edgier vibe. While many celebrities have been cutting their own symmetrical fringe in 2020, a few have opted for a Y2K side bang, including Bella Hadid. “A side-swept bang can create an alluring look while also narrowing the face if your hair does not easily fall down the front for a straight cut bang,” hairstylist and trichologist Shab Reslan previously told TZR.

Pixie Cuts

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After taking center stage in the ‘60s à la Twiggy, pixie cuts made a resurgence in the millennium, and Rihanna's 2007 version is a picture-perfect example. “These never go out of style,” Hawkins says. “Make sure you have a good matte pomade, though.” Whether it's spiky and gelled like Halle Berry had or beautifully swept over like Rih's, short lengths were equally as trendy as long ones during this decade. Looking for a 2022 take? See Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) in The Batman.

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