It’s safe to say that some of the most iconic ‘90s beauty trends are making a serious comeback: Y2K nails, claw clips, and bandana-wrapped buns are proof of that. One hairstyle in particular, fluffy hair, is making waves all over TikTok and pretty much every other social media platform. Think Cher Horwitz from Clueless, Denise Richards in pretty much any ‘90s film, or Cindy Crawford’s early runway days — it’s all about the *volume* this season.
“The fluffy hair trend that is going around is a wink to popular ‘90s hairstyles,” says Angel Cardona, Sebastian Professional top hair stylist. The style is centered on bounce, where the fluffiness of a just-rolled-out-of-bed look meets runway-ready. “The loosely styled look is part of the overall vibe that Gen-Z has been styling on TikTok,” says Aquage Brand Ambassador Laura Polko. Here, “the flufflier the better” is the name of the game.
And it turns out, achieving the understated look requires just a couple of steps — five to be exact. To help you create the effect at home, TZR spoke to a few top celebrity hairstylists to learn all the best steps and product recommendations. Get ready for your bounciest and fluffiest hair ever.
How Fluffy Is This Look Exactly?
“Fluffy hair is the term coined by Gen-Z on TikTok, but would otherwise be known as a ‘90s blowout to the rest of us,” Tara Simich, founder and CEO of Mermade Hair, tells TZR. According to Polko, it involves guys or girls moving their hands from the back of the head, shaking the hair forward and keeping it down and in front of the face to create a loose styled blowout — although there are a few more steps involved if you want the effect to last.
Overall, the trend embraces texture and imperfection and encourages a lot of effortless bounce and volume. “It’s all about minimalism,” Hairstory stylist Wes Sharpton shares. “Not looking like there is a lot of product in the hair but maintaining volume at the same time.”
What’s The Difference Between Fluffy Vs. Poofy?
Not to be confused with poofy hair, fluffy hair is purposely done with a bit of product and technique. “Fluffy hair accentuates volume and airiness,” says Sharpon. “Light product application is used to not weigh [the hair] down.” Whereas, according to Jamila Powell, founder of Naturally Drenched and owner of Maggie Rose Salon, poofy hair can have a little more roughness to the texture, described often as frizzy and hard to manage.
What Textures Work Well With The Trend?
All five experts agree that the fluffy hair trend is universally flattering on all hair types. “The great thing about fluffy hair is the easy no-fuss approach,” says Simich. “It actually embraces fly-aways and imperfect hairlines or parts, rather than today's blowouts which are much more sleek, or with a defined middle or side part.”
However, regardless of texture, if your hair is experiencing damage (heat, environmental, or color), it’s best to avoid the hairstyle as it does require some heat. In addition to using a heat protector, Cardona suggests spraying a good amount of hairspray on both finer and curly hair types. For finer types, the hairspray will help keep the look all day; and for curly hair, it will help to guard against humidity.
How To Style Fluffy Hair
According to Simich, a good rule of thumb for short hair is to try a side part in order to get extra volume and movement. “For long hair, use a tail comb to add extra volume at the roots,” Simich adds.
In terms of actual styling, there are two main options: heat or with rollers (which involve no heat). If you are opting for the latter, you can set your hair (dry or slightly damp) with a mouse and roll your hair in velcro rollers, making sure the base of the section is wrapped to create more volume at the root. Then, sleep with the rollers in your hair (sleeping in a silk scarf or bonnet can help to keep them in place) and remove in the morning. Next, flip the hair upside down to loosen the curls slightly and gently comb your hair to the front. Then flip back and *boom* instant fluff.
If hot tools are more your speed, follow the steps below for fluffy hair.
Step 1: Cleanse Hair
Having a clean canvas beforehand is always paramount with any hairstyle, and the fluffy hair trend is no exception. Powell suggests using a shampoo and conditioner that will add shine and minimize frizz. You can also grab a volumizing shampoo and conditioner to promote fluff and volume. And if your hair is prone to dryness, the expert also encourages a detox or rebalancing treatment to prevent breakage.
Step 2: Prep Hair For Heat Styling
After washing, you’ll want to prep your hair with a leave-in conditioner and heat protectant. Polko suggests Aquage CBD Leave-In Conditioning Spray to keep your texture soft. As the hair dries, continuously shake the hair forward so it doesn’t become frizzy.
Step 3: Section Hair
Both Polko and Powell recommend allowing 60% to 80% of the hair to air dry on its own. Once semi-dry, you can section off hair into four to six sections (depending on how much hair you have) to ensure each section is bouncy enough for the fluffy hair trend. Pro tip: The smaller the sections, the more curl and bounce you will achieve.
Step 4: Precision Blow-Dry
Going section by section, wrap the hair around a rounded blow dry brush. “Because you’ll want your ends to flip inwards for this trend, wrap the hair over the blow dry brush and twist inward, tucking the ends under,” Powell encourages.
For more curve, Simich proposes wrapping the hair around a barrel brush and holding it for a few seconds. Next, flip your hair over and apply a bit of hairspray for extra hold, volume, and shape. If you want extra volume, grab your teasing comb next.
Step 5: Scoop Hair Forward
“In this trend you are seeing hair that is being pushed forward in front of the head,” says Sharpton. “So you want to encourage it to get bigger and look airier by keeping the volume at the root.” Instead of getting extra volume via typical teasing (wherein you comb the hair downwards to create texture), you’ll take a section of the hair and brush it forward, moving the brush under the hair and bringing it in front of your face. Repeat that for the crown and sides of your head, using your hands to gently push those sections of hair forward even more — this will help to encourage bounce and fluffiness. Then flip the hair back and smooth any random flyaways.
“To minimize any frizz, add a lightweight oil like Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil and a finishing spray like Kenra Professional Shine Spray,” Powell tells TZR. Extra tip: sleep on a satin pillowcase to preserve your blowout. The result is a perfectly high-volume, fluffy hairstyle.
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