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Kate Middleton's Hair Transformations May Be Subtle, But They're Extremely Cyclical

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The Duchess of Cambridge is one of the great hair icons of our time. While the world around her churns a trail of unpredictable trends, from deep side parts to streaky highlights, her perpetually glossy (ridiculously bouncy, ever-perfect) curls refuse to go out of style. It's a look so timeless, in fact, that she's been rocking it since 2006 without anybody even noticing. Over the years, Kate Middleton's hair transformation has basically led her right back to the style she started with more than a decade ago.

Before she ever put on Princess Diana's sapphire ring or called Kensington Palace home, Middleton was just your average 24-year-old (except that she was, indeed, dating a prince). Back then, she had just graduated from the University of St. Andrews and was sporting her signature voluminous waves but with the sort of side bang that would have made 2006 you swoon.

And in an unexpected turn of events, that same face-framing fringe is back again — just look at the photos @KensingtonRoyal posted on Instagram last month. The duchess, wearing a pale-pink pant suit on her recent visit to the National Health Service's emergency call center, looked like a refined version of her 24-year-old self. Side bangs and all.

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While today's Instagram generation excavates such ancient (sometimes embarrassing) hairstyles as mullets and bowl cuts, Middleton's revival of the old-school side bang is proof that not even royals are immune to the cyclicity of fashion and beauty trends, but at least they can be resurrected with grace.

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Her covetable mane has undergone subtle changes — from blonde highlights to a popular lob that quickly earned the name "Middy" — but never anything too polarizing. You certainly won't catch her with a pageboy or a pixie anytime soon.

Kate Middleton may not be rocking chunky highlights à la Jennifer Lopez or a full-blown Rachel (which is making a comeback, too, as Selena Gomez recently proved), but she's participating in the early aughts nostalgia wave in her own royal way nonetheless. Claw clips and low-rise jeans not included.