The Y2K renaissance is in full swing and the 2000s influence has been making its presence known across the Black hair community. With over 483 million users searching the term ‘Y2K Black girl hairstyles’ on TikTok, styles like the weave with leave-out, Fulani and pick-n-drop braids are making their iconic return.
TikToker Ohemaa Afia noted the emerging hair revivals in a recent video, claiming that styles go in a cycle every five to 10 years. “Have you guys not noticed that a lot of these hairstyles were trending five to 10 years ago?” she said to her followers last month. “We embraced them, had the moment, then thought they were disgusting, forgot about them and now they’ve come back.”
Afia hit the nail on the head. I’ve also found myself gravitating to styles I started with when I first began experimenting with my hair. Back in the noughties, installing weave with leave-out was my go-to but I quickly found disgust in the style as it fell out of trend and was replaced with frontals and closures.
Whether braids or the silk press, now that the more natural styles have come back around, I’ve fallen in love with the leave-out (the risk of heat damage and all) once again, completely forgetting I had been here once before. The hair revivals seem to bring on a weird deja vu: you know you’ve seen the style before but thanks to re-branding, they are teased as something shiny and new. As Afia and trend analysis experts have found, there’s a cyclical nature to what we class as “hot or not” and it comes as no surprise that the Black hair community is flip-flopping between opinions.
So, according to what’s trending on social media as of August 2022, here’s a list of the Black hairstyles that have made a comeback. Let’s see if this list ages well…
Fulani or ‘feed-in’ braids are a traditional braiding style originating in West Africa, yet were ignorantly dubbed “Bo Derek braids” (thanks, Kim K) after the actress who wore the beaded cornrows in the1979 film 10. Worn in 2001 by Alicia Keys and Beyonce, they now go by their traditional name and have since been brought back into style by the likes of Willow Smith and Rihanna.
In 2022, the style is on the rise with over 19 million views on TikTok . Antoinette Ale, founder of Black hair care platform Haircrush, believes its popularity is thanks to the style being “low maintenance.”
“Fulani braids have re-emerged with the desire to have the beautiful braided look. They take half the time and require half the effort to maintain,”she said.“They’re also perfect for holiday as they’re low maintenance and give a polished look.”
To fit in with the extravagance of 2022 styling, the Fulani braids have been given the ‘goddess’ makeover, incorporating curly weave under the braids, which as Ale describes, forming the perfect “beachy, summery vibe” for holiday.
Made popular by Brandy in 2002 and Beyonce across the early 2000s, the iconic micro braided pick-n-drop style provided the perfect blend between wanting loose waves, bouncy curls or sleek straight tresses without the hassle of tracks, sewing or glue. Having been given their 2022 revamp, the micro braids are now known as ‘feathered braids’ and are simply braids with hair left out at the ends. This imperfectly perfect style still has the same features as it did in the past, allowing for the ends to be curled, feathered or layered to your liking.
Weave with leave-out
The return of leave-out was met with some controversy. The style has always been notoriously known for damaging the left-out portions of the hair if the heat was applied carelessly. But if it wasn’t a problem then for some, it sure isn’t a problem now.
Speaking to Unbothered, influencer Antoinette Victoria shared her excitement at the leave-out’s iconic return to trending status. “In the 2000s, women favoured less-is-more styles and that’s why these hair techniques have made a comeback. I’m so here for it! I love that more women with Afro hair are not afraid to try leave-out styles now and then.”
Content creator Mikai McDermott is also embracing the new phase of trying different styles and particularly enjoys the flexibility of the leave-out. “I think they are so versatile,” she tells Unbothered. “I love seeing women modernise iconic Y2K styles, it’s exciting and shows that we can embrace recent history and rework it in new ways.”
Braids with beads
When looking for the best way to level up your simple-braided look, beads are the best answer. Playful, colourful and easy to use, beads have been added to knotless braids, Fulani braids, cornrows, and more for centuries, but more notably from the 1980s to the early 2000s.
Venus Williams brought back the beaded style at the King Richard premiere last year, paying homage to her and sister Serena’s signature childhood hairstyle and called the revival a “representation of her roots”.
In an Instagram post, Venus confirmed the pair didn’t wear beads to be different but instead wore them because they were a part of their heritage. “Beads are a typical style for African American children and have deep roots in African history,” she wrote.
Butterfly clips have made their way back into mainstream pop culture, with influential stars like Megan Thee Stallion and Normani incorporating the cute accessory into their hairstyles. R&B star SZA’s famous “Love Galore” look included Monarch butterflies clipped around her infamous curly locs. Derived from the late 90s/early 2000s and seen popularly on Tyra Banks and Mariah Carey, the butterfly clips are still a quick and easy way to level up simple afro-puffs or a slicked-back bun.
Swoop Bangs with bumped ends
It was common knowledge that signing up for a silk press meant your style would be finalised with some bumped ends — it was inevitable, inescapable and wasn’t about what you wanted, it’s just how the style came.
Rihanna, Normani, Keke Palmer and more Black celebrities have reworked the bumped ends to their liking. Channel 1950s elegance and combine it with the sleekness of the swoop bang and boom! You’ve got the ultimate baddie aesthetic style.
And it doesn’t stop there. Throw your hair up in a ponytail by adding a bit more gel, hairspray and elbow grease to create the popular Barbie ponytail which has over 70 millions views on TikTok. Some have even taken the swoop bang further, by forming a heart shaped parting, ensuring a cute look from every angle.
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