Goodbye 1980s and 1990s, hello 1970s.
While the rest of us are moving ahead, hairstyles sported by many teenagers these days might make some people think they’ve landed in the wrong decade.
Gone are the large, overdone, high-maintenance styles of the ‘80s, says hairstylist Mike Meyers of Blades Design Group at 1919 N. Division, and teenage girls have completely skipped over the early ‘90s look of short, unisex hairdos. Instead, teens are moving back to the natural look that dominated the ‘70s.
“It’s more like the ‘70s, more a carefree style,” says Meyers. “It’s very natural and sleek.”
Many middle school girls are sticking with straight, simple looks. And most teenage girls are moving away from complicated styles that require a lot of curling, brushing, spraying and teasing, Meyers says.
For the past year, he says, girls have adopted hairstyles worn by actresses on popular television shows such as “Friends” and “90210.” “The Rachel,” worn by actress Jennifer Aniston, features shoulder-length hair that frames the face. The back has long layers and the ends can be flipped up. Boys sought the so-called George Clooney cut, a close-cropped ‘do with the top combed straight down.
A lot of teenage girls, and a few boys, have their hair highlighted or streaked. The most common color is blond, says Meyers, but there’s also a smattering of red, blue, and other exotic colors.
Guys tend to go for more subtle highlights because they want it to look like their hair was lightened by the sun, says Laura Wyche of Hot Locks Hair Design at 9317 N. Newport Highway. The reason for this is that guys, as a general rule, would just die if their friends found out they were visiting a styling salon, even though a lot of them are doing the exact same thing.
Wyche says she sees girls opting for long, straight hair that frames their face and the guys are going quasi-military - high and tight on the sides with longer, wavy hair on top, which means getting a perm.
“I’ve been doing a lot more perms on guys lately,” says Wyche. “When they get perms and stuff, they don’t want to be seen in the shop.”
Long hair for guys is definitely out now, says Wyche.
While the “Friends” haircuts are still popular, Wyche says that teenagers seem to want haircuts that are comfortable for them instead of what’s in at the moment. “It’s very eclectic right now,” says Wyche.
Easy care also tops the list when teenagers consider a new look. “They don’t want to have to deal with it, but they want it to look good,” Wyche says.
The simplicity of hair styles also carries over into what, if anything, teens put into their hair. Stylist Amy McAdam of Dimensions Salon at 14201 E. Sprague says a lot of the girls she works with use only shampoo, conditioner, and maybe some hair spray. “Most of them are just wearing it long and straight and parted in the middle,” says McAdam.
Surprisingly, boys are the ones snatching up styling gels. “They like the wet look, ” says McAdam. Pomades, a product that makes hair look shiny and cuts down on frizz, is also popular among guys and girls.
Simple and understated also carries over into hair accessories. McAdam says she’s seeing a lot of girls use bobby pins and barrettes to pull their hair out of their faces. The Bon Marche store downtown actually stopped carrying hair accessories a few months ago because they weren’t selling.
Nordstrom, on the other hand, is having no problem moving hair accessories, says salesperson Judy Marr. The most popular items among teens are “scrunchies” - oversized ponytail holders; Meifa sticks, wooden sticks used to hold up hair buns or twists; and “jaws,” or butterfly clips.
And what are teenagers talking about while getting their locks trimmed? “Basic teenager stuff” says McAdam, like school, an upcoming dance, their significant other, even serious talking points like jobs and college.