Each decade has brought with it individual styles that gradually morphed into something different for the next decade. Sometimes these changes were dramatic, as when the short cropped styles of the 1960s changed into the long free-flowing locks of the 1970s, and sometimes they were more subtle, as in the gentle change from 1920s short hair into the subtly curled, slightly longer styles of the 1930s. When the 1980s ended and the 1990s began the big, permed hair popular in the 1980s continued as a trend in the early 1990s.

Long Locks

The early 1990s often saw hair that was overly permed and long, creating an unkempt, wild look. This look was quite popular, including among celebrities. Mariah Carey wore long permed hair in the early 1990s, as did Julia Roberts in the movie “Pretty Woman.” The look was characterized by long curls, spirals, and waves falling loosely about the face. The look mimicked archetypal long, flowing hair symbolic of water.

Short Bobs

The early 1990s also saw a jump in popularity for the short, permed bob. Ann Archer and Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction” are good examples, or Terri Hatcher in “Lois and Clark.” This style generally had no bangs, or very long ones, with hair parted on the side and falling to the chin or perhaps to the shoulders with fluffy or sometimes tight curls. The style also had the flowing look of water, but allowed for more control and a lighter feel for women who preferred shorter hair.


It became the style of the 1990s to go blond. Whether with highlights or a full head of golden curls, blonde was the desired color of early 1990s permed hair. This trend in color gave a nod to 1960s glamour queens such as Bridget Bardot.


The early 1990s saw several ubiquitous hair accessories. Scrunchies, basically thick hair elastics covered in brightly colored, wardrobe-matching colors, were used to pull back long permed hair, or to create a half up-do look. Black scrunchies were appropriate for more formal occasions and looked good against the palette of blond hair popular in the early 1990s. Other popular accessories were bows of all sizes. The bows were glued to a hair clip that could be used to pull the hair back, create a half up-do, or just clip on the side of the head for decoration.