Are We Heading Into a New Era of Big Hair?

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Photography by launchmetrics.com/spotlight

From Julia Roberts and Miley Cyrus to the Marc Jacobs runway, it seems that when it comes to hair in 2024, bigger will certainly be better.

Move over, minimalists. Big hair is on its way back — and it’ll be better (and bigger!) than ever.

Though slicked-back buns have been all the rage for some time, we can’t help but wonder if more va-va-voom volume is on the way. If you look to the gravity-defying styles recently worn by A-listers like Miley Cyrus and Julia Roberts, plus a runway full of Marc Jacobs models, the answer is a powerful “yes.”

At this month’s 2024 Grammys, Miley Cyrus took to the stage flaunting a larger-than-life mullet like only she can. The pop diva’s brunette tresses, lightened up by heavy-handed highlights, were back-combed and tousled into a full-of-body hairdo, bringing to mind visions of her godmother and country legend Dolly Parton and her signature peroxide blonde bouffant. It would appear that Parton’s rumoured “the higher the hair, the closer to God” philosophy runs deep in this family, indeed.

Bob Recine, Cyrus’ hairstylist of eight years, cited “a punk, Raquel Welch from the ’70s” as his inspiration for the look in an interview with Byrdie. “We wanted it dry and big through teasing, but not like the old way where it would be coiffed. We wanted it to be a little messy where you could see some of the teasing,” he shared.

On Instagram, Recine broke down the technique and products used to create the Flowers singer’s “sexy bounce” look, crediting the Nexus XXL Volume Hairspray as the product that held the look together through her red carpet walk, a rockstar performance and multiple costume changes

For British Vogue’s February issue, Julia Roberts appeared on the cover with a flawlessly executed blowout that gives body. The Pretty Woman star’s natural ringlets were stretched and shaped into big-barrelled curls full of volume, taking us back to the ’80s when the star caught her first big break in Mystic Pizza (1988).

In the high fashion realm, Marc Jacobs sent models sauntering down his Spring 2024 runway with puffed-up, full-lace human hair wigs sourced by renowned hairstylist Duffy. “The shape is a suggestion of that late ’60s, early ’70s disco moment,” shared the stylist with Coveteur. Pinned to the mood board backstage were images of Diana Ross and fellow members of The Supremes, who, like many other Black women, serve as icons of these era-defining updos.

One flip through a history book and you’ll find illustrations of men and women from the 16th and 17th centuries in particular wearing sky-high wigs as status symbols that could hardly fit through a doorframe today. And even further back, depictions of Ancient Egyptians adorned with wigs that exuded major volume. More recently in the 20th century, styles like the beehive and the bouffant of the ’60s and ’70s also favoured volume.

During the 1960s, the rise of big hair emerged from years of pared-back wartime styles, alongside the invention of the roller and lacquer spray. In the following decade, the 1970s saw freedom of expression via hair — partly thanks to the women’s rights movement — which led to styles that grew exponentially in size, from blowouts to afros.

No matter the decade, celebrities have proved time after time that big hair can be interpreted in myriad ways. Just look to Jane Fonda as Barbarella, Priscilla Presley, Donna Summer or Tina Turner for vintage variations of the style. Stars like SZA and Solange serve as present-day big-haired icons with their unapologetically voluminous cascades of curls, with Cyrus and Roberts joining the “bigger is better” ranks.

As for how we non-celebs can tackle the trend, many of us were born with naturally “big” hair that takes up space and volume all on our own, and we can carry on flaunting it business as usual (if we so choose to), and call on the aid of hot tools and hair spray when we really want to pump up the volume.

@daniellemarcan #beauty #hair @marcjacobs ♬ lilacs – ☆

Though it’s making a comeback now, having big hair hasn’t always been viewed as trendy or desirable, and it’s a delight to witness the “big hair, don’t care” attitude catch on en masse once again. Fortunately, TikTok is also brimming with tutorials on how to achieve huge hair no matter your natural texture, including videos directly inspired by the hair seen on the Marc Jacobs runway.

So, what does the return of big hair mean in 2024? Is this just the cyclical nature of trends? Or is there something more to it? Much like the revival of messy mob wife makeup in place of the “clean girl” look, perhaps the renaissance of the bouffant marks a rebellion against slicked-backed styles and more polished manes. On the other hand, it could be as simple as a mass suffering from, dare we say, flat hair fatigue — and a yearning to be more out there with our hair choices.

With Julia, Miley and Marc Jacobs leading the way, we’ll all be onto bigger and better (hair) in no time.

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