Chunky ’90s Highlights Are Back And We’re Kinda Here For It

What goes around, goes around, goes around comes all the way back around (yeaaaah). The intense ’90s resurgence we’ve seen in the world of fash n beauty so far has been pretty chill, after all scrunchies are just a comfy VSCO Girl—n Emma Chamberlain—approved way to put your hair up.  

However, the latest trend to surface is a bit harder to miss. Thicc face-framing chunky highlights are back in a big way (or should we say ‘chunky’ way?). It’s not the first divisive ’90s trend to come back: chunky highlights really fell away for a while because of their perception as an unsubtle/clumsy/retro style. 

That said, international hairstylist Koji Ichikawa explained to NYLON that it might be signalling bit more openness in how people are viewing hair: “In recent years, people’s understanding of hair colour has increased. I think people can feel great [about it] as a design, without seeing it as just bizarre hair.”

Different colourists are calling the trend by different names: from “90s bangs” to “supermodel highlights.” We’re extremely into “rogue highlights”, which is what colourist Bryony Cairns of Larry King Salon in London has deemed them on Refinery29. Bryony mentions 90s feminism and gals like the Spice Girls as the trends inspo. However, the term neatly references the original inspiration behind the chunky highlights on the girl of our dreams and ex-Allure beauty editor Sable Yong: Rogue from X-Men, duh. 

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Gone rogue.

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How to get chunky highlights:

If you’re interested in dabbling in the trend, which is honestly a really great low-commitment way to change up your look—plus less overall damage to your follicles—it couldn’t be simpler. 

Have a think about how thick you’d like the highlights, and give a little consideration to how your hair texture will impact how these layers around your face will sit. Going to a salon will help get a really clean look (because of proper sectioning and neat bleaching) but you could also DIY with good quality bleach at home. Follow up with a purple shampoo to tone down any orange vibes (unless you’re into that) and make sure to give your strands a deep condition every now and then. 

After that, you can either leave ‘em desaturated n blonde/beached or chuck a bright colour over the top for some extra fun. 

Chunky highlight inspiration:

Juuuust in case you needed a lil more convincing, a bunch of celebs n IG people have jumped on the trend. We’ve rounded up some of our faves below. If it’s good enough for Beyoncé it’s good enough for me.

Yoncé doing honey-coloured highlights

Rogue highlights, but make em multi-coloured

Tangerine dream highlights

Jackie Aina going full 90s glam w the aviators too

The single-side chunky highlight

Dua Lipa doin’ it to ’em w highlights and visible roots

IRL Angel FKA Twigs colour-coordinates to the party in the back

You know what the fuck it is

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#rogue #roguexmen #xmen #marvel #marvelcomics

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My man James Iha from The Smashing Pumpkins

james iha smashing pumpkins young highlight hair
Image via Getty Images.

Zayn, in 2014 looking at everyone jumping on the chunky highlight trend in 2020

zayn malik chunky blonde highlight
Image via Twitter.

Lead image: Dua Lipa, Sable Yong, Rina Sawayama via Instagram.

Monisha Rudhran (@monishamay) is a writer and chronic Pisces. Formerly at Syrup, she's now a Digital Content Producer at ELLE and marie claire Australia. She’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.

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