The ‘90s Layered Bob Is Back in a Major Way

The ‘90s Layered Bob Is Back in a Major Way featured image
Greg Doherty / Ron Galella / Getty Images

Like slip dresses and scrunchies, the layered bob haircut that emerged in the ‘90s is having a resurgence. This time around, it’s most popular with people who weren’t alive yet during its first run, says professional hairstylist Danielle Huacuja. “This haircut has been primarily requested by young teens who are at that age where they’re starting to play more with their style and finding themselves, and I think it’s the coolest thing ever,” says Huacuja.

A layered bob is different from a stacked bob haircut, which is graduated so that it’s shorter at the nape of the neck and longer toward the face, explains Huacuja. “A layered bob has a lot more movement and bounce,” she says, “and that classic ’90s cut is more round in shape, which gives the effect of all-over body and volume, but requires a lot of styling to get that look.”

  • Danielle Huacuja is a professional hairstylist
  • Christina Antonette Johnston is a professional hairstylist
  • Leo Izquierdo is the cofounder of IGK Hair
  • Nicky Clarke is a celebrity hairstylist and the cofounder of the eponymous hair tool brand

Classic examples of the ‘90s layered bob include Tyra Banks and Jennifer Aniston during the bygone decade, says professional hairstylist Christina Antonette Johnston. “When I think of a ’90s layered bob, I envision the classic supermodel bob from back in the day,” says Johnston. “It will typically sit anywhere from chin length to just above the shoulders. The key to getting all that voluminous bounce is pairing this length with tons of wispy layers.”

As for present-day examples, “There are a lot of celebrities that have had a ’90s layered bob, like Hailey Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian,” says IGK Hair cofounder Leo Izquierdo. “They are showcasing this cut in really beautiful ways.”

Today’s take on the ‘90s layered bob is a modernized version of the classic haircut, says Johnston. “Maintaining a strong perimeter is what gives that striking effect in a bob,” she says. “The layering and internal movement is where you can turn this look into something contemporary. Keeping the layers soft and rounded is how I would cater to this.” Soft, rounded layering also looks more natural as hair grows out, notes Izquierdo.

The key to achieving a haircut that matches your expectations is clear communication with your hairstylist about exactly what length you’d like, says celebrity hairstylist and cofounder of eponymous hair tool brand Nicky Clarke. It’s also helpful to ask for a cut that’s tailored to your hair type.

“Finer hair should strive to maintain that bluntness and the illusion of one length even with layers, to give the look of fullness,” says Clarke. “Thicker hair has more leeway and doesn’t need to be as blunt and can benefit from chunkier layers throughout.”

Visuals always help. If you’d like to ask for the bouncy, voluminous haircut, here are some reference photos (past and present) that you can bring to your appointment.

1 / 10

“The Rachel”

For a lot of people, “The Rachel” haircut is the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of layered ‘90s layered bob haircuts. Hairstylist Chris McMillan gave Aniston the choppy haircut during her time playing Rachel Green on Friends, and it started a movement.

jennifer aniston hair the rachel
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
2 / 10

Flipped Ends

When it comes to styling a ‘90s layered bob, you can use a hair dryer and round brush to achieve volume, rely on a diffuser to bring out natural waves or curls, or add movement to straight hair with a curling wand, according to Clarke. Flipping out the ends of your hair à la Zendaya can emphasize the bouncy quality of the bob.

zendaya layered bob
Greg Doherty/FilmMagic/ Getty Images
3 / 10

Chin Length

Supermodel Christy Turlington sported this voluminous, chin-length bob in 1991, but it’s noticeably similar to the haircut that plenty of influencers have today.

christy turlington layered bob
Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
4 / 10

Feathery Layers

Alicia Silverstone had long hair when starring as Cher in Clueless, but a few years later, she opted for this long, feathery bob. 

alicia silverstone layered bob
Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
5 / 10

Modern ‘90s Bob

Lori Harvey provided another prime example of a modernized take on the ‘90s layered bob. The layers are softer, but it still has major body and bounce.

lori harvey layered bob
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
6 / 10

Long Bob

A long ‘90s bob pairs well with blue eyeshadow—another ‘90s trend that’s back in style—as evidenced by this retro photo of Cameron Diaz.

cameron diaz bob
Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
7 / 10

Choppy Layers

While Aniston’s haircut is one of the most popular references to the style, her co-star Courteney Cox also had an iconic layered bob during her Friends days.

courteney cox layered bob
NBCUniversal via Getty Images
8 / 10

Subtle Layers

Aubrey Plaza’s collarbone-length lob wouldn’t have looked too out of place a few decades ago. It’s an option for those who prefer less intense layering compared to “The Rachel.”

aubrey plaza layered bob
Presley Ann/Getty Images
9 / 10

Shoulder Length

Tyra Banks has experimented with her fair share of haircuts throughout the years. Before her America’s Next Top Model days, she went through a layered bob phase.

tyra banks layered bob
Karin Cooper/Liaison/ Getty Images
10 / 10

SATC-Era Bob

As Sex and the City is having a renaissance, it’s only fitting that some of the fashion and hairstyle choices from the era are making a comeback. Kim Cattrall who played Samantha Jones favored short, layered haircuts.

kim cattrall layered bob
Getty Images / Handout

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