Beyoncé Confirms: The Crimped Hair Trend Is Making a Major Comeback

Sorry to everyone who lived through the ’80s.

by Donna Freydkin

Jane's Beauty Crimped hair
Photograph by Emma Tempest, Hair by Dennis Gots

Britney did it. So did Jennifer Love Hewitt. Even Tyra Banks gave it a shot.

Yes, we’re talking about crimped hair, which, to either your dismay or delight, seems to be making a major comeback from its ’80s and ‘90s heyday.

For those who somehow missed out on the decade of excess, crimping is styling straight hair so it gets a zigzag-wavy look to it using a crimping iron. Think the opposite of flowing, natural beach waves or loose curls. If you’re crimping, you’re making a statement. Variations of the trend were all over the Fall 2016 runways, at Gucci, Veronique Branquinho, and, most notably, Vanessa Seward, where the rippled texture added height at the crown and gave a spirited wave to the ponytails. More recently, Gabrielle Union rocked crimped hair at the God’s Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards in New York on October 16, and Girls star Zosia Mamet did the same at the Marc Jacobs fashion show last September.

From left: Gabrielle Union and Zosia Mamet.

Oh, and did we mention Beyoncé? Yes, Queen Bey gave the style major play on Instagram in November.

And she didn’t stop there. On December 5, she presented Colin Kapernick with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award at the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 05: Colin Kaepernick receives the SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award with Beyonce and Trevor Noah during SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Show on December 5, 2017 at Barclays Center in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

Slaven Vlasic

For the occasion, she wore her blonde hair in a half-up, half-down style, full of textured, crimped goodness with a silver and black striped LaQuan Smith dress.

Araxi Lindsay, Tracee Ellis Ross’ hairstylist on Black-ish, says the crimp is back but with “a twist.” “In the ‘80s and early ‘90s the crimps were shaped with sharp indentations at every turn and it was held together with a heavy aerosol or spritz,” she continues. “It allowed hair to have a bit more character. Fashion repeats itself over and over again simply because it works.”

Today, says Lindsay, “bouncy waves are the new crimps. The indentations aren’t as sharp and heavy aerosols aren’t needed. Classic crimps have made a comeback to finish off today’s retro looks. Crimps work best on layered cuts. I personally love the look of a high crimped ponytail, side or center.”

As a child of the ’80s, the crimp craze brings back all sorts of feels. Most of them cringe-worthy, to be honest. I had a very ill-advised perm, coupled with fried hair that was also crimped for added pizzazz because let’s remember: too much was never enough. Today, the results seem to be much more understated, with perhaps a few crimped strands pulled back into a sleek ponytail.

Today, however, you can achieve a much more subtle look, with more body and less harsh frizz. To get the look, try the Gold N’ Hot Ceramic Crimping Iron{: rel=nofollow} or the GHD Contour Professional Performance Crimper{: rel=nofollow}.

Crimped Hair Is Poised to Make a Comeback This Fall

With crimped hair and purple sunglasses, Carmen Electra embodied the 2000s look.


Britney Spears and her crimped hair attended the 2000 MTV Music Video Awards in New York with Justin Timberlake.

Getty Images

Just a touch of crimping around the edges gave Christina Aguilera’s sweet bleach blond look a little texture.

The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

With blue, crimped hair, Katy Perry was stage ready at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2002.

AFP/Getty Images

Tyra Banks thoroughly embraced the crimped hairstyle at “The Tyra Banks Show” celebration of the first all black model issue of Vogue Italia on August 12, 2008 in New York City.


Beyonce performed at the World Music Awards 2008 with voluminous, wavy hair.


Nicki Minaj’s enthusiastic crimping nearly turned into curls at Billboard’s Sixth Annual Women in Music event at the Capitale on December 2, 2011 in New York City.

Getty Images

Naomi Campbell can do no wrong–even with crimped hair. Here, the model is pictured at the Elle Style Awards in 2012.


Crimped hair isn’t just for women with long hair. Zac Efron tried it out for an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in 2006.

NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Ariana Grande’s crimped ponytail was one of the highlights of the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.


A model walks the runway during the Veronique Branquinho Fall 2016 fashion show.

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A model backstage at the Gucci Fall 2016 show.

Ambra Vernuccio

A model presents a creation by Vanessa Seward Fall 2016 show.

AFP/Getty Images

“Crimping My Style,” W Magazine September 2016.

Photograph by Emma Tempest, Hair by Dennis Gots