Feathered hair is the latest ‘90s trend enjoying a revival—and these looks have us so excited about it

These face-framing layers are so nostalgic

Margot Robbie with Feathered Hair
(Image credit: Getty Images / Jon Kopaloff / Contributor)

It’s official: the ‘90s are back and better than ever, and nowhere is it more evident than in the resurgence of the decade’s biggest hair trends. Boxy bobs and cool lobs are two of the throwback hairstyles that have been dominating for 2023, but there’s one more style emerging as a contender—feathered hair. And I’m absolutely here for it.

What is feathered hair?

It might look effortless, but feathered hair is actually created through carefully considered layers that are shorter around the front of your face and then graduate out in length towards the sides. “It’s a style that focuses on soft edges, rather than hard lines, and there’s definitely a wispy element to the shape of a feathered hairstyle,” explains celebrity hair stylist, Tom Smith. “However, rather than a messy or choppy look, feathered hair is a look that’s combined with precision and balance.”

Not sure where to start when it comes to finding references for your next trip to the hair salon? “The best references to show your stylist would be the iconic Farrah Fawcett cut from the ‘70s, Jennifer Lopez’s modern and elegant feathered cut that she has been rocking for the past couple of years, and Emily Ratajowski's incredibly modern butterfly cut,” suggests Hershesons hair stylist, Neale Rodger.

To keep the look feeling fresh and contemporary, rather than a homage to the original ‘90s look, Tom recommends switching up the volume at the roots of your style. “In the ‘90s, feathered styles were combined with lots of root lift, whereas more recently the focus has been on thickness in the middle of the hair rather than lift at the roots. This gives a much fresher and cooler look to the style,” he says. 

How can we style feathered hair at home?

If you’ve had your feathered hair cut in by an expert then the styling at home should be surprisingly low-maintenance, all you really need is a round brush. “A large ceramic barrel brush combined with a blow dryer is one of the simpler ways to blow dry your own hair,” explains Tom. “It requires a little bit of dexterity, but the curve of the brush barrel should give just enough bend to create that feathered look.”

Hot tools are also a great option if you’re not as skilled in the blow-dry department. “For a more modern vibe, use a curling wand to create super relaxed waves in all directions,” suggests Neale. “Be sure to leave the last couple of inches out and allow them to remain straight, then finish with a styling cream.” 

The 9 best feathered hair looks

1. Platinum lengths

When Beyoncé stepped out with this new hairstyle for her Renaissance film premiere, I don't know if I was more excited about the platinum blonde colour or the perfectly feathered layers around her face.

2. Butterfly blowout 

According to Neale, the butterfly cut is the modern interpretation of feathered hair. I love how Billie Piper's mid-length layered style combines all of that volume and texture along with a cool, choppy fringe.

3. Flicked-out feathers

How glamorous does supermodel Jourdan Dunn's feathered style look with playful, flicked ends paired with that cherry cola-inspired red shade? 

4. '90s layers

Margot Robbie's sleek, centre-parted feathered style is a nod to the classic '90s look. It's elegant, simple and is giving me Rachel Green in Friends circa season 5 vibes.

5. Beachy waves

Hoyeon Jung's long, beachy lengths look effortlessly beautiful. I love how the feathery layers start from fairly short curtain bangs all the way down to shoulder-length. 

6. Bouncy layers

The best thing about feathered hair is how much volume and movement it can create through your lengths, as demonstrated by Emily Ratajkowski's big, bouncy style.

7. Side-parted style

Kerry Washington is combining not one, but two of the biggest throwback trends right now—feathered hair with a side parting. Obsessed.

8. Graduated layers

A real homage to the '90s feathered hair look, Bebe Rexha's poker-straight style has some super short layers around the face that continue with utmost precision through the entire style.

9. Glam feathers

J.Lo's feathered hair has become something of a trademark in recent years, thanks to the ultra-glam, mega-volume finish.

The best styling products for feathered hair

Mica Ricketts

Mica Ricketts is a freelance beauty editor and contributor to Marie Claire. She has written for titles including Refinery29 and Who What Wear UK, and also works with beauty brands on content messaging and marketing copy. She was previously Who What Wear UK's beauty editor. As someone that has tried basically every acne product on the market, she has a particular passion for debunking skincare myths and finding products that work. Plus, with two small children at home she is all about time-saving beauty routines that boost glow and disguise dark circles.