The Retro Highlight Trend We’re Loving

In 2019, hair colour is all about subtlety —naturally blended balayage and babylights for sparkly dimension. But like the clunky Dr. Martens boots that have somehow found their way to the front of your closet for the first time since high school, '90s highlights — un-delicate, chunky, face-framing streaks à la Ginger Spice — are popular once again.

Actually, the iconic British girl band is an apt point of reference, considering the striped highlight first made a resurgence here in the UK last year. According to London-based colourist Bryony Cairns of Larry King Salon, the "rogue" highlight is a nod to '90s feminism. "Rogue hair colour is an extreme adaptation on the face frame," Cairns explains. "Most commonly, the highlight is bleached blonde, but can totally be adapted to any other colour, too. Our clients think of it as the hair equivalent to power dressing, because it's a strong, dramatic look that draws inspiration from confident women, like Drew Barrymore and the Spice Girls."


Now, we're starting to see a variation of the rogue streak pop up on American celebrities, like Beyoncé and Jackie Aina. To see how the chunky-gone-chic highlight reads up close, scroll ahead. Let it inspire you to try the retro technique — in a cotton-candy pink fringe or a platinum streak — at your next appointment.

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Photo Courtesy Of Larry King Salon
Cairns tells us rogue blonde can be applied over any base shade — but the contrast of light platinum over a black root makes the look bold and high-drama.
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If you're looking for a more subtle approach, Cairins recommends starting the highlight away from your root, and working finer strands back from the hairline, as so colour change is more blended.
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London-based colourist Katie Freedman calls this look — a short cut with a platinum face-frame bang — "hairline bleach."
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While Beyoncé could influence us to try any hair colour, this buttery golden highlight — like a halo around her face — is exactly on par with the '90s highlight revival we're talking about.
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Here, an example of NYC colourist Elizabeth Hiserodt's retro bleach-and-foil dye job. She tells us it was an impulse decision by her client, Sable Yong. "She threw out the idea of a chunky blonde piece, and I added my twist to it," Hiserodt tells us.
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If you're considering a light caramel highlight, make a statement with a bold face-framing strand, like Jackie Aina.
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Think of it as a new way to wear pastel pink hair. All the fun, but with minimal upkeep.
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Two autumn trends in one: a red-brown cinnamon base with a retro rogue streak thrown in the front. Ginger Spice would definitely approve.
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