Think crimped hair is something your Mum did back in the 80s? Think again. Crimped hair is making a MAJOR comeback.

Don’t worry – the scary, backcombed, heavily lacquered styles of the past are long gone. Graphic locks, textured up-dos and mermaid waves are IN.

1. What Is Crimped Hair? (back to index)

If you’re lucky enough to not have old photos of yourself with frazzled hair hiding in the attic - crimped hair is a method of styling straight hair into a statement look using a zig-zag effect. These tiny, sharp indentions give fine, straight hair tons of volume.

First made famous by Barbara Streisand in the 70s, her hairdresser, Geri Cusenza, created the modern crimping iron to counteract the tedious process of braiding all of her bonce. Suddenly crimped hair became an instant and effortless hairstyle.

The look didn’t peak until the 80s however, where volumised kinks went hand in hand with power shoulders, red blusher and blue eyeshadow. It carried over to the 90s where the look had a grunge makeover with 90s babes such as Drew Barrymore and Courtney Love rocking the vibe. Then – blip – it disappeared from our radar for around a decade… much to some people’s relief.

But over the last few years, the crimp has started to creep onto our radar again. Beyonce, Nikki Minaj and Kendal Jenner are all crimp aficionados for the Millennial and Gen Z generations.

For those of you who the thought of crimping brings out in a sweat – don’t worry! The updated crimp can be cool, glamorous and dare we say, even sophisticated…

2. How To Crimp Hair (back to index)


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The easiest way to crimp your hair is to use a heated crimping iron. Similar to a straightener, a crimper has hot plates but with tiny grooves on to create the desired zigzagged effect. As with any heated styling tool, spray your hair with heat protection spray before styling. Our Cliphair Heat Protection Spray is the perfect choice if you have hair extensions.

Don’t want to add unnecessary heat to your hair? There is another way. It takes longer but is sooo much better for your hair in the long run. Dampen your hair and simply plait into small braids. Leave for a couple of hours or overnight and then unravel. Hey presto! You have lovely crimped waves -minus the hair damage.

3. Iconic 80s Crimped Hair Looks (back to index)

Madonna with short crimped hair

Cyndi Lauper in her punk rock crimped hair

Demi Moore Sporting her crimped hair

Which 80s celebrity DIDN’T rock the crimp back in the era of excess? Um, none. Whitney Houston’s long blonde crimped tresses and little red dress on the cover of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ will go down in history as one of the most iconic record covers. Madonna’s punky crimped locks paired with a black lace bow is one of the singer’s most famous looks, whilst Cyndi Lauper was a style icon with her acid yellow hair and jagged crimps. 

Heck, even the guys got on board with pop princes such as Boy George and Pete Burns rocking the zig-zags.  

The trend calmed down a touch in the 90s but continued to prevail. Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears sported brightly coloured crimped highlights for their performances, whilst actress Drew Barrymore opted for a cooler style by pairing her crimps with a centre parting, cute 90s clips and brown lipstick – a look Gen Z are sure to be obsessing over.

4. The Modern Crimp Vs the 80/90s Crimp (back to index)

The 80s crimp was all about the OTTs and volume. Every inch of the hair was crimped, backcombed and sprayed to the high heavens. Hair damage? Pah – no one cared about that in the 80s! The look was all about creating a dramatic style - whatever the cost. 

The 90s crimp was less about the volume and more about the dimension. Super long, straight hair was en vogue (thanks Rachel Green) but celebs still crimped sections of it to add texture and contrast. Clips and twisted updos tended to accompany crimps in this decade.

But what does the crimp look like now?

The 2021 crimp has shed all of its trashy connotations by transforming into a modern, arty hairstyle that’s fash-pack approved. From softer waves to a texture clash of crimps and curls, the updated crimp is pretty, cool and diverse, meaning whatever your style – there’s a crimp for you.

5. 4 Ways to Rock a Modern Crimp (back to index)

Panelled Crimps

Panelled Crimp

Forget about the crimped-to-every-inch-of-your-life 80s style. This is how to do statement crimps the 2021 way. Take super straight, glossy locks (long is best – check out our Full Head Clip In Hair Extensions if you need help in the length department) and crimp random sections of your hair. You can either go vertically, horizontally or even try staggering the crimps if you like – you have total artistic control over this look!

Wave Crimps

Often known as Mermaid Waves, this is a softer take on the crimped look and has more of a wavy/curly feel going on, albeit with a uniformed, glossy texture. You can go for small waves or deep waves. A crimper with an S-shaped groove is best for this look, such as the Bondi Boost Wave Wand £57.99. Just clamp down each section of your hair for gorgeous mermaid waves. Or you could try our Wavy Clip In Hair Extensions for INSTANT goddess hair!

Textured Up-Do

Textured crimp updo

This is one for the limp, fine-haired babes out there. If your hair falls flatter than a pancake when trying to sport a textured updo – just add crimps. Nothing creates volume faster than these nifty zig-zags. Crimp as much hair as you feel to create the desired oomph then brush out. Hair should resemble a cloud. Pin back your gloriously pumped up hair and mould it into whatever style you like. Your volume will last for DAYS – we promise.

Laidback Crimps

Gigi Hadid Loose crimped hair

Granted, sporting zig-zags in your hair isn’t for those who prefer the au natural look. Or is it? There is a way to create a laidback, textured style using the crimping method. Rough dry hair with a diffuser to encourage natural waves or curls, then sporadically crimp random sections gently – we’re going for soft kinks rather than graphic zig-zags - for a dishevelled look. Crimp a mixture of ends, lengths and roots for a ‘woke up like this’ vibe.

Do you crimp your hair? What’s your favourite crimped hairstyle for 2021?

6. Or Alternatively you can try... (back to index)

ClipHair Wavy Hair Extensions (Pre-crimped clip-ins)

Here at Cliphair, our Wavy Full Head hair extensions are the perfect companion to crimped hair. They are pre-waved which means you can clip them in and go, there is no need to style them yourself! They come in a set of 8 pieces that can be placed all over the head, you can even get creative and only use the small side pieces when you’re after a more panelled, random crimped effect.

With 16 different shades to choose from in a variety of lengths, you can use these Hair extensions to enhance any loose crimped look. Take a look at our Wavy Collection here…

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