Each year, Spring invites meditations on renewal. And since hair is an agent of self-expression (one that’s ever growing and changing), a fresh chop can be particularly inspiring as the season turns. In this spirit, a recent upload on Instagram by hairstylist Mara Roszak stopped me in my scrolling tracks.
“The 90s heartthrob haircut,” read the caption of Roszak’s snap, which showed 25-year-old L.A.-based artist Mariah Krey with her cool blonde lengths sheared into a choppy, layered bob featuring close-cropped layers at the nape of the neck and then longer, cheekbone-sweeping ones at the front. “I’m drawn to the way the hair falls, it feels lived in,” says Krey. “I was going for that ease.”
Per the nostalgia-stoking name coined by Roszak, the references Krey brought to her appointment were Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet, Cameron Diaz in There’s Something about Mary, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors. “It brought me back to my adolescence in all the right ways,” says Roszak of the process, which found her assessing what version of the cut would work best on Krey’s natural texture. “In the ’90s, many of the boys had this cut—my first crush definitely did!” For Krey, her individualized crop transcends constructs. “I feel free with this cut,” she says, “free of expectations, free of perceptions, and free of conventional beauty standards. I can confidently be me without much thought or effort.”
As someone with 3B curls, now feeling the urge to lop off a couple inches myself, I wondered how a cut like this would suit more textured hair. I got my answer upon seeing Zazie Beetz’s latest look, a cheekbone-carving crop of ringlets. “Zazie has gorgeous hair on her own, but the fun of hair is that you can play with it and we wanted to see her differently than we’ve ever seen her before,” explains her hairstylist Lacy Redway, who at the request of stylist Jessica Willis for a shoot, crafted a curly bob wig. “We wanted to keep the neckline really clean and have the sharp line of the bob mirror her jawline and accentuate the beautiful shape of her face.” Beetz went on to sport the look on the red carpet, styled fittingly ’90s with a crop top, body chains, and a choker necklace. “For textured girls, it’s nice to play with the shape before actually committing,” Redway notes. According to the pro, that could entail test-driving with a wig à la Beetz or pinning the under-layers of your hair to simulate a faux bob. If you like what you see, work with a hairstylist to execute your vision.