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Cinderella may not be going to the ball any more but people are bringing the glamour to their own front rooms for this New Year’s Eve.
Much like the rise of the makeshift “kitchen disco”, which brought the dancefloor to your home during last year’s lockdown, “Hogmanay at home” looks, such as “tinsel hair”, are having a moment despite mass celebrations being called off.
“With the recent news putting the fear back into us all, daily mood boosters, like doing our hair, will be key to keeping morale up,” says hairdresser and colourist Lisa Shepherd.
Tinsel hair, in which people coat strands of their hair with silver pieces of tinsel, also feeds into fashion trends from the late 90s and early 2000s such as low-rise jeans and Croc shoes, which are back in vogue. “The 00s are having a huge impact on hair trends; we’re seeing so many buns with spiky ends and butterfly clips are everywhere,” says Rachael Gibson, hairstyle historian.
“The original Y2K trends were very much about the birth of digital culture, and now we live entirely online it makes sense that those trends are being revived.”
Tinsel hair, recently sported by singer Katy Perry to mark her Las Vegas singing residency, is also about the revival of certain hair accessories.
“Tinsel hair first appeared in the early 00s when the hair extensions market exploded,” says Gibson. “As well as seeing wider availability of extensions for typical services like length and volume, we started seeing options for more fun, fashion looks, like vibrant colour as well as things like feathers and tinsel.”
Gibson draws a historical line from tinsel hair to glitter hair sprays in the 1980s, and all the way back to ancient Romans using gold dust in their hair.
The style, thanks to its immediate visual impact, currently has 19 million views on TikTok. Hana Ben-Shabat, author of Gen Z 360: Preparing For The Inevitable Change In Culture, thinks that younger people are wearing styles rooted in the past out of a desire to escape their current circumstances.
“I believe that they revert to the past, not out of single-minded nostalgia but as a means to escape and find comfort and inspiration at a time that the world around them is overwhelmingly confusing and challenging,” she says.
More practically, Gibson thinks that tinsel hair works because of its immediacy and affordability. “The trend was born for social media – it’s colourful, it’s sparkly and it’s a bit different. All factors that work really well to launch a trend,” she says. “After the last couple of years, people are looking for statements of optimism and fun, and there’s not much more fun than glitter hair.”