11 Black Hairstyles That Helped Define Today’s Y2K Aesthetic


As we quickly came to realize with hair trends last year, what was once old often has a way of becoming new again. Like it or not, Y2K hair came back in a major way in 2021 and as fun as it has been to play around with butterfly clips and experiment with chunky highlights the second time around, it’s important that we give Black women credit where credit is due when it comes to shaping the early aughts hair aesthetic that we all know and love. 

When it comes to many aspects of Y2K hair — think bandanas, micro braids, beaded braids, and designer logomania — Black women not only wore many of these looks first, but they also played a massive role in popularizing them among mainstream society.

That’s why in celebration of Black History Month, we are paying tribute to some of the iconic Black hairstyles (and the women who wore them) that helped define the early 2000s. So, if you’re feeling a little bit nostalgic, keep scrolling to see a few of our favorite Black hair moments from the early aughts. 

Flipped Ends

If you were a Black girl growing up in the 2000s and didn’t rock flipped out ends, were you honestly even cool? Stars like Gabrielle Union were big fans of this hairstyle back in the day, often wearing the flirty look to awards shows. In fact, her hairstyle of choice for the Annual Young Hollywood Awards back in 2000, was none other than a flipped-out bob.

Designer Logo Wigs

Let it be known that way before rappers like Cardi B and Nicki Minaj were repping their favorite designer brands on their hair, Lil Kim was pretty much the queen of this look during the early aughts. Hairstylist Dionne Alexander frequently collaborated with the rap legend during the early 2000s creating eye-catching wigs emblazoned with the Versace and Chanel logo.

Red Highlighted Pixie

Kelly Rowland may be sporting long locks now, but longtime fans may remember that during the early aughts this dramatic pixie with chunky red highlights used to be her signature look. Most notably, Rowland wore the now iconic pixie throughout the music video for 2002 smash hit, “Dilemma” featuring Nelly.

Side-Swept Bangs

During the early 2000s, you often couldn’t spot Aaliyah without her long side-swept bangs that had a tendency to hide one side of her face. Aside from looking ridiculously cool, her signature swoopy bangs also proved to be an era-defining style during early aughts and are often still recreated today by current It girls like Normani and Zendaya. 

Spiky Curls

Short spiky ‘dos were the look of choice for many stars during the Y2K era, including Halle Berry. These short spiky curls that Berry wore to the MTV VMA’s in 2000 were pure perfection in our opinion. 

Red Buzz Cut

Who’s that girl? Eve’s that girl! The rapper often set the red carpet aflame with her fire-engine red buzzcut when she attended awards shows like The Source Awards in 2000. 

Curls with Straightened Ends

When it comes to Y2K hairstyles to both intrigued and, to be honest, confused us, this curly-meet-straight ‘do that Mya wore to the 2003 MTV VMA’s ranks high on the list. As messy as this hairstyle looks, this twisted combination became extremely popular with many pop stars and actresses that ruled the era. 

Two-Toned Beaded Cornrows

While Beyoncé has slayed quite a few braided hairstyles throughout her time in the spotlight, these waist-length two-toned micro cornrows that she used to rock on MTV’s TRL have a special place in our hearts. The beads at the ends of her braids alone have us feeling super nostalgic. 

Red Crimped Hair

One of the trendiest hairstyles of the Y2K era was no doubt crimped hair. Pretty much every major celeb during this time was spotted rocking itty-bitty waves at one point or another. In fact, you might recall this striking crimped bouffant that Tyra Banks once wore to the 2004 Vibe Awards.   


If there is one hair accessory that ruled the early aughts, it was the bandana. Throughout her time in 3LW, Kiely Williams was often spotted with one tied around her strands. The beloved accessory even made an appearance in the music video for the group’s smash hit, “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right).”

Fulani Braids

Let it be known that Alicia Keys has always had a super strong braid game. Case in point: these beautiful beaded Fulani braids that she wore to the 2001 Soul Train Awards were truly unforgettable. These gorgeous braids actually ended up becoming her signature hair look throughout much of the early 2000s.

Were you a fan of any of these Y2K hairstyles? Let us know in the comments below!

Sign up for your weekly dose of beauty and brains.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches. Send her a pitch: cnzengung@thetease.com.

More from Camille Nzengung


We’re a tease, but we always deliver.

Sign up for your weekly dose of beauty and brains.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.