The "Frosted" Hair Trend Is A Modernized Take On The ’90s Look

Think dimensional highlights versus *NSYNC-style tips.

Frosted hair color is back and it's chicer than ever.
Getty Images/Kevin Mazur/MG21 / Contributor

Every year, the world cycles through countless different hair trends. Just look to the French girl bangs, “bixie” cuts, and the “Botticelli” bob of 2022 — we’ve seen it all this year. Of course, some of these trends are ones we’ve seen before but have made their way back into popularity. Currently, there’s a major resurgence of ’90s-era hairstyles. Think supermodel updos featuring tons of volume and light fluffy bangs. As far as color goes, prepare to see the return of frosted hair. No, this isn’t the blonde frosted tips you saw your boy band faves rock back in the day — the new era of frosted hair color is taking notes from late ’90s Jennifer Anniston on Friends, and it’s really chic.

When the trend emerged in the late ’90s to early Y2K era, it manifested as chunkier blonde highlights, which were primarily just on the ends of the hair. Thankfully, it’s gotten a modernized twist: The highlights are now more subtle, creating a frosty look that adds shine and depth to the hair. And it’s not limited to blondes, either. Brunette celebs like Kaia Gerber and Hailey Bieber have recently sported the trend.

“Hair frosting is one of my favorite color techniques to create a muted, dimensional look,” says Tylor Johnson, an expert hair colorist and founder of Nous Haircare. She notes that it’s a great way to maintain dimension without feeling overly highlighted. “The frosted hair look typically focuses on the bottom and face-framing highlights to keep everything subtle and cohesive no matter which way your hair moves,” says Johnson.

Johnson says her favorite method of frosting hair is adding very fine sections towards the bottom of the strands and then a few “sporadic” pieces throughout the top layer and ends. “The most important part of the frosted hair look is the addition of face-framing highlights to emphasize the dimension and draw attention to the face,” she tells Bustle. To keep it looking au naturale — and definitely not like the *NSYNC tips of yesteryear — Johnson recommends using your natural hair color as a guide “for what [you] want the highlights to emphasize.”

As a general rule, Johnson says she usually chooses to make the “frosting” color begin as a shade lighter than the natural hair color and then creates a fade into a color that is two shades lighter than the base. This adds dimension and a more understated “pop.”

For the wintertime, Johnson prefers toning down the frosted highlights so that they are only one or two shades lighter than the natural color, but in the “same tone family.” This creates a more monochromatic look that still has dimension.

Whichever frosting strategy you go with, Johnson recommends using a gloss (like the Nous Haircare glosses) to deepen the color of your hair for a more effortlessly cool and natural-looking vibe. Hair frosting has come a long way, y’all.