When you think “grunge,” you probably imagine rock bands or heavy metal performances at sold-out stadiums. And it makes sense—grunge was a lifestyle popular during the 80s when everyone was obsessed with rock and roll.
But in reality, grunge is a subculture that is about so much more than just music. It was also an anti-consumerist movement. People wanted to deviate and rebel against glamour and flashiness. One way they did so was through their fashion sense and hairstyles.
What’s strange is that messy, edgy grunge hairstyles are making a resurgence today. Let’s take a look at what makes a hairstyle “grunge” to begin with, as well as 10 hairstyles that might inspire you to go grunge in the modern age.
What are grunge hairstyles?
The hallmarks of a grungy hairstyle are that they are super messy and have tons of volume. The more untamed, wild, and raw your hair, the better. Have you ever heard the phrase “woke up like this?” Well, that encapsulates how grunge hair looks.
These hairstyles range from teased ponytails to untamed shags and mullets—anything that will give you a look that screams, “I don’t care about looking perfect!” That said, grunge hairstyles still always look super chic, like you could wear them to your next rock concert.
How to get grunge hairstyles
There are lots of ways to get a grungy hairstyle. You can flip your head over and shake your hair with your fingers for a naturally messy look before putting your hair in a braid or ponytail. You might also consider getting a haircut with lots of blunt layers for that unkempt, carefree vibe.
The most important thing is to make sure there’s a lot of volume in your hair. You can do this by spritzing on a little dry shampoo to your roots or using volumizing mousses to make your hair look thicker and taller. You can even use your mom’s old teasing comb to add more height to your mane!
After that, you’re ready to style! Here are 10 of the best grunge hairstyles for you to try out:
Shaggy Scissor-Cut Layers
The easiest way to wake up with grungy hair every day is by getting a scissor-cut shag. By using scissors, your stylist can create texturizing layers that are still a bit blunt at the ends for that “careless” look. Add some wispy bangs at the front for a slightly messier but still flattering finish.
What’s cool about this haircut is that you don’t have to do much to style it. It’s a wash-and-go cut that is incredibly low maintenance. It’s the perfect grungy style for those who don’t want to spend an extra half hour doing their hair in the morning.
Teased High Ponytail
A high pony is a classic look for grunge girls. Just use a comb and brush back some of your front pieces to add extra height to your hair before putting it in a ponytail. Then, use the same comb to tease some of the strands in your pony, making for a messy, free-spirited finish. Pair the hairdo with some red lips and a winged liner, and you’ve got the classic grungy girl aesthetic.
Teased Fauxhawk and Side Cornrows
Lots of grungy girls wear their hair in a teased ponytail. But here’s a style that takes that classic look and elevates it further. Instead of putting your hair in a common ponytail, make it look like a mohawk instead by adding cornrows to the side of your head.
First, work on the cornrows. Section your hair so that you can work with about three inches worth of hair on each side of the face. Then, put those braids in.
Then, use a teasing comb or volumizing mousse to add height to the top section of your hair that wasn’t braided for that mohawk-like effect. Tie it up with your trusty scrunchie, and you’re done.
Red and Black Messy Topknot
A topknot or high bun isn’t new. It’s something you’ll see on a lot of professional Millennials and hipsters today. But to add a bit of flavor and grunge to the look, make it a little messier and add a bold color to shock people.
Start by adding another shade to your hair. We think this look works so well with red and black hair—classic rock and grunge colors. Then, put your hair in a very loose high bun—so loose that some of your locks naturally fall to frame your face.
Rogue highlights are becoming trendier nowadays, and it has that effortless grunge look. To get these face-framing highlights, all you need to do is section out an inch or two worth of hair on each side of your face and then bleach it blonde.
This gives your hair so much more depth while adding more light and brightness to your face. You can even bleach a few more locks of hair throughout your mane for a dramatic touch.
Cute Layered Bob with Side Braids
Grunge hairstyles can look cute and charming, too! Here’s one you can style your hair in on tamer days. Start with a messy, chopped-up bob with layers. This type of haircut already gives you that grunge look you’re going for since it looks laidback and relaxed. But to add that touch of cuteness and femininity, braid a thin section of hair on each side of your face.
Teased Hair Worn Down
If you love showing off your hair length, this is the grunge hairstyle for you. Simply wear your hair down and tease the heck out of the top of your hair to give it that few extra inches of height and fullness.
You can do this by raking in a generous amount of volumizing mousse or pomade in your hair fresh out of a shower. But if you want intense height and volume, you’ll want to go for the classic teasing comb. Just brush back a few sections of hair from the top of your head, and you’ll be met with super tall hair.
Messy Pigtail Braids a la Taylor Momsen
Not all grungy hairstyles have to be big and voluminous. If you don’t want your hair blowing in the wind all day, you can go for pigtail braids like these. But instead of neat braids, leave out a few locks from the braid to achieve that messy look. You can even put those locks in smaller braids later on if you wish.
Curly Neon Green High Pony
Here’s another version of the grungy high ponytail. But instead of teasing, you get the texture and volume from curling your locks.
Unlike most grunge hairstyles, this one looks best when you pin all of your hair back without leaving tendrils to frame your face. Use some bobby pins to do this for a sleek finish. And when you add the neon green color, we reckon you’ll turn heads as soon as you step into that rock concert stadium!
Pastel Pink Loose Space Buns
Let’s end this list with another music festival go-to—the girly space buns. To add some grunge to it, make it loose and voluminous. Leave out some pieces to act as face-framing tendrils draped loosely by your face for that carefree vibe.
This hairstyle looks great on shocking hair colors, like pastel pink!