Are... side partings cool again? How the sweeping millennial hairstyle is making a comeback

 (ES composite )
(ES composite )

You had to refresh your Instagram feed, to make sure it hadn’t got stuck in 2019. No, there it is, clear as day on Kim K’s grid: a side parting, not a centre one, framing the supermodel’s face.

Teens on TikTok might have spent three years lampooning side partings as “cheugy”, basic and “out of touch”, but - whisper it - the kids might finally be out of touch on this one. Thanks to the likes of Gen-Z superstars Sydney Sweeney, Zendaya and Ameila Gray, the side parting hairstyle is having a renaissance.

It all started at this year’s Oscars which was awash with the look. Pop star Billie Eilish, 20, Batman actress Zoë Kravitz, Booksmart lead Siana Silvers and Euphoria favourite Maude Apatow were among the stars sporting one at the awards.

A few months later, reality TV star Kim Kardashian sported a deep side part in an at-home photoshoot. In the post’s comment sections, supermodel Emily Ratajkowski swooned over the look and celebrity hairstylist Christ Appleton declared: “Ladies it’s officially back—side and part swag.”

Most recently, and when we knew the trend had officially made a comeback: Tommy Hilfiger sent models including Julia Fox, Paloma Elesser and Quannah Chasinghorse down its New York Fashion week catwalk with slicked down, deep side parts. Tell that to TikTok creator @missladygleep, who recently went as far as to assert: “I don’t think there is a single person who looks better with a side part than they do a middle part.”

“I think deep side parts are having a resurgence due to the mood of fashion and the world currently. Along with looking back with a slight nod at the mid-late nineties into early 2000s, I think it gives people a subtle sense of individuality again, as unlike a middle parting, no two side parts are the same,” says Liam Russell, one of London’s leading hairstylists. He also adds that an off-centre part also tends to be more flattering on square or diamond-shaped faces as it softens sharp or angular features.

Tommy Hilfiger SS23

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Tommy Hilfiger Fall 22: (AFP via Getty Images)
Tommy Hilfiger Fall 22: (AP)
Tommy Hilfiger Fall 22: (AP)

Renowned Marylebone hairdresser Michael van Clarke agrees. Though the side versus middle parting debate remains a “long-lasting feud” among his clients, “many say that the middle looks better on most and it is no doubt the part of choice” as we move into autumn. Not only does it make a nice change, but it‘s a good way to stand out from the crowd.

Although many young TikTokers have expressed their disdain for a "millennial" side part, the style dates back to early Hollywood stars in the 50s like Elizabeth Taylor and 90s supermodels such as Cindy Crawford. Considering that culturally we have become enamoured by the idea of Old Hollywood glamour once again, it’s no surprise the look has had a return.

From Andrew Dominik’s Blonde, which traces the life of Marilyn Monroe to Damien Chazelle’s big screen return with the upcoming film, Babylon, which tells the tale of 1920s Hollywood’s transition from silent movies to the talkies - culturally we have been pivoting towards the beguiling aesthetics of more decadent times. And in 2022, A-listers and Gen-Z alike are reappropriating the look through today’s lens.

If you want to experiment with this sweeping style, it’s advised to have some texture in the hair to help it hold. Dry shampoo is great for this, plus hair oil to help style and smooth the finished look. Sol de Janeiro have great options, including their Brazilian Joia Dry Shampoo and their Brazilian Glossy Nourishing Hair Oil, while van Clarke recommends his Thicker Quicker blowdry spray and Volumising Mousse for body and control. He tends to use a Large Round Brush (soft bristle) to smooth the hair, then a little Ten Second Transformation to feed, shine and give texture.

As for styling, Russell recommends, “using a pintail comb to get a clean, deep parting line, and using the pintail end to match up with a point in your eyebrow – i.e where it arches and changes angle slightly, or outside the end of the eyebrow.” He continues, “part straight or diagonal from that point, and it will always look most organic to the individual.” Kitsch’s Edge & Brush Comb would do the job nicely.

What makes the side parting great above all is that it’s a low-stakes way to change your appearance. If you try the style but don’t like the way it looks, simply flip your hair over and keep it stepping. But chances are, you’ll be hairspraying this look down over the coming months.