I’ve never been one to experiment much with my hair. With the exception of occasionally installing braids and getting my first relaxer at 15 (then growing it out 10 years later), my hair stays in a consistent style. I can count on one hand the number of haircuts I’ve had: this current one, a heart-shaped Afro, and a cute layered moment back when my hair was relaxed. Once, I had my stylist cut my hair in a semi-mullet style so I could look like Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Was that last one a mistake? Perhaps, but I was young.
When I was about 16 or 17, I got my relaxed hair cut into a long fringe — my most drastic look yet, which isn’t saying much. But I loved those bangs. Their flexibility was great — I could sweep them to either side, depending on how they were acting that day — but I especially appreciated that they made it so much easier for me to quickly and efficiently do the style that had us all in a chokehold in the early 2000s.
I’m talking, of course, about the pouf. That tiny (or if you were Snooki, large) bouffant almost every girl was wearing at the front of their heads, a flourish without which no hairstyle back then would have been complete. Pulling your hair into a pony? Not without that pouf! Wearing a half-up, half-down style? It was wearing you if you didn’t have that bit of volume up top.
There’s been a lot of nostalgia in the cultural zeitgeist for everything 2000s. We’re back to sticking rhinestones on our faces, matching velour tracksuits, and wearing lip gloss. But the pouf hairstyle, so ubiquitous in the aughts, has sadly not enjoyed the same revival.