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What is a Flip Hairstyle?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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A flip hairstyle is one in which the hair ends are curled or "flipped" upwards rather than downwards. Flips first became popular in the 1960s, when actresses made the hairstyle appealing for younger women to wear. Medium-thick, straight, shoulder length hair is ideal for a flip hairstyle.

Flipped-up ends can add interest to straight looks. The flip hairstyle goes in and out of fashion, however, and will seem outdated if worn when it's not considered fashionable. When it is in style, not all hair types will work well with it.

Fine, wavy, curly, or thick hair tends to not hold the flip style well. Straight, medium-thick hair that hangs below the shoulders to flip up at shoulder length holds this hairstyle, but if the length is any longer than that it may not hold well. The top of the hairstyle may feature bangs or be parted on one side. Two popular actresses, Mary Tyler Moore and Marlo Thomas, wore this look in the 1960s. Both had a straight, brunette flip hairstyle to the shoulders; Thomas wore hers with bangs, while Tyler Moore had a side part.

Flips are often combined with bouffants. Bouffant hairstyles are usually a little shorter, such as chin length or not quite reaching the shoulders. The hair is fluffed outward by back-combing, or "teasing," techniques. In teasing or back-combing, the comb is pushed upwards against the direction of hair growth rather than the other way around. When a bouffant style is combined with a flip hairstyle, the result is a puffed look with turned up ends.

The flip look may be created using regular or hot rollers. The larger the rollers, the bouncier and wider the flip hairstyle. Medium width rollers create a tighter, more controlled looking flip look. Condoleezza Rice, America's 66th Secretary of State and 20th National Security Advisor, first wore a tighter flip at the back of her head rather than around her face. Keeping the same basic style, she then wore the flip with a softened side part section and looser flipped-up ends.

A larger-barreled curling iron and a round styling hairbrush can be used to create a quick flip hairstyle. The hair should first be clipped up in sections. One section should then be released from the clip at a time and sprayed or moistened with hair styling spray to help add more hold. Using a curling iron, the hair section should be rolled up toward the head with the bottom curl facing outward rather than inward. When the method is repeated all around the head, a flip style results; hair spray can help add extra hold to the look.

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