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What is Feathered Hair?

By G. Melanson
Updated May 21, 2024
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Feathered hair is a unisex hairstyle that is achieved by cutting the hair with a razor comb and brushing it away from the face, creating a soft, wispy texture similar to that of a bird’s feathers. Feathered hair cuts first became popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when they were most notably sported by such 70s style icons as Farrah Fawcett, Heather Locklear and David Cassidy. At this time, the feathered hairstyle was often worn covering the ears, parted in the middle, and featureing feathering on one main area of the hair, such as the bangs or framing the face.

Women’s long feathered hairstyles, such as those worn by the stars of Charlie’s Angels often featured “wings,” which were created by layering sections of the hair which are then brushed with a razor comb to a point and styled by blow drying away from the face. Short feathered hair was also popular with women during the late 1970s and early 1980s, such as the “wedge” hairstyle worn by skater Dorothy Hamill, which was copied by many young women all over America. Toward the mid-1980s, feathered hair became popular in combination with perms and teased, full-bodied cuts, as hairstyles of the time began to scale new heights. Actress Linda Evans, who starred on the 1980s primetime soap Dynasty adopted feathered bangs as her signature style, to complement her otherwise blunt, curled-under cut.

During the late 1980s and early 90s, the mullet hairstyle, which was particularly popular with men, often featured feathered hair at the sides. When worn as part of the mullet, feather hair could be paired with a trail of long curls at the back, such as the hairstyle worn by country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, or a pompadour at the front, such as the style worn by actor John Stamos. As high-volume hair gradually decreased in popularity throughout the 90s, feathered hairstyles were replaced by blunt cuts and sleek looks more focused on shine as opposed to the texture or volume provided by feathered hair.

During the early 2000s, feathered styles made a comeback thanks to girls group Destiny’s Child, who sported feathered “wings“ as part of both long and short hairstyles. Feathered hair received a style update at this time, however, thanks to styling products which gave the look a thicker, piece-y texture rather than a soft, wispy one. Feathered wings or "tips" were also often accented with streaks of color, ranging from caramel and blond to wild shades of blue and pink.

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Discussion Comments
By allienoelle — On Aug 19, 2010

NewsGuru- Typically feathered hairstyles look best on people who have straight, thin hair. If your hair is very curly, the feathering will likely not even be visible.

If you want to get a feathered hair cut, you will likely need to straighten your hair every day before you style it so that the cut will be apparent.

By NewsGuru — On Aug 19, 2010

Does a layered and feathered hair cut work on people who have very thick and curly hair?

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