Remember that deep side part you had in middle school that you look back on now and cringe at? Well, it might be time to consider bringing it back, because side part hairstyles are once again in vogue — and it’s a far cry from your emo phase. The “Millennial side part,” as Gen Z’ers are calling it, is being rebirthed by celebrities, influencers, and beauty lovers alike.
Everyone who went emo in high school or has a forehead insecurity is familiar with the side part (and probably relied on that style for a large portion of their adolescence). You may also be familiar with the battle between Millennials and Gen Z that started not too long ago — the one that has pitted middle parts versus side parts, with the latter being deemed passé by the younger generation. Maybe the shade comes from a childhood of wearing deep side parts, complete with emo bangs and a bowl cut — whatever the case, Gen Z seems to have initiated a mass favoring of middle-parted hair. (Just look at the popularity of curtain bangs.)
Now, however, if you look at celebrities like Megan Fox, Sydney Sweeney, Miley Cyrus, Gigi Hadid, Zendaya, and Selena Gomez, you’ll see that the side part is alive and well. Thriving, even. So after years of conforming to the middle part takeover, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and give the side part another go. Maybe it’ll be the perfect amount of excitement you need after a few years of repetitive haircut appointments at the salon. The side part provides effortless volume, face-framing prowess, and versatility, after all — keep scrolling for 13 side part hairstyles that prove Gen Z isn’t always right.
The Deep Side-Part Bob
Bobs are timeless. While they can totally be styled in a middle part, celebs like Margot Robbie are proof the cut looks incredibly modern and sleek when worn styled far to the side. Blake Reed Evans, hairstylist and global Redken artist, says the deep side part bob is perfect for those with a long face shape who are looking to create some balance. “The bob length will add width, and the side part will draw a line that detracts from the length of the face,” Evans tells Bustle. Slick your hair down the sides and add a slight wave throughout to capture Robbie’s look seen here.
Pairing the pixie cut with a deep side part and short side bangs might be the statement hairstyle of your dreams — especially if you’ve joined the short hair club. “Depending on how it’s cut, the side part pixie can give chic ’90s movie star or a Karen-cut,” says Evans. “To avoid the latter, make sure you leave enough length in the crown to avoid it being too spiky.”
Taylor Swift’s side part shag was a recognizable trademark of her Reputation era. The trending cut combines chunky layers with a disheveled look that makes for an effortless, too-cool-to-care appearance — and a side part can give it that edgy, rocker-chic expression. “It’s late 2000s scene-meets-2022,” says Evans. “The key is to rock your natural texture to keep it from seeming like a scene queen haircut.”
The Sleek ‘Do
During the 2000s, Megan Fox was a side part icon, often seen in movies and on the red carpet sporting the deep look. Then she took part in the middle part phenomenon for a while — until recently. In the summer of 2022, Fox has revived her side part. As the queen of the long, sleek, straight hair, Fox’s signature style paired with the side part brings back the Y2K energy she’s often associated with.
The Glam Curls
Big barrel silky curls paired with tons of volume is the timeless, classic look so many A-listers rock on the red carpet. Here, the extra volume seen at Gigi Hadid’s roots comes from the side part, making it even more elegant and drawing the viewer’s attention immediately to the soft ringlets that frame her face. “This look gives effortless ‘French girl hair,’” says Evans. “The side parts adds a level of ‘done’ to show that you put in effort without putting in much effort at all.” His tip? Use something like the Ouai Wave Spray on damp or dry hair for some zhuzh.
The Slicked-Back Pony
The ponytail queen herself, Ariana Grande, has adapted her recognizable hairstyle to fit the side part resurgence. Since the 2020 debut of her album Positions, the pop icon has adjusted her style to align with more of a ’60s aesthetic, complete with a sleek ponytail and mod makeup. “If you want an early 2000s preppy vibe, this is the look,” says Evans. “The trick is to clip out a triangle that starts over your eye and extends to the inside corner of the opposite eye.” He recommends slicking your ponytail back at the same angle as your cheekbones for that snatched effect.
The Side Shave
Zoë Kravitz consistently combines elegance and edge, so it’s no surprise she’s once sported a shaved side. And it’s a hairstyle she wore parted deep to the side (of course).“Let out your inner good girl-gone-bad Rihanna,” says Evans. “This look is amazing for anyone who has extremely high-density hair and does not want to deal with blowing all of it dry. If you don’t want the shaved side exposed, part on the opposite side of your shaved head.”
The Parted Blunt Bangs
From green highlights to a blonde Marilyn Monroe-inspired long bob, Billie Eilish is no stranger to a dramatic hair change. For the 2022 Oscars, the singer combined her love for gothic, edgy fashion with a particularly classic hairstyle: a layered bob featuring blunt bangs parted to the side. To capture this style on your own, ask your stylist for blunt bangs, a side part, and some choppy layers to create a flattering look.
The Flowing Curls
Zendaya can pull off any style, but her natural curls are always especially striking. At the 2019 GQ Men Of The Year Awards, the star wore a side part, which added extra volume and a billowing effect to her lengthy strands. For the natural-hair girlies, Evans believes training your hair — aka cutting down your washing times, using less heat — will ensure the most beneficial results. “The trick is to use two-prong mini metal clips to help guide your hair in the direction you want it to [when parting],” says Evans. “You can also place them in the crown and sides on the scalp to help create volume.”
The Asymmetrical Lob
The asymmetrical lob relies solely on the side part to accentuate its staple feature of having one side longer than the other — so the Millennial parting style was literally made for this cut. If you’re down to try it for yourself, just note that growing it out may be annoying. “Make sure to find a stylist who specializes in precision haircutting,” Evans suggests. “Invest in a flat iron that has rounded edges so you don’t have creases while flat ironing your hair.” His fave for the job is the Sam Villa 1” Flat Iron.
The ’90s Blowout
TikTok is obsessed with the ’90s velcro roller blowout, a hairstyle that Sydney Sweeney has nailed. Leaning on the deep side part, Sweeney’s roots are lifted with just enough volume around the ends of her hair to create those bouncy, loose curls. This look also proves that curtain bangs aren’t reserved for the middle part and can even add that extra va-va-voom to your blowout.
Combine a deep side part, side-swept bangs, and a voluminous bump in a half-up, half-down hairstyle to recreate Selena Gomez’s iconic ’60s-inspired look. A half-up-half-down look is a reliable style for many side-part lovers, though it works with a middle part as well (you can have that, Gen Z). “The trick is to section out a side part bang area before you put half of your hair up, then smooth the bangs with a pliable paste like Redken 06 to tame your baby hair and flyaways,” Evans says.
The Side Part Afro
Viola Davis has repeatedly solidified the side part afro as a cool-girl look. The hair parting draws the eye immediately to the award-winning actor’s face, while the afro’s rounded shape keeps the style fresh and trendy. One appealing perk to this hairstyle? Sure, it works for middle and side parts… but, as Davis proves, being on Team Millennial here looks extra chic.