Want to DIY the '70s Hair That's All Over TikTok? This Is the Haircut You Need

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My Slack avatar is Donna Summer on the cover of her Once Upon a Time album. You know the one — the famous shot of her posing in a lacy white dress, her shoulder delicately raised, her head tilted slightly up, though still pointed in your direction. She's got a serene look on her face, a gentle gaze that puts you at ease. Her eye makeup has a soft smokiness. 

But my favorite thing about the image, of course, is her hair. It frames her face, a cascading halo of curls that come as the result of flipped-up ends, mussed to perfection to create one of my favorite hairstyles of all time.

I am, and have always been, completely obsessed with '70s fashion and beauty. In my opinion, it was the most glamourous time in history, and my personal style, to an extent, reflects that — just ask me how many butterfly or balloon-sleeved blouses and dresses I have. I love a good '70s style circle Afro (though, I have yet to do one on myself since I prefer a heart-shaped haircut), and the Farrah Fawcett flip is a style I looked to when I was younger and my hair was relaxed. There was nothing I loved more than using my InStyler hot iron to flip the ends of my hair out.

Over the past few months, these kinds of '70s, disco, Farrah Fawcett-esque hair looks have been trending. One particular video that has since gone viral shows user Mallory Jade, aka @groovy_mal, with her hair styled with the ends flipped up. In the camera, she shakes her head up and down to reveal some of the most epic disco hair. Many other users have mimicked the style, to varying degrees of success. And that includes yours truly.

To try my hand at the look, I started off by grabbing my Drybar Double Shot Blow-Dryer Brush to blow out my 3C/4A curls so they would actually straighten. I went section by section, spraying my hair with a little water, then adding a heat protectant, IGK's Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Anti-Frizz Balm. When my whole head was blown out, it was time for the flatiron.

Drybar Double Shot Oval Blow-Dryer Brush

Mallory Jade uses what appears to be a standard 1-inch flatiron to achieve the look, so I reached for my GHD Gold Professional Performance Styler, plugged it in, and got to work. Before passing over each section, I lightly sprayed a bit of Unite's Re:Unite Silky Smooth Heat Activator for a little more thermal protection. (I really do love my curls — they are super healthy and defined, and I'd like to keep them that way.) After that, I hit my hair with the flatiron, being sure to flip up the ends of each section. The whole process, from blow-drying to straightening took me about two hours.

Then, it was time to shake. I shook my hair up and down, just as Mallory Jade had done in the video. The results, while they did give me that Donna Summer Once Upon a Time feel, didn't yield that exact look. 

But I wasn't surprised. While I do have plenty of hair, getting this style right starts with having the correct cut. "The only way to make this hairstyle really work is to start with a great layered haircut," says hairstylist Michelle Sultan. "The base cut is really important to ensure that each layer supports the one underneath." 

Read that again, folks, because Sultan is dropping gems: "A curtain fringe is key to this look, so get your hairdresser to leave the bangs longer and sexier around the face," she says. 

If you want to nail this style exactly as it is, ask your hairstylist for a layered shag cut or a soft mullet — both of which happen to be trending at the moment.

GHD Gold Styler

While Mallory Jade and I both used a flatiron to create the texture, Sultan notes that this look can also be achieved with a round brush and a blow-dryer if you're down to put those skills to the test. 

"Starting at the back, use a medium or large round brush with a hair-dryer, making sure the nozzle directs airflow downwards. Follow the brush through to smooth hair shaft and to create large barrel curls," Sultan explains. "Once each section is finished and while your hair is still warm, use a large grip to set and hold the hair before moving on to the next section." 

Be sure you're directing your hair away from your face as you create the curls.

After you've made all your curls and they're sitting in grips, spray it with hairspray to create some hold. "Once your hair has cooled, completely remove the grips, using a padded brush to bring the shape together," Sultan shares. "Make sure to brush downwards and flick the ends out away from the face." 

Once that's done, you can shake your hair out and live your Studio 54 fantasy.

So what did I learn? One, that there's more than one way to do this style, but also, that if you want it to come out a certain way, you need to have the right haircut to do it. My hair is cut into a heart-shaped 'fro so it wasn't ideal, but I did feel damn glamourous and I'll definitely be trying this style again in the future. 

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