5 Easy Slick Back Hairstyles 5 Ways To Achieve Perfectly Slicked Back Hair For Women

Want perfectly slicked back hair? We have the answers.

Though the slicked back hairstyle has been around forever, it’s recently become super trendy once again with the likes of Zendaya, Khloe Kardashian, Kristen Stewart, and Gigi Hadid pulling off the ‘do in recent years. 

The best thing about the look is how easy it is to pull off! Slicked back hair is essentially hair that’s been pulled back with some gel, wax, or hairspray to give off a sexy, wet hair look. The great thing about this hairstyle is that isn’t at all difficult to recreate – you can easily have a runway-worthy ‘do in a matter of minutes.

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Why Should You Try Slicked Back Hair?

Remember that scene in Mean Girls when Regina George tells Aaron Samuels that his hair “looks sexy pushed back”? That isn’t just a thing that applies to Aaron Samuels, or even just men in general. Slicked back hair on women “portrays sophistication and confidence”, hairstylist Jen Atkins tells Elle. It’s also just a badass style – especially on girls. Remember when Stranger Things’ Eleven donned a new look that included an all-black outfit, heavy eyeliner, and combed back hair? Yeah, she looked – in her own words – bitchin’.

Practically speaking, swept-back hair keeps your locks out of your face. It’s a good alternative to a plain old ponytail, especially if you’re attending a fancy event like a dinner party or an awarding ceremony.

Are There Any Downsides To Slicked Back Hair?

If you don’t use the right products or if you use too much of it, slicked-back hair can look dirty. While there are many tutorials online that tell you how to slick back hair without looking greasy, encountering people who are unfamiliar with the hairstyle can lead to a lot of awkward questions.

Another hassle that comes with achieving the look is figuring out exactly how much and what kinds of products to use when you’re learning how to slick back hair. You could very well end up with a head full of product and still yield less than desirable results.

5 Ways To Style Slicked Back Hair

1. Slicked Back Long Hair

Who has rocked this look: Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Khloe Kardashian, Lorde

How to achieve this look: Stylist Armin Morbach created a slicked back hairstyle for long or shoulder-length hair and called it “Imperfection” because of its slightly tousled look. On their site, they provide instructions for achieving the swept-back look. Here’s a condensed version:

  • Apply hair mousse near your roots, then blow-dry the hair closest to your forehead towards the back.
  • For more volume, use a volumising powder near the roots and tease upward and back.
  • Apply hair gel for a wet look.
  • Now comes the secret ingredient: sea salt spray on the ends to give that “imperfect”, “woke up like this” vibe.
  • Finish off with hairspray to keep your hair in place and use bobby pins if needed.
A portrait of Rihanna at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards
(Credit: Getty)
A side profile shot of Khloe Kardashian at Cosmopolitan Magazine's 50th Birthday Celebration
(Credit: Getty)

2. Slicked Back Lob

Who has rocked this look: Gwen Stefani, Felicity Jones, Allison Williams

How to achieve this look: “Lob” is short for “long bob”, a haircut that can be described as being anywhere between long hair and a bob. Styling a slicked-back lob is pretty much the same as styling a longer cut, only instead of using bobby pins to keep loose strands in place, one can simply tuck them behind the ears. 

A mid shot of Gwen Stefani on the 'Today Show'
(Credit: Getty)

3. Slicked Back Pixie Cut

Who has rocked this look: Ruby Rose, Kristen Stewart, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Pink

How to achieve this look: For gals with short hair, the slicked back hairstyle is kind of like a pompadour but with less volume. Here’s a quick how-to.

  • Add a dollop of mousse on wet hair.
  • Apply some volumising powder or spray onto your roots.
  • Blow-dry your hair while combing it backwards from root to tip, making sure to lift your hair for volume.
  • With a curling iron, pull the frontmost strands of your hair upward then back. Do the same for the hair on the top of your head. 
  • Add a dab of gel on your fingertips and run it through your hair. 
  • Spritz on some hairspray and let it set.
A close up of Ruby Rose at the 2019 Australians In Film Awards
(Credit: Getty)

4. Slicked Back Undercut

Who has rocked this look: Scarlett Johansson, Kelly Osbourne, Natalie Dormer

How to achieve this look:

  • Blow dry your hair, combing it backwards with a fine-toothed comb.
  • Apply pomade on your palms and rub all over your hair, pulling everything upwards.
  • With a comb, smooth out the strands and comb everything in an upwards motion.
  • Now, gently comb your hair up, then bend it towards the back of your head. 
  • Try not to comb your flat or too close to your scalp to give your hairstyle some volume.
  • Spritz on some hairspray and you’re done!
A side profile shot of Scarlett Johansson at the 87th Annual Academy Awards
(Credit: Getty)

5. Slicked Back Ponytail

Who has rocked this look: Irina Shayk, Bella Hadid

How to achieve this look: 

  • With clean, dry hair, brush strands from your hairline to the back of your head, pulling everything towards the crown of your head.
  • Smoothen your hair with hair gel by applying the product from your hairline going backwards. 
  • Spray on hairspray before tying your hair into a ponytail.

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