Throughout the decades, teenagers have attempted to prove their coolness by wearing questionable accessories, hairstyles and items of clothing. Hindsight Fashion is a section about those trends that, in Hindsight, we probably wish we hadn’t worn.
This week’s Hindsight Fashion is Skunk Streaks.
Skunk Streaks is a term lovingly used to describe the process of highlighting only the front chunks of one’s hair, resulting in a look remarkably similar to a skunk. The trend was popular during the mid to late 1990’s and had many variations. The traditional Skunk entailed two bleached streaks at the front of the head. There was also the Reverse Skunk, in which the two front chunks were dyed dark against a backdrop of light hair. Lastly, there was the Rainbow Skunk, in which the two front chunks were dyed a colour. Skunk Streaks were a non-committal way to change your hair colour. If you hated the results, all you needed to do was rework the two front strips of your hair.
Skunk Streaks were embraced by many pop culture figures, particularly those in the music industry. The most memorable Skunk Streak proponent in my eyes was Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice from the music group The Spice Girls. Presumably, she wore them because Skunk Highlights were considered to be “sassy“.
I, myself, was a big fan of the Rainbow Skunk. My first foray into the world of chunky coloured streaks was in Grade 7. My Mother would not allow me to officially dye my hair with any kind of permanent concoction, so I began using Kool-Aid to colour the front two chunks of my hair purple. The result was a sticky, smelly mess but somehow I liked it enough to repeat the process again and again for the duration of a summer. In Grade 10, I was finally allowed to use Real Dye and decided to do the front of my bleached-blonde bob Manic Panic Hot Pink. This would have been cute, except that since my hair was so porous from the massive amounts of bleach it had withstood, the pink dye bled into the rest of my head in varying shades. Don’t get me wrong. I love pink. But having hot pink, baby pink, and “little old lady accidental pink” all on one head was too much for my fragile ego to handle. I immediately bleached it out.
As the millennium approached, popular hairstyles began to move toward a more natural feel. Chunky Streaks faded and gave way to finer, more delicate highlights. I imagine that this was due in part to the fact that women do not wish to look like skunks. Yes, skunks are kind of cute. But they are also smelly and like to hang around garbage cans. Not exactly what you’re going for when you try to dress for success.