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The best Buffy the Vampire Slayer hair and make-up looks (and the worst)

TextAlex Peters

It might be the apocalpyse but Buffy’s butterfly clips are securely in place

Just because we’re all in lockdown, doesn’t mean we can’t take a trip and if you’re like me, you’ve been using this quarantine period to travel to everyone’s favourite hellmouth hotspot: Sunnydale, CA. Yes, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer rewatch seems to be top of everyone’s isolation agendas (as well as style inspo-lists).

The pop-culture phenomenon arrived on our screens 23 years ago this month, breaking boundaries in its portrayal of female empowerment, female sexuality and desire, queer representation and mental health. Two decades later, the show is as relevant and relatable as ever. Some of the hair and make-up choices, however, remain very much a product of their time.

From the crimped hair and butterfly clips to the bandanas and brown lipgloss, the Scooby Gang’s beauty looks are fantastically 90s and always on point no matter what other disasters are going on around them. Who else but Buffy would be able to slay the vampires, demons and the forces of darkness while also keeping her multiple flower hair clips in place and her neutral 90s lip impeccable? Here we look back over some of our favourite, most memorable beauty looks from the show (and one terrible one).


The Bronze was witness to many great beauty looks over the years and this crimped hairstyle from Cordelia is no exception. Paired with a glossy red lip and a bare midriff, the style comes early on in season one when Cordy turns up at Sunnydale’s only nightclub on a mission to steal Buffy’s date.


Buffy loves a hair accessory. Throughout the seven seasons but particularly in the early years we see her rock a range of accessories including multiple different butterfly clips, various flower clips, headbands and this cowboy hat. Here she loads up on the 90s staple.


Faith bursts onto the Sunnydale scene in season 3 with a bad girl attitude, a collection of leather trousers and lots of vampy 90s lipstick. Berries, browns and burgundys all made an appearance and it was hot. Faith was my first crush and honestly who can blame me.


In season five, we flashback to Spike in 1970s New York in full punk attire. His signature peroxide hair is spiked up, he’s wearing black eyeliner and he’s covered in safety pins. It’s a great look and evidently Billy Idol thought so too. As Buffy reveals in the episode, the singer stole his look from the vampire.


When you go bad, you need a style makeover to let everyone know. We first see Willow’s bad girl style in season three when we visit an alternate universe where Willow is a skanky, kinda gay, leather corset wearing vampire. But in season six we get a full transformation complete with black hair, black eyes, black lipstick and black face veins when she succumbs to her magic addiction to revenge (spoiler!) Tara’s death. 


Faith is back and this time in the body of Buffy. After waking up from a coma, Faith forces Buffy into a body swap and then proceeds to curl her hair, put on her best vinyl trousers and flirt shamelessly with Spike.


Girls in the 90s loved nothing more than a zig-zag parting and Tara rocked it throughout the series. Here she is paring her zig zag part with a dye job that is reminiscent of what my own hair will look like by the end of this isolation period.


Sunday the vampire wasn’t with us for long but her brief appearance in the opening episode of season four brought several incredible hairstyles that continue to live on in our hearts and minds. Harmony rocks a similar look after she is turned into a vampire and shacks up with Spike so maybe there is a vampy hair salon in Sunnydale. Considering there is a demon bar, we wouldn’t be that surprised. 


No 90s beauty list would be complete without pastel eyeshadow. Representing for us here is Buffy who rocks a pale purple eye in both the very first episode of the series and then again in season two.


Showing her continued commitment to a good hair accessory, in season four Buffy dons multiple bandanas which she uses to tie back her hair. Everyone experiments at university.


Oz is a cool, alternative musician. We know this because he wears black nail polish and also because he is constantly switching up his hair. From red to blonde to black, Oz’s hair is techni-coloured and ever-changing.  


Who doesn't love Halloween?


And now for the worst. The award goes to Buffy for these TERF micro bangs she (thankfully very) briefly sports in season three. No word as to why anyone thought these were a good look.

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