Cool simplicity has long been synonymous with Scandinavian style, and in recent years TikTok has kicked that trend into overdrive way beyond the Nordics. “Scandi style” conjures images of clean silhouettes and a palette of neutral tones. But it’s not just about clothing: these seemingly effortless ensembles are often accompanied by a slicked-back updo. Meet a simple, but undeniably effective throw-it-up-and-forget-about-it hair look: the Scandi slick.
Meet the experts:
What is the Scandi slick?
Simply put, the Scandi slick is basically what it sounds like: a slicked-back updo that imitates the appearance of static wet hair. It’s most commonly styled by creating a sharp middle part, brushing hair backwards, and gliding it into a low- or mid-rise bun. A simple hair tie or Invisibobble pulls the look together, but others reach for a claw clip or a boost of character.
Like many Scandinavians, hairstylist Erika Svedjevik considers the Scandi slick an “effortless” option. OK, so it does require exerting a little effort, but it’s the rare style that is as simple as it looks: it requires minimal time, effort, and product. So it’s hardly a surprise that two Scandi style stars, Pernille Teisbæk (author of Dress Scandinavian) and influencer Sophia Roe, often rep the bun.
Glossy hair is a timeless trend that has reappeared throughout fashion and photography for decades. From the 1920s flapper girl whose hair slicked back into soft ripples and finger weaves to Helmut Newton’s sultry photographs of Jodie Foster in the 1980s, it seems to reoccur every few decades.
And then there’s Kim Kardashian — back in 2015, she appeared on the cover of C Magazine wearing the look. Something changed. Whether accurate or not, wet hair became synonymous with the Kardashian-Jenner aesthetic, and after that it quickly spawned repeat wearings on the red carpet. Zendaya, Margot Robbie, and Bella Hadid have all tried it out. So why not us, too?
Why is the Scandi slick popular now?
During the first wave of the pandemic, as many of us opted for a more minimalist hair routine, variations of the wet look were trialled, tested, and deemed to be fail-proof go-tos. As the trend was rediscovered by Gen Z, it dominated TikTok explore pages and coined the title gloss bun or Olaplex bun.