Chic and practical, wet-look slicked-back hair is both an ode to the 90s and so very SS22.

When it comes to your hair styling, summer may seem like the perfect time for a beachy wave. And yet a sleek, minimal slicked-back look has all the 90s feels to match the fashion trends of the season. Think a sports luxe vibe, the slick is perfect for adding a modern twist to a simple slip dress, or a rock and roll edge to an androgynous suit: the simple yet dramatic look not only looks bang-on but is surprisingly practical in the heat. Whether you want a retro wet look or a sophisticated red-carpet glass-like finish, we have the kit and the tips to help you get that polished do.


1. This look starts with your hair-wash routine. Look for shampoos and conditioners that will hydrate and nourish hair for a smooth canvas. Add in a nourishing weekly mask for added shine.

2. Before blow-drying your hair, squeeze out excess water. Don’t towel dry as this will rough up the hair’s cuticle, causing frizz.

3. If you’re looking to create volume, add a texturising spray when hair is still half damp and blow-dry roots with a large round barrel brush. Or, if you want a mirror shine, use a hair oil instead. It is important that hair isn’t too wet when you apply product, or else it will dilute the effects; conversely, too dry and you won’t get the hold you need.

4. When blow-drying hair, do use a large paddle brush and push that hair backwards to encourage hair to lie flat and follow the contour of your head for a sleek silhouette.

5. Whether you want a straight back or centre-parting look, do use bobby pins to secure your hair behind your ears. Look for blonde, brunette or black colours to blend seamlessly into your hair tone.

6. Pay attention to your hairline and use a fine comb, or even a clean, dry toothbrush to tame those fine baby hairs.

7. Play around with different finishes through the lengths of your hair. For instance, you could start with a wet look at your roots that dries out towards the ends for a contrast in texture.

8. If you want to create a sleek ponytail, use minimal, no-snag hair ties to keep your pony in place.

9. Finally, to ensure your look stays put, finish with a flexible hairspray and spritz of shine spray to boost your gloss.

Your Slick-Back Hair Kit: 8 Must-Haves


Oi Liquid Luster, £34

A post-shampoo, in-shower treatment to cocoon each strand with nourishing oils to not only protect from environmental damage, but also to give a mirror-like finish to lengths without weigh-down. Buy it here.

Colour Wow

Mist-Ical Shine Spray, £26

A fine-mist finishing spray to give dehydrated hair a new lease of life. Highlights appear brighter, locks healthier – all finished with a glossy lustre. Buy it here.


Flexible Hold Hair Spray, £5

The iconic formula for ultimate, feather-light hold that won’t make hair crispy or sticky. Great for giving hold but still allowing for movement for a natural look. Buy it here.

Bumble & Bumble

Brillantine, £23

An oil-in-cream rich formula, Bumble & Bumble’s Brillantine gives hold and volume and yet softens and creates shine, too. A miracle-worker on frizz, it’s the perfect prep-step to achieve the slick-back ‘do. Buy it here.


Tail comb, £8.95
An essential bit of kit if you want a laser sharp centre parting. It features fine teeth to smooth hair and a tail end to carve out and define your lines. Buy it here.


No. 7 Bonding Oil, £26

A pre-blow dry step, this nourishing oil from Olaplex will deeply repair, soften and strengthen hair to minimise flyaways and frizz. Buy it here.

Moroccan Oil

Ceramic Paddle Brush, £14.65

With ceramic and ionic properties that allow for a faster drying time, healthier lengths and a high-shine finish, this high-tech brush from Moroccan Oil even has a clever sectioning tool hidden in its handle. Buy it here.

Larry King

Flyaway With Me Kit, £19

If you’re looking for an expert kit to keep on-hand through the day to ensure your slick-back look stays on sleek, this duo from hair maestro, Larry King, is all your need. With a styling tool and tube of lightweight, flexible-hold creme to tame flyaways, it is perfect for travel, festivals or nights out. Buy it here.


Matte Pomade, £16

Celebrity coiffeuse, Jen Atkin created luxury haircare line Ouai to treat the tresses of the likes of the Kardashian clan, Gigi Hadid and Gwen Stefani. Her matte pomade is the perfect styling product to add volume, texture and supreme hold. Buy it here.

By Lydia Mansi
July 2022

Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.