Where Do You Stand on the Middle Part vs. Side Part Debate? We Have Some Thoughts
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kelsey Castañon / Genesis Rivas
Very few topics are as divisive as the latest middle part vs. side part debate. If you’re on TikTok or Instagram, you may have noticed that people have very strong feelings. In fact, it’s turned into an all-out war between Gen Zers and millennials. The validity of skinny jeans has been throw into the mix. It’s a whole thing.
For those out of touch with the latest internet drama, someone, somewhere, deemed side parts an outdated style only a millennial would dare wear, while middle parts are synonymous with cool, younger people. Gen Zers are telling the older generation to get with it. Millennials are telling Gen Zers to respect their elders.
In recent years, middle parts have become a huge hair trend, but it’s one that not everyone is willing to – or able to – jump on board with. To see where POPSUGAR editors stand on the all-important middle part vs. side part issue, we took a poll.
Read all of the hot takes ahead.
What people think:
“Listen, I’m not knocking a good side part. It’s been my go-to style since birth. But as a zillennial trying to embrace my Gen Z side, I have to say that when I switched to a middle part (paired with curtain bangs, because I want to be like all the famous TikTokers out there), my hair-game was absolutely changed. I totally understand the hesitation of going down the middle –– it’s a scary commitment –– but don’t knock it until you try it. Once you figure out how to style a middle part in a way that works for your face shape and hair, I promise you’ll feel more powerful. It’s basically science.” – Jillian Selzer, senior social media editor, Makeup.com
“I’m not going to lie, I rocked a strong side part back in the day. Nothing says middle school like a side part, sweeping bang, and scrunched hair does. But as I’ve grown into my face, I’ve naturally switched to Team Middle Part™️. I’m basically the James Harden of hair parting after he traded teams to the star-studded, ring-chasing Brooklyn Nets – all the cool kids are doing it. However, I am a strong advocate of rocking whatever makes you feel your best, so you do you, Team Middle Part™️ welcomes all individuals.” – Perri Konecky, editor, trending and viral features
“I’ve been a middle part girl for so long, it feels strange to style my hair any other way. On the rare occasion when I do go for a side part, I’ve always felt more mature, so there may be some truth to the grown-up character of the side part.” – Shelcy Joseph, assistant shop editor
“Let me preface by saying that I’ve been wearing a middle part since the sixth grade so I’m biased. I’m also a zennial, but honestly, I feel like a middle part is just very chic and most people look better with it than they lead on. Not to mention, whenever I do part my hair to the side, it makes my hair look too voluminous on top and slightly dated, so I can’t help but agree with Gen Z on this one.” – Genesis Rivas, assistant beauty editor, Makeup.com
I like my middle part as much as Mona Lisa does.
“I was about 17 years old when I realized the side part just isn’t for me (note: this was also when I gave my naturally dark brown hair absolutely dreadful blond highlights). I’m not sure if it was the bad dye job that made me hate parting my hair to the side, but I’ve stayed away from it ever since. A middle part suits my round face and I actually think it’s made me look a little more mature. Not to mention, consistently having one side of my hair hang in front of my face isn’t as worth it as it once was in my e-girl days. I have to hand it to the Gen Zers on this one – I like my middle part as much as Mona Lisa does.” – Alanna Martine Kilkeary, assistant managing editor, Makeup.com
“I’ve been rocking a middle part since kindergarten and I can’t see my style changing anytime soon. There was a brief period in college where I tested out the side part and got a few compliments, but ultimately it was too much effort to pick which side I liked my hair on best and, when it came to haircuts, I could never bring myself to have it cut with a side part in place. Maybe I’m just a creature of habit – or maybe it has something to do with the multiple people who’ve told me side parts don’t suit me – but I am definitely team middle part.” – Chanel Vargas, editorial assistant, trending and viral features
What people think:
“I couldn’t look cute with a middle part if I tried (and I would know this because I have tried) so I fall firmly in the ‘side part’ camp, if not only for sake of my own vanity. It’s probably worth noting that I am also a millennial.” – Kelsey Castañon, beauty director
“I just came here to say this isn’t something you can wake up one day and change. I’ve had a side part my whole life; I can’t just shower and decide my roots are going in another direction now. My follicles are trained for a side part. This is my lot in life.” – Maggie Panos, senior editor, voices
“I’m an old enough millennial that I remember when middle parts were cool when I was a freshman in high school in the early 2000s. It didn’t look good on me then, and it doesn’t look good on me now (last time I tried a middle part was in 2017 and never again). I have a cowlick on one side and my hair just naturally parts to the right. It looks good on me, and I’ve come to embrace it. Side part forever.” – Christina Stiehl, senior editor, fitness
“I’m firmly in the side part camp and have been since roughly 2007. It started as a way to style long bangs, but now I wear my hair this way out of necessity. I’m in my early 30s, and I have a gray streak on the right side of my head that’s easily concealed by going deeper with my part. Which brings me to an important point: who are we to tell anyone how to part their hair? You know what looks and feels best on you.” – Karen Snyder Duke, editor, voices
“For me, personally, a middle part feels very nostalgic and young, harkening back to the days when my mom would braid my hair as a girl growing up in the ’80s and ’90s (yep, millennial here). I actually experimented with the middle part this summer when I decided to French braid my hair as a pandemic-friendly way to mix up my style without going to a hairstylist. It was a fun (and practical) throwback, but for my daily style, I just don’t feel like I can pull off the middle part. The gray hairs are a dead giveaway that that ship has sailed.” – Tara Block, content director
“I have never in my life rocked a middle part. I have no idea why, but my hair is my hair and there’s nothing I can do about it at 28. I find it’s a lot easier to do quick hairstyles with a side part. Low ponytail? Easy. Side braid when I’m in a rush? No problem. Maybe I’m just a creature of habit, but side part all the way. – Murphy Moroney, associate editor, family
Fans of Both Parts
What people think:
“I used to strictly have a side part but I guess you could say that I’ve given into the trends because I changed to a middle part a year or two ago (but not until after I convinced my hair to cooperate). Still, I occasionally switch between both. Middle parts may be what all the cool kids have, but sometimes I like returning to the side part that I had in high school. It adds more volume to your roots anyway. In short, it really depends on my mood.” – Jessica Harrington, associate beauty editor
“I personally have some strong feelings about the middle part/side part debate because I don’t believe we should be pitting two bad b*tches against each other.”
“I personally have some strong feelings about the middle part/side part debate because I don’t believe we should be pitting two bad b*tches against each other. As a person with a five-head, I’ve been on team side part since I was a kid, but I’ve also noticed that middle parts look better on me when I wear my hair in box braids, if I’m wearing a long, bone-straight wig, or if I know that I’ll have a lot of hair framing my face. I guess I could say that my opinion on which one I want to wear usually just depends on how I feel.” – Danielle Jackson, assistant beauty editor
“I used to be team middle part, but I had my face analyzed using special symmetry-measuring software back in the day (like 2005), and it determined that the left side of my face is significantly better looking than the right. The developer’s recommendation? Part on the left to show off the better side. It took me weeks to re-train my hair, but when I finally started wearing that left side part, people kept asking if I’d been on vacation or lost weight. Clearly, there was some truth to it. These days, I care less about those compliments, and I part my hair depending on what I’m wearing. Is it ’70s or ’90s inspired? Definitely calls for a middle part. Is it Hollywood glam? Deep side part. I’m not about to let a computer program (or a teenager, for that matter) dictate how I part my hair.” – Dawn Davis, senior editorial director, Group Nine Media
“I had always been a side part girl through and through (zillennial here), but in college, my hairstylist suggested flipping to a middle part. Making such a drastic change felt pretty intimidating, so she gave me a layered cut that she described would allow for both middle and side parts – you can flip flop it around, she said – and I’ve kept that ambiguous part ever since. I love a middle part for a polished, chic look, while a side part feels more effortless.” – Yerin Kim, associate editor, trending and viral features
“I’ve bounced back and forth between middle and side parts over the years, and while I agree a middle part is much more chic, I have to say a side part is sometimes necessary. Not all hair cuts are made for side parts, and I have friends with super flat hair that simply look better with their hair parted to the side. Not all people are created equal, and if the whole world is walking around with middle parts, don’t you think that’s a bit, uh, boring? Let’s stop deeming things cool and uncool, because as soon as you do that, you’re uncool. Do as you wish – skinny jeans, side parts, or whatever you want.” – Haley Lyndes, editorial assistant