Matilda Djerf doesn’t understand why her hair has become a full-blown phenomenon. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way—the Swedish influencer’s hair is the closest thing Gen z has to "The Rachel," and the hashtag #MatildaDjerfHair has over 27.1 million views on TikTok.
Djerf has been a prominent fixture on Pinterest moodboards since she started vlogging on Youtube in 2016. Her style—a unique mix of sharp tailoring and early '2000s throwbacks—became so iconic that she started her own brand, Djerf Avenue, so her fans could easily score her signature blazers and tube dresses. She's also often used as a prime example of the "that girl" aesthetic—photos of her headed to a business meeting and to the beach get equal love. But above all, she's become synonymous with bouncy, fluffy hair.
"I've been made aware," Djerf says with a laugh when I ask if she knows just how big of a deal her haircut is. "I think I lived in denial. Because for me, it's just my hair. It's so unexpected, and I don't really know why people are obsessed with it."
While Djerf is confused, the appeal is clear to me. Her signature look—rounded layers and perfectly quaffed curtain bangs—looks purposeful and polished, but still cool, like she tried just hard enough without teetering into over-achiever territory. It mashes together two of the most dominate hair trends right now with her '70s curtain bangs and fluffy '90s supermodel layers, and it's easy enough to replicate as long as you have hair past your shoulders. Most importantly, it's a complete 180 from the greasy buns and lifeless ponytails most of us were dealing with during the hight of the pandemic, when her hair started to trend. (The hype has not slowed down since).
I caught up with Djerf to chat how her signature style came to be, her must-have products, and how to get the look at home.
Her Hair Journey
"When I was younger, I tried a lot of different hairstyles. I had the ombré hair, I had red tones in my hair. For a short period, I was super, super blonde—like icy blonde. It was not my thing. So I've kind of had a few different hairstyles and hair colors. When I had the ombre hair, I wanted to get back to my natural color, so then I started getting baby highlights. And I ended up with a really sun-kissed, natural look. And I kind of left it like that, because I was traveling all the time, so my hair would naturally get sun bleached.
"But then during the pandemic, I couldn't travel—and I have very Scandinavian hair, so it goes darker during the winter, and then it gets like super, super sun-bleached. So I was like, 'Okay, well, I don't look like myself. I need to do something.' So that's when I started getting baby highlights again. And since then, in combination with my bangs that I've had since 2017, I feel like myself. I feel like I look like I did when I was younger—I had this hair color. So I just feel like I'm a baby Matilda again."
Her Hair Confidence
"We didn't have any major lockdowns or anything in Sweden, but I was still working from home. And I think it just got to a point, where it's like, Okay, I want to make an effort now. Like, I want to feel confident. And whenever I feel comfortable in myself, I also feel confidence. I'm not super into makeup, I don't really like makeup, so I feel like hair is such a big thing. Like if I have a bad hair day, my mood shifts."
Her Hair Icons
"When I got my bangs I in 2017, I was obviously very inspired by Brigitte Bardot. Now they're pretty grown out. But in general, I feel like I don't really look at other people for hair inspiration, which might sound a little weird."
Why She'll Never Change It
"I feel like I've found a hair cut and color that I really enjoy. So as for now? I won't change it, because I feel comfortable in this. I feel like myself. I've had periods where I've had it kind of short, like when I was 17 or 16, and it's just not me.
"Whenever my bangs start growing out a little bit, I always get a few angry DMs from people being like, 'You're not growing out your bangs I hope!' and angry emojis. And it's like, no, it's just that my hairdresser lives literally four hours away. I can't see her all the time."
How to Get "The Matilda"
"I have a few layers and curtain bangs. I think with curtain bangs, it's important to, first of all, let them part where your hair naturally parts. So it's the same thing when I blow dry my hair—I always like blow dry my bangs down, and then each side so my hair gets to part where it naturally wants to. If you have a little twirly thing [a cowlick], you can't force your hair to lay where you want it to. So it's more about finding where your hair wants to part, and then cutting it accordingly. And also,finding a length for your curtain bangs that suits your face."
"And then for the color I do baby highlights, I would say like a sand-honey color."
Her Favorite Products
"I think that what I use really depends. Because it's summer, I spend a lot of time in the sun, so my hair gets drier. I love the Ouai Leave In Conditioner ($28). I feel like that really makes a huge difference when I've been in the ocean. Like I can just take a quick shower, and then spray a bunch of that in my hair, and it gets insanely soft afterwards. So I feel like for right now that is my go-to product. Ouai also has a styling cream. I love that product if you tend to have a little frizzy hair, it does wonders. It's so good. But I think it's also heat protective, which is great.
"I would say I have a lot of volume naturally, but if you don't, you definitely need some sort of volume spray or mousse. I myself hate products that you can feel when you run your fingers through your hair.
"And I mean, the Dyson Airwrap ($599) does wonders. It's so expensive, so I understand that not everybody has access to it. Rollers are so good too. They're more popular nowadays, but I still think they're underestimated, they really make such a big difference—especially for curtain bangs, you really get that swoosh."
Her Beauty Favorites
"I just really enjoy that people are enjoying more of like a natural look right now in terms of makeup and skincare. I myself am heavily focused on skincare rather than makeup. I love all the new Rhode products. I love the Lip Treatment ($16), it's always in my bag. They don't ship to Sweden yet, so I got it sent to an address that I had in the US. I'm like, damn, if I run out...
I also love seeing how everybody is going out of the box with the hairstyles. We did a popup and a design collaboration with me and EmiJay, and I loved the little butterfly clips that we created. I was inspired by my mom had them— I think it was like 20 years ago, she brought them from the beach in Barcelona. And ever since then, I've always brought them with me when I go on vacation. So I was so excited to create our own."