We have scoured the decade to find all of the greatest hair dos from the 90s and have categorized them for you here. If you are planning on getting your 90’s on hair-wise, that is, this is the place for you. We start with the ubiquitous Rachel do which you couldn’t get away from (and, really, who would want to – it was so damn cute). But, we don’t stop there. We explore the ins and outs of 90s facial hair fashions and more. Read on.
Let us know what kind of hair you had in the 90s (and better yet, send pics!) by posting it on our 90s 411 Facebook page. The burning questions need answers – like, who had better hair: George Clooney or Dawson?
"So I want it kind of rough and ready but like really shiny and smooth and kind of chin length but shoulder lengthy and like straight but a bit curly and a sort of golden brown but a bit blonde. Wait a minute let me get my People Magazine out!"
That was the conversation held in thousands of hair salons in the mid-90s as women everywhere tried to describe the "Rachel Cut" named after and inspired by the character played by Jennifer Aniston in the sitcom Friends which was then at the peak of its popularity. This definitive 90’s hairstyle was a shoulder-length, sleek and layered style with a grown out fringe and highlights mainly around the face. It was the most popular hair fashion fad of the 90’s and the envy of all women. It also inspired many a "just got out of bed" hair product, for example one of the originals Tigi Bed Head.
90s Hairstyles for Women (non-Rachel)
I, having dark brown hair which refuses to get anywhere closer to blonde than a hideous bleached Cheshire Cat orange, never really had the full benefit of the Rachel Do or the absolute flood of beach blonde hair that was in fashion but 90’s fashion had a hairstyle for everyone and I went through a few. I started with the short Demi Moore in Ghost do, moved on to the short, choppy Meg Ryan style then swiftly onto the Winona Ryder in Mermaids bob and the heavy Terri Hatcher Louis and Clark shiny bob before finally smoothing and thinning out for a Posh Spice bob in the late 90’s. I unfortunately never had hair long enough for the super straight straggled Grunge look or the wavy Julia Roberts look and wasn’t going to touch the Demi Moore GI Jane skinhead look with a very long stick. For an overview in 1990’s hairstyles, we recommend a reviewing of uber-popular 90’s TV shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place.
Boys had their own trends to follow. For the daring fashion crowd there were hair styles with zig zags and Nike ticks shaved into them and inspired by Hip Hop artists and big bleached hair inspired, not by the previous decade’s Wham but by the "pretty fly for a white guy" MC Hammer wannabe Vanilla Ice. Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
For the everyday boy on the street the look was floppy and dreamy like Dawson of Dawson’s Creek, Joey of Friends, Edward Furlong pre voice breaking in Terminator 2 and Keanu Reeves of…. well practically every 90s movie going! This was the look for anyone wanting to attract a girlfriend rather than make a nineties fashion statement. The kind of hair that made you just ache to lean over and gently move it out of their adorable eyes just before they told you they loved you, gave you a slow sloppy kiss and recited a bit of poetry!
Finally, let us not forget the ubiquitous, ultra-short Caesar style which looked just gorgeous on the more mature man such as George Clooney in ER and Russell Crowe in Gladiator but unfortunately made anyone under the age of thirty look like they were going to steal your purse and mug your neighbors.
Since it involved hair and was on the head generally, we are including an analysis of men’s facial hair trends in the 1990’s as well.
One look for men which was executed with style by some and in the worst way possible by others was the goatee. This devilish style swept through the male chin world of the 1990s and, despite making people look a little like the devil, can still be seen on many chins today. The goatee was equally at home on the band member of a Grunge band (90’s icon Kurt Cobain) as it was on the lead singer of a Jazz Funk band (remember Jamiroquai and the Godzilla music video?). It was named the goatee because of it’s similarity to a Billy goat beard and was the perfect way to wear a beard without looking like your dad.
For successful attempts at goatees then check out 1990’s Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. Or, as I mentioned previously – the Devil. For less coveted versions think Colonel Sanders, Lenin or my high school friend Dan who, after his failed attempt at growing a goatee, was never again called "Dan" in his high school career. Due to the unfortunate coarse curly hair which made up his goatee he was forever more called "Pubic Hair Chin!"
Another popular hair trend for men in the 90’s was the long, thick sideburn. Perhaps this burn lengthening was wrapped up in the 70s revival in the fashion world. Whatever the impetus, burns got longer and thicker and were (I’ll admit it) a weakness of mine. Think Chris Isaak in the very sexy Wicked Game era or Jason Priestly of 90210.
In case you are interested, Dan (my goatee-growing friend from high school) eventually got rid of the goatee. But, I haven’t learned my lesson yet and still have a twice yearly disastrous attempt at going classic 90’s Baywatch blonde.
For more on 90’s hair accessories, see our stories on Scrunchies and Butterfly Hair Clips.