The Rachel may be one of the most iconic, recognizable hairstyles of all time. Popularized by Jennifer Aniston in the ’90s, this ’do was dubbed The Rachel, thanks to Aniston’s portrayal as Friends character Rachel Green on one of the all-time most popular shows.
When Aniston first rocked this look, it featured chunky blonde highlights mixed in with darker brown sections. She wore the look with a side part and styled the signature wispy face-framing layers with a smooth, inward curve. Using professional hair styling products will help achieve and maintain that same famous look.
In recent years, this hairstyle has made a resurgence with people craving that iconic look — and testing it out in new modern ways. Discover five ways to modernize The Rachel haircut from the ‘90s.
How to Get a Modern Take on The Rachel Haircut
1. Classic Style
If you want to stick to Aniston’s traditional cut, you need to master the styling aspect of this ’do. Adding many face-framing pieces will provide those gorgeous choppy layers that add body and style to your look. This cut features a long bob, which typically falls right at or just below shoulder length. However, you need to learn how to properly capture that same style once you’ve left the salon.
Even Aniston herself admitted that her original haircut was difficult to manage without the help of a professional. She told ABC News in 2014, “‘The Rachel’ was one of the hardest hairstyles to maintain. Me and the blow dryer and the hairbrush weren’t meant for each other.”
She credited her close friend and hairstylist at the time, Chris McMillian, for creating the perfect look. McMillian is the stylist who first gave Aniston this haircut that continues to endure decades later. “It really was a ‘hairdo,’” Aniston told ABC News. “When Chris would style it, my hair would be great, it would look gorgeous. But then when I was left to my own devices, it wouldn’t look the same!”
The key to nailing the traditional Rachel haircut lies in how you style it, which is why salon hairspray and other professional products can help achieve and maintain that look all day.
2. A Longer Layered Take on The Rachel
In recent years, both celebrities and everyday people have flirted with the iconic Rachel cut but with a bit of a twist. Hailey Bieber was spotted rocking a similar look to The Rachel a couple of years ago. The look featured a long bob, which fell just past her shoulders and incorporated those same wispy layers. However, the layers were a bit longer — leaving Aniston’s shorter, more side bang-like pieces out — but it captured the essences of the hairstyle with lots of volume and straight hair with an inward curve. Other celebrities have hopped on board with The Rachel in recent years, too, including Rachel McAdams, Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen.
3. A Wavy, Choppy Take on The Rachel
Though hairstyles of all kinds are trendy these days, the popularity of pin-straight hair has subsided in recent years as a new curly hair movement calls for embracing hair styles and textures of all types. If you have naturally wavy or curly hair, you can absolutely try a different kind of take on this iconic hairdo. Keep the overall length of the haircut similar to a long bob, but remember — if your hair has more texture, it’s going to shrink up more when dry, so keeping the cut a bit longer is a good way to achieve the best result. Ask your stylist to incorporate a lot of choppy layers and face-framing pieces to get a similar finish with a more bohemian twist.
This version of The Rachel still requires additional styling, but is perhaps easier to maintain as you’re leaving your hair in a more natural wave. Use professional hair styling products to create that volume on top.
4. A Mid-Length Take on The Rachel
The Rachel hairstyle is most famously recognized for its many layers and the signature long bob length. However, if you’re looking for a fresh take on the style, play around with different hair lengths. Perhaps you want to nail the style without sacrificing length. Try opting for a mid-length cut that falls a few inches below the shoulders and add many layers for a length take on this style. It’s important to still master the use of a round brush when styling so those wispy pieces stand out.
5. A Take on The Rachel with Different Bangs
Though the iconic look features short, face-framing layers that act like long bangs, there are many popular bang styles that can be paired with the haircut to give it a fresh look. Curtain bangs are a popular trend that incorporates layers that sweep across the forehead or front of your face without hanging in your face too much. Typically, curtain bangs are parted down the middle, but there are variations that can be parted differently. Adding curtain bangs to The Rachel look brings a modern take on one of the most popular hairstyles of all time. If you have a different style of bangs down the middle, talk with your stylist to see how you can incorporate a unique element to the ever-popular ’do.
Bringing Back The Rachel
The Rachel is a hairstyle that has endured over several decades. It has evolved over the years and continues to bring fresh looks to an iconic, nostalgic style for many. If you’re looking for ways to get The Rachel with a new twist, there are many different styles that are a nod to the traditional while adding modern takes — whether that means extending the length of the cut, adding bangs or making it wavy.