Inspired by Jennifer Aniston's aka Rachel Green's iconic '90s haircut, hairstylist Luke Hersheson explains how to wear the hairstyle in 2021.
No matter who you ask about the most iconic haircuts of the 90s, the Jennifer Aniston "Rachel" hairstyle will always be high on the list. The funky, feathered, and voluminous short haircut the actress wore in the '90s when she starred as Rachel Green in "Friends" made waves when it first appeared on the screen. Everyone wanted it and since the hype, thanks to "Friends: The Reunion" - and with it the hype about the hairstyle - continues to this day, the haircut is now (again) one of the most popular hairstyles for short to medium-length hair.
According to Just My Look, the demand for the Rachel hairstyle has increased by 179 percent, while the hashtag #RachelGreen on TikTok has been viewed almost 600 million times, with a number of fans trying the look for themselves. Celebrity fans include Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid, both of whom have already worn their own version of the hairstyle. Hair salons have also seen a surge in requests for a modern version of the classic style.
"The original Jennifer Aniston hairstyle was so iconic since people were just getting out of the grunge era in the mid-90s; they were bored with the wild, unstyled hair and no-makeup makeup," says Hairstylist Luke Hersheson. "When Rachel Green appeared, she was the exact opposite of all of this. She had a full-fledged haircut with lots of layers and volume." The haircut was just long enough not to look too daring and to be able to style it in a very specific hairstyle without having to cut off all of the hair. "She wore it with a lot of volume at the top, a style that was very popular at the time," adds Hersheson.
Although the reunion show catapulted the hairstyle (and the entire 'Friends' crew) back into the limelight, Hersheson says he got requests for the hairstyle even before the nostalgia festival. He attributes this to the fact that Generation Z is downright "obsessed" by the 90s and renouncing the millennial love for unkempt hair because it's "too obvious": "They want more of a statement look; it has to look like it was cut right. Our generation [millennials] are a little too subtle for them, "he says.
In addition to a voluminous front section of hair that frames the face, the Rachel cut has also been styled in such a way that it provides movement on the outside. The modern version is inspired by its predecessor, but it's less about the bulk and more about the face-framing properties of the haircut, which is universally flattering: "The modern Rachel hairstyle is a little longer - originally it came to the shoulder a bit softer and most importantly, less chunky, "says Hersheson, who adds that the hair needs to stay flexible for this look.
"If the hair is too soft, the hairstyle won't last and it can quickly look like a bad mullet - the cut works best on colored hair (because it causes the strands to swell slightly) or on hair that naturally has some texture ", he says. The trick to making it really work is to have a smooth and (relatively) seige, frizz-free finish so that the cut falls the way it's supposed to. The TikTok-er: inside use heated curling irons to get more volume. Hersheson says it used to be the "old-school blowout," which used a round brush and lots of hairspray to add volume.
Another point to keep in mind: "Jennifer Aniston wore light highlights in the 1990s that added dimension to the look. This type of color helps add depth to the haircut so that the eye can better perceive the volume," agrees Hersheson too. He also says that such a cut "doesn't look good on monotonous hair. But when contrasting colors are used, the perfect Rachel look is achieved."