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'90s Hair

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Different styles, all casual. note 

Rachel: When I was little, everybody's parents got divorced. I figured as a grownup, I wouldn't have to worry about it.
Monica: Is there any chance you could look at this as flattering? I mean, she's doing it because she wants to be more like you.
Rachel: Well, couldn't she have just copied my haircut?

In The '50s, people wore their hair swept prim and properly. In The '60s, they wore their hair high. In The '70s, they wore their hair long. In The '80s, they wore it extra big. And those dos went right out of style as soon as The '90s rolled around, bringing a wave of Grunge, Goth, and Gangsta Rap with it.

Nineties hair isn't just one defining trend. Hair fluctuated between long hair reminiscent of the late 60s/70s and very short hair initially carried on from the 80s but later inspired from the mid-60s. Often the hairstyles, like the clothing of the era, would be the most casual and low-maintenance styles possible. For men, this meant letting hair just fall wherever it may, creating a distinctive style, referred to as "curtains" or a "bowl cut". For girls this meant simply tying it back (usually by gathering it at the nape) so it wouldn't get in the face - and always with a scrunchie. Or in some cases this involved emulating the 1960s-era bouffant, just like some Rachel Green did. In the mid-90's (roughly 1994 until about 1997), it was also very common for teenage and college aged boys to wear their hair like Kurt Cobain.

It wasn't all grunge, however. Getting closer to the Turn of the Millennium, newer style experiments came into play. Crimpers meant people with straight hair could iron it into becoming curly and wavy. If you were into the hip-hop scene, some other hair oddities would be to arrange your hair into something resembling a Beehive Hairdo with a flat-top, or to shave words into the back of your head. For the ladies, this would include things like cornrows and crazy braids. A little bit of '80s Hair had been retained, reserved specifically for extra large bangs. Also, after Eminem hit it big in early 1999, a lot of teenage and college aged boys immediately began cutting their hair short and combing it in the style of Marshall Mathers.

While there's no single hair trend for the 90's, any number of these styles can date a production.

And if you're looking for slick crops for men and pompadoured updos topped with feathered hats for women, kindly go to the other Nineties. The kind of Nineties that happened a century before.


  • Spiky gelled hair
  • Frosted tips (dyeing just the ends of the hair blonde or other colors)
  • What British men call "Curtains", as seen here, here and on Leo.
  • Bowl cuts
  • Shaved hair outlines
  • Finger waves
  • Dyed short afros (Dennis Rodman)
  • Cornrows
  • Bleached hair
  • Center-parted hair, often shoulder-length
  • Caesar cuts
  • Dreadlocks or Comb Twists
  • Fades
  • Ponytails for long-haired men (usually in the style of Antonio Banderas and Steven Seagal)
  • Goatees
  • Soul patches


  • Feathered bangs
  • Pigtails
  • Long hair
  • Crimped hair with micro braids and cornrows
  • "The Rachel cut" (which Jennifer Aniston actually detested)
  • Thick box braids (sometimes with top ponytails)
  • A white woman with box braids will especially date the '90s, since it's always been a traditional hairstyle for black women.
  • Odango Hair, popularized by Sailor Moon.
  • Crimped side and top ponytails
  • Micro braids with beads
  • Asymmetrical bobs
  • Afro puffs
  • Short feathered bobs
  • Micro buns
  • Face-framing tendrils on updos
  • Fountainhead ponytails
  • Pencil-thin eyebrows (a huge departure from the '80s thick brows)
  • The much-maligned "I'd like to speak to the manager" haircut of the Obnoxious Entitled Housewife debuted in this era.....and seemingly never went away.


  • Dyed streaks
  • Bandanas

80s Carryover (mostly until 1995-96)

  • Scrunchies
  • Side ponytails
  • Flattop/Pompadour
  • Middle-parted cuts
  • Mullets
  • Bangs (for women)
  • Perms (albeit only until about 1993)
  • Boyish Short Hair on women
  • The Stovepipe: A tall flat-top popular with African-American men in the mid-80s, and lasted as late as 1993.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball Z, there was apparently a great shift in fashion statements after the main characters' arrival from Namek. The most notable wearers of '90s Hair are Trunks and Androids 17 and 18, all of whom have "curtains" of varying length. Videl at start of the Buu saga has some very '90s pigtails.
  • Tsutomu wore a mullet in the 90s Birdy the Mighty OVAs. The 2008 adaptation modernized the fashion and shortened his hair.
  • Occasionally crops up in Pokémon: The Series, with Misty being depicted with her hair in a ponytail as part of her persona (though she sometimes took it down in formal occasions) and James having a "curtains" style for his blue hair. As the series went on, it was more downplayed; but still stuck around in the Johto seasons (airing in the early 2000s) as well as shown in flashbacks to the original series.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion, since it came out in 1995 had plenty of this. Asuka has big messy '90s pigtails, Rei (and Yui) have a bob, Shinji has got '90s bangs that curtain his short hair and Kaji gets away with long bangs and a ponytail (a old photo of him and Misato shows he once had a mullet too). To a lesser extent Misato has long wavy hair that is parted on each side and Ristuko who has mullet-like short hair, that’s also parted on each side.
  • Digimon
    • The original Digimon Adventure has varying degrees of this; such as Sora having a variant of the Rachel haircut when she's not wearing her hat and Mimi (again sans hat) wearing her hair in a ponytail with face-framing tendrils, Tai and Matts' Anime Hair resembling gelled and spiky cuts, Izzy with wild spiky hair, Joe with long boyish bangs. The Digimon Adventure tri. movies depict the Digidestined with more subdued hairstyles as a result of the Time Skip six years after the events of the series (and first being released in 2015). The original hairstyles return in Digimon Adventure: (2020) as a Mythology Gag to the previous incarnations.
    • Digimon Tamers has some of the characters depicted with this; first airing in 2001 with many elements of the 90s still being around. Examples include Rika's ponytail and the hairstyles of Takato's friends Kenta and Kazu.
  • One Piece came out in 1997 and brought a few hairstyles with it, the crowing example being Sanji with his '90s boyish hair curtaining one eye. Fans even asked Eiichiro Oda in a SBS if Sanji was based off Leonardo DiCaprio circa Titanic (1997), Oda replied that a lot of people guessed it was Leonardo but he actually based Sanji’s look off Steve Buscemi’s Mr Pink from Reservoir Dogs (which came out in 1992) who also has that hair style.
    • Better yet, in a more recent SBS, Oda confirmed when he reaches 40 Sanji’s hair will reach Kurt Cobain length.
    • Other Straw Hats mostly in the pre-timeskip era have similarly '90s hairdos. Nami had a messy bob and Robin’s long-haired fringe is very much of the era, though she sadly loses it in the Time Skip. Usopp also had some rarely seen '90s long frizzy hair hidden under his bandanna. Luffy, along with Shanks also have very '90s bangs.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist premiered in 2001, but still features many examples of this as a hangover from the previous decade.
    • Edward Elric has curtains in the front and a braided pony tail in the back.
    • Winry always has tendrils with her Tomboyish Ponytail (even though realistically this would get in the way of her engineering.)
    • Envy’s “palm tree” hair and headband is likely based on the artificial dreadlocks worn by cybergoths and rivetheads, or the look of excessively straightened, stiff gelled hair that was common in the late '90s and early 2000s, or greasy messy grunge hair.
    • Kimblee in the 2003 anime has a mullet while the manga/brotherhood version has tendrils balancing his ponytail.
    • Many male characters have (realistic) spiked hair, such as Hughes, Greed and Fuery.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman sported a rather infamous mullet for a while after his death and resurrection, which he wore as a ponytail as Clark. It's hard to say which one was the bigger eyesore, and it's probably not a coincidence that he cut his hair the morning he married Lois Lane.
  • Many DC Comics characters had mullets in the '90s, such as Beast Boy and Nightwing. Nightwing's mullet is likely the most famous besides Superman's and often gets referenced to this day (usually to be made fun of). In a reversal from Supes, Nightwing sometimes wore it as a ponytail while in costume.
  • Tim Drake wore his hair gelled into spikes as Robin.
  • Though Ultimate Spider-Man came out in 2000, Peter’s “curtains” hair is extremely '90s. It gets even longer in a later comic before getting shortened, making Spidey look more like his main universe counterpart.
  • Venom: Three of Eddie Brock's hairstyles were a flat-top, a combination flat-top and mullet, and straight-up long hair.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jeremy and Hector of Zits both had very 90's hairstyles until they were updated later on. But Jeremy still wears his iconic flannel shirt.

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Aladdin (which came out in 1992) has the titular character’s boyish hair combed to one side. The animators even confirmed they based Aladdin‘s appearance off Tom Cruise.
    • The Lion King (1994): Although one may not notice it, but Simba's mane is reminiscent of a curtain style, given that this film premiered in 1994.
    • Treasure Planet though it came out in 2002, the protagonist Jim Hawkins’s curtains hairdo with a ponytail is unmistakably '90s.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon Astrid has very '90s bangs that cover one eye, even though film came out in 2010. In later films and shows Astrid combs her fringe, though her hair still frames her face in '90s Rachel fashion.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The article Hocus Pocus, which came out in 1993, says that the main character Max Dennision's hair dates the movie to the decade (not to mention they state outright it's 1993 in dialogue). His hairstyle is best described as "curtains".
  • '90s culture is really lampshaded in The Brady Bunch Movie to emphasize how out-of-place the stuck-in-The '70s Bradys are compared to the rest of the public; likewise, one Peter's Jerkass classmates has a mullet.
  • The skinhead characters in both Higher Learning and American History X had '90s Hair until they became, well, skinheads.
  • In The Mummy (1999) while most characters have period appropriate hairdos The Hero Brendan Fraser’s Rick O’Connel has noticeably 90s boyish hair curtains. Can be considered a case of Fridge Brilliance given Leonardo DiCaprio himself was in running for Rick’s part but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts allowing Brendan to step in and own the role, though he at least took Leo’s Titanic/Romero and Juliet hairdo with him.
  • Despite being released in 2001, Bridget Jones' Diary featured this: Daniel Cleaver's curtains, Bridget appears to have a more relaxed "the Rachel" or face-framing tendrils when her hair is up (although she calls her hair "mad"), Jude and Mark's business partner Natasha and Daniel's girlfriend Lara and their Smug Married lady friends have "Can I speak to the manager?" hair, Shazzer has long wavy hair, Tom gels and slightly spikes his hair.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu: The video introducing Howard Clifford depicts him with this hair in archival news footage as a way of Painting the Medium; with Clifford having a more modern hairstyle in the present day.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe examples:
  • Backstreet Dreams came out in 1990, so practically every male character has a mullet, including three-year-old Shane.
  • Night of the Living Dead (1990), a remake of the 1968 film shows Barbara sporting the typical 80s holdover Boyish Short Hair to signify the character becoming an Action Girl in this version.
  • 10 Things I Hate About You is a nice time capsule of the late 90s, especially thanks to Cameron having mild curtains, Bianca's face-framing tendrils, Patrick with a curly version of the Kurt Cobain style and Kat with the waist-length hair that usually indicated a girl was low maintenance.
  • Scream (1996): According to Matthew Lillard, the filmmakers had no problem making the film a mid-'90s time capsule, and so we have Billy Loomis's curtain style, Randy's Spiky Hair, Sidney's lightly feathered bangs, Gale's chunky highlights, and Tatum sporting face-framing tendrils in one scene. Scream 2 naturally lampshaded it in the scene where we see a clip of Stab, the Ripped from the Headlines horror film about the events of the first film, where Luke Wilson is wearing an exaggerated version of Billy's hairdo with longer bangs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • "The Rachel", or the hairstyle worn by Jennifer Aniston as Rachel in the first few seasons of Friends, shown on the page. Other celebrities were also seen wearing it after Friends got big. Women would go to their hairdresser and ask for a Rachel cut. Funnily enough, by all accounts, Aniston herself despised it. Monica occasionally sported the feathered bob that was popular towards the end of the decade. Phoebe started out with long, wavy Granola Girl hair that became straighter over the years, but stayed fairly long in comparison to the other ladies.
  • Danny Bonaduce once poked fun of the mullet he had back in The '90s when he recounted his transvestite hooker incident on an episode of World's Dumbest...
  • On The Big Bang Theory, a few of the guys have hairstyles that look very 90s - Leonard's curtains and Howard's bowl cut to name a couple.
  • Barring perhaps the pilot,note  My So-Called Life is filled to the brim with 90's hair. Especially in the last third of the series, when Kurt Cobain haircuts begin popping up.
  • Power Rangers:
    • The sheer Fashion Dissonance of Tommy's hair is a joke in both the fandom and the actual franchise. He started out with a very 90s mullet, then moved to a ponytail and then just wore it long. Every post-2000 appearance he's made has kept it much shorter. The Rangers in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder mocked a photo of him with this look, with Tommy retorting it was the style at the time.
    • Zack sometimes sported a flat-top.
    • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue was only just out of the '90s, as you can tell from Carter's hair curtains.
  • Tobias has some fairly noticeable curtains in the Animorphs show, a look that made it onto the cover of his first Character Focus book. Given that he's a sweet, reserved guy in a Star-Crossed Lovers situation with Rachel, it works.
  • Party of Five started airing in 1994 and the hairstyles let you know it. Charlie, Griffin and Ross all sport curtains, Kirsten has feathered bangs, Julia first has near waist length hair and then the feathered bob and Sarah is fond of fountainhead ponytails often worn with scrunchies.
  • Charmed (1998) mainly in the first season - with Prue and Phoebe both sporting late 90s bobs, Prue likewise with feathered bangs. Both actually grew their hair out by the end of the season.
  • Impeachment given it's main setting of 1992-1999 covers a great range of hairstyles, especially among the women with Hillary Clinton (long hair held by a headband, chin-length pageboys with slight "Speak to the Manager") and Monica Lewinsky (long, wavy blowouts with poufy bangs that are eventually cut into the Rachel) being prominent examples of hairstyles of the decade.

  • At the height of their popularity, the members of *NSYNC often experimented with strange '90s hairstyles that often involved gel spiking and odd colors.
  • The Backstreet Boys, and other fellow Boy Band (or pop in general) acts, would also go crazy with the hair experimentation well into the 2000s. Things got considerably toned down after 2003.
  • Our Lady of Rage, one of the only female rappers associated with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and the rest of the Death Row Records "Dogg Pound", released a song called "Afro Puffs" on her solo album, regaling her use of that hairstyle.
  • Both members of Kid 'n Play sported the stovepipe style, with Kid's often being several inches high.
  • Rick Astley sports a very-'90s-Superman-esque mullet in the music video for "Cry for Help".
  • Eminem's peroxide blond Memetic Hair was copied by his many, many fans during Shadymania and became a signature look of the Turn of the Millennium (although he wasn't the first to do it — the studio manager who suggested he try the look was inspired by several 90s rockers who'd bleached their cropped hair after cutting their long hair). As a symbol of his ability to warp the minds of his fans, Eminem references his hairstyle in a lot of his songs, even some he made long after he'd reverted his hair to dark brown.

    Video Games 
  • In Art of Fighting, Ryo Sakazaki and Eiji Kisaragi both sport a mullet. In The King of Fighters, Ryo cuts it short and spiky, while Eiji still keeps it.
  • Fellow SNK fighting series Fatal Fury has Terry Bogard with a very '90s ponytail that goes down the length of his back; which carried over to his subsequent appearances in The King of Fighters.
  • Link manages to have a subtle example of 90s hair in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, despite it taking place in a high fantasy setting. Link's hair is parted similar to the "curtains" hairstyle.
  • Amy Rose from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has her quills in what is essentially the Rachel. The game which introduced this style, Sonic Adventure, was released in 1999.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Although the first game came out just after the '90s in 2001, Dante's long boyish "curtains" hairdo is a holdover from the previous era. The HD Collection version of the third game even changes Dante's hair texture making his bangs bigger and less transparent so that they cover his eyes.
    • Vergil has distinctly "gelled back" '90s frosted tips hair that's also noticeable in the HD Collection version of the third game.
    • Lucia from the second game has '90s inspired curtain hair that completely covers one eye and ends in a braid.
  • Parasite Eve which came out in 1998 has quite a lot this. Most prominently there’s Aya who has the Rachel cut with her bangs framing her face, Ben (Daniel’s son) has the fade and Wayne the Gun Nut has a mullet. Played with Big Bad Eve herself, as Melissa at the start she has natural long hair that isn’t dated in any fashion but once she becomes a Humanoid Abomination she gets a Flock of Seagulls-esque fleshy hair spikes.
  • Has been known to appear in Pokémon to varying degrees. It's most pronounced by characters Pokémon Red and Blue and Pokémon Gold and Silver, which was downplayed when they were given the Video Game Remake treatment in later generations. Character customization features in Pokémon X and Y, Pokémon Sun and Moon and Pokémon Sword and Shield can even allow player characters to give themselves this kind of hair from the barbershops in Lumiose City; the Alola and Galar regions, respectively.
  • It is arguable that Cloud and Sephiroth's haircuts in Final Fantasy VII (which came out in 1997) are caricatured, Anime Hair versions of the curtains style - Sephiroth's centre-parted and extremely long, Cloud's also with a strong parting but with the asymmmetrical shagginess exaggerated to spikes. Later, realistic interpretations of Cloud's hairstyle portrayed it as a '00s Emo cut (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children came out in 2005, and the designs were later incorporated into Final Fantasy VII Remake). There’s also Aerith’s '90s hair curtains and braided ponytail and Tifa’s extremely long and wavy hair with side bangs which had to be shortened due to graphic limitations in the aforementioned remake and Advent Children. Can’t forget Barrett’s fade either.
  • Despite the franchise's association with '80s Hair, Otacon in Metal Gear Solid has a sort of scruffy '90s curtains look in his first appearance, based loosely on the style Hideo Kojima had been wearing at that time. He stayed with it even until Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which came out in 2007.
  • Street Fighter had a fair amount of this, with the most recurring offender being Ken with his hair going from merely shaggy to a massive back-length ponytail with bangs as seen in the Alpha series. Chun-Li and Ryu also have noticeable bangs that they lack in future games while Cammy debuted with her braided pigtails which were pretty popular during the '90s.
  • Leon in Resident Evil 2 (1998), Carlos in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999), and Steve in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica (2000) have the curtain hairstyle, which shows off their boyish looks. Resident Evil 2 (Remake) keeps the same hairstyle for Leon while Carlos's hair was redesigned in Resident Evil 3 (Remake), though the old hairstyle can be unlocked via DLC, while Steve in the Updated Re Release of Code: Veronica had it changed entirely so that it looked like he didn't have product in his hair, as befitting of the fact that he was a prisoner on a remote island. Jill’s asymmetric bob in RE3 is also extremely '90s, though in later games she upgrades to a Tomboyish Ponytail similar to Claire.

    Web Comics 
  • Ozy and Millie debuted in the '90s when its creator was fresh out of college, and it shows: Millie and her mom both have distinct sidebangs reminiscent of the Rachel (especially Millie's mom), even if they both have ponytails in the back.

    Western Animation 
  • Part of Mandark's origin story in Dexter's Laboratory involved him completing his Start of Darkness by taking out a bowl and cutting his hair in the bowl's exact shape, including the chips at the side.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Arnold's best friend Gerald's hi-top afro is clearly a product of the show's time. He keeps it in The Jungle Movie despite it being set nearly 20 years later.
    • It's hard to tell due to how stylized Arnold's football-shaped head is, but it seems his hair is in the curtains style.
  • Daria has this with the boys (spikes, curtains, a cross between curtains and dreadlocks) while the girls wore their hair long (Fashion Club and Daria), pigtails (Stacy and Brittany), long and in tiny braids (Jodie), and asymmetrical bobs (Jane and Andrea, albeit spiked); there are also mentions of scrunchies in the tie-in books with Quinn sometimes wearing her hair in a high ponytail.
  • The show it spun off from, Beavis And Butthead, has hairstyles that carried over from the '80s, like mullets and the girls still fluffed their hair. Of course, it also had plenty of '90s hair to go around (particularly around the time Season 4 began).
  • As Told by Ginger has this to a lesser extent (having started in the year 2000). Several boys wear their hair spiked up or in curtains while girls wore scrunchies and Miranda wore Afro Puffs when she didn't have a top ponytail. Dodie's distinctive pigtails have been worn since she was very young (in the 90s). One old film strip shown Ginger's father with a long curly mullet style and her mother with early 90s-style hair. Discussed confusingly by Ginger pretending to be Courtney dissing herself.
    "How 90s was that hair scrunchie?"
  • One episode of the DC Nation New Teen Titans shorts series had Mad Mod throwing history backwards. The first stop was the 90s and had Beast Boy laughing at Robin's mullet (as he was shown wearing Tim Drake's Robin uniform yet sporting Dick Grayson's mullet) before stopping and realizing he had one, too.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Dick Grayson grew a mullet between being Robin and being Nightwing.
  • Released in 2003, no one in Teen Titans had '90s hair (though Bumblebee wore afro puffs), however in a Flash Forward Nightwing has long hair obviously based on his '90s mullet. It however was styled in a way that made him into a Long-Haired Pretty Boy.
  • Recess:
    • Vince wore a hi-top.
    • The Diggers had mullets at one point.
  • Ten years prior to The Powerpuff Girls (2016) the Professor had a mullet. It's supposed to bring to mind this trope, however as the series clearly takes place in the late 2010s then the flashback must have taken place in the 2000s instead of the 90s.
  • In one of BoJack Horseman's flashbacks to the '90s, one of the indicators of it being that decade (along with a cavalcade of period culture references) is that the younger Princess Carolyn is sporting "The Rachel". With her fur, of course.
  • The curtains had been popular in 2010s cartoon shows since they were worn by Lane Loud from The Loud House, Cricket Green from Big City Greens and Reggie's older brother having this hairstyle in Twelve Forever.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: In "The Secret Origin of Denzel Crocker", Timmy goes back to 1992, just before his birth, and spots his dad with a mullet.