The Rachel is dead.
Long live The Rachel.
Jennifer Aniston’s choppy shag – the biggest boon to the round brush industry to date – met its end by Season 3 of Friends. That means that right now, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Rachel’s death.
I think that to avoid looking too dated or silly, you should avoid any haircut with a first name (unless that name is bob. Pretty classic). But in 1996, America couldn’t resist the curled-under layers of Jennifer Aniston’s bouncy ‘do.
In the years since The Rachel died, Aniston has been pretty vocal about the cut:
Like anyone who has tried to curl their ends with a blowdryer while twirling a brush with the other hand, Jennifer hated styling her haircut. In 2011, she went so far as to call it “the ugliest haircut I have ever seen.” My favorite part: stylist Chris McMillan was (allegedly) high when he created the style. “Stoned out of his mind,” Aniston said.
Okay, but was the Rachel really that bad? Let’s take a look-see.
I mean. Highlights have come a long way, and at the time those frosty pieces read more “sun-kissed” and less chunky. But NOBODY’S hair curls in towards their face like that, and that was the Rachel’s biggest downfall. Add in some cowlicks or waves and this thing is toast; try it on stick-straight hair, and it’ll just hang straight down with layers that look like they were cut with kitchen scissors.
Here’s the thing to remember, two decades on. It wasn’t just that people liked Rachel Green’s hairdo. It’s that the haircut spread across the nation like nothing I’ve seen before or since. (Closest match: Kate Gosselin’s I Want To Talk To The Manager haircut; that heavily inverted bob that looked cool for about a month and now just looks like a short haircut with two long puppy ears in the front.) It started with the moms. It moved on to the 20-somethings. I was 9, and my mom joked that I should get The Rachel.
Don’t think that just because The Rachel crawled off Jennifer Aniston’s head and died in 1996, it was gone for good. That baby multiplied and infested heads worldwide. In the early 2000s, you could still see a Rachel in the wild. Legend has it that a few dozen Rachels still exist in the natural world, but even if not, the echoes of the Rachel can be heard. Every time your stylist asks if you want “a little face-frame,” the Rachel lives on. When a hairdresser suggests “some piece-y layers for texture,” you can hear the wind whisper “Rachel.” And whenever a thick highlight is pulled through a latex cap, the faint sound of Chris McMillan’s hairstyling shears floats into the room.