The long-awaited Friends reunion did not disappoint. Watched by an estimated 29 percent of U.S. streaming households, the homecoming special revisited some of the sitcom’s most memorable episodes and offered a look at some behind-the-scenes footage from 25 years ago. It was the perfect throwback, serving up nostalgic style, sparking conversations about ‘90s pop culture, and reigniting the fandom. But if there is one thing we weren’t expecting to see as a result of the reunion, it’s the return of The Rachel haircut.
Since the teaser for Friends: The Reunion first aired three weeks ago, demand for The Rachel haircut has skyrocketed by 179 percent, according to Just My Look (via Glamour). And there was another significant spike in interest when the special aired on May 27. But the frenzy didn’t start there. Google searches for the hairstyle have been steadily increasing over the past year, perhaps thanks to the show’s revival on streaming services, and a TikTok search for #TheRachel turns up countless videos with over 2.7 million views. Even Chrissy Teigen rocked the style for a short time back in December 2020.
It’s iconic, sure, but what is it about The Rachel haircut that has everyone rushing back to the salon? Worn by Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel Green, the shoulder-length style, which is defined by choppy face-framing layers that flip in all directions, is notoriously hard to pull off. It’s far from the effortless hairstyles that have become popular today, requiring regular blowouts with round brushes to give it that voluminous shape and define all those flicks. Even Aniston has admitted that she hated the haircut. She told ABC News back in 2014 that it was “one of the hardest hairstyles to maintain.”
“It really was a hairdo. When Chris [McMillan, her longtime stylist who was responsible for the cut] 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,” Aniston said. “Me and the blow dryer and the hairbrush weren’t meant for each other.” And if we’re being honest, the same can probably be said for most of us.
Like all things nineties beauty — see also the return of the shag haircut and chunky highlights — it likely comes down to nostalgia. Aside from serving up some iconic beauty trends, the 1990s was the golden age of pop culture. It brought us heroine chic style a la Kate Moss, popstars like Britney Spears, and of course, feel-good sitcoms including Friends. For many Millennials, it was the happiest — or at least, most untroubled — decade of our lives, so it makes sense why we might want to take a walk down memory lane.
And what better way to do that than by revisiting some of the biggest beauty trends from the decade while giving them a modern spin. Take The Rachel update for example. While some are opting for the classic style, most stylists are reinventing the look to meet the laid-back luxe aesthetic of today’s client. “I still give a version of the cut to some of my clients. But what makes it modern and cool all these years later is that there is less volume at the crown,” McMillan recently told Allure. “The styling and the vibe are different. In 2021, that’s how you take ‘the Karen’ out of ‘The Rachel.'”
For more inspiration — or just for fun — scroll through some modern versions of The Rachel haircut below.
The Rachel Haircut Updated
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