If you were to travel back in time to the ’90s and ask any woman about the most iconic hairstyle of the times, the “Rachel” would definitely be the common denominator. During the height of the show’s popularity, salons worldwide were inundated with requests for Jennifer Aniston’s fluffy, feathered haircut in the TV show Friends.
Now that ’90s beauty and fashion trends have returned to our good graces, it looks like things are headed in the same direction. Case in point: Searches for “the Rachel haircut” have increased by a whopping 174 percent since Friends: The Reunion, according to beauty retailer Justmylook. Even celebs like Bella Hadid, Mariah Carey, and Selena Gomez have sported the iconic “Rachel” haircut. With the recent resurgence, TikTokers are going to extreme lengths to replicate the style, steaming their hair with curling irons and pinning strands back with rollers.
It’s not hard to see why the hairstyle is so hot—it’s just long enough not to feel too risqué, and you can get all the shaggy volume without chopping all your hair off.
But fans of the hairstyle are quickly discovering that the style is not exactly easy to recreate. Even Aniston herself told Marie Claire that “the Rachel was high-maintenance…I’d curse Chris every time I had to blowdry. It took three brushes — it was like doing surgery!” she said.
While the O.G. Rachel cut was much shorter (shoulder-length) and styled with maximum volume and hairspray (think piecey), the modern version is slightly longer, softer, and has more movement, says hairstylist Luke Williams. However, it still adopts the face-framing flick from its predecessor.
Another thing to note: “The ‘Rachel’ works best on hair with a lot of layers as it will give your hair more body by surrounding your face in a heart shape and framing it perfectly,” says Williams. Some stealthily placed highlights, like the money piece, can also create depth and complement the cut nicely.
For a little extra guidance, the beauty experts at Justmylook shared three simple steps on how to style the “Rachel” at home.
“It’s key to make sure your hair is light and fluffy—oil can weigh your hair down so avoid leaving your hair too long between washes. Using a volumizing shampoo in the shower will be your best bet.”
So what does the modern Rachel look like? Luckily, less heat damage, thanks to modern blow-drying hairbrushes that make the famous flick 10 times easier.
“After washing and while your hair is still damp, apply a couple of drops of oil or serum to give your hair a smooth texture for styling.”
“To finish the look, blow-dry your hair over a rounded brush or with a blow-drying hairbrush.” Start with a bouffant style at the roots, drying hair upward and away from your face and creating volume as it dries. As you go down, curl your hair inwards at the ends to frame the face. Avoid straightening it as this will take away from the volume you have created!