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15 Awesomely Ridiculous (Or Ridiculously Awesome) Hairstyles of Decades Past

  • Oct 25, 2010
Awesomely ridiculous, or ridiculously awesome?  This could be up for debate as some folks can rock these hairstyles, while others... not so much.  In fact, some of these seem downright unrockable (I double dare you to show me a photo of somebody looking good with a rattail).  In any case, let's take a stroll down memory lane and reminisce in these sometimes questionable 'dos.  If there are any on your mind that weren't mentioned, please do share in the comments!
1
Bowl Cut
The bowl cut got its name for well, looking like a bowl.  It may also have to do with the fact that historically, bowl cuts were done by putting a bowl or cooking pot of helmet size around the head and then cutting or shaving off whatever was sticking out of it.  In some cultures and time periods, bowl cuts were considered an attribute of poverty, while in others, it was considered highly fashionable.  

Moe Howard of Three Stooges fame was a famous bowl cut wearer.  In recent decades, entertainers like the members of The Beatles and Oasis, and Justin Bieber have revived the shaggy 'do.  Even ladies like Rihanna, Agnes Deyn and Katie Holmes have sported some femme bowl cuts.


2
Pompadour
Though the pompadour has mostly been sported by men, the namesake of this hair style is actually Madame de Pompadour, the the official maîtresse-en-titre (aka chief mistress) of Louis XV.  The rockabilly, Guido, and oddly, Japanese gang, cultures have adopted this hairstyle as their own.

Famous wearers of this combed, heavily gelled back 'do include Elvis Presley, Conan O'Brien and current San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.  Random hair story: The Gav spoke at my college commencement ceremony a couple of years back.  While all the other speakers donned the academic regalia of their alma maters, including tams and bonnets, what did The Gav don in place of a cap?  His signature pompadour, of course, which could not, and would not be held down by a cap.


3
Feathered Hair
Feathered hair was first popularized in the 70's.  Hair was grown long, sometimes layered, then parted and blown out around the face, giving the appearance that the face and neck were framed by feathers.  The most famous wearer of this 'do would have the be the late and great Farrah Fawcett, who inspired countless starlets of generations to come to emulate her look.  Heck, even some famous guys like Don Johnson and David Cassidy sported feathered hair in the 80's.

I would avoid looking at high school year books from the late 80's and early 90's though, when the feathered look took a turn for the worse.  Seriously, almost every girl looked like she was vying for a spot in twisted sister.  Only less twisted and more feathered.


4
Mullet (haircut)
This lowbrow hairstyle first popped up in the 60's and has enjoyed several revivals since.  There are many variations to the mullet, but the one thing that it always touts is that it's always business in the front, and a party in the back.  No matter how many revivals and variations there are though, I can comfortably and confidently say that with the exception of Chuck Norris in Walker Texas Ranger (because the man can obviously do no wrong), nobody looks good with a mullet.

Unfortunately, many famous folks have sported the Kentucky Waterfall over the decades, including Michael Bolton, Little Richard, Billy Ray Cyrus, MacGyver, Pat Sharp, Mario Lopez (who also, brace yourselves... permed it and turned it into a mullet/Jheri curl hybrid) and even Mrs. Brady, who famously wore her femullet in the opening sequence of The Brady Bunch.


5
Glam Rock Hair
Everything about glam rock is outrageous and extravagant -- the makeup, the clothes, the shoes, and of course, the hair.  Glam rock hair is often long, shaggy and sometimes asymmetrical and colored. 

Glam rock fashion, in general, is marked by sexual and gender ambiguity, and androgyny, so it only makes sense that glam rock guys and gals alike sport the same hairstyles.  Notable folks who sport such hair include David Bowie, Pat Benatar and Adam Lambert.


6
heavy metal hair
The higher the hair, the closer to god, right?  And trust me, with all the things that these guys were doing and singing about, they needed to be as close to god as possible.  Their hair was so long and so big, and such a huge part of their image that heavy metal bands have also come to be known as "hair bands".

Think Poison, Motley Crue, Guns N' Roses, and Twisted Sister.  Sometimes it was au naturel.  Sometimes it was permed.  Other times it was crimped.  But one things for sure -- it was always rebelliously long and probably fun to head bang with.


8
Liberty Spikes
Liberty spikes manage to be more porcupine-ish than the mohawk, but like the mohawk, liberty spikes also have a long an interesting history.  The ancient Briton warriors used to wear liberty spikes as a symbol of honor and manhood, and Celts were not allowed to spike their hair in such a way until they killed any enemy.

Also like the mohawk, liberty spikes were revived in the 70's thanks to the emergence of punk rock.  This hairstyle was named so because of its resemblance to the Statue of Liberty's crown.  Famous folks who knox gelatin their hair in such a way include Benji Madden and Brody Dalle.


9
Jheri Curl
The Jheri curl is a hairstyle that was popular among African-American men that was created by Jheri Redding, inventor of the modern day hair conditioner and founder of major hair care companies such as Redken and Nexxus.  This hairstyle was not only labor intensive and costly to achieve, but it was also labor intensive and costly to maintain, not to mention extremely damaging to the hair, so needless to say, this look did not stay in the mainstream for long.

Michael Jackson famously sported the Jheri curl in the 80's, and Dave Chappelle hilariously sported one in one of his Chapelle Show sketches when he played Prince in Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories.


10
Hi-Top Fade
After the Jheri curl went out of style, hi-top fades were in.  This brick-like hairstyle was popular among young African-American men during the golden era of hip hop in the mid 80's through mid 90's.

Notable folks who wore the hi-top fade include Doug E. Fresh, Christopher "Kid" Reid and Bobby Brown and basketball players Kenny Walker and Brandon Jennings.


11
Rattail
This is the one hairstyle on the list that makes me cringe.  Even the mullet and Jheri curl doesn't do that.  Asian warriors may have sported shaved heads with a long braid in the back centuries ago, as a symbol of power and prestige, however, the same symbolism of power and prestige did not translate well into Western culture in the 80's and 90's when rattails somehow became popular.  In fact, it seemed like it symbolized the complete opposite.

Thankfully, rattails went out of vogue fast.  For some reason though, they've made a splash in the world of athletics and notable wears of the rattail include MMA fighter Kostya Tszyu and soccer players Cristiano Palacio and Christian Wilhelmsson.


12
Emo Hairstyles
Emo hairstyles, be it worn by girls or guys, is stereotypically known for its long bangs that cover much of the face.  Because ya know, the people who sport these bangs are so angsty and want to shield themselves from the world.  Or maybe vice versa.  Either way, it seems to go well with eye/guyliner.  In the words of my dear mother, every time she sees someone with such hair, she says, "I just wanna take a pair of scissors and chop it off".  Oh, mom.

Emo and screamo bands of the 80's and beyond have popularized this style.  Bands who sport this look include Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Metro Station.


13
Fauxhawk
For those who don't have the patience to grow out, or the desire to commit to a full on mohawk, the semi-rebellious and sometimes fashionable fauxhawk is a good compromise.  It doesn't require complete shaving of the sides nor does the wearer have to grow the center piece too long.  Heck, sometimes neither has to be done depending on the person's hair.

Notable folks who have rocked this style include David Beckham, Rihanna and Adam Levine.


14
Beehive (hairstyle)
The beehive hairdo is named so because, well, it resembles a beehive.  Created in 1958 by salon owner Margarent Vinci Heldt in her downtown Chicago salon Margaret Vinci Coiffures, it resembles an old school pouf or bouffant, and variations of the beehive continue to be popular today.

Audrey Hepburn's character in Breakfast at Tiffany's famously sported a beehive and most recently, Amy Winehouse has been sporting one.  Jersey Shore's Snooki also wears a variation of this heavily teased out 'do which has come to be known as The Poof.


15
Blowout (hairstyle)
It's safe to say that this is the probably douchiest 'do on this list.  Popularized by the Gotti boys and most recently, Pauly D of Jersey Shore, this look is popular in some East Coast states, especially in Brooklyn.  So much so that this is sometimes called The Brooklyn Fade.  It's like a high-top fade, except for mostly young Italian-American men on the East Coast, and in the 2000's.

To make this super gelled douchy look even douchier than it already is, simply bleach the tips for the frosted tips look.


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January 25, 2011
Just an FYI, a HUGE percentage (I'm thinking nearly 100%) of all Japanese Rock bands in the Visual-Kei genre for the heavy stuff, or Oshare for the more poppy stuff) ALL boast the glam-rock dos. Some variations, but more or less, it's all glam-rock. And in addition, where I work there is a guy who has turned his rat tail into what I like to call a rat-lock. (Dread tail?) It's literally a rat tail grown long enough to the point that it is now a single, solitary dread lock of it's own. I feel like I have to gag every time I see it.
April 05, 2011
Rat-lock? *cringe* I quite like those visual-kei 'dos though. They're pretty funky!
 
November 03, 2010
I sported a pompadour and sideburns back in high school. Now I've got really short and really thin hair, so if I don't have my head shaved, I have it very, very close cropped. In other words, my hairstyle is skull! Fun list!
December 15, 2010
Thanks, K! Hahaha, I hope you documented your hairstyles :P
 
October 27, 2010
Hey, I wore the mullet in the 80's & I never got so many compliments from the guys in my life! Long live the mullet!!
October 27, 2010
Haha, pics please!  By the way, have you checked out this mullet list?  Were you sporting the femullet? :P
 
October 26, 2010
Great list... not sure which one i should try first.
October 27, 2010
Thanks, Jim! Realistically, working with what you've got now, I could see you sporting the pompadour, a mini rattail, the fauxhawk, and even a blowout :P
 
October 26, 2010
Haha, this is really awesome!
October 26, 2010
Ha, thanks, Tu!
 
October 26, 2010
Thank you for not talking about "The Rachael" from Friends. The Bowl cut is also leant to Patrick Troughton from Dr. Who. The hi top fade is so late 80s and early 90s. It needs to come back.
October 26, 2010
The Rachel was pretty plain compared to the rest of these. Maybe another list! And ooooh yeah, Dr. Who! Don't know about the hi-top fade coming back though ;P
 
October 26, 2010
huh? I couldn't reply to your question under my comment--but anyway, the 2 styles I sported were #'s 13 and 15--I sported # 12 too I think LOL! woopak-style
October 26, 2010
Oh, we are working on fixing that comment bug! Woo with a blowout is something I'd kill to see!
 
October 25, 2010
Nice list.... What a crack up. You did leave out my do of choice in 1988, The Flat-Top! & yes, I rocked it, acne and all in my letterman jacket and rolled up jeans cruzin in JR's Orange & Blue (Westlake Warrior High colors) square back VW. Life was sooo good in 88.
October 26, 2010
Hahahahaha, I shared this list on Facebook and the one suggestion that I got from my friends was just that -- the flattop! Touted as "the high-top fade and blowout of white folks" and proceeded to show me a photo of Guile from Street Fighter. I don't know how I missed it, next list! I would kill to see a photo of you and J.R. in '88.  I heard there was a mullet involved :P
 
October 25, 2010
Tempted to get a fauxhawk.
October 26, 2010
Keane! I could totally see you rockin' it! And a bowl cut. And a pompadour. And perhaps even a.... blow out :P
 
October 25, 2010
This is hilarious. So funny and well written.
October 27, 2010
Thanks, Brew! :)
 
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When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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