Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you've probably seen an episode of Friends, the super-hit show that gave us all totally unrealistic expectations of New York apartment sizes, the amount of time grown adults have to hang out in coffee shops in the middle of the day, and the ease of breaking into the fashion industry from the ground up. Fun fun!
While all the friends had excellent hair (well, most of the time) It's undeniable that Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel had the most profound effect back in the 90's, when her bouncy locks inspired thousands of women to march into their stylists, demanding the same bouncy-yet-angular cut. It's high time we gave this hair icon's 10 seasons of on-screen haircuts as Rachel Green a critical look, and stacked em' all up to see which is the best. Which hairstyle will come out on top, and which will fall flat? Keep scrolling to find out!
She's got... so much hair in this season. She's 90% hair, 10% person. Yes, all that hair is very, very nice, shiny hair, but there's just... so much of it. Seriously, so much hair, to the extent that Jen's long face feels lost and pulled down by all that weight. For a character who is normally so uppidty, these super long locks feel like a little bit of an identity crisis. What are ya doing with this look, Rachel?
This season is pretty much season 4's hair, but a little bit longer. Rachel's ends are also a little straggly and not as polished soooooo kind of a meh look overall. Our girl could use a haircut.
Ah, the classic early 2000's flipped out bob! We generally prefer Rachel's mid-length hair - this look is a little too I-need-to-speak-to-your-manager-y for our taste. Even so, we respect the choice to make a big chop, and it does have a lot of fun & flippy movement (see the third gif for reference - ooh la la!)
Hey, look, Rachel discovered bangs. But why? Were the bangs her way of proving that she's still ~young n' cool~ after having her baby? And doesn't having all that hair in front of her eyes bother her? Bangs are a big life choice - we want more details on why this cut happened, writers!
Hey, remember when Rachel's hair had floof in season 1 and wasn't always in stick-straight layers? We miss that. Though shiny as ever, her locks look almost over-styled - we doubt that her super-standardized middleish/sideish part would budge even if you dumped a bucket of water on it. While still objectively well styled and healthy looking, this season's hair was ultimately kind of forgettable - no one really says, "HEY, you know when Jennifer Aniston had amazing hair? Season 4 of Friends!"
Jen's hair is a little darker (again - see Season 3)! And she's experimenting with not having it totally perfect all the time (again - see Seasons 1 and 8)! Season 9 is notable mostly for Rachel's moments of experimentation, which really is fun to watch since she's had her hair long and straight for sooo many seasons. A little playfulness never hurts, when choosing the way to style your hair!
Our girl is finally showing off her natural waves! Though you'd never know it from the super stick straightness of past seasons (HELLO, straightener induced heat damage?) Jennifer Aniston has quite a bit of natural curl in her hair. We super dig the beachy, effortless look she's got going on for much of this season - even when her hair is straightened, we think that her hair looks healthier than in past seasons.
Ya girl was definitely looking for an out from the Rachel by the end of season 2, but couldn't totally part ways with her iconic cut. The compromise? A longer but still super layered version of the same cut. While very sleek and shiny, this cut provided more volume than its later longer iterations, a big win for rounding out Jen's face. She also played around with some beautifully dark brunette lowlights for a minute that contrasted goooorgeously with her skin tone, but these didn't last for a super long time - blink while bingeing and you'll totally miss 'em.
Though she got the cut in Season 1, season 2 was when Rachel really became known for her namesake hairstyle. Gone were the fabulous updos and the low-stakes attitudes of season 1 hair; The Rachel required tons of maintenance and constant assistance from an on-set stylist. Jen apparently actually hated the look herself due to its ultra-neediness - she could never make it look good herself without a trained hair care professional to assist. Still, we've got to rank it highly - say what you will about the look today, but viewers sure did love this look at the time. Plus, that volume/bounce is undeniably amaaaazing.
S1 Rachel was an iconic 90's hair queen! Ms. Green began her hair journey with an admirable amount of floof, and many, many half-updos, both of which were winning strategies for rounding out her angular face. Truly a queen of artfully misplaced locks, Season 1's Rachel was never afraid to rock a few loose strands to suggest that she just woke up this fabulous. Making it look easy to look good is an art form - mad respect, S1 Rachel, mad respect.