Grazia June 1, 2021


beauty | hair



We tapped a hairstylist to find out how to embrace the 'Friends' star's famous look into the 2020s

June 1, 2021: If there’s one massive cultural impact that Friends had on the world, it’s “The Rachel” hairstyle. Jennifer Aniston debuted the famous haircut during the show’s twentieth episode, and it emerged to be the beauty game-changer the series needed. 

“I first created ‘The Rachel’ back when I met Jennifer, which was more than 20 years ago,” hairstylist Chris McMillan told The Telegraph back in 2016. Aniston was rocking a heavy fringe at the time, and the hairstylist convinced her to try something new. “I told her she should grow her fringe out, get some highlights and just try something a bit different,” he shared. “We cut the length and added in all these layers to blend the bottom to the bangs — and the rest is history.” 

Considering the 90s is alive and well right now, it’s no surprise that interest in recreating one of the most popular styles of the decade, “‘The Rachel,’ is a bouncy, medium-length style that hits the shoulders with lots of movement,” says Amy Abramite, creative director and stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “The layers create volume in the crown, soft face-framing, and airy pieces that flip out towards the bottom.” 

Naturally, we had to ask how to modernize the hairstyle. “I recommend extending the overall lengths beyond the collar bone, and the addition of [a] curtain bang with a middle part to sweep away from the face,” she suggests. While ‘The Rachel’ is a shoulder-grazing style, you’ll want to be sure to ask your stylist to give a modern shag style, with longer layers. Curtain bangs are all the rage right now and,  according to Abramite’s expert insight, it  may be time to jump on the bandwagon.

All that said,  Aniston was not a fan of her famous haircut, necessarily.  In 2011, Aniston told Allure: “I think it was the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen.” Two years later, she told Marie Claire, “I’d curse Chris every time I had to blow dry. It took three brushes—it was like doing surgery!”

“It was an easy cut, but it needed regular trims to keep the layers looking sharp,” McMillan told the Telegraph. “It’s high-maintenance, not a wash-and-go style.” If you’re looking to figure out how to maintain your modern Rachel (the Raquel?), it’s all about great products. “Apply a volumizing spray to the roots through to the ends, [and] use a large brush to blow dry the layers under and toward the face for lift and bounce,” advises Abramite. “Finish with a texturizing spray to separate layers for movement.” If you need help picking one, we’ve got you covered: