While beauty trends come and go, one thing’s for certain - ‘The Rachel’ is forever. Because when Jennifer Aniston debuted her gorgeous highlighted, layered hairstyle on the ’90s sitcom Friends (heard of it?), a hair icon was born.
And, although Rachel Green’s hair evolved during the 10 years Friends was filmed, it continues to be THE go-to hairstyle to copy. Those picture-perfect, Golden Globe-worthy California-style highlights have launched millions of “make mine like hers” hair requests – and it doesn’t look like the trend is slowing down anytime soon.
How do we know? Because we spoke to the hands behind Hollywood's famous highlighted locks, celebrity hairstylist Michael Canalé, who is Jennifer’s long-time colourist and co-creator of ‘The Rachel’ (Chris McMillan was the wizard behind the cut). And Canalé (who also looks after celebs such as Kate Hudson and Heidi Klum), confirmed that 25 years later, people all around the world still can’t get enough of the famous style.
“As I travel to my nine different locations around the country every month, I still see similar haircuts to ‘The Rachel’,” he says. “From the one-length, chin-line bob, to layered cuts similar to ‘The Rachel’, they all seem to have that signature colour pop around the front, and a little colour exaggerated in the tips.”
See, we told you!
How did ‘The Rachel’ come about?
So, how does one go about creating one of the most iconic celebrity hairstyles ever? Well, you might not know this, but while Jen Aniston's highlighted locks look every bit ‘she’s born with it’, she’s actually a natural brunette. “When Jennifer first came to me more than 20 years ago, she was virtually unknown, and had medium brown hair at the time, a little past shoulder length,” says Canalé. “I decided to switch her out from her natural brown to a sun-kissed blonde look with feather-thin highlights right around her face – a colour that looked like she loved being on the beach.”
And so ‘The Rachel’ was born. “I saw her every five weeks after that – and still do today. I pull the colour from root to end to create a graduation of dark to light – and always keep the hairline freshly done; that really is my signature.” Yep, you read it correctly – every five weeks. When you’re constantly in the spotlight and have such famous locks, you’re going to bet the upkeep is strict! Keeping your hair looking like it has been naturally lightened by the sun is no easy feat!
Why is it still such a popular hairstyle?
Not many hairstyles can make it all the way from the ’90s and still look good (we’re looking at you, heavily hairsprayed tendrils), so what is it about ‘The Rachel’ that makes it so darn timeless? “I think people love it because all these years later, it still feels like it’s fresh and original,” says Canalé. “It also feels and looks ageless to me. She wore it well 20-plus years ago, and she’s deviated very little from it since then – a little longer sometimes, a little shorter, but the colouring and cut have stayed very true to that original style.
“I think that Jennifer has become such a style icon because she doesn’t go trendy. She’s a classic, and she knows it. She skews toward the completely natural, sun-kissed look, and doesn’t force anything – it’s what I love about her. And in a world of always evolving trends, Jennifer is not following them – but actually leading the trend by staying classic.”
Anyone else hoping for a Friends reunion right now?! Best. TV show. Ever.
Can't get enough of Friends stars? Check out Monica's...ahem, Courteney Cox's dramatic cosmetic surgery evolution.
What’s one celebrity hairstyle you want to copy? Let us know in the comment section below.
Main image credit: Getty
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.