From the 'Rachel' to the silky blowout, here's Jennifer Aniston's famous hair evolution

NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images and Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesJennifer Aniston: 1996 vs. 2006.
  • Jennifer Aniston‘s hair has been a longtime topic of discussion and adoration.
  • The actress has rocked many styles throughout her decades-long career in television and film.
  • Her tresses first made waves in 1995 after she rocked the “Rachel” haircut on NBC’S “Friends,” influencing hairstyles for the remainder of the ’90s and beyond.

For as long as Jennifer Aniston has been famous, people have been talking about her hair, impossibly silky, perfectly highlighted, and super versatile.

She first turned heads with the “Rachel,” the famous, angular haircut she rocked on the early seasons of “Friends.” Since then, Aniston’s hair has been under a microscope, with everyone eagerly awaiting what she (and longtime hair stylist Chris McMillan) will come up with next.

From the “Rachel” to a razor cut bob to blowouts galore, here’s the complete evolution of Jennifer Aniston’s picture-perfect hair.


1990: When Jennifer Aniston was just starting out as an actress, she rocked her natural, dark brown colour and wispy bangs.

Barry King/Liaison/Getty ImagesJennifer Aniston, 1990.

Aniston was 21 in 1990, and she had just scored a lead role on the short-lived “Ferris Bueller” sitcom, which ran from 1990-1991. She rocked her natural hair at the time: chestnut brown, voluminous, with a ’90s wispy bang.


1992: Aniston went even darker brown shortly before landing her role on “Friends.”

Jim Smeal/WireImageAniston in 1992.

Aniston went even darker brown in 1992, just two years shy of her life-changing turn as Rachel in “Friends.” During this period, she had minor roles in films like “Leprechaun” and TV shows like “The Edge,” but hadn’t yet had a breakthrough.


1994: She rocked a shorter length and beach waves during the first season of “Friends.”

Reisig & Taylor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesAniston in a publicity photo for ‘Friends,’ 1994.

Rachel Green as we know and love her was almost played by actress Courteney Cox (who went on to play Monica). But, as fate had it, Jennifer Aniston got the part – and our decades-long obsession with the star commenced. The first season of “Friends” began in 1994, and Aniston was working a shorter, lighter, and wavier ‘do at the time.


1995: Blonder highlights started to emerge, and Aniston’s crimped tresses fell well below the shoulder.

Art Zelin/Getty ImagesAniston in 1995.

It was around this time that Aniston met hair stylist Chris McMillan, with whom she still works closely to this day.

McMillan said, “I first created ‘The Rachel’ back when I met Jennifer, which was more than 20 years ago … I told her she should grow her fringe out, get some highlights and just try something a bit different.”

And what happened next was legendary.


1995: The “Rachel” made its debut, and shook salons across the country.

NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesAniston with the iconic haircut, the ‘Rachel.’

Named after her character on “Friends,” the ‘do that Aniston would become known for was worn throughout the second season of the show.

The intricate cut featured choppy layers, chunky blonde highlights, and a blown-out look, falling just above the collarbone. Aniston loved the cut when she first got it, according to McMillan, but she has since talked openly about her annoyance with the difficulty of maintaining it.

“I got that haircut, that was like, ‘Wow this is amazing,’ and then I was totally left with this frizzy mop on my head, because I had no idea how to do what he did,” Aniston said.


1995: The cut became a “gigantic presence in pop culture.”

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, IncLisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston.

A photo of Jennifer Aniston with the cut was featured in People’s “100 Best Celebrity Photos” book, and photographer Robert Trachtenberg called it “a gigantic presence in pop culture” in 1995.


1996: The “Rachel” started to grow out.

Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesJennifer Aniston on ‘Friends,’ 1996.

By the third season of “Friends,” the “Rachel” haircut was on its way out. In this still, Aniston’s harsh layers are starting to grow out, revealing a more full-bodied and luscious look.


1997: The star rocked her natural waves and a blonder colour.

KMazur/WireImageAniston in 1997.

With the “Rachel” fully grown out, Aniston began to rock a blonder colour overall. And at this appearance, she nixed Rachel’s signature silky blowout and rocked her natural texture.


1997: Aniston began experimenting with new hair styles, like this elegant updo.

Evan Agostini/LiaisonAniston in 1997.

1997: The longer hair allowed her versatility — she could wear her curly texture, or she could blow it out.

Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesAniston on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ in 1997.

Jennifer Aniston has amazing hair,” Chris McMillan said in an interview with Allure.


1998: She rocked wet-looking, curly tendrils.

Ron Galella Archive/Getty ImagesAniston in 1998.

Aniston’s hair in 1998 also had no visible layers, serving a stark contrast to the “Rachel.”


1998: She donned this piecey, whimsical updo with butterfly hair clips.

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireimageAniston in 1998.

Hair pulled back with butterfly clips was a super ’90s look, and many other stars – like Britney Spears and Mila Kunis – rocked it alongside Aniston.


1999: Aniston put her own spin on twisted curls by pinning lose, chunky tendrils to her head.

Mirek Towski/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesAniston and Brad Pitt.

Aniston and then boyfriend Brad Pitt hit the 1999 Emmys red carpet looking totally boho chic.


1999: She later got long, thick extensions.

Barry King/WireImageAniston and then-boyfriend Brad Pitt.

Aniston wore these super-long extensions in 1999, possibly for her role in the 1999 film “Office Space,” in which her character rocks a similar look.


2000: She kept them for the 6th annual SAG Awards.

Sam Levi/WireImageLisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, and Jennifer Aniston.

At this event, though, she wore her long locks curly, with a mini-braid thrown in.


2001: Aniston gave her look a total 180 with this sleek, blunt bob.

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireimageAniston in 2001.

Aniston gave the bob an elegant, sultry twist at the 27th People’s Choice Awards in January 2001.


2001: By the end of the year, Aniston wore a longer length and more pronounced highlights.

Vince Bucci/Getty ImagesAniston in 2001.

Aniston’s bob grew out, and in late 2001 she got blonder, more pronounced highlights to accompany her longer length and face-frame layers.

Chunky highlights like these were a popular hair trend in the early 2000s, and celebrities like Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera took them on, too.


2002: Just two years after marrying Brad Pitt, Aniston blended her highlights in with blonde hair.

Jim Spellman/WireImageAniston in 2002.

She wore her hair beachy and blonde at NBC’s 75th anniversary party in 2002.


2002: But not long after, she opted for an ombre look: dark brown roots and light, chestnut ends.

LEE CELANO/AFP/Getty ImagesAniston holds her Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in ‘Friends’ at the 54th Annual Emmy Awards in September 2002.

Aniston accepted her Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for “Friends” in September 2002. She wowed the red carpet by flaunting her dark brown roots and wavy chestnut hair, opting for a messy-chic look – a stark contrast to the sleek bob she donned just a year before.


2003: She went even darker, with a golden brown balayage.

Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImageAniston in 2003.

Aniston was ahead of her time when she debuted her golden brown balayage at the 29th People’s Choice Awards in 2003. The balayage is now a must-have for summer, what Business Insider previously defined as “soft, subtle highlights at your roots, leading to thicker, more dramatic colour at the tips.”


2003: She won a Golden Globe wearing this silky, sleek ponytail.

Dan MacMedan/WireImageAniston in 2003.

Aniston is known for keeping it classic and simple, and her shiny ponytail at the Golden Globe Awards in 2003 epitomized her style. After Aniston won a Globe for “Friends,” a reporter in the press room described her as having “perfect hair.


2004: She kept her balayage colouring, but got strong side bangs.

Vinnie Zuffante/Getty ImagesAniston at the premiere of ‘Along Came Polly’ in 2004.

During the final season of “Friends,” Aniston donned these blunt, side-swept bangs. She also began to add chunkier layers again, but kept her darker colour.


2004: She blended her bangs with the rest of her hair as they grew out, feathering the layers away from her face.

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesAniston in 2004.

Only Jennifer Aniston could make growing out your bangs look this seamless.


2005: Back to blonde.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for GQAniston in 2005.

Around 2005 is when Jennifer Aniston began to hone her signature hair, and its style and colour hasn’t changed too much since then.


2008: She stayed sandy blonde, but went a bit longer.

James Devaney/WireImageAniston in 2008.

Though her hair stayed consistently blonde for the next few years, Aniston reverted to her long locks (think 1990, 2000) around 2008.


2010: She established her signature length, and added some lowlights.

Steve Granitz/WireImageAniston in 2010.

Aniston began her transition away from blonde hair by adding light brown lowlights in 2010. Her hairstyle, however – replete with simple layers around the face and tapered ends – stayed the same.


2014: Aniston began to subtly ween herself from super blonde locks, and has since opted for a natural, dirty blonde colour.

Kevin Mazur/PMA2014/WireImageAniston in 2014.

This length seems to be her sweet spot, as of late.


2018: Aniston was glowing at the premiere of “Dumplin’.”

Michael Tran/FilmMagicJennifer Aniston in 2018.

Aniston’s latest endeavour is “Dumplin’,” a Netflix film about a former beauty queen running her own pageant. She looked glowing at the premiere in December 2018, rocking a more golden hair colour and full-bodied waves – a look that can only be described as quintessentially Aniston.


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