It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Worst Hairstyles of the 80’s and 90’s

Jheri Curl (Lingered for Two Decades)

Rick James, the king of the Jheri Curls

At last it would be possible for everyone to have “good hair.” A variation of the relaxer, a jheri curl was probably the worst style option for black hair, like…ever. You had to keep your hair sopped with curl activator lest your hair poof like a poodle, and the greasy stuff got on clothes furniture, hands…it was just nasty. Plus…the smell. This style wouldn’t die easily though. It started in the 1970’s and stayed around until the 1990’s. Somebody should have held a funeral celebration for the jheri curl mullet. Lord knows many were glad to see it go.

The Basket Weave

If you ever wore such a style, you’re probably kicking yourself. Don’t worry, we all make mistakes. My basket weave braids are buried in the same grave that my gigantic, chunky hollow gold earrings are. The difficulty of such a style is obvious. You have to lift the entire flap of that beaver tail to wash your forehead, and boy oh boy, there would be hell to pay if you didn’t. Wouldn’t be enough Clearasil in the world to fix what would be growing underneath.

Asymmetrical Bobs

Okay I’m on the fence on this one. Asymmetrical bobs are okay when they looked like this…


But as with everything, someone would always take it to the extreme. I remember walking around the mall and seeing girls looking like this…

I mean, that’s what–three, four different lengths going on there? And let’s not discuss how much hot curling you had to do to keep up that style. Trust me, rollers were not going to cut it. Remember how hard it was when you wanted to grow that mess out to one length? I mean, which would you pick?!


Extreme Feather bangs and the Ridiculously Retarded Side Ponytail

Anyone who lived in a white neighborhood had a love/hate relationship with Aqua Net, the only hairspray that could effectively shellack the hair in place all day so you could look like all your “Becky” friends. How many way was this style a bad idea? Too many to count.

I’m convinced overuse of Aqua Net in the 1980’s is solely responsible for the depletion of the ozone.

The Gumby

What can I say…I mean, WHY?! I imagine this style came to be when a drunken barber accidentally tripped and stumbled when attempting to clean up a full flat top and then convinced the unfortunate patron that he did it on purpose.


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