Since 1994 the fabulous trio of beautiful female Friends, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe have offered their loyal fans ongoing hair styling examples and inspiration as they made TV and fashion history.
Throughout the course of the wildly popular series all three of these lovely ladies have entertained us with their onscreen antics and constantly changing locks.
They have also become hair, beauty and fashion icons as a result of their different styles.
The eponymous haircut sprung from the series. Known as "The Rachel" in honor of Jennifer Aniston's character - Rachel Green - the chin length bouncy layered square bob took the entire world by storm.
It was introduced in Season 1 of the Friends series. As a result, many women and yes, even men, stormed their hairdressers and demanded a copycat cut.
The Rachel was created for Jennifer by her celebrity hairstylist, Chris McMillan in Los Angeles, California.
Due to the popularity of the cut, Jennifer Aniston grew tired of discussing her hairstyle worrying that she was not being taken seriously as an actress due to the distraction of her tresses.
As a result, Jennifer only wore The Rachel for the first and second season of Friends before changing it to a longer layered style which she has favored off and on for the years since she stopped wearing The Rachel.
In the second season episode "The One With the Lesbian Wedding" Jennifer as Rachel bemoans the fact that her mother, played by Marlo Thomas, was trying to copy her life and lamented "couldn't she just copy my haircut?".
Although rumor has it that contractual requirements keep the threesome from altering their manes too drastically, they still manage to change their strands in a variety of subtle but noticeable ways.
Celebrity Cuts & Face Shapes
Ironically, not everyone who rushed to have their tresses cut into The Rachel was happy with the results.
Why? If their face shape, hair type, texture, condition or body type was not compatible with the layered Bob hairstyle, it was simply not flattering for them. It might have looked spectacular on Jennifer but maybe not so much for them.
Bottom line, when selecting a new hairstyle, regardless of whether it looks great on a celebrity or not, the basic face shape must be taken into consideration.
Yes, it's important to consider hair type, texture, condition and other factors, but face shape is key to creating a great hairstyle.
Basic Face Shapes
Many stylists hold the belief that there are four basic face shapes: oval, round, square and heart.
Other hair experts include the rectangle, triangle, pear and diamond shape which are modifications of the primary shapes.
For more information check out: Men's Face Shapes Secrets & Tips.
Although it may seem simple to pick from one of the four options, identifying your own face shape can often be challenging. This is because the majority of people, even celebrities, do not have classic shapes. It is my belief after years of studying this subject that it is rare to find a human face that fits into the classic shapes.
It is actually more common than not, for face shapes to take on the characteristics of more than one type.
Often faces combine multiple shapes to evolve into their own unique shape.
As an example, you might find an oval face shape with a slightly pointed chin or hints of squared lines along the jaw or near the cheekbones. Or an oval face might be elongated and thus fit into the rectangular box as well.
Face shapes will also change according to weight gain or loss, age or plastic surgery or soft injectibles. A square face might lengthen over time, a heart shape might become more rounded or a round face may become square.
Avoid Face Shape Limitation
One thing is certain. Most stylists do not limit styling options based on facial definition. In today’s world, anything goes.
Is there a basic rule of thumb for the primary shapes? Although stylists differ based on their own opinion, most agree that classic round shapes need minimizing, heart and long face shapes need width, while square faces generally benefit from softening. Ultimately the goal of any style should be to flatter you regardless of the shape or multiple shapes of your face.
An optimal starting point for finding a great style for your facial shape is to observe what the celebrities do.
Not only do celebs have some of the most talented stylists such as (the now deceased) John Sahag, Chris McMillan and John Barrett working round the clock to make their hair beautiful, the camera doesn’t hide any major flaws.
A great hair cut combined with perfect color, highlights or lowlights can hide a multitude of sins, which is why the celebrity hairdressers are paid a ransom for their expertise.
Of course not everyone loved the famous haircut but the majority did. Which brings up the questions, why did The Rachel look so great on Jennifer? It was designed by Chris to soften her prominent square shaped chin with lots of fingers of hair. It also extended slightly below the end of her chin which softened the entire lower face.
The Rachel was enhanced with perfect highlights and lowlights which helped to define the style's shapes and layers to perfection.
Although some experts claim Jennifer has a classic heart shaped face, it is hard to agree to that hypothesis.
If you look closer you might surmise that Jennifer’s face is not a classic heart but also appears slightly rounded. Also, most heart shaped faces have a definite point to the chin, which tends to have a delicate look. This is not true for the lovely Jen.
While her face is definitely widest along the temples and top of her cheekbones, which is definitely a heart shape, she had an elongated chin that has a pronounced square.
At times, depending on how she wears her hair, she appears to have an oval face/rectangular face shape.
Note: For more information refer to: Jennifer Aniston: Hair Notes
Famous for her natural waves and curls, Jennifer has run the gamut from her short bob-like straightened Rachel to very long natural wavy locks that she wore for her spectacular wedding her now ex-husband, Brad Pitt.
Right after her nuptials Jen went much shorter with a shaggy bob she slower grew longer.
Various hair experts speculated her wedding hair was possibly lengthened with hair extensions which would have required removal after her stint as a bride.
Famous for her natural waves and curls, Jennifer has run the gamut from her short bob-like straightened Rachel to her very long natural wavy locks that she wore for her spectacular wedding to the luscious Mr. Pitt.
If indeed her hair had been enhanced with hair extensions, it would explain that transition.
For the 2002-2003 season of Friends Jennifer (shown to the side) was sporting a soft, sleek wavy style that is parted in the middle.
Jennifer’s longer layers originate at her chin, flowing downwards below her shoulders, which helps to weigh down her natural waves yet get movement and definition.
Jen’s sophisticated Friend's style for 2002-2003 also countered her prominent chin with the extra volume that flicked outwards right below her chin.
Heart Shape Style Suggestions
The hot "Rachel" hairstyle was a classic bob designed to give Jennifer more fullness and de-emphasize her chin. Hair length is important when trying to flatter a heart shape. The narrow angles of the face can be countered with the extra volume of a layered or choppy bob, which optionally flicks outwards at chin level.
The use of different light and dark hues have been brilliantly utilized in many of Jennifer's style (shown to the side) to minimize sharp focal points and give the illusion of body and movement near her chin.
Super short or severe bobs that accentuate a prominent heart shaped face should be avoided when possible.
The ideal hair length should fall somewhere between the shoulders and the bottom of your ear lobe. Styles that are too long can also be unflattering since they may tend to push the chin out making it seem overly prominent.
Courteney Cox Arquette
When the casting was underway for Friends, Courteney (Court to her friends) was asked to read for the part of Rachel Green.
Instead she was ultimately given the part of Monica Geller which she played to perfection, winning many nominations and awards along the way.
While Jennifer was taking the world by storm with her Rachel, Courteney as Monica Geller was sporting her own take on a short classic Bob
A classic beauty, Courteney has an angular facial shape that appears to change shapes with every hairstyle she adopts.
Depending on the length of her hair, her face shape appears to be a combination of square and heart shapes. The shorter her hair, the more square her face appears. As her career expanded into the world of the Scream movies she became more adventurous with her tresses. Who could ever forget the teeny tiny baby bangs that she wore in Scream 3?
For the current season of Friends Courteney is wearing her deep chocolate tresses slightly below shoulder length with shaggy, shattered warm auburn kissed layers that start slightly below the cheekbones.
Although she has let her hair grow much longer over the past few years her celebrity hair stylists, Chris McMillan and Robert Hallowell, have added depth and softness to her medium textured hair with angled layers that curve in towards her face. A hint of highlights are always present.
Courteney’s hairstyle from 2002 was worn without bangs and appeared thick, lush and full of movement. Her soft-layered look was just right for her type hair and her facial shape.
Square Shape Style Suggestions
The choppy layers with irregularly razored pieces that Courteney wore for the 2002 season of Friends was a perfect example of how to softly disconnect sharp square or angular face shapes.
Square shaped faces generally look stunning with a classic asymmetrical cut that instantly softens angles. Longer styles that defocus harsh lines are preferable to short or angled styles. Even better are styles that fall into soft curls or waves that nestle right at the shoulders. Add some flattering longer pieces that break up a square face shape and give the illusion of a more rounded chin.
Use warmer hair color shades of blonde and gold like Courteney to compliment a strong jawline.
Color is a wonderful tool for drawing attention away from any sharp angles and directing focus to beautiful eyes or lips. When in doubt always go lighter than darker.
Lovely blonde Lisa has a long face with a slightly prominent chin.
The best style for Lisa is layered side-swept bangs that help soften her high forehead. Bangs cuts at different lengths offer a myriad of styling options. (Photo of Lisa Kudrow - 10/99 - courtesy of NBC - all rights reserved).
Lisa started life as Phoebe with a very long center parted hippie-girl look befitting her quirky character. While the look was a perfect compliment to her on-screen personality, the style accentuated Lisa’s long face.
Like her other Friends, Lisa as Phoebe has evolved into a much more sophisticated and flattering hairstyle for the current season.
Looking stunning in her new shoulder-length softly layered style, Lisa’s high forehead is camouflaged with longish side-swept bangs.
Her shoulder dusting length adds volume and softly rounds out her face. The Phoebe character is the most adventurous of the three female Friends often appearing in chic hair twists, sizzling updos and a wide range of the latest hair accessories and jewels.
Long bangs and layers give her many styling options from her famous "pineapple" messy updo to the various clips she appears to love.
Long Shape Style Suggestions
There is some debate about whether long faces can wear a Bob. For some a Bob can work quite well and for others it is the kiss of death. Don't commit to a Bob until you are sure it works for your own face shape. (Photo from 2001 - courtesy of NBC - all rights reserved).
A softly cut wavy or curly longish bob can work for some with a thin face and prominent chin like Lisa.
An off-center part is also an option for adding instant width to a narrow face. The key is to avoid volume at the crown but add it near the sides of your face.
For those wishing for shorter hair, a wavy or curly bob with an off-center part adds width to a narrow face. (Avoid blunt cuts that fall above the chin. Short blunt cuts can magnify the long length of your face.
Although bangs can work wonders for thin faces, avoid short choppy or face lengthening bangs. Bangs can actually be utilized by any type of face shape as an instant remedy. Having bangs can give a new look without a major change.
Other Facial Shape Suggestions
Some general rules of thumb include the fact that disconnected layers work for heart shapes or prominent chins and off-center parts can fix a variety of challenges from slimming broad faces and providing defocus. Face-framing pieces that fall below the jaw line can also create movement and flow as well as adding needed fullness or softness.
Oval Face Shapes
Oval faces generally look good in most lengths or hairstyles. The key to finding a great style for oval shapes is to focus on your best features from skin condition and tone to eyes and lips. Hair color should be carefully considered and used as a light contrasting tool only.
A true round shape is considered rare. Although many people consider their faces to be round, in reality they are often mistaken. Many times hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep or the wrong haircut will give the mistaken illusion of roundness.
Round Face Shapes
Round faces have more challenges but generally look good in longer, wispy face-framing layers or in a sleek style with softly fringed side sweeping bangs and worn in a straight shoulder or longer length.
When in doubt, go longer instead of shorter. While a little volume is a good thing to add length, avoid any style that adds major width or excessive height. When appropriate, wear your hair swept off your face to break up the roundness and open up your cheekbones and eyes.
Bright bold irregularly placed highlights can be utilized to minimize round cheeks or double chins while giving more facial definition.
Pear Face Shapes
Pear shaped faces are considered rare along with the diamond and triangular shapes. Pear shaped faces traditionally have a narrow forehead and wide chin that can be balanced with styles that add width to the chin area and minimize the forehead. Styles that can be brushed off the face are often a good choice. Avoid adding curls or waves that will widen the jaw or chin line.
For other shapes it is important to remember to minimize wide or full areas and widen thin or long areas. Ask your stylist to deploy color and cuts that work for your own challenges.
Whether you have a rounded heart shaped face like Jennifer, a square face like Courteney or a thin long face like Lisa, there are many ways you can enhance your look through a great style.