It began as an offshoot of the hardcore punk rockers of the mid to late 1980s. In the 90s it started to take off. By the early 2000s and even until this new decade starting from 2020, emo had become a cultural phenomenon and a prominent face of youth culture. And what sat above that face? Emo hair: the curiously low hanging bangs, swoop or flip that many of the artists in emo bands sported every day.
Emo hair is any kind of hairstyle that features a series of sharp or drooping blades of hair and can sometimes include more traditional punk elements as well. Because of how the style rails against convention while simultaneously aligning with the individual's unique sensitivity, it can be hard to define sometimes. This has been sported by one of the most famous musicians in 2020, Billie Eilish.
Good contextual color markers to look for are variations of black, purple, green, red, and dark blue. These will frequently combine with dyed black hair. In some cases, only the tips of someone's hair or a singular sweep of hair will be colored this way. Additionally, it's interesting to note the clothing accompaniments that will pair well with emo hair. These include black leather, denim, and bracelets that are frequently adorned with spikes, chains, or studs.
You'll also find dark or brooding graphics on t-shirts or the names of emo bands. There can also be spooky motifs on clothing that point to a person's shadow self, which they're expressing with pride. Part of the whole point of the emo movement is to reveal the deep feelings that most don't normally show. And usually, when making a stark statement, the purveyors of this style focus on what's shocking and dark.
The interesting thing about emo hair is that it can be taken out of the context of 'being emo' and serve other styles as well. Here, we'll go over some of the other looks and genres emo hair can serve or provide an interesting twist on.
The Metal Head
If you're into spikey angles and like thrashing beats in your ears, then a variation of emo hair might be for you. Most metalheads have different instances where they'll go 'full out' with their dress. During the day or at their jobs it may just be the emo hair plus some black earrings or a chain necklace.
When the music gets turned up at the venue though, you'll see white belts with metallic sculptures as front pieces, spiked collars, and plenty of ripped denim and chains in other places as well.
The Spooky American Gothic
Ever run into someone that looks like they're celebrating Halloween every single day? They may have some emo hair to go along with their make-up and outfit. This person frequently has logos from 'The Nightmare Before Christmas,' or other Tim Burton themed pieces.
They'll also feature a great deal of body paint depending on how bold they're going. Also, look for scary shirts that make you think (like ones with anatomical bone structure) and studded belts with dark artwork etched in.
This person doesn't want to 'stick it to the man' with rock and roll. They want it to be about what makes up the fabric of the music and how it makes them feel. Here the emo hair will go along with a stylish fitted cap and an alternative button-down shirt. Shorts will be do-it-yourself cut-off or be an interesting color of denim.
This is one of the more fashion-forward of the looks we've mentioned so far and there's a lot of diversity in how each outfit is comprised. Add to this some New Balance or suede shoes along with some slightly curated facial hair (if it's a man) and you've got the indie rocker.
The Intelligent, Cultured Emo
This look involves sweater vests and more designer clothes. The intelligent emo might be well-read and knows a lot about arts and culture. The emo hair may be more subtle and shorter. Also, vintage clothing maybe how this person presents in the daytime. Look for odd accents like their house key worn around their neck, or a shirt with a classic book cover graphic that they'll be able to bend your ear over.
There's also a good chance that if you ask this person about their top five concert experiences, they'll be about legendary artists that your parents might have listened to. This person might also be your barista.
The Ironic Fashionista
Because emo has taken on somewhat of a pariah-like status amongst the most trendy types (it always has to a degree), you'll occasionally see someone with emo hair that's experimentally dressed. Look for a person that looks very loud when they walk down the street. There's a Lady Gaga level of creativity in what they're wearing. It seems jarring, but the look makes sense and they wear it well.
They're probably incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to fashion or are devotedly artistic. The emo hair, in this case, shows that they're not afraid to wear their hair in a way that's 'off-trend,' because they look so good already.
The simplest way to create an emo hairstyle is to start with hair that is slightly overgrown or shaggy. Then trim all parts of the hair except for the front and bangs and taper the bangs so that you get a wedge-like effect in the front. This will descend down from the hair's natural part.
To go further you can color this wedge/sweep of hair so that it looks more like a colorful flag that emerges from the rest of the hair. The classic emo look will involve dying the rest of the hair black as a backdrop to the slanted longer section. Also, just because there's a 'classic look,' with emo doesn't mean that one has to stick to it strictly.
Other twists on the traditional emo style also work. To do this, look up 'rock and roll hair,' and take what you find too a little bit more extreme. Then you can add hair dye and involve metal components or beads. This, though it borders more on punk, is considered emo as well because emo has its roots in hardcore punk.
Finally, you can also throw temporary tattoos into the mix as well. Temporary tattoos on the back or side temples with dark imagery is signature emo expression.
Jane is news writer presenting the latest trending information as it's released. She's spends most of her time sourcing premium news from our top sources bringing fresh updates to her loyal subscribers. She loves ice-cream and her dog Sally!