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From Cara Delevingne’s Skrillex undercut to the Rihanna rat tail — the top 12 hairstyles that should never return

When golfer Cameron Smith won this year’s Open Championship while resembling Joe Exotic, it drew a lot of fresh attention to the 29-year-old’s mullet. The golf star has said his hairstyle was done for a laugh during the pandemic. But it’s now his good-luck charm much to the dismay of his girlfriend, and our eyeballs. Here are a dozen other epic hair-don’ts

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Women wearing 50s Rock n Roll styles, in Las Vegas.

Women wearing 50s Rock n Roll styles, in Las Vegas.

DJ Skrillex.

DJ Skrillex.

Youtuber and creator of Jeffree Star cosmetics; Jeffree Star.

Youtuber and creator of Jeffree Star cosmetics; Jeffree Star.

Actor/musician Jared Leto at the 2014 InStyle And Warner Bros.

Actor/musician Jared Leto at the 2014 InStyle And Warner Bros.

Brigitte Bardot as Cécile in 'Two Weeks In September.'

Brigitte Bardot as Cécile in 'Two Weeks In September.'

Singer Christina Aguilera.

Singer Christina Aguilera.

Ex Spice Girl now turned designer, Victoria Beckham.

Ex Spice Girl now turned designer, Victoria Beckham.

Cillian Murphy attends the 'Dunkirk' World Premiere in 2017.

Cillian Murphy attends the 'Dunkirk' World Premiere in 2017.

Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Jill in Charlie's Angels.

Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Jill in Charlie's Angels.

Mike Score of Flock of Seagulls.

Mike Score of Flock of Seagulls.

Country singer and Actress; Dolly Parton.

Country singer and Actress; Dolly Parton.

The American punk/psychobilly rock band The Cramps lead guitarist Poison Ivy.

The American punk/psychobilly rock band The Cramps lead guitarist Poison Ivy.

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Women wearing 50s Rock n Roll styles, in Las Vegas.

I struggled with including this one. Why? Because it requires a covetable level of “liathróidí” to sport — and it’s actually kind of cool. While similar to the bog-standard undercut of the early 1990s, this style — named after a US DJ — involves shaving one side of your head from the temple often around to the nape of the neck, while leaving the rest of your tresses flowing. It’s been repeatedly rocked by Cara Delevingne over the last few years... possibly because it’s a nightmare to grow out.

12 Skrillex undercut

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DJ Skrillex.

DJ Skrillex.

DJ Skrillex.

11 1990s ‘psychobilly’

We’re not referring to the enduring quiff, or anything overtly rockabilly in origin (both of which have stood the test of time in terms of coolness), but rather a haircut that was fierce prevalent among those attending Irish college or hanging out in front of the old Stillorgan Bowl circa 1992. Specifically, the look involved bomber jackets, Docs, and a buzzcut culminating in a fringe that sprouted beyond the nose and down to the chin. In order to see past it, wearers would have to give themselves whiplash every 15 seconds. It also got into their food, and severely in the way if and when canoodling someone smaller.

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The American punk/psychobilly rock band The Cramps lead guitarist Poison Ivy.

The American punk/psychobilly rock band The Cramps lead guitarist Poison Ivy.

The American punk/psychobilly rock band The Cramps lead guitarist Poison Ivy.

10 Scene hair

Anyone who went to gigs in the mid-to-late Noughties and early 2010s will be all too aware of “scene hair”. Favoured by Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner in 2006 — and Becky, the porcupine Ash’s boyfriend hooks up with in 2016 animated movie Sing — the Scene style was like a giant candyfloss mushroom that had whirlwinded itself onto one’s head. Simply put, it largely involved a massive sideswiped fringe swallowing up one side of your face.

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Youtuber and creator of Jeffree Star cosmetics; Jeffree Star.

Youtuber and creator of Jeffree Star cosmetics; Jeffree Star.

Youtuber and creator of Jeffree Star cosmetics; Jeffree Star.

9 Man buns

Even the mighty cheekbones of Jared Leto barely pulled this 2010s effort off.

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Actor/musician Jared Leto at the 2014 InStyle And Warner Bros.

Actor/musician Jared Leto at the 2014 InStyle And Warner Bros.

Actor/musician Jared Leto at the 2014 InStyle And Warner Bros.

8 The pouf

Some have referred to it as a ‘bouffant’, but that’s a disservice to the teased and tousled affair made iconic by the likes of Brigitte Bardot and the more structured Jackie O. Also, bouffants tend to get confused with beehives, which were brought back from the 1960s by Amy Winehouse. To be specific, the pouf we’re referring to here is Jersey Shore star Snooki’s speed-bump hair hump from the early Noughties, complete with perfectly parted fringe tendrils and poker-straight curtain of hair hanging past the shoulders. It can go from being sumptuously, classically feminine to instantly middle-aged in a squidge of hair gel — like the 1980s slick back, but on steroids. Unfortunately, the pouf is seeing a resurgence, with Anne Hathaway rocking a less severe version at this year’s Cannes Festival, plus an increasing cohort of TikTokers offering tutorials.

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Brigitte Bardot as Cécile in 'Two Weeks In September.'

Brigitte Bardot as Cécile in 'Two Weeks In September.'

Brigitte Bardot as Cécile in 'Two Weeks In September.'

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7 Crimped hair

Forget your fancy crimping irons, late 1980s stalwarts of this style often spent a day foraging for teeny rubber bands and weaving miniature plaits into their own wet hair (dead arms be damned) before sleeping on it overnight. The following morning, the great unfurling would begin, whereupon your hair would be “frizzed” — until you went outside into the Irish weather and your 24 hours of toil often flitted away in the flash of an eye. Again, there is a faction on TikTok trying to make crimped hair a thing — particularly on long locks.

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Singer Christina Aguilera.

Singer Christina Aguilera.

Singer Christina Aguilera.

6 Asymmetrical cut

Some say the asymmetrical cropped bob, as sported by Victoria Beckham in her Noughties blonde phase, will never go out of fashion — and, to a certain extent, that’s true. However, it must be murder to maintain. Once it gets to that mid-length stage it starts to look less edgy and more like a chance encounter with a rogue hedge strimmer.

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Ex Spice Girl now turned designer, Victoria Beckham.

Ex Spice Girl now turned designer, Victoria Beckham.

Ex Spice Girl now turned designer, Victoria Beckham.

5 The bowl cut

Exactly what it says on the tin. Unfortunately it has seen something of a comeback, largely thanks to Peaky Blinders character Thomas Shelby. Cillian Murphy can make anything look good, but everyone else should steer clear.

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Cillian Murphy attends the 'Dunkirk' World Premiere in 2017.

Cillian Murphy attends the 'Dunkirk' World Premiere in 2017.

Cillian Murphy attends the 'Dunkirk' World Premiere in 2017.

4 Feathered hair

Big ballads. Big shoulder pads. Big earrings... Just some of the big things from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Between the proliferation of large statement jewellery and sizeable poofy clothes, it’s a wonder there was room for something even bigger during said period — that being the hair. It was Farrah Fawcett’s feathered hairdo that opened the gates for locks to be hot-curled and hairsprayed to the point of resembling a nuclear plume. Keep an eye out for the return of huge hair thanks to Stranger Things.

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Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Jill in Charlie's Angels.

Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Jill in Charlie's Angels.

Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Jill in Charlie's Angels.

3 Rat tails

Undoubtedly, the practice of buzz-cutting one’s hair but making the choice to leave an ever-lengthening ringlet at the back originated in various cultures, but the conscious decision to randomly adopt said look in the 21st century is confusing at best. Still favoured in parts of Spain, the Americas, and Australia, the rat tail first became popularised in the West during the 1980s. And, unless it is inherent to your perception of virility, that is where it should stay. Despite this, the likes of Rihanna and Shia LaBeouf tried bringing the rat tail back to the fore back in 2014. The latter even plaited his. Shudder.

2 A Flock of Seagulls

Where does one begin? The long, flat, straight bit at the front? The horned wings on each side? The invariable mullet at the back? Either way, Mike Score, the frontman of 1980s Liverpudlian new wave music group A Flock of Seagulls, was the main purveyor of this hairdo abomination, leading to innumerable males of a certain vintage robbing their mother’s stash of Elnett. The rest ran (so far away)…

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Mike Score of Flock of Seagulls.

Mike Score of Flock of Seagulls.

Mike Score of Flock of Seagulls.

1 Perms

Hot perm, cold perm, body wave, demi wave, beach wave, digital, spiral, stack, and volumising... what have they all got in common? The smell... God, the smell. If the sulphuric stench of getting a perm wasn’t enough to floor you, the price of it would. That and the fact that you are committing to the same hairstyle for three-to-six months. Horrifying. On many levels.

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Country singer and Actress; Dolly Parton.

Country singer and Actress; Dolly Parton.

Country singer and Actress; Dolly Parton.


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