Emo Hairstyles: Rock Music Applied to Hair

Emo hairstyles have their origin back in the early 1980s in Washington D.C. Hardcore punk was becoming a music form increasingly associated with violence, and so emotional hardcore, a kind of punk-derived rock music, was born as a reaction against it.

That term to describe this new music form evolved to become emocore, and was eventually shortened further to just emo. The performers pushing this newly emerging music style also wanted their own distinctive look. They wanted the definition of emo to be something quite different from hardcore punk.

They experimented with clothes fashion and hairstyles, and the distinctive, heavy layered with long side bangs, often covering, or almost covering, one eye, became what is now known as emo hairstyles.
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Emo is for boys and girls

There are emo boys and emo girls. The funky hairstyles are not gender specific, though they are increasingly becoming more common with teenage girls than with any other group. The original emo look was one with fairly long hair, but short emo hair is now becoming the predominant style among young girls.


For boys, their typical chunky layered hairstyle has always been reasonably short. Emo boys tend to have more simple hairstyles than girls. It may seem unfair to say that boys have less sophisticated styles that girls, but that often appears to be the case. However, their simpler styles usually belie a complex and subtle sophistication that only becomes apparent upon closer inspection.

Girls tend to prefer a variety of color. Boys will usually have black as not only the predominating color, but quite often the only color. Girls often use black as the base color, but then often use an explosion of colors, or sometimes just a more reserved subtle shading of a few themed colors.


The typical characteristics of emo hairstyles

The emo style is a layered hairstyle. Straightening your hair is important. The hair is either naturally or deliberately straightened using a hair straightener. Cuts of uneven length, bangs and fringes are all common elements.

The typical emo style can be a kind of messy style that somehow is also appealing. It can appear to be haphazard, but it usually is not. Deliberately uneven and choppy layers with a kind of overall inflated look to the hair – almost like an explosion frozen in the first instant – is typical of the emo look.


Occasionally you can see something slightly reminiscent of a 1960s look, before the hippie movement took over, but it’s a fleeting thing. Hairstyles for emo people are very much their own and completely original, and not at all a copy of anything that went before.

Different kinds of emo hairstyles

There are beautiful short emo hairstyles, blonde emo hairstyles, funky hairstyles with unusual hair color and everything else in between. You can be surprisingly individual in your chosen style of hair, but still be instantly recognizable as being one of the emo boys or emo girls.


Long side bangs are a fairly typical style. The front is short with the top chunky and “alive,” instead of lying flat. The hair can be highlighted with two complementary colors for even greater impact. This is a kind of rebel style that works well for those with an extra spark of life.

A short style with hair no more than mid-neck length can have a heavy fringe over the forehead, unevenly cut. This kind of spiky look works well with a single color, often just black. It’s simple and subtle, but delivers a strong statement at the same time.

A kind of dual emo style is one where the hair is short at the front and long at the back. With uneven layers and a sweeping chunk covering one eye, this style can have a single color, two complementary colors or subtle shading.



An exaggerated uneven cut style makes a bold and memorable statement. The edges of the hair should be cut in a very deliberately uneven manner, with sudden contrast. This will give a spiky, almost unkempt look, but one that can immediately be seen to be deliberately engineered.

One of the most appealing features of emo hairstyles for boys and girls is the fact that there is no definitive style. There are only certain typical characteristics, but plenty of room of variation and experimentation. The definition of emo is still fun and originality. It is a style that has weathered many years, and looks set to weather many more to come.


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