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What the creator of ‘The Rachel’ cut wishes everyone knew about styling their hair


the rachel hair tips Pin It
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Few looks epitomize the ’90s (besides chokers and chunky shoes) quite like “The Rachel.” Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel Green debuted the shoulder-length, layered haircut during Friends‘ first season—and legions of copycats soon marched into their home salons with clipped photos of the star in order to follow suit. Chances are even your hip aunt rocked the bouncy chop.

But while Friends lovers were embracing their new ‘dos, Aniston herself was less than thrilled with the look. Michael Canalé, Aniston’s longtime colorist who created the iconic look along with stylist Chris McMillan, tells me it was Aniston’s least favorite style. (And Aniston herself has said that once she was left alone with a blow dryer and a round brush, she had no idea how to recreate it.)

Aniston herself has said that once she was left alone with a blow dryer and a round brush, she had no idea how to recreate.

“In actuality, it’s not until it started getting longer that we got more of a drag in the front section” and it became easier for Aniston to style, Canalé says. “Then three years into it, she had one length and a center part that was no maintenance.” (Now, nearly two decades later, a center part is the model-approved solution for no-fuss hair.)

Seemingly always one step ahead (there’s a reason A-list clients like Penelope Cruz, Hedi Klum, and Shakira entrust their locks to him), Canalé shares what he thinks will be the next big trends in hair-care.

Keep reading for the stylist’s top tips for finding the best hair style for you.

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Hair tips from the rachel creator
Photo: Facebook/Friends (TV Show)

1. Embrace your natural hair

Canalé firmly believes the next wave in hair care is all about staying true to your mane’s au naturel texture. “Work with the natural curl pattern of your hair,” he recommends. “Keep it soft and fluffy so it frames your face.”

This contrasts with the original Rachel cut, which was more of a “harsh look” (and styled to the nth degree) notes Canalé. So put away your flat iron and reach for the anti-frizz serum instead. And if your locks are naturally pin-straight, don’t worry—that’s what sea salt sprays are for.

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Hair tips from The Rachel creator
Photo: Facebook/Friends (TV Show)

2. Chop off the damage

Canalé thinks that all the balayage and ombré colors that have been trending are about to fade away. “The aggressive colors that have been going on for the past three to four years and the over-bleached hair are totally over,” he says.

Notice how so many celebs are rocking a chin- or shoulder-length bob? Canalé suspects it’s because their stylists wanted to get rid of the dead ends. “Rather than dealing with all the frazzled strands, you’re better off cutting it off and letting it grow back in healthy.”

Canalé doesn’t think you need to swear off highlights for good (he is a colorist, after all), but much like Rachel and Ross, your hair and bleach need to take a break. He’s even released a new line of products available on QVC (called Canalé, natch) that will keep your dyed locks healthy and vibrant between salon visits.

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Hair tips from The Rachel creator
Photo: Facebook/Friends (TV Show)

3. Pick your stylist wisely

The key to making sure you love your hair months after you got your fresh chop is finding a stylist who knows how to handle his scissors. “You still need that cutter that knows how to make the shape,” Canalé says.

Here’s why: “For 15 years, the trend had been petrified flatness,” so your stylist needed to know how to work with hot tools—not your hair’s natural wave, he notes. “But now it’s back to the educated hairdresser. You need someone who knows how to work with textures.” In other words, you need someone who will always be there for you when the rain starts to pour…or you just want to mix up your cut.

For more Friends love, here’s how Jennifer Aniston’s trainer gets the star’s body (and mind) in shape. And these are four things Courteney Cox does daily to bring out her beauty, naturally.