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Emo Hair | What It Is & 30 Ways to Rock the Hairstyle

Let’s face it — emo hair is back in style. While we love the sadboi and girl vibes of the late 2000s, we didn’t love the hair. But things change, and it’s all the rage with the youths. Read on to learn all you need to know.

What Is Emo Hair?

The emo subculture became prevalent in the mid-1990s and remains popular to this day. Along with defining a type of music and clothing, having “emo hair” is also a significant feature of the style. But it’s more of a complete lifestyle than just a haircut.

Emo describes a type of rock music that has deep, emotional lyrics. There’s a specific look associated with emo bands and their fans. The emo aesthetic includes:

  • Ripped skinny jeans
  • Band t-shirts
  • Black hoodies
  • Converse or combat boots
  • Black nail polish for guys and girls

These days, not all people who dress like this are interested in emo music—they may just love the fashion. Matching with this style of clothing are specific hairstyles.

The general look of emo hair is dark or dyed black hair with long bangs sweeping across the forehead. But there are variations of this look that you’ll learn more about.

Emo Hair Inspiration

You’re not limited to a specific look with emo hair. Here are 30 variations of the style to show the world that you’re a big, emotional mess.

1. Classic Side-Swept Bangs

Emo hairstyle of side-swept bangs on a guy in a black shirt

Kent Weakley/Shutterstock

This look is classic emo hair, with long bangs swept across the forehead. Your hair completely covers your forehead, and it might even cover your eye. The beauty of these bangs is that you can pair them with any hair length and still convey the emo look.

2. Long Hair With Bangs

Long Emo Hair With Bangs standing against a brick wall

Focus and Blur/Shutterstock

Not all emo hair needs to be short. Long hair on guys might fit the rock or metal subcultures better than emo, but girls can have long hair with striking bangs and still look emo. These bangs are only slightly longer than classic bangs, but you can comb them to the side for more of an “emotional” look.

3. Long Bangs for Girls

Long bangs for girls on emo hair while girl growls and holds her ears


Side-swept bangs are a staple for emo hair, but any thick bangs that hide your forehead can look the part. Long, thick bangs for girls will hang in your eyes slightly, but you can comb them to the side for a versatile look.

4. Long Bangs for Guys

Young angsty teen not smiling while his emo hair swoops over the right eye

Anton Zabielskyi/Shutterstock

While girls with long bangs usually have longer hair completing the look, the style is different for guys. Long bangs for guys mean your hair is often just as long as your bangs. If you comb the bangs forward, they’ll stand out from the rest of your hair and look very emo.

5. Bangs With a Buzz Cut

Teen girl with purple emo hair that's shaved on the left side grins with an eyebrow ring in a white room


Bangs are the statement piece of classic emo hair, and this style is taking that to the extreme. Pairing long bangs with a buzz cut ensures that your side-swept hair takes center stage. This style looks awesome on both guys and girls.

6. Choppy Chunks

Close up of a girl with multi-colored emo hair in pink and orange with snake bit piercings looking at the camera


You don’t have to have drastic black hair to pull off the emo look. A choppy haircut with brightly colored chunks will make you stand out in a crowd. You’ll notice that this style still has long, side-swept bangs, but the overall look is different than the standard emo hair.

7. Bob With a Hat

Emo hairstyle on a girl in a beanie with big turtle glasses and ripped jeans


The perk of this style is that you can pull it off regardless of what your haircut looks like. Completing your outfit with a hat can make you look sleek and pulled together. Pull the hat low over your forehead to get the emo look you want.

8. Vivid Colors

Portrait of a girl with bright purple emo hair crossing her arms in a black shirt and leaning against a wall

Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock

This is another example of breaking the norm of dyed black for emo hair. A full head of brightly colored hair will grab the attention of anyone you encounter. Pick a color that expresses your personality and dye your hair at home or go to a salon to get the complete treatment.

9. Bright Bangs

Pale skinned emo teen in a black and white striped shirt with a chain around her neck wearing a glove and thigh-high socks

Juan David Ferrando/Shutterstock

If you don’t want to commit to a full head of dyed hair, brightening your bangs can make a powerful statement. With this look, most of your long hair stays your natural color or black. You’ll dye the side-swept bangs, and perhaps some longer strands, a bright color to make your emo hair pop.

10. Color Transition

Girl with green and teal emo hair letting it fall on her face above her eyes wearing a choker and no top

Sergey Malov/Shutterstock

This haircut is a basic emo style, with long bangs hanging in your eyes, but the color is incredibly unique. It starts dark and transitions to a lighter shade at the ends. You can do this in different ways:

  • Go dark at your roots and light at the tips
  • Start dark at the back of your head and use the light color to frame your face
  • Go light at your roots and transition to dark ends

11. Colored Highlights for Short Hair

Emo hair with purple highlights and a long shag bob on a pale skinned woman in a red fur coat


Adding highlights is another way to add interest to your look without committing to a full head of color. Highlights are traditionally a shade or two lighter than your natural color. For emo hair, there are no limits when it comes to what color you can use for highlights.

12. Colored Highlights for Long Hair

Girl with a striped black and white shirt with a black striped waist garter licking her finger while lying on the ground

Juan David Ferrando/Shutterstock

Just as colored highlights work for short hair, they can also look stunning in long hair. You can choose to have highlights frame your face or place them periodically throughout all of your hair. You can keep them short or have them run the entire length of your strands.

13. Dyed Streak

Long bang woman in a blue square tile room with long pink emo hair that flows over her eyes

Anton Zabielskyi/Shutterstock

Streaks are more subtle than highlights, dying only a single portion of your hair. You can add dyed streaks to your hair regardless of length. While you can have highlights all over, you’ll typically only do one streak in your hair.

14. Dyed Side-Swept Bangs for Short Hair

Dyed Side-Swept Bangs for Short Hair

Kent Weakley/Shutterstock

You’ve seen how dyed bangs can stand out when contrasted with long, dark hair, but this look also looks good with short hair. If your hair and bangs are all the same length, adding color can help differentiate between the two.

15. Forward-Combed Sides

Forward combed-over emo hair on a guy in a black dragon shirt

Kent Weakley/Shutterstock

Side-swept bangs are a staple for emo hair, but you can also make a statement by combing the sides of your hair forward. This works best for guys or girls with short hair, as long strands will get in the way. You can apply hairspray to get the look to stay without having to comb it forward throughout the day. 

16. Inverted Bob

Purple hair inverted bob emo hairstyle on a gal in a purple plaid shirt

Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock

This is a fantastic look for emo girls because it can look different depending on how you dress. It can look sleek and professional or messy and cool. The back is short, often cut right to the back of your neck. Your hair gets longer as it goes forward, usually ending at or around chin-length.

17. Asymmetrical Bob for Girls

Asymmetrical bob emo haircut on a woman with mascara running down her eyes and putting a knife to her lip

Zastolskiy Victor/Shutterstock

The inverted bob is short in the back and longer in front. The asymmetrical bob is similar, but the style goes from side to side. Your hair on the left will be shorter than the hair on the right. You can comb your bangs to the longer side to accentuate this look.

18. Asymmetrical Bob for Guys

Asymmetrical Bob for Guys giving a real hawthorne heights emo hair vibe

Nikoleta Vukovic/Shutterstock

Guys can rock the asymmetrical bob, too. Having shorter hair on one side makes it easier to comb forward for a classic emo look. This, added to the side-swept bangs, will make the other side seem longer in comparison.

19. Choppy Blonde

Emo girl with a shag mullet with straight across bangs wears fake plastic purple pearls and a black and white tank


Emo hair isn’t limited to black or bright colors—you can go blonde as well. If you rock the classic style of side-swept bangs covering your forehead, even a light color will make you look emo.

20. Bright Balayage

Girl in a white shirt with bright green balayage green hair wearing metal bracelets holding her face


Balayage is a dye job where your colorist hand-paints your hair to make the transitions seamless. This means you can have an unnatural hair color that looks natural on your head, with highlights and lowlights in a perfect blend.

21. Extreme Bangs

Girl with extreme emo hair with swoopy front bangs in a black and white image

Jose AS Reyes/Shutterstock

Both guys and girls look stunning with extreme bangs. These are usually paired with a shorter haircut, so the thick bangs make a statement when they’re combed forward.

22. Natural Side-Swept Bangs for Girls

Natural Side-Swept Bangs emo hairstyle for girls


This look is a subdued version of classic emo hair. It’s not as extreme as dyed black hair with side-swept bangs covering your entire forehead but still conveys the same style.

23. Natural Side-Swept Bangs for Guys

Emo haircut with Natural Side-Swept Bangs for Guys


Like the girls’ version of this style, the natural look downplays the distinct emo hair. For guys, they can have a more traditional haircut while still combing their bangs forward when they want an emo look.

24. Multi-Layered Bangs

Pink haired asian woman with emo hair wearing a blue zebra hoodie and a tight spandex top standing against a brick wall

Jose AS Reyes/Shutterstock

The fun thing about emo hair is that your bangs don’t have to be all one length. Having different lengths of bangs will give you a unique look when you comb them straight. When you sweep them to the side, they’ll add volume to your emo hair.

25. A Chunk of Color Bangs

Girl with chunky pink bangs with the rest of her hair black which is very much an emo haircut

Dean Bertoncelj/Shutterstock

Many styles call for a pop of color, but adding a chunk to your otherwise straight bangs will make your entire look stand out. This style works whether you have long or short hair.

26. High Bangs for Guys

Emo hair on a guy with swoopy bangs and a black unbuttoned jean shirt wearing a chain and standing with gloves in his pocket

Valua Studio/Shutterstock

Emo bangs traditionally cover your forehead and fall into your eyes, but they don’t have to. Guys can have a short haircut with high bangs to have a professional emo look.

27. Varying Short Lengths for Girls

Woman tip toes with emo hair wearing red pants and a black and white striped shirt


You don’t have to pick one length for your emo hair. Various short lengths give your style volume. You can brush it down for a sleek look or spike it out for a punk look. You’ll have lots of choices when it comes to styling this look.

28. Varying Short Lengths for Guys

Guy with a long layered bob

Nikoleta Vukovic/Shutterstock

Guys can also have various short lengths for emo hair. When you comb it forward, you can achieve a classic look. You can spike it out to look like a rockstar or brush it back to have a traditional style.

29. Short and Sleek for Girls

Asian woman holding her right ear in front of a chain link fence


Emo hair doesn’t have to be black or colorful. You don’t have to comb out extreme bangs. You can choose a short and sleek cut to convey your emo style. If you’re worried about looking too plain, add some bright highlights or comb it differently for special events.

30. Short and Sleek for Guys

Stylish man with a red shirt wearing pookah shells with a popped collar and emo hair

Lakatos Sandor/Shutterstock

Guys can also downplay their emo hair with a short, sleek cut. This style is so versatile that you get many looks in one. You can comb it forward or to the side for a classic emo look. You can brush it back loosely or slick it back to seem more professional.

Things to Consider

Learning about all the different hairstyles has surely given you an idea of what you’d like to try for yourself. Before you commit to a look, check out these things to consider.

Dyeing your hair black

If you already have dark hair, you might not want to dye it black. Medium brown and darker hair can look emo enough on their own. Some people can also rock blonde emo hair, so don’t feel forced to change your color.

Adding pops of color

Whether you dye your hair black or not, you might want to add pops of color. There are plenty of examples on the list of colorful highlights, bright bangs or chunks of hair, or fully dyed colored hair. You can choose from green, pink, blue, purple, red, or more to carry off your emo hair with personalized flair.

Overall hair length 

Styles on this list range from long hair, short hair, and even buzz cuts with bangs. You might want to keep your hair a certain length while you try an emo look. You can make anything work for you once you understand the foundation of the style.

Cutting drastic bangs 

Thick, side-swept bangs are the signature look of emo hair. You can cut them at different lengths. You can brush shorter bangs to the side while keeping them out of your eyes. Longer bangs might hang in your eyes, but that’s a great look for emo hair. Some styles even call for chin-length bangs. These can look striking with hair of any length.

Versatility of the style

Emo hair is a signature style, but you might need a more versatile look to fit in wherever you go. If your job doesn’t allow brightly colored hair, you might choose to keep your hair dark or black. You can cut short bangs that you can comb in various styles depending on the kind of event you’re attending.

Is Emo Hair for You?

Emo hair is a distinct and stylish look. There are many variations on the foundation of black hair with side-swept bangs, so you don’t have to feel forced into one specific haircut. Emo hair can look good on anyone, and you can use it as an opportunity to showcase who you really are.

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