Ah, the karen haircut. Nothing says, “I’ll go live on Facebook” quite like this unique style. But are you considering chopping your hair and want to avoid looking like entitled? Then this guide is for you.

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What Is a Karen Haircut?

A Karen haircut is an inverted bob haircut, also known as an A-line cut. It’s long in the front and short in the back. When viewed from the side, you’ll see a sharp angle toward the front. While the classic Karen cut is blonde, you’ll see them in many colors today.

What Is a Karen?

2020 was the Year of the Karen. At long last, non-retail workers were exposed to the nightmare that is the Karen, and the world hasn’t been the same ever since.

For the uninitiated, a Karen is bossy and entitled woman, often a suburban mother, who has gone crazy after stepping foot into a retail establishment without getting her way.

You can tell if a Karen is nearby if you hear her battle cry: “Can I speak to your manager?” The stereotype is that these middle-aged women often have the same hairstyles.

Of course, many people can rock a karen haircut without acting the part. And look darn good doing it, nonetheless. But if you’re actively trying to avoid looking like a Karen, here are 10 styles to avoid.

1) The Classic Karen Haircut

A classic Karen Haircut
Image Source: Imgflip

Chances are you’ve seen this Karen meme floating around the Internet, and the haircut featured here can be considered to be the quintessential Karen haircut. While this is not the style of choice for all Karens, it’s probably the most infamous Karen haircut.

It’s the one that most people think of when they imagine a typical Karen. This is basically an inverted bob, also called an A-line bob, which is a variation of the classic bob haircut.

Overall styling is long in the front and short in the back, and it’s also asymmetrical. The hair in the front is sometimes textured in a choppy manner, but sometimes it’s straight and flat. Often, you’ll see Karens with dyed (or partially dyed) hair.

2) The Original Karen Haircut

Funny karen haircut meme number 1
Image Source: Imgflip

Kate Gosselin of Jon & Kate Plus 8 fame is thought by many to be the progenitor of the Karen hairdo. If nothing else, she definitely popularized the style and brought it into the spotlight thanks to her controversial TV show.

This style is often simply called “the Gosselin,” so now you know what to ask for if you want your stylist to hate you. This is similar to the classic Karen, but it’s a bit simpler. Instead of obvious dyed segments, Kate had much less noticeable highlights.

It’s also just a little more stylish than the classic Karen, which makes sense. After all, suburban moms probably can’t afford to get their hair done by celebrity stylists.

3) The Leveled Up Karen Haircut

portrait of a beautiful girl with a karen haircut that's dyed hair, professional hair coloring
Sundraw Photography/Shutterstock

This one is a little more advanced than the basic Karen. The hair in front is a little longer, and the hair on top is tousled just a bit more. As with the previous Karen haircut, this style uses highlights to look fashionable.

These are small differences, but if you want to advance your Karen skills, you’ll need to pick up these finer points. You get extra points if you add colored highlights into the mix.

4) The Lobster Claw

An unsmiling woman with a Karen Haircut
Image Source: Imgflip

Given that this hairstyle resembles a sideways lobster claw, we thought it would be a fitting name. While this hairstyle doesn’t feature a choppy texture on top, it’s in many ways more intense than the classic Karen.

This is due to its long and menacing pincers. This is a haircut for Karens who mean business and want to speak to a regional manager. Ideal for flat or thin hair.

5) The Grey Karen Haircut

Happy senior woman looking at the beautiful trees. Woman has a Karen Haircut

The grey Karen seems more docile than other Karens because of her appearance. This hairstyle might be mistaken for a non-Karen cut at first, but a close look at the swooping fringe, offset part, and overall bob-like construction reveals that this is really a Karen haircut.

6) Not Quite a Karen Haircut

stylish woman.hot blond girl.perfect make up for blue eyes.copy space for text.woman with short hair cut. beauty portrait.gorgeous model in nude outfit indoor isolated on blue background.skin perfect and a Karen Haircut
Mazur Serhiy/Shutterstock

The inverted bob, on which the Karen haircut is based, has many stylish variations that don’t give off Karen vibes. This inverted bob is reminiscent of a Karen haircut, but it’s more textured and styled neatly.

7) The Ellen

beautiful woman with a short hair cut her chin on her arm and a karen haircut
ShotPrime Studio/Shutterstock

When Ellen DeGeneres was finally outed as a Karen, many people noticed that her haircut should have given it away in the first place. Ellen’s style may be shorter than a typical Karen haircut.

But it has all the hallmarks. Specifically, it’s a kind of mix between an inverted bob and a bowl cut. The model in this photo wears a similar style.

8) The Sharon

A girl with a karen haircut similar to that of Sharon Osborne

One of the most notable wearers of the Karen haircut is the famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion) Sharon Osbourne––or should we call her Karen Osbourne? This is less obvious thanks to the color, but this is a Karen style through and through.

The hair is proportioned a little differently (slightly shorter in front and longer in back), but it’s still basically the inverted bob. It’s slightly better than the classic Karen, but unless you’re Sharon Osbourne, you probably shouldn’t attempt this.

9) The Side Karen Haircut

Confident and pretty female with a Karen Haircut looking at camera on green screen
Rocketclips, Inc/Shutterstock

Most often, the Karen haircut features hair that swoops down across the forehead. This variation changes it up by brushing the hair almost completely to the side. It’s best for those wanting to avoid lengthy hair-dry sessions.

10) The Bieber

A girl in a chair wearing glasses. A girl with a short hairstyle wearing glasses. Portrait of a girl in glasses. Portrait of a girl with a red Karen Haircut
Viacheslav Okhrymenko/Shutterstock

Looks like one of Bieber’s haircuts… Need we say more?

What’s Your Favorite Karen Haircut?

In all seriousness, the Karen haircut is going out of style for good reason. There are plenty of other haircuts that are much more stylish and won’t make retail workers tremble in fear.

Let’s recap. A Karen haircut is…

  • An inverted bob cut
  • Long in the front
  • Short in the back
  • Angles sharply toward the front
  • Blonde, but may be other colors

Now that you know which haircuts to not get, head over to our blog to get some inspiration for your next cut. You can also use our hair salon finder to find hair stylists near you in just seconds.

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Ian Chandler
Author: Ian Chandler

Ian Chandler is a hair and fashion writer living in Ohio. He formerly served as editor at a leading men's hair website and has published several popular guides on trending hairstyles. (His haircut of choice is the side part.)