What Is a Karen Haircut?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.