The Karen Haircut: What It Is And 5 Karen Haircuts To Avoid

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“Karens” are something we’ve come to dread. 

You know, the women always asking for the manager and demanding things they’re not entitled to?

The ones where everything has to be their way, or they’ll throw a fit?

short bob middle aged woman in shock facing

Yeah, those are Karens.

For good reason, Karen memes are prevalent in today’s society. The classic “Karen” is a middle-aged, bossy, entitled, and rude woman.

But there’s one thing that Karens are known for even more than their behavior: their haircut.

If you don’t want to look like a Karen, then these are specific haircuts that you should avoid.

To mark yourself safe from getting the Karen haircut, we’ve compiled a list of the five Karen haircuts to avoid and what makes them so Karen-esque.

Disclaimer: This post is a joke based on the Karen memes circulated in the 2000s. The name Karen in and of itself is not bad. These haircuts are not inherently bad, they are just often associated with the “Karen” memes.

What Is a Karen Haircut?

A Karen haircut is a specific type of haircut often sported by women who fit the “Karen” stereotype.

Many different haircuts can be considered Karen haircuts, but they all have one common denominator: they are short haircuts with many layers.

For example, the inverted bob is a haircut where the hair is shorter in the back and gradually gets longer towards the front. It’s a popular haircut for women of all ages, but it’s trendy among older women.

A sharp angle is usually cut into the hair to create layers, but when these layers give the haircut an ugly, unkempt look, it looks highly Karen-esque. 

It’s a hairstyle that says, “I don’t care about how I look when I make a scene” and “I’m not here to please the manager.”

It’s the perfect haircut for a Karen because it perfectly embodies their personality.

Why Are They Called Karens?

One of the most popular Karen memes is the “Can I speak to your manager?” meme. In this meme, a woman is shown angrily asking to speak to the manager with an entitled demeanor.

This meme pokes fun at how often Karens use their privilege to get what they want.

Kate Gosselin, a TV personality, is the ultimate poster girl for the classic Karen due to the haircut that she’s had for years, as well as how people perceive her to be rude.

The term Karen is said to have originated from a Dane Cook comedy special that aired in 2005. He made fun of how a group of friends has a “friend named Karen” who is always a jerk.

And with the rise of social media, the name has only become even more popular through memes and subreddits since 2016.

In 2017, a man ranted about his ex-wife Karen on Reddit and went viral. A Reddit user wanted to compile the lore behind this man’s relationship and created a subreddit for it, r/F—YouKaren. 

Soon, the subreddit became dedicated to criticizing women like the guy’s ex-wife.

Five Hairstyles to Absolutely Avoid If You Don’t Want to Look Like a Karen

edited image with warning sign with text of karen haircuts to avoid

If you want to avoid being mistaken for a Karen, then there are certain hairstyles that you should stay away from.

You wouldn’t want to get picked on for looking like a Karen, would you?

We’ve listed the Karen haircuts we’ve seen so that you know which ones to avoid.

1. The original Karen cut

an infographic of the original karen cut with sample image and text

Also called the classic Karen cut, the original Karen cut is an inverted bob with side-swept bangs cut at an angle.

Chunky highlights with a spiky cut at the back usually accompany this haircut.

This is the most typical Karen haircut, and it’s also the most recognizable.

It’s a popular haircut among older women, and it’s easy to see why. It’s low-maintenance, easy to style, and doesn’t require much effort to look good.

The kinky, unkempt look is best avoided if you don’t want to be associated with a “Karen” haircut.

2. Brassy blonde highlights with a tossed-back cut

an infographic of brassy blonde highlights with a tossed-back cut

Instead of side-swept bangs, short bangs are cut straight across the forehead. The rest of the hair is styled in a messy, just-out-of-bed kind of way.

Brassy blonde highlights are added to give the hair some dimension and texture.

The back is usually cut short and layered and looks like it’s been tossed back carelessly.

3. Tiger stripe hair color with a pixie cut

an infographic of a tiger stripe hair color with a pixie cut

Pixie cuts have been around for years.

No need to reinvent the wheel, but some people add tiger stripes to their hair for the same purpose as the brassy blonde highlights: to give it some dimension and texture.

The problem with this haircut is that it can look too busy. And when combined with a tiger stripe hair color, it can look like a hot mess.

Harsh, loud highlights are alternated to create an edgy tiger-like effect in dark and medium brown hair colors, making it one of the worst hairstyles for women.

If you have a pixie cut, we suggest you ditch the tiger stripes and go for this season’s best hair colors.

4. Too much volume on the crown with a short length cut

an infographic of too much volume on the crown with a short length cut

This haircut is characterized by too much volume on the crown, making the head look larger.

The back and sides are usually cut short, while the top is styled using many products to create volume. The result is a hairstyle that’s best called a beehive bob cut.

This haircut is outdated. The beehive was a popular hairstyle in the ’60s, but it’s best left in the past where it belongs if you don’t know how to rock it.

This haircut is best avoided, especially if you have a round face. It will only make your head look larger and rounder.

We suggest you get a layered cut if you want volume on your crown. Or you can opt for a volumizing mousse to give your hair some lift.

There are much better ways to achieve volume and a bob cut than this Karen haircut.

5. Spiky cut

an infographic about spiky cut

Sometimes accompanied by a brassy orange hue or a plain blonde or highlights that don’t work, the spiky cut involves hair gel and a lot of it.

The hair is styled so that the layered spikes stand on the end at the back of the hair, giving the head a porcupine-like appearance.

In the 2000s, this was an edgy and sophisticated look.

But in recent years, it has looked outdated.

This hairstyle should be avoided unless you’re going for the retro look. In which case, more power to you.

A voluminous layered haircut with a subtle ombre color is a great way to update your look without looking like you’re calling the cops on black people.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Karen Haircut Meme

A friendly reminder: don’t be a “Karen.” Just don’t. The world is challenging and we all could use a bit more kindness.

If you still have additional questions on the Karen haircut meme, refer to our FAQs section below.

How do you get a short haircut without looking like a Karen?

Tons of different short haircuts don’t make you look like a Karen. A blunt bob with zero or minimal layers is a great option.

You can also go for a pixie cut or a boy cut. As long as the hair is cut clean with pleasing colors, you won’t look like a Karen.

The key is to avoid choppy layers, spiky crowns, and brassy highlights.

a young lady wearing mustard top with karen haircut is posing at the camera

Is the Karen haircut going away?

Unfortunately, we can’t say for sure if the Karen cut is going away or not.

With the internet hounding Karens all the time, we think it’s safe to say that the Karen haircut is on its way out, as many women are now avoiding it.

We can only hope that it won’t make a comeback in the future.

What’s the best haircut for a 50-year-old woman?

The best haircut for a 50-year-old woman is definitely not the Karen or any other spiky and choppy haircut.

Instead, we suggest you go for a sleek or blunt bob. These haircuts are timeless and can make you look younger and more stylish.

A pixie cut is also an excellent option for women over 50. Just keep the sides and back short and style the top without spikes.

And if you want to add some color to your hair, we suggest you go for a subtle ombre or balayage.

This will give you a youthful and fresh look.

A Karen Haircut Is a Bad Idea; Avoid at All Costs

“Karens” are, unfortunately, everywhere. And they’re not just middle-aged women.

But one thing they have in common is their hairstyle: the teased, spiky, and choppy kind of cuts.

So if you are considering getting this haircut, we strongly suggest you think again.

There are much better ways to achieve volume and texture in your hair. So just say no to the Karen-style haircut.

Trust us; you’ll thank us later.

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an infographic about the karen haircut you should avoid


  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

  • Kelly Goforth

    With ten years in the beauty industry, Kelly Goforth has mastered the art of hair and makeup. Trained at The Redken Exchange in NYC and mentored by industry legends like Sam Villa and Lauren Hagan, she's a sought-after bridal specialist in Colorado Springs. From managing a Denver salon to now offering bridal hair, makeup, and airbrush spray tans, Kelly's expertise shines.

One Comment

  1. I love my karen haircut !
    – Karen S.

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