The infamous School Photo. Who here amongst us has not taken 12+ dazzling beauties, which forever live on in yearbooks, on Mom's living room wall, and in Grandma Jean's piano frames? So celebrated are these pictures that some folks even buy a special frame that holds every picture from kindergarten to senior year-- It's almost impossible to forget those commemorative shots because they are around for years.
But what happens when your school picture isn't perfect? What happens to the shot where you were smirking, or even worse, your hair was uptight, out of sight, swooped and curled, flat and burled, painted green, or just obscene?
Oh, I'll tell you. For those people, the picture ends up truly living forever because it hits the internet! Oh mercy, the online world is ablaze with scads of picture day haircuts and hairdos that would make their embarrassed owners want to join a witness protection program.
For my second grade picture day photo, I bathed in my mother's bath oil beads. I figured if they were good for my skin, they would be good for my hair. Wrong. By the time I pulled on my red velour jumper, got to school and stood in front of the swirly, blue cloud backdrop, my hair had dried into oily clumps that hung on either side of my head like dead squirrels. My picture is still out there, but it's hidden pretty well.
What follows are 20 of the best absolute worst School Photo Haircuts and Hairdos for all of the word to see. These kids are rocking the crazy cuts and colors, but all names, scenarios, and narratives have been created. However, I can assure you it was all done in good fun, with a touch of empathy, and "misery loves company" thrown in. I know that of which I speak.
20 Hair Like Sputnik!
Meet Scott (not his real name). Scott treated picture day like every other child does. He took a bath, pulled on his favorite shirt, and gave his best smile. Where Scott's morning routine differed though was that he awoke a half-hour early to ensure sufficient time to properly comb that gigantic head of hair. For reals, that hair took twenty minutes to navigate.
To steal a line from the 1993 cult favorite movie So I Married An Axe Murderer, "That boy's head is like Sputnik; spherical, but quite pointy at parts". If you haven't seen Mike Myers playing an old man with a Scottish accent, you haven't lived.
I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, but this kid is shades of Zachary Quinto's Spock character. Is this child's head just particularly enormous or long, or does little Scotty have an enormous shrub of hair? Surely there is a more flattering haircut for this child.
No word on what Scott's mother thought when she got this picture back, but to echo another So I Married An Axe Murderer line, "He'll be crying himself to sleep tonight, on his huge pillow!"
19 Winging It
Meet Paula. (Again, not her real name.) Paula is in the sixth grade and loves horses and the color pink. The only thing bigger than Paula's teeth and her octagon shaped-rose-colored glasses is her love of Heather Locklear and the band Winger. So much so, that she's done a mash-up of the two in one hairdo here!
Honestly, we have to hand it to Paula. She's got some fabulously thick, blonde hair and back in the 1980s I only wish I could have gotten my hair to feather with the same height and dimension as Paula is displaying here.
In the years after this photo was shot, Paula grew into her adult teeth, ditched the glasses, and grew out her bangs. You would hardly recognize her now. As a matter of fact, she bears a stunning resemblance, to her one-time idol, Heather Locklear.
18 Eight, Going On 46.
This is Lois.
Lois lives in Colombus, Ohio and works as an administrative assistant for a large insurance company. When she's not working, Lois enjoys scrapbooking and discovering new hairstyles. Lois is married to Paul and together they have two children, Jennifer and Tyler. Last year the family was lucky enough to take a trip to Chigaco! While a blast, it did put Lois's dream of opening her own basement salon on hold. Hey, maybe next year!
Just joking. This is Jennifer. Jennifer is eight years old. She is in second grade and enjoys Barbie dolls, coloring and a mean game of foursquare. Jennifer lives with her dad, Paul, her older brother Tyler and her mom, Lois. When Jennifer is not at school she enjoys serving as her mother's hairstyling guinea pig.
This is Brad. This whole picture was Brad's mom's idea. The turtleneck, the sweater, the hair. Oh, wait! The sad face? That's all Brad.
Can you blame him?
Brad's mom was going to dress someone in the darling sweater she couldn't resist buying when they visited Grandma Helga in Hamburg last summer.
"Mom, no way! Why did you even buy that?" Brad yelled as his mom cornered him with the itchy, wool sweater. "There is no way I'm wearing that for picture day!"
"Come on Brad, do it for Mommy! And for Oma! Look how cute you look!"
And if that wasn't bad enough, Brad's mom asked to curl his hair.
"Just this one time, Brad! We'll send the picture to Oma! She can show it to her friends and brag about her granddaughter! "
"But I'm a BOY, Mom!"
Keep the faith, Brad. Someday you'll torture your children in a similar way. Maybe not by crimping your little boy's hair, making him wear a knit sweater with mushroom-headed people, and passing him off as a girl.
But, you will do something to mortify them- it's called parenting.
16 Locks Of Love
Oh my word. This is my high school sweetheart. No, seriously. My 46-year-old neck just literally jutted forward and cramped into place. This is Phil, my first everything.
But wait, since I'm almost legally blind, I gotta enlarge this image. Hmm...
Well, My Phil does not have brown eyes. But still...this guy looks just like Phil. The thin-lipped wide grin, the long nose. That's totally Phil. I dig the totally rad drum kit and sticks, so beautifully and purposely placed between his fingers. But, yeah, no, Phil didn't play the drums in high school.
BUT THE HAIR! No one had hair like Phil did in high school- and this is Phil's hair! Back then he had long bangs which spread across his forehead like a slather of Nutella. He had those same rusty, brown curls which during school days he allowed to cascade down his back. For fancy occasions, like senior pictures, he blew out the curls. What?! No way!
But alas, it cannot be Phil. If Phil had worn that band uniform-- which is essentially a chick's blouson top! - I would remember it and the subsequent breakup that would follow the endless humiliation I would have heaped on him.
15 Frats So Crazy!
This is Billy. What's not to love about Billy, right? He's so funny and always up for a good time, right?
Oh sure, we will talk about his hair (that's what we are here for in the first place, right?) but I'd be remiss if I didn't analyze Bill's full get-up for his picture day shot. It's all so classic. So Billy.
First, Billy's wearing his thick silver chain. Ya know, the one he picked up in Branson last summer. Billy's always got that on. Now, let's move on to the dirty shirt. I know last month Billy started a food fight during Period 4 lunch and around that time Billy's mom stopped doing his laundry. She does that when she gets mad at Billy. She also did it a few months back to retaliate against Bill after she found six dirty cereal bowls AND an empty bottle of Captain Morgans under his bunk bed.
So yeah, the hair. OMG, what a silly guy. Billy has pretty, curly hair and I know it took him a while to grow out his bangs. Well, just when his bangs got good and long, Billy took off to visit his brother at State. Supposedly, he went to a frat party, and this green color is what happened after a big night of partying! Bill is so crazy!
14 All Fired Up
This is Patti. Patti was different, edgy, unique. She hung out with the misfits and fashioned herself after her idol, Pat Benatar.
Self-disclosure time. I grew up in New Jersey and went to school with girls like Patti. Girls who defied their mothers and did whatever the heck they pleased. Girls like Patti had the baddest dispositions, the fiercest stories, the biggest hair. I strove to have bigger bangs and fluffy barrel curls, but my cheery smile and Bass Wejuns gave me away. I was preppy and always would be. Don't laugh, but even now, I'm a little intimidated by Patti.
So anyway, for picture day, Patti asked her mom if she could shave one side of her head. Her mom said, "no". Patti said, "I'll show her". She bought Dippity-do Hair gel (the gel of the 80s) and slicked back the right side of her hair. For the left side, she teased the hair till it cried. She finished off the whole look with Stiff Stuff Hair Spray.
This here is Patti's vengeance shot. Her mom was livid when she got the pictures back and saw what she had done. Patti was unrepentant. Hair is a battlefield.
13 Paging Dr. Good Hair
Harley impresses me. He impresses me in the same way my sister-in-law impresses me with how she takes care of her Gladware. (Seriously, how does Cindy hold onto 231 containers and their matching lids? And how are they not stained and melted? I do not have that DNA. Honestly, I spend hours looking for one measly container for leftover spaghetti only to end up dumping into a bowl that I cover with tin foil.) How can one person be so "on" it, and have such attention to detail?
Same here. I'm not sure how Harley handles his plastic ware, but he sure is good with his hair!I don't mean to generalize, (I do) but most men can't perfect a pee aim, let alone work a straight iron with this amount of finesse! These silky strands are striking! And how about the quilly spikes, standing at perfect attention? This guy is hair goals.
With his steady hand and attention to detail, I hope Harley went into medicine. Perhaps he's traded his straight iron for a scalpel. Based on his hair alone, I would trust him.
12 Afro It
Nobody rocks an afro like Alphonse. Seriously. Nobody. Can you say your hair filled 3/4 of the frame of your picture day photo? I bet not. Was your high school hair capable of harboring a small clutch of crocodiles? I didn't think so. Could your teenage tendrils provide a safe nesting spot for a newborn baby? Doubt it. If necessary, would you have a sufficient amount of hair to donate for kindling material should your town lose power and need to build a bonfire?I didn't think so. I'm not sure Alphonse did do that, but the thing is, he could do it.
I would argue that not many of us, in high school, or even now, have the confidence that Alphonse has. He gazes at us with assured eyes. His parted lips look ready to speak his truth. He's got one hell of a head of hair. This kid is a force to be reckoned with.
11 Cotton Candy Tammy
Here's what I think I know about this picture. (I've made all of this up). Tammy loves vacations, (at the Jersey shore!) Manco and Manco's Pizza, (on the boardwalk) and cotton candy (her friends all joke that it looks like her hair!)
Tammy is a junior at a suburban Jersey high school, and she was so glad she was allowed to ditch her uniform and dress in her own clothes for picture day! She was totally dying to wear her new plaid shirt with the stand-up collar because it totally sets off her sky-high hair. Hey, as her big sister Tiffany says, "the higher the hair, the closer to God!"
When Tammy's not roaming the boardwalk, or skulking through the mall, she spends time finding new lipstick shades and unclogging the nozzle on her hairspray bottle.
10 Mower Cut
Crazy hair, don't care!
Listen, all I see here is an adorable little fella in his seasonal snowflake sweater (which he bought himself.) As a matter of fact, Braden now buys all his own threads.
Oh sure, I'll tell you how he pays for it all. Last spring, he cleaned up when he started selling fidget spinners out of his backpack. His financial windfall continued this year after he got his hands on a couple of cases of hard-to-find clear glue. Braden marked 'em up at twice the retail value! As if that wasn't enough, Braden then started producing his own slime in his mom's kitchen. That stuff sells for $6 a Baggie!
Soon enough Braden will be rocking a better haircut than the mower cut he's sporting. Hell, someday soon, Braden will be the boss of all of us. I don't think we should talk about Braden's hair anymore, m'kay?
9 Bleeding Green
Presenting a classic case of "I'll show them" is Chris and his sophomore class picture. Chris attends high school outside of Philadelphia and was a starter on the football team. He was really good, and never got that hurt, only a few dislocated kneecaps. No biggie! But, after his cousin Vinnie (who is a total dunce!) got his third concussion, Chris's mom made him stop playing. So totally unfair! So uncool!
Chris wasn't happy. As a matter of fact he was super angry about the whole thing. So, he decided to become a rabid follower of The Philadelphia Eagles and make his mom see just how much football means to him. Last year he asked for green clothes for his birthday-- now, he only wears green. Then, he spent all his hard earned money on Season tickets. And boy, was mom mad about that. He then ratcheted things up a notch. When Mom went to visit Aunt Sarah last week, right before school picture day, he racheted things up a notch. Save a few strands in the front, which he dyed Ealges gree, he buzzed off his hair. Mom is going to be so mad when she gets home, and even madder when she sees the hair, forever emortalized in this picture.
8 Master Emoter
This picture pretty perfectly captures the teenage experience. Can you just feel the ambivalence, the attitude, the angst?
Our subject (let's call him Rob) wears a vintage shirt he picked up at a cool consignment shop in Venice. (He's still upset that Dad gave him grief for buying the shirt. '$25 for a used shirt, Son?!')
Yeah, so Rob just isn't feeling it right now, and don't even try him, okay? No, he didn't smile because he actually has real things to emote about, like whether or not his mom and dad are going to let him take his skateboard and hit The Cove in Santa Monica tonight. He's still supposed to be grounded for breaking curfew last weekend. That punishment has totally thrown off his plans to meet up with Brittany this weekend, too. Geez.
The hair? An homage to Robert Smith, lead singer of an old cool band The Cure, back when music was good. And don't you dare tell him it looks like a spider's web. He's heard enough of that kind of talk from his Old Man.
7 Hair Ecstasy
This is Lisa, and she's so flipping happy. You know why Lisa's so happy? Because picture day fell on a good hair day this year.
This picture is everything Lisa works so hard for--an amazing confection of high-flying sticky bangs. But Lisa also knows that getting her hair to reach for the heavens, (and stand a little closer to God!) takes more than hair hairspray perseverance; it takes the luck of a good hair day.
Last year's picture day was a total flop for Lisa-literally. She had tried a new deep conditioner that morning, and it made her hair all soft. No amount of Aqua Net, mouse, or coaxing would talk her bangs into performing. She teased her strands with the same ferocity Jimi Hendrix plucked his guitar strings. Nothing. No matter- she hid the pictures from her mom and X-ed out her image in all her friends' yearbooks. It was as good as forgotten.
This year's picture is redeeming. This is one she'll order in a 11x20 wall print, and proudly sign her name next to in her friends' yearbooks. This is Lisa's school photo that will go down in hair history.
Let's break down this school picture day hair, shall we?
Let's start up front. It looks like shears were taken to the bangs and the crown of the head, and all that's left is a smattering of hair. Okay, that alone makes sense.
But let's move on to the sides. The sides are long, much like the style favored by Hasidic boys and men. I'm still with this, as I can justify that whoever cut the top just got a bit messy.
But good grief- no! It's not that simple. Lookie here! A braided tail is very purposely placed front and center. Any reason or purpose for this haircut has been tossed out the window.Trip up the enemies and leave your friends guessing, right Kid?
Ya got me, Kid. I don't know what this haircut is supposed to be, and for confusing me thoroughly, I commend you. And ya know, I'm not even sure you're a boy or girl, so ya got me on that one, too.
This is Michelle. Michelle was going places. At her small, private high school in Delaware, Michelle was smart and popular. During her senior year, she snagged Chet, the school quarterback, and with her pretty voice also snagged the lead in every school play. In May, Michele graduated with honors and was looking forward to a free ride at Princeton.
But over the summer, it was discovered that Michelle had been hiding something. Or rather camouflaging something. While getting styled for a community theater production of Guys and Dolls, a hairdresser discovered a small family of sparrows roosting in Michelle's hair. These things happen to big hair girls, but Michell's infestation was not easily remedied. After the birds were removed, the nesting material was still an issue and it became necessary to buzz Michelle's hair down to the scalp. I mean, that's terrible, but hair grows back, right?
Word on the street is that Michelle had a breakdown and hasn't left her house in two months. The understudy had to step in for her in Guys and Dolls. She stopped taking Chet's calls, and deferred admittance to Princeton. It's so sad. They say that hair doesn't make the woman, but try telling that to Michelle.
4 Richard And The Bowl
Richard's mom placed a plastic bowl on his head and trimmed across his forehead until his long bangs hair resembled a flouncy, Christmas tree skirt.
Richard looked in the mirror and saw that his hair looked identical to his brothers.
"But Mom, it looks just like Tommy and Jimmy's!"
His mom tapped his shoulder. "I'm gonna make it special, Richard!" Hush up! This will not be your run of the mill bowl cut!"
With that, Richard’s mom placed the plastic bowl back on his head, fired up the electric clippers and buzzed off the hair that was not covered by the bowl.
When the bowl was removed, the results were dramatic. He no longer looked like his brothers or a Christmas tree skirt. He looked like something that would forever alter his reputation, his confidence, and his name.
"Mom!" Tommy said. "Richard looks like a--"
"Don't say it!" Mom said.
3 Style Cat
In the case of this fella, I’ll call Shawn, he has perfected raging good looks from hair to hair, to clothes.
Let's start with his hair. I’m not sure Shawn is aware that he has taken a mullet, (which is usually flashy, yet conservative) and turned it into a full-fledged party rager.
Can we talk about the front of his head? It looks to me as if Shawn has mimicked a full-blown pom-pom, or a cleaning duster, with a fez hat thrown in for fun. Cut to the back, and Shawn has Rapunzelesque, flowing locks.
For his school picture, Shawn looks dapper in a button-down shirt and thin, stylish suspenders. This guy is a style cat. He should be nominated for "Best Hair" in the sophomore class. Or at least "Best Dressed". This kind of look takes effort, and Shawn should be rewarded accordingly.
2 Feathered Mullet
The next haircut victim comes from the mullet-meets-feather file, a far too popular category of cringeworthy hairdos no one should do.
Meet Benji. Benji is a totally rad fourth grader. If it wasn’t for his mad skills breakdancing at recess, Benji would always get mistaken for his twin sister, Blakely. Blame the haircut. Whereas Blakely has fine, straight hair, Benji got the curls.
"You'd break my heart if you cut off your curls!" Mom cried.
Benji knows better than to put up a fight. He rises above the cut by donning his favorite parachute jacket and zippy red turtleneck. What a good sport. You do You, Ben.
1 Flat Top Mullet
We'll discuss Chuck and his hair, but first, let's acknowledge the shirt and bolo tie combination. I for one think it's pretty rad. Chuck's Grandma Ruby brought it back from her trip to Tucson. Chuck thinks it's cool, too, even if some of the other guys at school laugh at him. Whatever. He stands firm in his fashion choices.
When it comes to Chuck's hair though, he's still a little on the fence. He wanted a flat top like Dad and Uncle Roy. He appreciated the short, stacked style and knew he could borrow Mom’s gel to make it high and tight. But he also wanted his hair long, so that he and his best friend Jimmy could look like twins. So, he blended both styles and this is the final product. He's not sure he's going to keep the hair, but I for one think he's making the "flat top mullet" look like a cool and trendy choice.