Girl's Punk Hairstyles

Girl's punk hairstyles can be as outre or as subdued as a mohawk or a crew cut. Because punk is an egalitarian subculture, at least in theory, and because self-expression is a prized value of the culture, punk men and women can wear whatever hairstyle(s) they want.

Punk musicians like Kathleen Hanna, Kim Gordon and Debbie Harry, for example, have very mainstream hairstyles. If they weren't famous, you wouldn't pick them out as punk or affiliated with the punk scene. Others, like Penelope Houston (The Avengers) and Soo Catwoman went for a more obviously punk look.

What kind of hairstyle are you interested in? Don't know? Read on to get more ideas and more inspiration.

1970s Punk

Women in early punk were confined to a few roles: groupie, girlfriend or lead singer. There were a few all-girl bands, like the Runaways, but most 1970s bands were all-guy or one-girl.

Women who broke the mold included Anya Phillips, a fashion designer and impresario, and Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer and cofounder of the legendary London shop Sex. Westwood often dyed her hair then-unusual colors, like near-white blonde and bright copper.

Most women in the early punk and goth movements had bangs. It's true! Everyone from Patti Smith to Debbie Juvenile to Joan Jett Lydia Lunch to Nancy Spungen had bangs, usually with shoulder-length hair or an early Chelsea cut.

The UK punk scene had more hairstyle heterogeneity. Soo Catwoman comes to mind. So does Jordan. Poly Styrene, the Somalian-English frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, wore her hair in an afro, often with a bow or headband (see the above video).

1980s - Hardcore and Beyond

Joan Jett.

Tish and Snooky's Manic Panic Hair Dye, opened in 1977, took off with the punk and goth scenes. Punks started dying their hair every color of the rainbow, sometimes all at once. Women cut their hair short, shaved it off, or spiked it into a mohawk. Beki Bondage (The Vice Squad) had high-volume, frizzy blue hair with white-blonde bangs.

For other punk girls and women, black hair was the name of the game. Joan Jett, Siouxsie Sioux, Exene Cervenka and Lydia Lunch all had jet-black hair with bangs and layers framing the face. Jett wore hers in a mullet.

In the mid-80s, Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love, who were then about 20 years old, dyed their hair platinum blonde and put it into ringlets. They also started wearing plastic bows and clips in their hair, to accentuate their kinderwhore aesthetic.

1980s punk hairstyles were fairly high maintenance. Big hair, spiky hair, and long hair was in. With the possible exception of skinheads, girl punks paid a lot of attention to their hair.

1990s - Girl Riot

Kathleen Hanna

As grunge and riot grrrl took off, young women started going for a less theatrical, more natural aspect. Although some women still wore mohawks and multi-colored hairstyles, many reverted to a more natural look.

Performers like Kim Gordon and L7 influenced this more natural punk look, which was hard-edged without being high maintenance. Part of this was short hair, either shaved or with bangs.

Related Reading:

Punk Hairstyles

Punk Hair Gallery

Goth Hairstyles

Black Lipstick

White Lipstick

Gothic Lolita


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