Where Did The Rat Tail Hairstyle Come From

The rat tail hairstyle is a timeless classic that’s been around since the 1980s. It’s a hairstyle that’s known for its thin, long, and often-wavy appearance, typically at the back of the head. While some people may see it as an outdated fashion statement, others consider it a cultural phenomenon. In this article, we’ll explore the history and origins of the rat tail hairstyle and why it’s still a favorite among some people today.

A Brief History of the Rat Tail Hairstyle

The rat tail hairstyle first emerged in the 1980s and became popularized by rock and roll and heavy metal musicians. It was a rebellious look that expressed individuality and non-conformity. The style was commonly seen in the punk rock and heavy metal communities, where it was embraced as a symbol of freedom and individuality.

The first recorded instance of the rat tail hairstyle is a photograph of a wrestler, known as the Gorgeous George, who was seen with the hairstyle in the 1940s. However, it wasn’t until the 80s that the rat tail hairstyle became mainstream.

As music and fashion trends evolved throughout the decade, so did the rat tail hairstyle. It transformed from an exclusively punk rock look to a hairstyle that was embraced by the general public. The style was achieved by keeping the hair long at the back and shaving the sides and the top of the head. The final look was a thin, long, wavy lock of hair that hung down the back of the neck, resembling the tail of a rat.

The Rat Tail in Different Cultures

The rat tail hairstyle became popular in other cultures beyond western rock and roll. In Japan, it’s referred to as “Shimada-mage” which was a popular style among samurais. In China, it’s called a “Menjiro” and was initially worn by Qing dynasty soldiers with hair held together by wax or silk thread.

The rat tail hairstyle was universal as it can be seen in different cultures throughout history and was significant in each of them. It was often seen as a symbol of status and power, such as among samurais or Chinese soldiers.

Why Do People Still Wear the Rat Tail Hairstyle?

While the rat tail hairstyle may seem outdated, it’s still a popular choice among some people today. People who wear this hairstyle may have different reasons for doing so. It’s still considered a fashion statement by some, while others may wear it as a tribute to their cultural heritage.

In some cases, the rat tail hairstyle may be an ode to nostalgia, as it’s a hairstyle that was popular in their youth. For others, it may be a unique way to express their individuality and non-conformity.


1. Is the rat tail hairstyle practical?

The rat tail hairstyle is not known for its practicality, as it can be challenging to maintain and style. It may require a significant amount of haircare products and frequent visits to the hairstylist to maintain the long, wavy appearance of the tail.

2. Is the rat tail hairstyle suitable for all hair types?

The rat tail hairstyle can be achieved with different hair types. However, it’s best suited for people with thick and curly hair that can hold the wavy shape of the tail. People with fine hair may find it challenging to maintain the thin and wavy look of the tail.

3. Is the rat tail hairstyle appropriate for the workplace?

The rat tail hairstyle may not be appropriate for all workplaces, depending on the company’s dress code and image standards. It’s best to consult the company’s human resources department and dress code policy before wearing this hairstyle to work.

4. Can the rat tail hairstyle be modified?

The rat tail hairstyle is an adaptable hairstyle that can be modified according to personal preferences. For example, some people may keep the sides and top of their hair longer than others, while others may opt for a shorter tail that resembles the style of a ponytail.


The rat tail hairstyle has a long and diverse history that’s been embraced by cultures worldwide. From the samurais of Japan to the rock and roll musicians of the 80s, the rat tail hairstyle has made a significant impact on fashion and culture. While it may not be a popular fashion statement today, it’s still a hairstyle that holds a special place in the hearts of those who embrace it.

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