LIST: 21 Iconic Country Music Hairstyles

Billy Ray Cyrus, Crystal Gayle, Morgan Wallen, and Taylor Swift

(First) Ron Galella, Ltd. / Contributor / Getty Images / (Second) Crystal Gayle / Facebook / (Third) Morgan Wallen / Facebook / (Fourth) Tony R. Phipps / Contributor / Getty Images

Take A Look At 21 Standout Country Music Hairstyles Throughout History

Surprisingly, hair means a lot in country music and has throughout history. An artist could become instantly recognizable to fans just by having a signature hairstyle. Hair has also defined different “eras” of a singer’s career; as they grow and change…so does their hair.

In fact, hair has played such an important role in the world of country music that it warranted a dedicated book. In 2016, Erin Duvall published Country Music Hair, which examines how country artists’ hairstyles have evolved over time.

Today, we’re looking at 21 of the most iconic hairstyles in country music history. Some styles come from a specific occasion, like an awards show or an album cover. Other styles are more generalized looks an artist became well-known for sporting.

Check Out 21 Absolutely Iconic Country Music Hairstyles Below

Willie Nelson’s Braids

Famous Country Music Hairstyles - Willie Nelson's Braids
Gary Miller / WireImage / Getty Images

The “Red-Headed Stranger” didn’t always rock the braids that have become synonymous with his image. In fact, when Willie’s career first started, he was clean-shaven and had a short haircut.

But, when people think of Willie Nelson today, they immediately picture him with his long braids and signature red bandana.

Toby Keith’s Mullet

Iconic country music hairstyles - Toby Keith's mullet
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Mullets and country music go hand in hand. Country singers’ famous mullets could be featured in a list of their own!

But we had to highlight some of the best “Kentucky Waterfalls” in this list. Toby Keith’s mullet from the early years of his career definitely qualifies for a feature here, wouldn’t y’all agree?

Reba’s “Red Dress” Hairstyle

Iconic country music hairstyles, Reba's hair during the "red dress" moment
Tennessean / YouTube

Let’s be honest: Reba McEntire’s hair was the last thing people noticed during her unforgettable performance with Linda Davis at the 1993 CMA Awards.

But now that her “red dress” moment has gone down in country music history, so has the sky-high hairstyle she rocked that evening!

Morgan Wallen’s Mullet

Morgan Wallen became known for his mullet
Morgan Wallen / Facebook

When he released some of his first songs such as “The Way I Talk” and “Whiskey Glasses,” Morgan Wallen had a shorter haircut.

But he was rocking a full-on mullet by the time he released his now 6x Platinum-certified album Dangerous. That mullet became a huge part of his image and made him instantly recognizable.

Morgan Wallen’s Shaved Head

Morgan Wallen broke the internet when he shaved his head
hollyrudisill / TikTok

Because Morgan Wallen’s mullet was SO famous, you can imagine how shocked fans were when he completely shaved his head.

Morgan didn’t say a word about his new look until he debuted it at a show in Columbus, Ohio in August 2023. He addressed his hair (or lack thereof), telling the crowd, “Before we get any further…I didn’t like my long hair anymore so I shaved it off.”

Morgan has since let his hair grow out, but is keeping it shorter for now.

Martina McBride’s 90s Pixie Cut

Martina McBride had an iconic pixie/bob hairstyle in the 1990s
Martina McBride / YouTube

The beautiful Martina McBride famously kept her hair styled in a short pixie cut during the 1990s and early 2000s. Her hairstyle would change ever-so-slightly as she released some of her biggest hits such as “Independence Day,” “My Baby Loves Me,” and “Wild Angels.”

Martina grew out her hair in the late 2000s and has maintained a longer style ever since.

Conway Twitty’s Pompadour

Conway Twitty sporting his early career hairstyle
Michael Levin / Corbis via Getty Images

The male version of the pompadour hairstyle was all the rage in the 1950s-1960s. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, and James Dean were some of the most popular celebrities who wore the style.

It’s a style that Conway Twitty also rocked in the early years of his career, like in the picture above (dated 1960). He helped further popularize the pompadour during that time.

Conway Twitty’s Later Career Curls

Conway Twitty's later career curls
GAB Archive / Redferns / Getty Images

Conway Twitty underwent a complete hair transformation in the later years of his career. He said “goodbye” to the pompadour and rocked a full head of curly hair instead.

The above picture, taken in 1970, shows Conway’s signature curly style in its best form.

Blake Shelton’s Mullet

Blake Shelton had a mullet earlier in his career
Blake Shelton / YouTube

Another country singer famous for sporting a mullet is none other than Blake Shelton. He had a long, curly mullet during the early years of his career when he released songs such as “Austin,” “Some Beach,” and “The Baby.”

Much to fans’ delight, Blake brought his mullet back during the height of the pandemic in 2020 “as a symbol of hope or some sh– like that.” His now-wife, Gwen Stefani, helped him style it.

Blake brought the mullet back yet again for the music video and promotional art for his 2022 single, “No Body.”

Crystal Gale’s Rapunzel-Like Hair

Iconic Country Music Hairstyles - Crystal Gayle's super long hair
Crystal Gayle / Facebook

We couldn’t make a list of famous country music hairstyles without mentioning Crystal Gayle. The “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” singer has rocked Rapunzel-like hair for decades.

Crystal’s long hair immediately comes to mind whenever someone mentions her name. 

Though in 2021, Crystal told PEOPLE she sometimes thinks about cutting her hair. “There’s been days where I just want to take the scissors [to it],” she said. But she’s never gone through with it!

Loretta Lynn’s Voluminous Look

Loretta Lynn's hair always had lots of volume
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Crystal Gayle’s older sister Loretta Lynn was also known for her beautiful hair. She styled it in many ways over the years, though always with a lot of volume.

Nanette England, who was Tammy Wynette’s hairstylist, told Country Music Hair author Erin Duvall that Loretta’s hair was so famous, fans would cut off locks of it during autograph signings to take home as souvenirs.

Johnny Cash’s Famous Pompadour

Photo of singer Johnny Cash
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

As we mentioned previously in regard to Conway Twitty, the pompadour was a popular hairstyle for some of the leading men in the music industry during the 1950s and 1960s. Johnny Cash was one of the men who made the hairstyle famous.

Johnny grew his hair out in later years, but when people think of “The Man in Black,” his pompadour style often comes to mind first.

Lynn Anderson’s Long Locks

Lynn Anderson had beautiful long hair
Rick Diamond / Contributor / Getty Images

“Rose Garden” singer Lynn Anderson had absolutely gorgeous hair. She often wore her long, blonde locks in voluminous waves.

Taylor Swift’s Ringlet Curls

Taylor Swift had super defined curls early in her career
Tony R. Phipps / Contributor / Getty Images

When 16-year-old Taylor Swift came onto the scene in 2006, she was known for her super-defined ringlet curls. She inspired many of her fans to purchase curl irons and hot rollers in the hopes of mimicking her signature style.

But as time passed, Taylor’s curls smoothed out. She told Elle in 2019 that her hair texture completely changed when she got older.

“From birth, I had the curliest hair and now it is STRAIGHT,” she said. “It’s the straight hair I wished for every day in junior high. But just as I was coming to terms with loving my curls, they’ve left me.”

Now in her 30s, Taylor experiments with a lot of different hairstyles. She still wears her hair wavy or curly (though never as curly as before) on occasion.

Chris Stapleton’s Long Hair

Chris Stapleton has long hair
Brett Carlsen / Getty Images for CMT

Much like Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton kicked off his career with a short haircut and clean-shaven appearance.

But by the time of his breakout moment at the 2015 CMA Awards, Chris had been rocking his now-recognizable long hair and beard for many years.

Elvis Presley’s Jet-Black Hair

Portrait of Elvis Presley
GAB Archive / Redferns / Getty Images

In addition to being “The King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley was also “The King of the Pompadour.” He rocked some form of the hairstyle for a large part of his far-too-short career.

Did you know that Elvis was actually a natural blond? There is one photo of him in Graceland that shows him with his natural hair color.

His hair naturally darkened to a light brown by the time he was a teenager. But Elvis wanted to make his hair even darker.

Elvis first achieved his famous jet-black hair color by dyeing his hair with black shoe polish. He did this because he couldn’t afford real hair dye at the time.

Once he was able to afford the real stuff, Elvis dyed his hair with a mixture of dyes: Miss Clairol 51D and Black Velvet / Mink Brown by Paramount.

Keith Urban’s Signature Style

Iconic Country Music Hairstyles - Keith Urban's signature look
Mike Lawrie / Staff / Getty Images

Over the years, Keith Urban’s hair has been both short and long. But no matter the length, he’s always maintained a signature style that’s distinctly “him.”

Wynonna Judd’s Long, Bright Red Hair

Iconic Country Music Hairstyles - Wynonna Judd's long red hair
Jim Wright / NBC / Getty Images

Wynonna Judd’s bright red hair is an integral part of her image. It makes her instantly recognizable!

Wynonna keeps her hair long, and experiments by changing how she styles it. Sometimes she straightens it, other times she rocks a bunch of flowy waves.

Kimberly Schlapman’s Bouncy Blonde Curls

Iconic Country Music Hairstyles - Kimberly Schlapman's curls
Kimberly Schlapman / Facebook

Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman has naturally curly hair. Fans admire her beautiful blonde ringlets and always love seeing how she styles them.

In 2017, Kimberly shared some of her favorite hair care products to help her followers who have naturally curly hair like she does.

Billy Ray Cyrus’ Mullet

Iconic country music hairstyles - Billy Ray Cyrus' mullet
Billy Ray Cyrus / YouTube

This list had to include one more famous mullet, and that mullet once belonged to Billy Ray Cyrus.

The “Kentucky Waterfall” Billy Ray rocked in his music video for his breakout hit “Achy Breaky Heart” is now considered to be as iconic as the song itself. 

Billy Ray ditched the mullet in later years but still has long hair to this day. Back in 2006, he released a comical song titled “I Want My Mullet Back,” in which he lamented the loss of his famous hairstyle.

Dolly Parton’s “Nest Of Possums”

Iconic Country Music Hairstyles - Dolly Parton's "nest of possums"
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Dolly Parton’s hair in general can be labeled “iconic.” Her hair is ever-changing since she’s always worn wigs to protect her natural hair, which is extremely thin and fine. She also wears wigs to make her hair as big as possible.

Why not just wear wigs?” she once told The Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family. “That way I never have a bad hair day. I have a big hair day, but not a bad hair day…Gospel singers and country singers just have to have that big hair, it’s just a thing.”

During that conversation, she referenced one wig her fans will never forget. It’s the wig she wore on the cover of her 1973 duets album with Porter Wagoner, We Found It.

The large, curly wig had small braids and light blue ribbons woven throughout the hair. Dolly joked the wig made it look like the thing she and Porter “found” was “a nest of possums.”

Hear Dolly talk more about that wig and other famous looks of hers in the video below.

Which one of these hairstyles from country music history has always stuck out most in your mind? Do you have any other favorites that didn’t appear on this list?