5 Presidents With the Worst Hair Styles in History

When the phrases “bad hair” and “President of the United States” are uttered in the same sentence, your mind may go straight to Donald Trump. Yet, even Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders heard a fair amount of criticism about their locks while they were contending for the White House. It might make you feel as though things went horribly wrong in recent years. But let’s not forget that since the dawn of our country, we’ve been plagued with leaders with awful hair. Let’s do a little recap.

1. Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon in the oval office

Richard Nixon | National Archive/Newsmakers

As the only president to resign from the White House thus far, there are a lot of reasons to dislike the polarizing politician (just think back to Watergate). Perhaps a bad hair style isn’t enough of a reason to dislike a person; however, we can’t say that Richard Nixon’s coiffure won any naysayers over. We could nitpick about his oddly geometric receding hairline, but we actually admire his effort to make the best out of a not-so-ideal situation. No, the problem with his ‘do is the conspicuous shine that radiates from his mane at all times. Is it grease? Excessive product? It’s hard to say, but one thing’s for sure: Whatever lies on top of his head looks more like wet tar than human hair. A little shine is never a bad thing, but Nixon’s hair is where we draw the line.

2. John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams | National Archive/Newsmakers

Holy sideburns, John Quincy Adams! Even back in the 17th century, the sixth POTUS did some great things for our country — he was Secretary of State during James Monroe’s presidency, actively fought against slavery, and garnered the nickname “Old Man Eloquent.” But a quick Google search will unveil a less than commendable part of his legacy: those attention-seeking sideburns. Look, we are totally fine with a guy juxtaposing a bald scalp with some strong sideburn game. But when the facial frippery in question reaches almost all the way to the corners of your mouth, creating ill-placed handlebar hair? No, thank you. He didn’t know it back in the 1800s, but a hair style of this variety veers into Wolverine territory (but Wolverine has spikes that jut out of his knuckles so we can’t really mess with that).

3. Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

If we had one piece of advice for Martin Van Buren, America’s eighth leader whose presidency we must’ve skimmed over in our history class, it would be this: Invest in a wig, stat. We understand that balding is natural and, without the likes of Rogaine, unpreventable; however, we just can’t get behind this whole half bald-half unkempt hair situation. With a quick razor and shaving cream — or even some scissors, we’re not picky — Van Buren could’ve been the Patrick Stewart of presidents. Instead, our country’s leader from 1837 to 1841 looked more like Herman from the original “Guess Who?” board game. And as for the portion of his head with hair? That mad scientist-esque static is cringe-worthy. Where was a de-frizz serum when our country needed it the most?

4. Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

As far as we’re concerned, there are only three guys who can pull off the pompadour: Elvis Presley, Johnny Bravo, and Danny Zuko. Franklin Pierce, however, cannot. Sure, we doubt our 14th president was hoping to double as a grooming icon for the ages, but parting his hair so a huge bare patch shows didn’t do him any favors. Forget Donald Trump, perhaps we should credit Pierce as the first case of bad comb-over syndrome. And in some pictures of the late leader, he has a sizable chunk of hair jutting out from the side of his head. A case of bed head that we cannot excuse.

5. George Washington

George Washington

George Washington | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

We know, we know, it’s a low-blow to mention the very first president of the United States. However, just because his hair’s silhouette is one of the most iconic of the bunch doesn’t mean it’s a covetable style. Far from it, in fact. Sure, hair trends come and go, but we can’t imagine a point in time when this neither here nor there style wouldn’t receive a double-take. What was his inspiration behind this style? Was he trying to grow it out into a cool lob situation? Oh, we have so many questions that we would love to ask this founding farmer. And when that questionable length is combined with a cotton candy-like texture? We’re getting some serious Krusty the Clown vibes over here.

Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs