Just like the population in general, all kinds of men become U.S. presidents. Some are loved, and others are as controversial as Donald Trump. Some are hated, and not just because they owned slaves at the White House. Then there are all the official portraits and many photos showing the presidents with terrible hairstyles. Donald Trump’s hairstyle is pretty terrible, but some other presidents had hair as awful as him. Times and fashions change, but these hairdos don’t do the wearers any favors.
We’ll meet men from every era, including a terrible man with helmet hair (No. 8 on the list), the most important Founding Father (No. 6), and three we think are even worse than Donald Trump. Let’s dig in.
15. George Washington
Years in office: 1789-97
It’s hard to take too many shots at one of the founders of our country, but he is definitely among the presidents with terrible hairstyles. We’d have to say the worst element is the bob on either side, which make it look like he’s hiding hair curlers next to his ears. We’ll meet another man with a similar hairstyle that was somehow much worse in a bit at No. 7 on our list.
Next: We can forgive this president for his hairdo.
14. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Years in office: 1953-61
Being president is a stressful job, which explains why Eisenhower is one of the presidents with terrible hair. Or, more precisely, lack of hair, which probably stems from wearing an army helmet for years. Still, helping the allies win World War II and being one of the greatest American presidents don’t give him a pass on a hair’s-not-there hairdo.
Next: Let’s meet Mr. double whammy.
13. William Henry Harrison
Years in office: 1841
It’s a lousy double whammy for Harrison. He was the first president who died in office, and now we’re tagging him as being one of the presidents with terrible hairstyles. The shaggy sides don’t do him any favors, and the whole combed-forward look is just awful. In fact, it reminds us of another president who shows up later on the list.
Next: Get a load of that forehead.
12. Calvin Coolidge
Years in office: 1923-29
Historians remember Coolidge’s presidency mostly for his ‘active inactivity,’ according to the White House website. The man needs to be remembered for his terrible hairstyle. A conservative politician, Coolidge has the hairdo to match. A sweeping tuft on top with thin strands on the sides, his ‘do draws attention to his panoramic forehead.
Next: A Marxist look before it had a name.
11. James A. Garfield
Years in office: 1881
His assassination ended his time in office, but Garfield remains one of the presidents with terrible hairstyles. His official portrait shows a man with a full beard but thinning hair, a look he shared with the father of communism, Karl Marx.
Next: Did a modern-day actor copy this president’s terrible hairdo?
10. Franklin Pierce
Years in office: 1853-57
We don’t know if actor Eddie Redmayne copied Pierce’s ‘do for the Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts spinoff movies, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he did. The deep part on the left and a fluffy tuft of hair spilling down the right side of his forehead make for a dated look. Even though you can compare his ‘do to an accomplished actor’s, we’re still saying Pierce was one of the presidents with terrible hairstyles.
Next: Another out of control presidential hairdo.
9. Millard Fillmore
Years in office: 1850-53
Fillmore’s official portrait ensures he’ll always be ranked among the presidents with terrible hairstyles. It’s the same length all over and on the right side, it’s so unkempt that it sweeps forward and threatens to overtake his face. It’s similar to the man we’re about to meet, but not as bad.
Next: The president who wore helmet hair as his hairstyle.
8. Andrew Johnson
Years in office: 1865-69
Andrew Johnson was an all-around terrible person who sabotaged Reconstruction, and his hair is nearly as awful. The extra long hair on the sides and the back make it look like helmet hair, and Johnson’s wrinkled scowl doesn’t help.
Next: A deep hairless cleft on top is hard to look at.
7. John Adams
Years in office: 1797-1801
Since he was part of the era where powdered wigs were popular, we’ll give our second president a bit of a break. Still, Adams ranks high up on the list of presidents with terrible hairstyles. His billowy locks on each side of his head aren’t very attractive, but the awful part is the deep hairless cleft running from front to back.
Next: This Founding Father was follically challenged.
6. James Madison
Years in office: 1809-17
His contemporaries called him the father of the Constitution, which is as much of an honor as being president. It’s impressive that Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington gave him that title, but his follically challenged hairstyle isn’t. Between the widow’s peak and thin curtains of hair covering his ears, Madison definitely ranks as one of the presidents with terrible hairstyles.
Next: He stands out because the presidents before and after him had normal hairdos.
5. William Howard Taft
Years in office: 1909-13
The president before Taft (Teddy Roosevelt) and the presidents after (Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding) rocked haircuts that wouldn’t look out of place in the 21st century. Taft, however, lived with a hairdo that looked out of place even in his time. The slicked hair with a middle part coupled with a wildly unkempt mustache makes for an unsightly mess.
Next: At least we understand what he’s trying to do.
4. Donald Trump
Years in office: 2017-
Next to all the outrageous lies and his oversized bravado, Donald Trump’s hair is probably the most controversial thing about him. The outlandish comb-over and hair swept across the tops of his ears aren’t a great look, but at least we understand what he’s trying to do. We can’t say the same for the next three presidents with terrible hairstyles.
Next: An awful combination even worse than Trump’s hairstyle.
3. Chester A. Arthur
Years in office: 1881-85
The way his hair spills down the sides of his face and forms a sideburn-mustache combination is awful. It was a bad look for his time and it’s aged terribly, which is why Arthur is way up the list of presidents with terrible hairstyles. Still, we’d argue two presidents are even worse than Arthur.
Next: Billy Ray Cyrus rocked the same hairstyle in the 1990s.
2. John Quincy Adams
Years in office: 1825-29
It must be in the genes since we just encountered his dad on this list a minute ago. Seeing this hairdo, we have to ask: Is this where the ‘business in the front, party in the back’ style got its start?
Billy Ray Cyrus championed the mullet in the 1990s, but John Quincy Adams rocked the style first. All we can say about both of them is, what were they thinking? He might be the smartest president ever, but Adams’ lack of hair up top, long locks in the back, and sideburns that transform into spotty mutton chops all make for the worst presidential hairstyle of all time.
Next: There are no words.
1. Martin Van Buren
Years in office: 1837-41
Listing all the reason Martin Van Buren’s hairdo is a complete disaster would take too much time, so we’re going to highlight some of the major gaffes:
- The stringy and uneven mess on the sides is just too much. Couldn’t Van Buren find a comb during the four years he was in office?
- We could call those creatures on the side of his face mutton chops, but those things are a few steps up the food chain from actual mutton chops.
- No amount of unruly hair is going to distract us from that movie screen forehead.
It’s hard to believe Van Buren’s official portrait was the best one to remember his legacy.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!