Backstreet Boys, The Hair-volution: Part Two – AJ McLean

AJ. Oh AJ.

I hope you guys are enjoying this series! For those who missed it, I started it off with Nick. I already know this post is going to take me forever. Because he’s the man who had a million hairstyles. May the writing gods bless my soul as I put this together. I chose him next mainly because I knew this would take the longest. I love you AJ but…man. There were hairstyles I forgot till they got mentioned when I reached out to track down photos of the ones I DID remember. Thanks to those who did send over photos cause this was a battle.

Let’s begin!


The Caesar

That’s what this hair reminds me of. Probably one of the simplest ones in the post. Just slicked down. No color, no muss, and no fuss. I think AJ got bored soon after.


The Pom Poms


I have no idea what AJ was thinking. None. I have a lot of questions, a lot of WTFs and not a damn answer. I just, nope, don’t know. If an AJ fan can explain this, comment. Okay? Cause…yeah. Or AJ, when you see this, can you tell us what you were thinking? I’m honestly curious. Help us out here!


The Peacock

This is what he was rocking for Black and Blue. Yeah I know he’s promoting the album and all but I also wondered if he was flashing his feathers in hopes of finding a good mate. Not that he’d need it. At least he’d be hard to lose with that hair!


The Cat Butt

Nick called it this once in an interview and I never forgot it. I mean, that’s what this looks like!!! I should go see if I still have the magazine article. In short, AJ was tapping into his feline side. This came about in the era between eras, around 2004 I want to say? Just before Never Gone. Thankfully by the time they started doing album shoots, this hair disappeared. Many questions about why, yet again. I’m going to be asking why a lot in this post, aren’t I?


 The Pinky and The…

This look wasn’t too bad. Actually it’s pretty hot and I was never the biggest lover of AJ’s looks if you want me to be honest. He’s a good looking guy, he just wasn’t my type. Here, he’s everyone’s type.


The Butterfly


In the 90s butterfly clips were pretty trendy. Apparently AJ liked them too! I don’t know why he did enough to wear them during a TV special…but wear him he did. This was absolutely a hair of it’s time. Then again I’ve seen them coming back, but you’re good not wearing them again AJ. Promise.


The Cappuccino Hair

I stole this name from my co-tweet and co-mod on the TDS forums, Gemma. Who demanded I give an entire paragraph to this moment. And I mean, who could blame her? It literally looks like he was made at Starbucks. Which, okay if they made AJs at Starbucks, I’d be the first in line to buy one. The story is, AJ was halfway through dying his hair before he ran out of bleach. My question is WHO decided that was fine instead of buying him some more?! Okay it was probably AJ himself but this was what, 1998? They had stylists by then! They could’ve fixed this. YOU COULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS PEOPLE. This was an oopsie, rather than a full on choice. Now it is immortalized forever within the I’ll Never Break Your Heart music video.


The WTF Ponytails

I just want to know why he thought this was a good idea. That’s all. Please explain. Because…why. Tell me why!


The Mohawk

This has had a few variations but it’s actually one of my personal favorites. Rocker looks good on you AJ. This was fresh off AJ getting the hair plugs he was always open about getting. I mean the poor guy did basically torture his hair over the years so ever since he’s gone easy on it. That said this was a pretty great style for him. This can stay.



Bald is beautiful, am I right? Thankfully for AJ he doesn’t have a weird shaped head or this would’ve been really awkward.


Shaved Head

While similar to being bald, this was more of a choice. And not a bad one!


Curls! Curls! Curls! 

It’s a little poofy but oddly attractive. Definitely nothing like Justin Timberlake’s tragic fro he used to rock back in the day. I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact this looks pretty natural and that’s appealing.


The Cornrows

Every Backstreet Boy except Brian has tried this at some point or another. Honestly? It doesn’t look terrible on you AJ. Especially with the bandanna. This was not his best time period but he definitely had the Bad Boy appeal going on.



He rotated this one in and out a few times, and I can see why. When you FINISH the dye job, it looks pretty solid. Just never repeat the Cappuccino again and we’re good.


The Normal

Only for AJ would I ever have one called “The Normal”. Mainly because what else could I call this? There’s nothing crazy, no colors, no weird braided mohawks (I wanted to feature this as it happened during the DNA World Tour but I couldn’t find a photo – if someone sends me one, I’ll edit to add it). It’s just good looking and…well, normal! But then again if AJ was “normal” by everyone else’s standards, he wouldn’t be AJ now would he?

Next up…Kevin!


Now, I need you guys to vote! Which “AJ look” is your favorite of all time?


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