How to spot a ‘Hippie’

Bob Borson —  June 11, 2010

Real Hippies don’t look like this

We all have our own version of one travel game or another. You look at someone and based on their appearance, you develop a story for who they are and how they came to be in this moment. As Michelle and I were traveling to Paris, we seemed to see a surprising number modern day hippies….bleeech. Time has not been kind to most hippies, something that I am at a loss to explain. All that love and kindness, healthy lifestyle, proper diet, What gives? So in a matter of moments I put together my list of today’s modern day hippie requirements.

They look more like this – I bet he smells like peanut butter and she smells like patchouli

  1. Dry, Long, Wiry, Kinky Grey Hair. This is not a shot at grey hair – I had grey hair before it moved through the ‘white’ period before settling into it’s current state of ‘clear’. No this is more a comment on lustre,  or lack thereof. It is most assuredly related to the same root cause of;
  2. Ashy skin- most likely due to an avoidance of consuming animal proteins. Hey man, I’m cool with you being a vegetarian, just don’t start getting on me about animal cruelty as I pan down your wardrobe and see your;
  3. Leather Jesus Sandals. Ooohh, leather doesn’t grow on trees and you can’t be a real hippie and wear any kind of petroleum product..tsk, tsk. At least today’s modern hippie can sustainably wrap themselves up in being green and wear sandals made out of recycled tires. Otherwise, go barefoot Brother Unicorn.

    Brother Unicorn

  4. They never wear new clothing – How is this true? It’s got to be new at some point but since we all know this is true, there must be some fold in the Hippie time/space continuum, the doorway to which can only be found after consuming mushrooms that show up in the alley after it rains. This clearly leads us to;
  5. Ill Fitting Clothing. I will go ahead and make the assumption that their clothing doesn’t fit them because they either found it behind the port-a-johns ‘after the show’ or made it themselves using needles made from fish bones.

    Okay, she probably did make this outfit

  6. No Make-up. Again, nothing wrong with that – just an observation but it is however, a crucial non-ingredient that defines the hippie. This of course excludes any makeup that is used in any manner other than concealing or highlighting – i.e. daisies painted on your face.

    this does not count as ‘make-up’ (and is that a budding young architect in the glasses?)

  7. Consumers of Health Food Supplements. I would even go so far as to say they are enthusiastic consumers of such hippie dietary supplements including: wheat grass juice, fish oil, oregano extract and St. John’s wort.
  8. Straw Hats. All you have to do is look at the above picture and you know this to be true.
  9. Fanny packs. What do they keep inside these things? My guess is incense and rolling papers.
  10. Pony tails on men + braids for women (or vice-versa). You can’t have short hair and be a proper hippie. For that matter, I don’t think you need a brush either. For some inexplicable reason, dirty looking hair and the hippy ‘look’ go hand-in-hand. Step one: rub dirt and potato chips/ cheez puffs into hair. Step two: take a dirty shirt and rub vigorously back and forth across head. Step 3: Sleep in Microbus. Step 4: Wet hands (saliva is most likely used because it’s free, available, and smells perfect) and work into pony tail or braid.  Perfect.

    I’m thinking ‘Tic Tac’ (photo credit Deanne Fitzmaurice)

  11. Laid-back demeanor. I assume this is either from hallucinogenics or the lack of needing to be ANYWHERE.
  12. Body Hair. Beards, armpits, legs, whatever – as long as you have it and the more the better (preferably worn ‘clumpy’ style)
  13. Unusual Personal Aromas. This doesn’t mean stinky although you say po-ta-to I say pa-tah-to. Some of the usual suspects include: patchouli, oregano extract, or licorice (or star anise as they undoubtedly would correct you), and other members from the ‘herb’ family.
  14. Neck Kerchiefs/ Head bands/ Doo-rag. Hippies start off using head bands but as they lose their hair, they move onto the doo-rag.
  15. Oral Hygiene.This is a touchy subject but I think that Hippies like to keep their teeth clean but they don’t want to use fluoride (look it up – it’s totally true). Ever heard of Miswak? It’s sorta like anise and it used in natural toothpastes, that and other delightful flavors such as Myrrh and Propolis. Mmmmm, it even sounds like it smells good.

So as I went through 6 major airports, spotting today’s ‘extreme’ version of the 1960’s hippie, I just got to thinking when did things turn so unfortunately for the hippy? How did we go from:

A real 1960’s Hippie Chick

to this

Hippies were once a symbol – a youthful subculture that grew out of counter-cultural ideologies of the Beat Generation that embraced psychedelic rock, free love and pot. Now they mostly look like homeless people which isn’t really fair to homeless people. Now that the hippies have all grown up, all I can say is stay away from psychedelic rock, free love and pot (and maybe Whole Foods Market).

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  • Tina Ryan

    Old hippies don’t die, (like old blogs – Ed) they just lie low
    until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
    Joseph Gallivan

  • Jesse

    I feel you are an ignorant individual… And lable hippes based on your perception of appearance…I enjoy bathing and maintaned hair…matter of fact I’m quite attractive… yet I am and have greatfully been labled as a hippie most of my life by my closest friends…not based on appreance but on my spiritualism…caring…self reflection…loving and helping others…the fact that I can be happy without materialistic items…let me enlighten you on your misguided labels. Your ignorant sterio types are out dated…I would suggest opening your mind, put a little effort in your research, maybe some field work and updating your opinion before misleading other lazy and simple minded individuals like yourself that would believe any of this….I say sarcastically, best wishes being part of the demise of human esistance.

    • Bob Borson

      I love how “hippies” come on here, with their righteous indignation, and in turn do the very same thing to me that they are claiming I did to them. Hmmm.

      I suppose one good turn deserves the other but if you think you are really all that unique, you are kidding yourself. And congratulations for letting us know that you think you are quite attractive, that really helped your argument.

      I’ll also give you a pass on calling me ignorant despite the numerous (8) misspellings in your comment. Everybody makes mistakes – who am I to judge you?

  • I am Your Father

    I really hope karma comes back to bite you in the ass for wasting my time. You sir are ignorant, rude and just an all around uneducated man on this subject. I’m mad i even clicked on this bias article. That’s 5 minutes I can’t get back. Thanks a lot.

    • Bob Borson

      You are welcome.

  • Persephone

    This made me giggle quite a bit. Whats with all the haters dude? Love and light all of the way, right? So stop the hating. Just laugh it off dudes, sit back and relax and take the time to laugh. It may not be true but its funny.

  • Matthew Arias

    Give Bob a break. Im guessing mid 50s, travelling with his family. I consider myself half hippie. I love music, I love hood herb, I love inner peace, but I also work before I play, and dont expect my 3rd grade Ukele lessons to keep me afloat. Oh and a good shower, and haircut. In this new world, if you really want to move society, ya cant look and act like a bum. Isnt what the movement was about? Changing society?

  • Charlie Savilo

    I forgive the man/woman who wrote this article. May he find peace in what he/she does.

  • Carl Linkhart

    There are some funny comments and observations. I do wonder why you feel the need to stereotype. You only mention the most superficial attributes. I can only assume you were not there at the time doing anything related to counter culture. There’s no fondness in it. Also, it would be more interesting and more meaningful to describe and consider what went before and what came afterwards. It was ,after all, a reaction/ responce to the 1950s and the older generation’s way of life.

    • Bob Borson

      I only mentioned the most superficial attributes because this was intended to be a superficial article written only to amuse. I personally don’t know anybody that fits this description, but I do know a lot of “hippies”. There is a second hippie-related article on this site that compares hippies to architects … turns out that there are many similarities; idealism, consideration for the planet, the well-being of our common man, and many more.

  • TheCountessOfRochester

    Oh and by the way, the top picture of the girl where you say real hippies don’t look like this? Most of us did! Because its not about the way one dresses, its about life style and beliefs!

  • TheCountessOfRochester

    As a person who grew up in a hippie commune with REAL hippies who were
    part of the CND movement and lived for protests, animal rights,
    wildlife, I can say that half of this is NOT true! There was rarely a
    jesus sandal in sight, more on the men us women wore a lot of wedge
    sandals in bright colours, we all made most of our clothes from original
    70’s fabrics so they fitted well, and bought the rest in vintage stores
    and actually none of us had bad breath, In fact many of us had better
    teeth than I have seen in non hippies! we used alternative toothpastes
    that were not tested on animals, the no fluoride thing is utter rubbish!
    There was no excessive body hair on the women and in fact half the men
    did NOT have facial hair, we all showered daily, grew our own fruits and
    veg in the garden, ate edible flowers and the women DID wear make up
    but we chose one that were not tested on animals and were careful about
    the ingredients in it!

    • melody

      Just say no to fluoride. I will agree with that and I’m 37 with no cavities. Xylitol is the better option. I don’t want fluoride in my water either. Look up the ingredients of Prozac.

  • River

    Amazing. I know some of this is true cause my granda was a hippie XD

    • TheCountessOfRochester

      Youre Grandad was just a dirty unclean man! Because none of this article is true!

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  • Fabio

    It seems like you are truly an unhappy man….
    Emotions Expressed Through Facial Expressions.
    Very sorry for you man….maybe hippy style is the solution for you.
    Ciao ciao

    • Bob Borson

      I am truly not an unhappy person … but maybe the hippy lifestyle IS for me – maybe I’m in denial.

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  • You

    From an enlightened new-age “hippy”, I applaud you for this article. I found it very funny!
    I remind all of you that humility is one of the greatest treasures of life and we must all take time to laugh at ourselves. Namaste ;)

    • Alexandria Pollock

      i must have been really high but i don’t remember writing this but clear as day on my screen is says “you wrote this”

      it looks like something i would write, and sounds liek something i would say.

      i’m a hippie by choice, a 29 year old disabled vet, who has little more to do that well explore the world,

      I call my self a hippie, i hang around the old school peeps, i listen to funk and mental, and bob Dylan not always at he same time, I love my tie dyed onesies and high fashion cloths, though i rarely have the money for them.

      but at the end of the day if you take it all away, and left me naked in the street i would still be smiling, because i have a genuine love of life that is impossible to steal, though i have been known to share it with friends :)

      so as “I” said before, humility is one of the greatest treasures of life, and we must all take time to laugh at ourselves,

      Namaste my friends, be well

      • You

        We are all you, consciousness is a collective being.
        My ego likes your ego, though! The more our egos reflect happiness and peace, the happier all of us will be. Let’s continue to walk that path and spread compassion where we can.

        I am not going to call all of the Bob-haters here fake, but from my ego’s point of observation; It is easy to put yourself into belief, but it is not so easy to put that belief in yourself. I feel disappointed that “my people” here share so many hateful words, but it’s refreshing to see the light in another!


  • Misty

    Wow, what a hateful article.

    • Bob Borson

      it would seem the only people who think it’s hateful are humorless hippies

      I think it’s kind of interesting that I didn’t use the word “hate” anywhere in this but many of the comments do.

    • Bob Borson

      I didn’t intend it that way, but between the two of us, I didn’t use the word “hate” anywhere in my post

  • VC

    Jeez, “J”. Wake up on the wrong side of the dirt today?

  • Taylor kille

    This is me and my bestfriend. I stopped my earlier post in the middle because quite frankly idc about the assholes of the world. I’m happy where I’m at and hopefully ur assholeness is bringing you happiness, but in reality it won’t. I just wanted to get one thing straight. We shoes. And I’m 18. The new generation of hippies is a whole nother subject and a whole other can of wild. You don’t even have the tip of the iceberg if you think our elders and inspiration of the grown up original hippies is left. Well I just wanted to say I’m the red head my bestfriend and my entire group of friends are completely free and crazy. We’re actually on a bus to Mexico neither of us have shoes not even those Jesus sandals you assume we wear but we don’t. But hey I’m not saying this because I’m offended it’s because I’m calling you out on ur lack of sufficient evidence. You do t know us and we don’t know you so let’s keep it at that until you open your closed mind alittle bit.
    Peace ✌️

    • Taylor kille


  • Taylor kille

    Um hey asshole. I am a hippie and I’m not a dusty old smelly sack of crazy like you are wrongfully and ignorantly steriotypicalizing hippies to be. I am young free wild and yeah I do use all natural products, because I don’t want my pores to soak up aluminum and sulfates and screw up my body’s natural ph balance. I don’t force my beliefs on anyone or correct anyone unless they ask my opinion. And yes I’m referring to the snide remark about how oh yes they will correct you making us seem to be pricks when a matter of fact we could care less! Idk why you gotta go around making us look bad when you a obviously don’t know anything we stand for and b don’t have any purpose in life but look at our lives from the narrow eyeglass of your small minded foolish observations and judge

  • J the real 60’s hippie

    This is one of the worst things ive read, just a list of stupid stereotypes that everyone knows, many of which aren’t at all true. Also the last two pictures are wrong, the first one of a ‘real 60’s hippie’ is taken recently, defiantly not before the 90’s and the second picture is of old people who probably were hippies in the 60’s. Your an idiot. I hope you didn’t get paid for this. Writing this article was a waist of your time, and reading it was a waist of mine. Much like this comment but the other way round

    • Bob Borson

      I think you mean “waste” but either way, you are probably correct

  • Coffee n cigs

    Hey Man, it’s all inside. The groove is IN not OUT. Freedom is a pair of jeans with no
    underwear… Goldman Sachs is watching you. Don’t touch my psychedelic rock. You can have the rest. Peace Man.

    • Bob Borson

      Agreed. Peace

  • herb

    noting wrong with the hippie lifestyle since they believe deeply in world peace and believe we all can benefit from it. psychedelics and the blessed herb…..yummy ;), is freedom of use. nothing wrong with that too. if anyone truly respects hippies, love them and they will love you back. im all for them ;)

  • Rachel

    While you are entitled to your opinion, this piece indubitably elitist. You’ve made it clear that the “hippie lifestyle” is not something you’d even consider, and that’s okay. However, mocking any lifestyle is rather unnecessary, and insinuating (as I observed in comments as well as the piece) that an alternative lifestyle is NOT a lifestyle is even worse.

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  • joemikes

    i’m sorry but i’ve got to disagree with you on most of your points here! i dont think its really possible to define a “hippie” just by how they look or smell and what you’ve described in your list sounds like serious extremist hippies and you can’t really say that all hippies are like that! being a hippie is about the mindset more than anything and you dont necessarily have to look like anything in particular to follow a philosophy

    • Bob Borson

      I agree with you 100% that you don’t have to look like what I shown here to be a “hippie”. But if I don’t know you – and by extension your “hippie lifestyle” all I have to go on is the cover to the book (so to speak).

  • Smiley

    “A real 1960’s chick”, with a real 90’s dude in the background. Pfft.

    • Bob Borson

      probably right

  • Drew Hasson

    Bob, this is awkwardly true. Your are very brave to document these observations. Many of these original hippies have relocated to Southern Cali, even those hippies haven’t been reduced to what your and In have observed above. Well done, sir!

  • Helping hippie

    I am sorry you have no idea about what you talking about and i bet those homeless street people as you call them are much happier and healthier than you will ever be.

  • Trjahdjkfrthjd

    fuck u

  • Lesclaypool

    here we see true close minded opinion. I guess its good your here doing what you do so I can learn how to not be like you.
    Give me some dreadlocks, i would rather be called a bum then spread garbage opinion about people that are different then me.
    Congratulations, you are one of the diversity haters that is ruining our country.
    A table can’t stand on one foot, if we get lucky you will turn into a hippy and do something active and helpful for our community and Earth instead of blogging about stupid shit like this.

    • Bob Borson

      let me guess, you did a search online for “hippie” and found this post – disagreed with what you read, so in knee-jerk fashion, you fired off a comment to put me in my place. 

      Well done, consider me a changed person. I will start by losing my sense of humor. I am going to leave your comment in place for awhile, but I will be taking it down because you broke one of my rules – no foul language. Since you couldn’t make your point without cursing, it isn’t worth having up here.

  • Guest

    You successfully stereotype and outwardly mock .  You make silly unsubstantiated claims  (vegetarianism and skin clarity really?) and outwardly mock environmentalism. This is a poorly written piece of bigotry. 

    • Bob Borson

      I am glad I was successful in my stereotyping – because hippies are so hard to stereotype …

      for the record, you need to have hate and intolerance towards a race or ethnic group to be a bigot. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment as “Guest”

      • greekgoddess

        i take it “guest” is a hippie! heheehe. i too aspire to be one. ive just been too busy with having a real life to get started. maybe when i retire huh. heheeheheh

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  • Bobcostas

    What a surprise…you are from Texass.

    • Bob Borson

      good one – thanks for taking the time to leave a comment

      Enjoy your week

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  • Anonymous

    This post confirms a suspicion that has been brewing for a while – This blog is not worth following. See you later.

    • Bob Borson

      I am truly sorry to hear that – I’ll send a check to refund the cost of your subscription right away.


    • Bob Borson

      I am truly sorry to hear that – I’ll send a check to refund the cost of your subscription right away.


    • Bob Borson

      I am truly sorry to hear that – I’ll send a check to refund the cost of your subscription right away.


      • Alexandria Pollock

        haha as someone that has had a blog i will have to remember this
        line thanks for the smiles :)

    • Bob Borson

      I am truly sorry to hear that – I’ll send a check to refund the cost of your subscription right away.


  • My_green_romance

    did you take the photo of the girl without makeup… topic number 6? It’s my favorite photo, ever! :)

    • Bob Borson

      I did not – I can’t find a photo credit for it. It is a marvelous photo

    • Bob Borson

      I did not – I can’t find a photo credit for it. It is a marvelous photo

    • Bob Borson

      I did not – I can’t find a photo credit for it. It is a marvelous photo

    • Bob Borson

      I did not – I can’t find a photo credit for it. It is a marvelous photo

  • Dgjc2010

    Yeah not all hippies look like homeless people …there is still the beautiful hippies out there…it may look like they are all the same but we are not :)

    • Bob Borson

      You are absolutely correct in that all hippies don’t look like homeless people. There is a difference between people who live like a hippie and those that embrace the intellectual ideals of being a hippie. One is easier to spot than the other.

      Thanks for your comment – cheers

  • Frankie

    ….papers and incense….do you mean drugs?

  • Richard

    LOL…I live on Vancouver Island here in Canada. These Hippies live among us! It’s like 1967 is frozen in time for them.

  • Terrill Welch

    Are you sure you weren’t on Mayne Island off the south west coast of British Columbia, Canada on the weekend? Seriously I think I must be a hippie with my long (though shiny) mane of silver hair that has never been coloured, a face that seldom sees make up (weddings, if I remember to bring it), smelling slightly of incense after last nights vegetarian potluck which ended in a healing circle. But my earthen coloured clothing has none of the brilliance of these tie-die wearing friends. And my smile is not from smoking herbs but rather the beauty of living along the Salish Sea. Great post!

    • Bob Borson


      A Healing Circle!?! Man, I wish I had thought of including that … from your description, you are the unicorn of hippies (wow, I think I just came up with the coolest thing ever). Best of luck and happy living

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  • cyraduquella

    I've planted some Coast Redwoods on our land and have 3 in pots in my backyard waiting for transport to our green heaven. Wow, they grow fast! I don't think they will get big enough to not get my arms around in my lifetime.

  • bobborson

    Arms around a big tree sounds like the first step to getting sap on your face. I like to look at big trees – one day I'm going to make a trip up to the Redwood National Forest so I can actually see a sequoia (I'll probably try and hug one of them so I can check it off the list).

  • bobborson

    Better than a dimwit I always say (but don't always do….)

  • bobborson

    Hippies are traditionally non-violent although verifying pupil dilation before provoking one just makes good common sense. Once past that initial phase, I would encourage you to interact with the urban hippy, it can be a rewarding experience on sooooo many levels.

    • John

      …or said interaction could leave you bored to tears as you politely listen (for hours) to segmented tales of unconnected events as they come together in the most random order imaginable before said hippy attempts to sell you, for a quarter, the worst poetry ever heard that he or she has scrawled upon the back of some local show flyer. …or maybe that’s just me.

  • cyraduquella

    My closest neighbor to CedarBerry Woods looks like the guys in the photos. He's got green teeth and walks around barefoot in the woods even around nettles. In the summer he just wears overalls – only overalls. Don't ask me how this became obvious. ;_) That far into the Oregon coast range we are all called tree huggers and our creek is pronounced crick. Yes, I do hug my trees. They are so big I can't get my arms around them.

  • Alexandrafunfit

    Forget the clothes; why does that budding young architect in the background of the photo look so disgusted? Jealous about tie-dye perhaps! I would like to mention that somewhere I have a groovy leather & lace vest from junior high that was roughly from that period. Seeing this pics makes me want to wear it somewhere, right after I brush my teeth. Did I mention that do this day I cannot stand the smell of patchouli? That junior high thing again. PS. Very funny post. You are a witty cynic: a cynwit.

  • cyraduquella

    Hey, where did you get the photo of the rainbow lady w/the umbrella? She looks like the woman who was famous for attending the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival in that garb and always sitting in the front row.

  • Brian Meeks

    I have memorized all of these, so I will now be able to spot a hippie. What you didn't include is any advice for surviving the experience. Do I freeze, like with bears? Do I run? Perhaps a follow up post.

  • Marcy

    Do you remember our Hippie professors at architecture school? One of them loved pantone colors and said he “wanted to rub them all over his body”