Emo is basically a style followed these days by the youth. The term has it's roots in the emotional hardcore music started by Rites of Spring, a band in 1980's and now has evolved into something else. The term has it's roots in the emotional, and it is a term adopted by the youth today to describe their edgy and emotional state which is reflected in their attire as well as their hairstyles.
You may have encountered Emo hairstyles. They are the height of fashion for the young people and you see them everywhere. One would really consider all hairstyles that display a lot of attitude and individualism as emo, though purists are quite rigid about what emo styles are all about.
Though emo hairstyles are all about individuality, there are a few characteristics all of them have in common. Most of them have bangs and fringes. Some fringes are long and cover the eyes, or at least one of them. Others are swept to one side. Yet others are short and cut into angular, edgy or pointy shapes. Girls often go for a feathered cut with choppy bangs.
Colored hair is one of the traits of emo hairstyles. The popular colors are black, deep blue, purple, metallic brown and and even dark white. These colors form the main base of the hair. This is then contrasted by vibrant colors like pink, red, orange, yellow.
Another common characteristic of this style is that the hair is not tied. It is flowing unrestrained and worn in a way that can be classified as unruly and with a lot of attitude. The hair can be worn long or short. Some of the hairstyles like explained earlier are cultivated to look wild, and others are kept in place with gel. Some emo youth was their hair frequently and others go for weeks with unwashed hair.
Like explained earlier, the hair is raven black or dark and so is the attire which is again black based, almost Goth, I would say, but it is contrasted with a lot of color and layers of different clothing. Think dark colored skirts with bright colored tights, paired with shirts having bright red and white checks for girls, dark skinny jeans with tighter (if possible) tees, which when piercings, lots of mascara for both boys and girls. That is the outward appearance of an emo youth. This of course goes with the hairstyle which is such an important part of the emo look. The look is completed with a pair of Converse all star or Vans tennis shoes. This may be further accessorized with a large quantity of jewelery, bracelets, ear rings, piercings on the eyebrow or lip, necklaces etc, and a hoodie.
An emo hairstyle and attitude, unlike the rebellious expression of youth in older days, has nothing to do with violence and angst. Emo youth would go out of the way to tell us that emo styles are an outward expression of their creativity, their feelings and individuality. It is, like the hippies of the sixties or the Goths of the eighties, a lifestyle, a culture, a generational thing the youth of today are going through.