Having a bad hair day- slang for a time when things are going badly undoubtedly had a limited currency before it reached a wider public. In an interview on Weekend Update, the American television journalist Jane Pauley mentioned having invented the term herself during the 1970s. But according to the BBC, columnist Susan Swartz was the first person to spring the term on an unsuspecting public in print in the Houston Chronicle in 1988. On an unsuspecting adult public, that is. Swartz later acknowledged that she used the term quite casually, probably having heard it said by teenage girls.
Nevertheless, she holds the distinction of being responsible for its first public appearance. The really major international exposure came in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, written by Joss Whedon, when our eponymous heroine says to the one-armed vampire Amilyn:
I’m fine, but you’re obviously having a bad hair day.