Cutting-Edge Hair News, 2008
Left photo courtesy TV Heads
When we praised the wonder of curls in our Style Profile section, we used journalist Alison Stewart to show how perfect a curl can be. It actually was suggested by a Hair Fan during Crown Awards voting for Best Curls a few years before. Stewart was messy with her curls at times while at MTV, but toned them to precision while at ABC News and MSNBC. So imagine the surprise we've had in recent months, to see her fill in for evening hosts with an extra-long straight look. Has the former host of The Most found the most compelling look for her?
A seven-day survey left voters markedly divided, but with 53 percent preferring Stewart's change (9-8). "I really like it," wrote one voter who wondered if all that length developed simply by Stewart straightening her curls. (Given our picture at left, we don't think so; there probably was some extra growing-out.) But another declared the straight look dull and lacking in volume, adding: "it.... just hangs there." And one Hair Fan who considers Stewart to have "one of the greatest heads of curls on TV" dared to call her a sell-out -- "unless she's doing an homage to Native American women." (Well, she was born in New Jersey.)
If there's one member of the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame who's not afraid to dabble with different do's, it's Faith Hill. She became a singing star with long hair, then went short for awhile. She grew it out again, as shown at left - then chopped her hair to neck-length layers, as shown at right during a late 2008 appearance on The View. But if there's one thing which remains constant, it's the opinion of our Hair Fans. And they say this latest change was a mistake.
Our week-long poll ended with three-fourths of the voters hissing Hill (24-8). One compared the new look to an old style of Jane Fonda and asked, "Where's the body?" That voter also considered the change stiff -- although that could be intentional, to keep the style holding through perilous winter U.S. weather. But remember this: things could be worse. If you saw the Home for the Holidays special where Hill tied her hair like it was nailed to the back of her head, you know what we mean.
Photos courtesy Kim Kardashian.com, F-Listed
Some of the most fascinating Super-Hair secrets we've learned over the years involve how women with long hair use bangs to their advantage. Some of them have bangs cut in during autumn, to guard against styles collapsing in their faces to defeat from seasonal winds. We're not sure if that's what led reality TV star Kim Kardashian to add bangs, but they certainly caught the attention of some Hair Fans. Does this look improve a thick long style which was a surprise 2008 finalist for the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame?
A week of polling found two-thirds percent of the voters preferring the bangs go away (10-5). One supporter said the addition "make her look sultrier and more sophisticated." But the majority may have reached the conclusion we did -- that at least in our picture, they distract from a normally luxurious and gorgeous head of hair.
Some TV critics say the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric took a major step forward in 2008 - especially with Couric's in-depth interview of Sarah Palin. But ask our Hair Fans, and they might say Couric took a big leap backwards. She returned from a Thanksgiving week vacation with her hair streamlined and scaled back - with hair not really touching the shoulders anymore at all.
Our one-week poll on this change was never really in doubt: 80 percent of the voters want Couric's cut longer (28-7). "This has to be one of the worst style changes this year," moaned a critic. "Looks like she did most of the cutting herself in front of a mirror at home," said another who longed for the bobbed look on the left. (Didn't she once pay a stylist $500 for these things?) A third summed up the change this way: "From soccer mom to soccer grandma." And for the person who asked what Couric was thinking with this cut, we'll give Hair Fans this assignment - put her new look side-by-side with a current picture of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Do you believe in miracles? Part of our passion as Hair Fans stems from the wonder of watching Super-Hair miraculously stay beautifully in place, through the toughest challenges and threats. But one Hair Fan used the word "miraculously" in a different way, when teenage singer Demi Lovato sang the national anthem before a U.S. Thanksgiving Day football game. The star of Camp Rock suddenly seemed to have more inches of hair, compared with the American Music Awards only four days before (see below).
To our knowledge, no one makes "Miracle-Gro" for hair - so we sadly must assume Lovato clipped on extensions for the football game. But this led to a question: would she do better with a real longer style? Our one-week poll found 84 percent of voters saying yes (16-3). "At least we know the bangs are real," one comment said, "and they're neater and fuller in the longer style." Do some online searching and you'll find Lovato can make the extensions look incredibly full and thick. You'll also see how the bangs were a great adjustment on her part, because her hair falls across her face without them.
They're both rising singing stars, but Leona Lewis and Demi Lovato have plenty of differences. There's U.K. vs. U.S., X Factor and talent contest vs. Camp Rock and Disney - and more obviously, long hair vs. short hair. Viewers of the 2008 American Music Awards found plenty to like in both looks, as they share our prize for the best style of the show.
A competitive one-week contest found Lovato taking an early lead, only to see Lewis rise above her. They dueled to the wire and finished tied at 31 percent of the vote. Pre-show interview host Carrie-Anne Inaba was third at 19 percent, followed by a "bubbly" Colbie Caillat at 13 percent. Presenter/eye candy Paris Hilton scored six percent, but also a voter's complaint that her love of extensions should always make her suspect. Yet more suspicions developed at mid-poll, when Lovato showed up at a Thanksgiving Day football game with much longer locks. We noticed no pins at the A.M.A.'s -- so did she talk backstage with Hilton about this?
Courtesy MTV/Getty Images
When we saw the list of VJ's who attended the grand finale of MTV's Total Request Live, a couple of names surprised us. Carson Daly, we knew. Vanessa Minnillo, we knew a little - mostly from her Entertainment Tonight appearances, and rumored New York romances. But we didn't know Hilarie Burton had hosted TRL, before becoming an actress on the drama One Tree Hill. "Hil" indeed was the one who impressed Hair Fans most, when we asked which host had the hottest style.
Our five-day between-awards poll wound up as a two-woman fight. But Burton's controlled curls edged Minnillo's exotic straight length by 57 to 43 percent (8-6). Three other VJ's received no votes at all: La La Vasquez, Lyndsey Rodrigues - and in a big surprise to us, Susie Castillo. We never realized she had moved to MTV after her reign as Miss USA. And Hair Fans may have forgotten how she rocketed into our Top Ten while she had that title, for hair she calls "supercurly." Not so super after all, apparently....
It's becoming clear to us that there's a "hair rivalry" in country music. Martina McBride beat Carrie Underwood at the 2005 Country Music Association Awards. Underwood edged McBride in 2006, becoming the dominant style in practically every awards show poll for which she was eligible. But the 2008 CMA's found the "Rose of Sharon" (Kansas) clawing her back to the top, winning your vote as the night's superior style.
Our six-day race (and our first using HDTV for vidcaps) was a fight to the finish, with McBride edging Underwood by 42 to 38 percent. "Martina's hair was sweet," drooled one voter. "I love the length and body" - adding the loose long hair didn't fall during her song, although it came close. "I never really cared for it pixi short," admitted another McBride fan. Underwood may have been hurt by disagreement concerning her lack of bangs. Some wanted them back, while others called her bangs "nasty" and too small for her forehead.
Third place went to singing-group-unattached Heidi Newfield at 12 percent. She was praised for long hair that's "sleek, shiny, and looks so soft!" Then came a tie at four percent between Kellie Pickler and "Other." Could that mystery person have been Shania Twain, who made a surprise appearance at the end of the evening? If we had known she was coming, we might have a spot on the ballot for her.
If Sharpay from High School Musical suddenly went "goth," what would people think? It would be the sort of "teenage rebellion" that's perfect for a dramatic movie. But the Disney family crowd would be too shocked and troubled. So that may explain why Ashley Tisdale waited until the premiere of the third "senior year" movie to unveil a dark brunette hairstyle -- quite a change from the blonde locks which won praise from Hair Fans when she first appeared here.
Was Tisdale on target, by taking a darker approach? Our nine-day poll ended with voters unsure. The lighter look prevailed, but only with 54 percent of the vote (15-13). "She never did look like a natural blonde," wrote one suspicious voter in the minority. "The brunette goes with her eyes better." We'll take your word for it - but her blonde hair reflecting the southern California sunshine has been marvelous to behold.
Did you notice what we noticed about Sarah Palin during the U.S. Presidential campaign - that as the weeks went on, the pins in her hair became harder to find? We can't prove any Republican Party activists visited our site, or checked the results of our up/down question. But Palin certainly won over enough Hair Fans to be named the best style in the 2008 election.
After a computer code problem was fixed (which may have hurt Heidi Montag in that earlier poll), Palin easily prevailed in an eight-day "early voting" contest with 71 percent support. Then came the Democratic running mate, as Jill Biden (wife of Joseph) gained 21 percent. The potential Republican first lady Cindy McCain scored eight percent, and Barack Obama's wife Michelle was left with no votes at all. And for the voter who cleverly asked if Alaska Governor Palin "hunts for mousse" - if she does, we want to check the price tag on the label.
How about an extra-large picture, of hair that's extra-good? We found a blown-up cover of the November 2008 Cosmopolitan while we asked you which women has the best hair on MTV's drama The Hills. The photo we posted of Lauren Conrad during the poll is downright poor, compared to this one - but maybe people passed the magazine aisle before voting, as Hair Fans made her the runaway #1 choice.
A vacation-expanded two-week contest ended with "L.C." capturing 69 percent of the votes. The picture above should explain why: great thickness combined with an effort toward control, using everything from added weighty waves to headbands. From there, the voting surprised us -- as the other Lauren who gets little tabloid attention, "Lo" Bosworth, was second with 23 percent. Audrina Patridge received eight percent. And in a major shock, Conrad's long-haired blonde rival Heidi Montag received NO votes at all! Perhaps one voter had her in mind, with speculation that many women on this quasi-reality show may have "hair extensions and dye jobs."
Right photo courtesy TV Heads
The look on the left won ESPN sports reporter Suzy Kolber her second Crown Award, as Best Short Hair of 2007. But Kolber may be trying to revive a curious old tradition involving winners in that category -- where the top short styles grow them out over the next year. The addition is only an inch or two, but it's noticeable to many Hair Fans (especially with longer bangs).
Is Kolber taking too big a risk here? In terms of keeping her hair in place, she definitely is. But our one-week poll found Hair Fans rooting for us, with 76 percent supporting a change (25-8). "It's kinda flirty," one wrote, "and doesn't have too much product." There's nothing like a poll about a sports reporter to spark discussion about others - with one recommending Kolber or Erin Andrews as an alternative to Super-Hair legend Bonnie Bernstein. Another even suggested Bernstein cut her hair, so she can switch Crown categories with Kolber! Wouldn't that be called "collusion" in major league baseball?
Right photo courtesy TV Heads
When this web site first was introduced to Sharyn Alfonsi, she worked in Boston and her cut was very short. Then she went to CBS News and grew her hair out a bit. Now Alfonsi is at ABC News, and she seems to be growing her hair even longer -- to a bit below the shoulders in our right photo, with Hair Fans admiring how she can "flip" it and add waves.
Is Alfonsi heading in the right direction? Our one-week poll found 86 percent of Hair Fans think so (19-3). While no one left any comments this time, we'd remind you of what Alfonsi told us in a 2005 Super-Hair Q&A interview. The short style was the result of having to work an early-morning shift. Now she presumably works regular hours most of the time - and that seems to provide more time for her to prepare a variety of interesting styles.
If this web site had been around circa 1980, Brooke Shields would have ranked among the top hairstyles on the planet. She had perfectly cut medium-long hair for modeling, and fought with all she had to keep that hair out of her eyes -- usually with impressive success. Shields has had her share of bad hair moments and collapses since then, but she can still wear a style beautifully on any given night. She did that on the night of the 2008 Emmy Awards, and won our poll for the top style of the show.
Our week of voting turned into a tremendous two-woman race between jaw-dropping styles, with the star of Lipstick Jungle edging Heidi Klum of Project Runway by 39 to 35 percent. Klum almost missed the field, by wearing pinned-back looks most of the show -- but when she let it loose, one voter declared, "I've never seen Heidi Klum's hair look better...." They were followed by Teri Hatcher with 17 percent and Tina Fey with nine percent. One voter challenged Fey and Klum's inclusion in the list, claiming their hair dropped in their eyes. This is proving to be controversial for styles with long hair sweeping in a curve across the forehead. It's a popular and glamourous look these days, and we thought Fey and Klum both succeeded in keeping it out of danger - although Fey had to do a lot more head-shaking to keep it that way.
We wondered what was going on with the Beckhams - and sure enough, David's Los Angeles soccer club had a 12-game winless streak when we posted our poll about wife Victoria. Perhaps her switch to a short "pixie cut" was an attempt to change the Galaxy's fortunes, or simply change the subject.
We asked you twice about "Posh" during 2007. First she was named the Spice Girl with the best style - then Hair Fans approved of a picture where she tried out a brunette look. But a dark short cut is not what voters want, as 70 percent rejected it in our poll (21-9). "I would like to see her now try a much longer style," one voter suggested, "such as a shoulder-length bob and blonde again." Based on the last couple of years, Beckham might be open to ideas. Another commenter admitted not voting at all - adding: "She looks like she was sheared, not styled."
She may be the most analyzed U.S. woman of 2008 (even with Britney Spears's more puzzling moments). When Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was named a Vice Presidential nominee, reporters suddenly examined every detail about her career, her family - and we won't even go toward that "L-word," lipstick. We even saw a news report about the popularity of Palin's particular choice of eyeglasses. And then we read a blog comment totally unrelated to our site, which wondered if people prefer Palin's long hair up or down.
Since she's worn it both ways in recent weeks, we put it before Hair Fans in our first "up or down vote." And after a week, two-thirds decided Palin's pins should come off (18-9). Voters actually praised her for having a variety of looks, with one speculating it "doesn't look like she spends hours getting it sprayed and stiff and 'perfect.'" Uh-oh - not perfect? We're not trying to spark any attack ads, but we think Palin's hair has dropped in her eyes since she was selected.
"I am assuming there are a few of you who are wanting to murder me at this precise moment." So wrote Kristin Kreuk on her blog in late July - and she was not quoting a line from her TV drama Smallville. The actress wrote this about a big cut she had just made in her hair. The long locks she displayed on the show seemed to disappear faster than a speeding bullet, leaving her with a tight short cap.
Is a smaller look better for Kristin? Hair Fan opinions may not be more powerful than a locomotive, but they were strong - with 76 percent of the voters objecting (22-7). "This challenges for one of the worst makeovers ever," one dared to write. "I never realized that her attractiveness was so tied to her hair until now." Another was even more blunt: "That looks nasty and stupid." Others offered suggestions of better looks, such as bangs across the forehead or trimming "a little bit at a time."
If you're in mourning over Kristin's big change, we'd point out something else she wrote about it: "Deep breaths, it will grow back at some point." Plenty of Hair Fans truly hope so -- and soon.
Who could imagine a great head of hair would be hiding inside a special see-through helmet? Well, Mariel Zagunis doesn't hide it completely on the fencing floor. A long wavy ponytail flies up in the heat of battle, but never comes loose. And when Zagunis won her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the women's saber, we discovered she keeps her hair in good position and condition away from the arena as well. That may explain why Hair Fans selected Zagunis as the best style of the Beijing Games.
We were wide-open for suggestions about this one, with so many athletes competing in so many sports. But 36 percent of the voters agreed with our decision to put Zagunis on the Hot List - enough to make her the leader. Then came a tie for the "silver medal" between Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice and U.S. diver Laura Wilkinson at 21 percent. (Has it really been eight years since Wilkinson almost won a Crown Award?) Russian sprinter Yulia Gushchina followed with 14 percent, and a write-in seven percent for U.S. basketball player Candace Parker.
Hayden Panettiere's hair is not always as luxurious as it was in our left photo, from a 2007 appearance on The View (although we certainly wish it was). In her role as the cheerleader on Heroes, it's usually long and straight - and sometimes weak-looking in the heat of battle. So we were surprised when a Hair Fan sent a picture, showing Panettiere had cut her hair to shoulder-length. We're told she plans to wear extensions in the upcoming season of her series - something Eva Longoria Parker's fans may be rooting for (see below).
Was this cut a good move overall? Panettiere was panned by 82 percent of Hair Fans in our one-week poll (27-6). "Why do women feel better to get their long hair cut so short," moaned one voter. Another wondered if her TV role changing to "an 18-year-old soccer mom." And one openly declared, "Hero, I have to give you a zero on this choice!"
You almost wonder why she didn't win the 2008 Miss World title. Greek model Aikaterini Evangelinou became the sensation of EuroCup 2008, winning all her matches with relative ease. Now she's struck again, in her toughest test so far - topping a "Top Ten" field with the strongest and most beautiful cuts we could find. Evangelinou wins your vote for this year's number-one hairstyle in the world.
The Greek's long well-placed waves gained 39 percent of the votes in our week of voting, and all of the compliments from voters. "What beautiful hair!!" admired one. Another scoffed at votes for others by arguing, "This is madness! This is SPARTA!" (OK, what movie is that from?) Evangelinou held off a late surge by veteran Top Ten Tresses member Kelly Tilghman, whose 33 percent vote sends a statement to those who are ready to write off the Golf Channel announcer. Former number-one style Alexandra Steele gained third at 17 percent, followed by a tie between Ohio reporter Monica Day and Georgia Judge Lisa Jones at six percent each.
It's noteworthy that half the Top Ten received no votes at all. Is Evangelinou that far ahead of the competition? Or as one person has suggested on our message board, is it time for a wholesale shake-up -- even though those five include some veterans of the list, with years of unbeatable hair?
Left photo courtesy Softpedia
No, that isn't hair covering Gillian Anderson's right eye - that's a shadow of a round-brushed wave. That sort of deceptive mystery captivated viewers of The X Files for years. It wasn't only about space creatures and the paranormal - it was about Anderson keeping a shapely hairstyle in line, while investigating it all. But in the latest X Files movie, a Hair Fan noticed Anderson displaying a much longer and looser look. At least six inches have been added to a style which often emphasized firmness and bounce.
Has Anderson made an improvement here? Hair Fans were divided in our one-week poll, but 55 percent called for Agent Scully to make a cut (12-10). "The truth is out there," one voter could not resist writing, "and the shorter look is fuller and has more body." We'd tend to agree with that. But we would note the picture at right reflects a woman who's expecting a child (hopefully not one with three eyes) - so Anderson could be trying to avoid harmful chemicals while pregnant.
What's that Bible verse about Christians being a "peculiar people?" Sometimes their hairstyle changes can draw peculiar responses from Hair Fans. Take Nashville singer and worship leader Cheri Keaggy. We first heard her music in the 1990's, and found her on a CD cover with a chin-length layered look full of bangs. So we were surprised to find her on Christian television this year with much longer hair - and wavy on top of that, instead of straight.
We presumed Hair Fans would applaud Keaggy's change, since they usually lean toward longer looks. But wow, were we wrong - as 80 percent of them in our one-week poll preferred the old style (16-4). "Shorter has better color!" one voter explained. Since the right photo was not for an album cover, we wonder if lighting played a factor in that difference. We'd raise another issue, more in terms with how we define Super-Hair. Look closely at the left photo, and you'll see a couple of bangs long enough to get in her right eye. This is an unusual case where more length actually can mean more style control.
"Why" was the title of one comment, when Eva Longoria Parker announced a big cut in her hair. The people paying her to do commercials for hair products probably wondered, too -- but the actress had an explanation. Her character on Desperate Housewives will be five years older this coming season. She could have worn a wig for months, as she did in the last season's finale - but she decided to go ahead and make the cut, with husband Tony Parker being given the shears for the main chop.
Did Eva make the right decision with a short cut? Our one-week poll found 65 percent of Hair Fans say no (22-12). One supporter of the change says it "looks so cute on her!" But others openly hate the new look, with one explaining it "doesn't flatter her at all.... The short hair just doesn't fit her glamorous style." We agree with that assessment, but perhaps our photo from Entertainment Tonight isn't doing Longoria Parker justice. The right stylist can make any cut look special -- so perhaps this is a "tease" to get Hair Fans to watch a few more episodes.
When TV journalists make changes in their hair, they frequently get people talking. So we wonder what the staff at ABC News is saying about the different looks reporter Linsey Davis has shown in recent weeks. Davis apparently arrived from Indianapolis with a soft rounded look (at right) -- but since then, she's occasionally appeared on camera with all-out curls, making us wonder if that's her more natural style.
We asked Hair Fans to help Davis figure out her best look, and 87 percent of them in our six-day poll said she should keep things straighter (13-2). No one left a comment either way, but we think the approach at right is the most "professional" appearance for television news. The look at left might work on The View, though -- where styles seem to change constantly.
We had never done a "ripped from the headlines" divorce scandal poll, until Christie Brinkley split from husband #4 two years ago. Brinkley led the two alleged "other women," Diana Bianchi and Samantha Cole. When the divorce finally came to trial on Long Island, Bianchi and Brinkley were there. (Perhaps Cole was coming, before the case was settled out of court.) But another woman caught our eye -- Alexa Ray Joel. The daughter of Brinkley through Billy Joel is modestly developing a jazz/pop music career of her own. And the bangs she wore to court (in a ponytail at right) struck us as attractive - until we did some searching, and found they apparently are a new feature for her.
Should Joel keep the deeply-cut bangs? Our one-week poll found we were outnumbered, as 71 percent of Hair Fans said no (10-4). "She has a young face already," one voter explained. "Add the bangs and she looks like she is eight years old." Our "snapped on the fly" picture from Inside Edition led another voter to think we were biased against Joel's bangs. In fact, it was the other way around - we don't normally shoot new styles like hers unless we're impressed by them. Others may not be (obviously), but we'd like to see Joel's current look untied.
Outside Alicia Keys, we admittedly haven't paid much attention recently to the hairstyles of "R&B" singers. But other people do - so we were all ears recently, when a group of men talked in glowing terms about the new shorter style of Rihanna. They liked the change, which included some shorter bangs across the forehead which our picture doesn't truly show. But would our Hair Fans approve?
The week of voting led to a nearly split decision - but 54 percent like Rihanna's new cut (13-11). If only the supporters had written comments explaining why. Critics dominated the discussion, with one bluntly saying: "Her face is simply not attractive enough." Another explained a pixie-style cut requires "thin, pointed, elfin features" - but seemed to be against that look in general. And for the voter who wrote Rihanna is "no Jada Pinkett": Well, who is, really? Mrs. Will Smith's changing looks are another topic for another time....
A number of women with great hair have played secret agents in the Get Smart TV series and movies - from Barbara Feldon in the 1960's to the sadly-forgotten Andrea Howard in The Nude Bomb of 1980 (playing Agent 22). Anne Hathaway took the number 99 in the 2008 movie. But Hair Fans who know their TV realized when Hathaway wore a chin-length bob wig in one scene, she was recreating one of Feldon's classic looks.
We wondered if Hathaway should trim her long hair, and try that precise bob all the time. Hair Fans quickly responded in our one-week poll: "Would you believe.... NO!?!" Her regular look gained 71 percent of the vote (17-7) -- with one voter declaring it "much" better with 54 muches! Another said Hathaway's long locks "can look sexy, playful, and yet professional all the same time." Then we hope she didn't get a "stressed-out cut" in the middle of our poll, when her (former?) boyfriend in New York was arrested.
Some Hair Fans can worked up about all sorts of things. It can be the length of a style. It can be a change of colors. Even the part line used to comb a cut into place. We've heard several times over the years from people condemning the "butt cut" - and in fact, we never knew that was the name for a center-parted style until critics wrote us. So we posted a "part-line vote," wondering if really is that big an issue with people.
In six days, a quick answer came - oh yeah, it is. Sideparts like the one displayed by Xavier University BMOC Ali Nellis (above) were preferred by 81 percent of our voters. The center part gained only six percent, while 13 percent said the part line makes no difference to them (13-1-2).
"Center part is the laziest, more boring look a woman can have!" wrote a frequent complainer about such looks. (To which we ask - lazy? Isn't it the look that's not really natural, so it takes more work to prepare?) But another commented: "The side part is way overdone and so awkward looking. Plus it is more difficult to manage." (To which we say - that difficulty is what makes long-lasting sideparts so impressive, when it comes to control.)
When Michelle Tafoya covered pro football for ABC Sports, her hair was shoulder-length and somewhat shaggy. A windy winter Super Bowl Sunday in Detroit (shown at left) pushed it into her face. So it intrigues us that for the 2008 pro basketball season (indoors, you understand), Tafoya's look was shorter and tighter -- sculpted so it still had some length on the right side, but rounded in the back to stop at the nape of the neck.
Is this change better for Tafoya? Our week-long poll found 57 percent of Hair Fans like it (17-13) -- yet the people who left comments were unimpressed. "The shorter look is so boring, as it doesn't have motion like the longer look," one voter wrote. Yet we'd respond that the closeness of hair to the right eye keeps an element of drama. Another said in general, "Most women look better with longer hair." And as so often seems to happen when we bring up sports reporters, several people left comments about Bonnie Bernstein - apparently proving she's the queen of our Crown Awards for a reason.
(P.S. That streak across Tafoya's face in our right photo actually is weather-related. We shot that vidcap on an afternoon when rain dripped from the Staples Center roof in Los Angeles.)
So we started thinking about this. You told us Persia White had the best hair on Girlfriends. And you told us when Sex and the City presented its last first-run episode in 2004 that Kristin Davis had the best hair there. And the Sex and the City movie was coming out. So there it was - the prime moment for a clash of East Coast vs. West Coast, winner vs. winner, the best vs. the best. Would "Charlotte's" consistent and normally steady style prevail over Persia? Or would "Lynn's" locks which often change and occasionally look quite messy outfight Kristin's relative conservatism?
After eight days of polling, our voters left no doubt - they want Davis's 'do by a 75-percent margin (12-4). Some of us swoon when she adds rolls of curls or hints of waves in front of the shoulders. But one supporter pointed out, "Kristin's hair is naturally straight. Persia should have stuck with curly!" White tried a variety of looks in recent years, even developing tough bangs across her forehead at one point. Maybe there will be a Girlfriends movie around 2012 to resolve her hair issues once and for all.
Trisha Yearwood has been missing from country music awards shows almost as much as her heartthrob, Garth Brooks. But both made special appearances at the 2008 Academy of Country Music awards - with Brooks embarrassing himself a bit by referring to Reba McEntire as "Miss Yearwood." Trisha did not embarrass at all, with well-built long straight hair which was voted by Hair Fans the best of the show.
Yearwood wound up in a tight race with a surprise entry, Poppy Montgomery from the CBS series Without a Trace. Yearwood prevailed by 44 to 32 percent, in a vacation-lengthened two-week poll -- but Montgomery was praised by one voter for being "the cream of the crop from these options." Then came a three-way tie at eight percent between host McEntire, Karen Fairchild of the group "Little Big Town" and write-in candidate Jewel (whom we left out because her hair clearly was pinned).
And if you're wondering where Carrie Underwood stood - well, she didn't. She sang at the top of the telecast, but long bangs brushed horizontally across the forehead drooped into her eyes a couple of times. This time there was no question about it - and was a rare slip for Underwood in a concert like this.
We admittedly considered the TV comedy Girlfriends an African-American ripoff of Sex and the City. It had four attractive women encountering all sorts of things in a big city (L.A. vs. N.Y.). But when we stopped to take a closer look, we found some of the L.A. ladies had hair which could challenge the "New York dolls." So with the CW not bothering to shoot a finale episode due to the writers' strike (shame on them), we conducted our own "finale edition" and asked which Girlfriend had the best style.
Our nine-day poll was never close -- as the straight, loose and oft-messy style of Persia White dominated, with 88 percent of the vote. One voter actually seemed unhappy that the look is straight: "Persia's hair used to be curly like the BMOC Brittany Bell. She straightened it for some odd reason." Perhaps it was to stand apart from the effervescent curls of Tracey Ellis Ross, who once made our Top Ten Tresses list. Imagine our surprise to find she received NO votes, while Golden Brooks and Jill Marie Jones received six percent each. No, we were not the ones who voted for Brooks to keep White from a perfect score.
Right photo courtesy Heat World
Kylie Minogue is a big international star. But sister Dannii Minogue also has enjoyed music success, especially in her native Australia. So when she makes a style change, the British commonwealth tends to notice. Dannii's 'do these days has bangs added to her medium-long locks.
Trouble is, Hair Fans sped away from Dannii's new look faster than Kylie's "Loco-motion." Our one-week poll found a whopping 88 percent of the voters against the change (15-2). Even an admitted bang-lover was unimpressed: "Her bangs just hang, and she lost body and the slight waves she used to have." (Keep in mind the left photo was taken at some big celebrity event, so the hair could have been "glammed up" a bit for it.) We agree that Dannii could use more oomph on that forehead; either find a way to thicken the bangs, or split them to the sides and make us wonder a bit about them.
Courtesy Reporter Caps
We thought fall was supposed to be the season for women to add protective bangs to their styles, to guard against troublesome winds. But we've made a couple of discoveries of celebrities adding bangs for spring. Headline News anchor Richelle Carey never was afraid to place hair near her eyes. But now angled bangs seem to have the left eye surrounded -- and we wonder if some kind of product is added to lock them in position.
Has another "Carey" carried off a good change? Our one-week poll was close again, but the bangs win a 53-percent majority (10-9). One voter felt the bangs make Carey look "'meaner' or menacing. Without the bangs is much softer and gentler." Perhaps it's because that key area around the left eye has to be "toughened up" a bit for hold -- but sometimes tough tresses can be the most interesting to watch in action.
At the Grammy Awards, Carrie Underwood hinted at it. Then at the 2008 CMT Awards, she confirmed it. No, not those romantic rumors - but the addition of curved bangs to a hairstyle which our voters already admired a lot. Four Crown Awards in two years speak for themselves. But could this change put Underwood in the running for even more - including the Best Bangs category?
Our one-week poll found Hair Fans quite split about this. Opponents of the bangs wound up ahead, but only by a 52-percent margin (13-12). "She is so pretty without them hiding her face," wrote one voter. "The bangs make her look less sophisticated, and look awkward on her small forehead," explained another. But a bang-backer said the change "help show the softness and thickness" of Underwood's hair. And they still give close watchers of Super-Hair something to examine closely - because it appears a flick or two at those bangs to straighten them out might drop them in her eyes. Could one wrong turn on stage be its undoing?!
Courtesy Rolling Stone, Hollywood Life
To borrow from her hit song, we "Don't Know Why" she made the change. It couldn't be due to Norah Jones's new movie, because the look is long and steamy in My Blueberry Nights. Perhaps a voter was right for guessing, "Someone just gave up!" Whatever the reason, the style which put Jones in our Top Ten Tresses list on two occasions (and even outlasted that other Norah with amazing hair -- O'Donnell) is gone. She's recently been seen with a close-cropped short look, as if she's ready to spend a long hot summer down south.
Do Hair Fans like this big cut? It was close for a while, but the final decision was No to Norah. A nine-day survey ended with 64 percent of the voters against it (16-9). "Her face isn't that beautiful frankly," one critic said bluntly. "Why draw more attention to it?" From watching Jones for years, we know she'll try to keep any look off her face and in place. (The picture at left was simply a fun photo shoot.) But the long look certainly provided a style with more drama, and displayed more impressive work to control. At least she has a "Handsome Band...."
Courtesy CBS Sports
This moment in a 2006 National Football League game helped spark a 2008 debate. Troy Polamalu was returning an interception for Pittsburgh, and Kansas City running back Larry Johnson pulled on his famous long hair to make a tackle. The league had ruled hair-pulling legal (making it surprisingly rowdy, compared to pro wrestling). But the "growing" appearance of long hair on more and more players brought a more conservative proposal -- to ban it during games, supposedly so player names and numbers would not be obscured.
We don't ask questions about men's hair very often, but this became a hot topic on sports talk shows. So we asked Hair Fans about it for seven days, and seven out of ten said long hair in games should be out of bounds. The absence of comments and dearth of votes suggests to us many more visitors might not even care. But we see dramatic athletic scenes like the one above, and wonder what would happen if the genders were reversed. Is there some head of Super-Hair you might dream of pulling -- perhaps even down to defeat?
Right photo courtesy Off the Rack
High School Musical made Vanessa Hudgens a cable TV star. A romance with Zac Efron made her a tabloid star. But can a little trimming make her a Super-Hair star? Hudgens was spotted with bangs on the long side, at an appearance in March. But our voters were as divided as the hair across her forehead.
Our one-week poll ended with the bangs winning, but only with 52 percent of the vote (16-15). "With bangs it's harder to do the butt cut," one supporter commented. (Now wait -- isn't her part actually a bit off-center?) But an opponent argued Hudgens has "one of the cutest faces in Hollywood; why cover it up more?" We say the bangs will help Hudgens keep her hair from collapsing in that face (which it does regularly) -- and we dare to suggest she go further, and cut a few inches all around. Her look is too spaghetti-stringy for our liking.
The rumors of her daily talk show being canceled: apparently false. The tabloid stories about her divorce: we don't know, and don't really care. But reports that cooking star Rachael Ray has trimmed her hair are true. She showed her new chin-length look on some daily shows in early March, then had fun with it at the "SxSW" festival in Austin, Texas.
Has Ray cooked up something special here? Our one-week poll found Hair Fans resisted this change faster than some people resist lima beans -- with 83 percent against it (24-5). "She generally has good hair," one voter told us. "The look now is simpler with less body and no highlights. It looks OK, but I miss the lighter color with highlights and more body." We think that assessment is a bit generous, when it comes to the old style. It often seemed limp and weak to us, as if hair wasn't a big deal for Ray. With a bit of care, the shorter look might hold up through hours of cooking (though it was loose in the picture we found from Texas).
Courtesy TV Heads
We're pleased to say this web site discovered Christina Brown before NBC News did. She was nominated for Super-Hair Wars in 2005, when she was a journalist in Las Vegas. Eva Mendes crushed her easily then, but perhaps Brown could do better now. The anchor of Early Today changed her longtime shoulder-length locks into a short bang-filled cap early this year - and our one-week poll found Hair Fans like it.
Brown's new look was preferred by 64 percent of our voters (14-8). "Cuter" was a word used by two different supporters of the change. But beyond that, there was disagreement: one claimed Brown's cut "makes her look younger" -- while another contended, "The new cut makes her look older...." We're personally torn on this one. The longer style is more tempting to us, and a higher-risk look to stay in place. The short approach is even more undefeatable, but not as thrilling - and part of us wonders if she's trying to copy morning TV competitor Robin Roberts.
Some women with curls are skilled at the fine art of control. They can turn the volume up and down for a situation, the way the rest of us do it with radios -- only with curls, the job seems a lot more complicated. Colombian pop singer Shakira has seemed inclined to turn the curls up, during her career. So when a Hair Fan sent us the photo at right, we were surprised - and as impressed as the person who wrote us. Wild waves which can shake into Shakira's eyes often were smoothed down, as if she's turning into a business executive.
Do you like this new look? Our ten-day, hacker-lengthened poll found 73 percent of Hair Fans do (24-9) -- although one declared she's "soooooo sexy" either way. Curl-lovers could find much to appreciate (and try to unwrap) with both approaches. But the smoother style offers potential for longer-lasting hold, which might be more appealing for lovers of Super-Hair to pursue.
Samantha Harris was a reporter for "E! Entertainment Television" before she hit the big time on Dancing With the Stars. So she knows a bit about red-carpet glamour - and she brought plenty of it to the 80th annual Academy Awards. In fact, Harris upstaged the "stars" enough in the eyes of Hair Fans to steal our prize for the best hair of the show.
Rain in Los Angeles put the pre-Oscar festivities under a canopy, enclosed from the weather. But humidity couldn't conquer Harris's waves, as she took 30 percent of the votes in our one-week poll. She narrowly led a field with several admired styles, holding off a late rush from singer/actress Amy Adams with 27 percent.
Then came Katherine Heigl with 20 percent -- and one cynical comment suggesting she was trying to copy Marilyn Monroe, with a slightly upswept short style. (We thought more of Charlize Theron when she was named Best Actress.) Laura Linney had 17 percent, and a defender who thought our vid-cap didn't do justice to her "great color, body and style." And Kristin Chenoweth received seven percent, for hair looking much longer than the photo which earned her Crown Award nominations.
To our knowledge, only one college student made the 2007 Crown Awards ballot -- a soccer player at a small college in Shreveport, Louisiana. If Michelle Williamson could do that, she probably would be the favorite in an all-college competition. And sure enough, Williamson led our "Elite Eight" (this year expanded to nine) of Best Mane on Campus styles for 2007-08.
"Too many good choices," one voter wrote during our one-week poll - and indeed, the voting was wide-ranging. Williamson led comfortably, despite claiming only 27 percent. Then came the Midwestern logjam - as Danielle Dewitt, Keri Feller and Liz Tusler (all with Wisconsin connections) all were tied with 14 percent. Behind them were Alexandra Bagi, Ali Nellis and Lynnsey Showers with nine percent, and Sydnee Lincoln at five percent. It only proves what we've said for years - plenty of great heads of hair are roaming around college campuses, large and small.
The issue at the 2008 Grammy Awards turned out not to be which style would win - but whether she was qualified to win. Carrie Underwood came to our "best hair" poll as the favorite, mainly because other contenders took themselves out of the running for being ill (Faith Hill), wearing pins (Alicia Keys) or having hair drop in their eyes (Beyonce). And the country star scored one of the biggest awards show runaways in our history, but not without some controversy.
"Underwood's hair fell into her eyes many times during her performance," one voter wrote while she sailed to a 70-percent majority. "She should be disqualified under Super-Hair rules." We watched her song very closely, since her hair was placed very close to defeat - but we honestly thought the style held, and she escaped a fall. A supporter argued: "To disqualify her would be like disqualifying the US from the Summer Olympics. The rest of the field wouldn't be proving much." Another called for Underwood to do shampoo commercials, hair in the face or not.
For the record: Miley Cyrus was far back in second place with 22 percent of the votes, followed by presenter Roselyn Sanches and "other" with four percent.
There's no doubt about one thing -- Megan Henderson has fans, and they're not merely Hair Fans. We found one survey rating her the best-looking TV reporter in Dallas-Fort Worth. She's the longstanding City League champion of the metroplex. And now for the second time, Hair Fans have alerted us to Henderson making a style change. In the U.S. summer of 2006, she was slightly longer with added bangs. These days, Henderson is clearly going longer -- and the bangs seem to be gone in our picture at right.
Has Henderson improved her look again? The voting was narrowly in support of a change two years ago, and it's narrowly in favor this time -- with 53 percent supporting the longer look in our one-week poll (18-16). "It's a tough call," one voter admitted, but added: "It loses somebody with the length." Henderson also probably needs to bring back the spray she used with a shorter style a few years ago -- but she's proven she could do that with great success.
If you came here hoping to see that picture of Dana Jacobsen - the one where she's holding a liquor bottle - sorry. You simply can't see her hair well in that photo. The fact that you could see the liquor bottle at an ESPN roast was one of many factors which led to the cable channel suspending her. But that opened the door for us to ask about a style change we noticed several months earlier. Jacobsen's short angled look from late 2005 has turned into a bang cut, which appears slightly longer. The left look was popular on our search engine for awhile - but is the current approach even better?
Alas, Hair Fans in our six-day poll said no - as 83 percent want the bangs to go (24-5). "I like bangs," one visitor wrote, "but she looked like she used a T-square to cut her hair." (All the better for precision?!) Another critic declared: "With bangs, she looks like the logo for the Dutch Boy Paint company" - only without the protective hat, obviously. That person added: "Of course, her hair is the least of her problems at this time." May Jacobsen learn valuable lessons from all she's been facing - from that roast to this poll.
Right photo courtesy Ultimate News Babes
Very few women who win the Super-Hair Wars title as "Champion Hairstyle of the Year" go on to change their championship style. But 2006 champion Natalie Morales did at the end of 2007. Hair extending a few inches below the shoulders was trimmed to shoulder-length. It's probably much easier to manage for a workout during the Today Show (as shown at right) -- but is this the right decision overall?
"Noooooooo," moaned one Hair Fan in our comments section during an eight-day poll. And 73 percent of the voters agreed, giving Morales's "lesser look" the thumbs down (30-11). They said they admired the old style for "lovely waves" that looked "softer and gentler.... more distinctive." They went on to call the shorter approach "a blah look.... She has lost a lot of beauty...." (The good news for them is that Natalie seems to be growing the hair back out now.) And one voter dared to ask: "Was Natalie drunk when she made the decision to chop away at her great hair?" Sadly, that might be the next person on our list....
Courtesy Entertainment Weekly
Her real name is Valerie Waugaman. She runs a restaurant in Cleveland called the "Octane Café." But dining is not making her famous these days -- it's fighting. Waugaman goes by the nickname "Siren" on the new NBC version of American Gladiators. And a head of hair which she defines on her web site as "wild red" is strong enough to be declared the best among the regular defenders on the show.
A one-week poll which was interrupted for breaking news about a much more sedate sport (see Kelly Tilghman below) ended with Waugaman receiving 34 percent of the votes. She edged the brunette "Crush" with 29 percent -- then came "Stealth" and "Venom" tied at 19 percent. "Red heads rule!" one voter attracted to the "Siren song" declared. But it's more than color which would have given her our vote. She's a body builder, who has some double-tough body in her hair to match. It appears well-teased and permed to keep her style not only away from her face, but able to hold and bounce through the most challenging fights. How many Hair Fans quietly want to take on this woman - with or without jousting sticks?
This was the picture of Kelly Tilghman which The Golf Channel showed, moments before she put her foot in her mouth. She was suspended from the cable channel two weeks, for a comment about Tiger Woods and younger golfers which we will not repeat here. Some civil rights leaders wanted Tilghman fired completely -- so before they came our way, we asked you if we should join in suspending Tilghman from our Top Ten Tresses list.
Our six-day "breaking news" poll found Hair Fans rallying around a Super-Hair veteran -- with 64 percent opposing any suspension (21-12). "This is a hair site, not a political or social policy site," wrote one voter. "Tiger said he accepted her apology." So we hope everyone does. May we all learn a language lesson from this moment in Hawaii -- and in a strange way, we're thankful to have something to replace the star-starved Golden Globe Awards.
Left photo courtesy Bob and Tom show
Tanya Memme was a mystery to us, until a Hair Fan wrote us about her. But she apparently has years of history in modeling and reality shows, most recently the A&E; program Sell This House. The Hair Fan seemed concerned Memme had sold out, by having her long locks trimmed to above the shoulders.
Hair Fans overall agree with that concern. Our one-week poll found 59 percent of you want Memme to stay longer with her look (20-14). "Unforgettable in long, forgettable in short," one voter explained. But another wondered how Memme's new style would look when it's dry -- and that's our question, too. It might actually be a sturdier style -- or she might be using mousse to keep it that way.
We thank all of you who take part in our polls! And we welcome any news tips you have on changing celebrity styles. Reach us by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Review other Cutting-Edge polls: 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
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