Cutting-Edge Hair News, 2011
Right photo courtesy iVillage
Longtime visitors to our site know when it's election time, every little detail matters - including hair. But we don't recall any previous race where a style issue surfaced in the year before the election. Early campaigning for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination made that happen, as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota showed up at a couple of debates wearing a very streamlined style. In fact, some people thought she'd cut her shoulder-length locks completely. But at a December debate in Iowa (left), Bachmann's classic look was back.
So the sleek approach apparently was a pin job - but is it a "short change" Bachmann should make in the long term? Our one-week poll could have ended with the "early returns," as 85 percent of Hair Fans oppose the shorter style (22-4). One commenter couldn't resist noting the irony: "The more conservative look is NOT her best!" And judging from those other preliminary polls being taken in Iowa and New Hampshire, not even a change in cuts is improving her chances for victory.
For 20 years, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been one of the most closely-watched women in the U.S. Her marriage has been watched, her political plans have been watched - and let's face it, her hairstyles have been watched as well. The Clinton cut was shoulder-length in the 60 Minutes "standing by my man" interview in January 1992. Then she went progressively shorter - so short that her official photo as Secretary of State from 2009 shows a tightly-cut business-like style. But in 2011, Clinton may have surprised some people by quietly growing her hair back out. During media interviews in December, she was back to a shoulder-length with a popular upturned flip (reminding us of Marilyn Quayle when her husband was Vice President.)
We wondered what the Secretary's best look is -- and our week-long poll found the shorter style winning with a landslide 75 percent of the vote (15-5). But the only person to leave a comment wished we had a third option: "Neither! Longer is the limpest, most boring look ever seen on this site!" Well, hold on - the longer style is much more likely to collapse in Clinton's eyes. And how long can those curls last? Especially in a moment of international crisis?
Right photo courtesy The Hollywood Reporter
When she accepted an American Music Award in November, Katy Perry admitted she's been a "chameleon" in 2011. Not in terms of pop songs, but her styles in video and concerts. Perry showed enough hair color changes to play the NBC peacock, much less host Saturday Night Live. But in the week before her hosting duty, Perry made another change -- getting her usually-long hair trimmed to a blunt-cut bob.
This cut led to a record for us, as we posted a Perry poll for the third time in 14 months. Hair Fans supported her with bangs in 2010, then a blonde color earlier in the year. And this time, Perry succeeded again -- as the shorter cut won a 54-percent majority of the vote (14-12). Yet the only clear comment in our one-week poll was critical: "She has funny, sharp features that stick out with shorter hair. The long hair gave her a more complete, sexy look." Either way, we fear Perry's hair too easily collapses in her right eye -- unless she keeps her A.M.A. pinned-down look, while drew comparisons to Lucille Ball.
Straight hair? That's old news, when it comes to young country music superstar Taylor Swift. She showed that look in public in January 2010, and Hair Fans told us they preferred that to her natural curls. Bangs? They're really not unusual for Swift, either. The early 2010 cut showed them very long, and ready to droop into her eyes -- but that wasn't the emphasis of style-watchers then. It is now, after Swift visited a stylist in the Los Angeles area. She posted a Twitter picture of long layers, with well-cut fringe across the forehead.
So are bangs something Swift should keep, or drop like one of her many boyfriends? Our one-week poll found 86 percent of Hair Fans firmly in Swift's corner (18-3). One called them "edgier, and her hair looks softer." Compared with our 2010 photo, they actually seem less edgy to us -- and we think that along with the layering makes a big difference. On the other hand, another voter declared: "Bangs were a horrible decision and I am sure she will grow them out very soon!" Given Swift's track record of the last two years, change does seem inevitable.
At age 19, singing star Demi Lovato clearly is not at "Camp Rock" anymore. She was there when we first noticed her as a presenter at the 2008 American Music Awards. Days later she was in her home area of Dallas with much longer hair, which Hair Fans strongly preferred in a poll on our site. Now that Lovato clearly has given away her love for extensions (while battling other personal issues), she's made another change. She posted a picture on her Twitter feed of a new redheaded look -- one she's taken on her current tour.
Is redder any better for Demi? Our one-week poll showed Hair Fans aren't thrilled this time. The brunette color was preferred by 77 percent of our voters. Red scored only 15 percent, while eight percent (perhaps Katy Perry fans) voted for "other" (10-2-1). "Normally, I love redheads," said one voter, "but for Lovato, brunette brings out her eyes better." We personally think the brunette color is stronger as well. And for those of you asking if you can "pull off" Lovato's latest look, we found a video clip from Kansas City where she actually did -- a little.
We really don't think the added glasses made her look more stylish. But comic actress Jenny McCarthy has been an attractive regular feature at the American Music Awards. In 2011, she dared to wear her hair unpinned on a chilly and rainy evening in Los Angeles - and the gamble paid off, as she showed a style Hair Fans rated the best of the evening.
Our one-week poll opened before the final on-stage award was presented, but only minutes after McCarthy presented a prize. She had already made our ballot based on her red-carpet appearance -- with a well-teased sideswept look, putting rolls of curls on display in front of the right shoulder. That earned McCarthy 35 percent of your votes, edging singers Kelly Clarkson and Kimberly Perry (as in the band, not Katy) at 30 percent each. Christina Aguilera followed in fourth with five percent. No voters left comments explaining their decisions, but McCarthy's mane was a true classic - romantic from the eyes down, but tough and holding on top.
Right photo courtesy Twitter/Erin Andrews
Of all the women in our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame, Faith Hill stands out as the one who's been either most creative or most daring. She's had short blow-dried sideparts and even a bowl cut with bangs -- but her best-known hairstyle is natural-looking medium-long, as on the left from the 2006 Country Music Association Awards. Yet Hill threw fans another curve at the 2011 CMA's, with a fully-teased mega-moussed mane which former #1 hairstyle in the world Brittany Jeffers compared on Twitter to a "lioness." Other tweets were much less kind - and some were so negative that we wound up keeping Hill off the CMA "Best Hairstyle" ballot. Yet one voter chose "Other" specifically with Hill in mind. So is this an award-winning style or not?
Our five-day survey between music awards shows found voters applauding Hill's latest look by a 68-percent margin (13-6). One supporter considered it "big hair," but as a compliment -- in the best tradition of country music. "All she needed was a white rhinestoned jump suit.... I'm sure Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton were proud of the tribute!" (Perhaps Parton was, but Wynette died in 1998.) If she accomplished that look without any hidden pins, we're longing for it to appear on that "Faith Hill Barbie doll" the CMA hosts pretended to have.
She doesn't jerk her head wildly on stage, like Miranda Lambert sometimes does. And we certainly can't remember her ever doing a Taylor Swift "hair flip." Instead, Martina McBride has built a reputation with country music-loving Hair Fans by showing usually-solid styles, then doing very little to put them in danger. The 2011 Country Music Association Awards provided a prime example: thick medium-long hair showing accents of rolled curl, while she spent 99 percent of her song standing at a microphone. That was impressive enough to get McBride voted the best hairstyle of the CMA's -- giving her a sweep for the year, after also winning at Academy of Country Music Awards in April.
Our six-day poll started as the telecast ended. It ended with McBride gaining 48 percent of the votes - even dominating 2010 Crown Award queen Erin Andrews, who appeared as a presenter. Andrews settled for 16 percent, followed by a tie between Swift and crossover rocker Grace Potter at 12 percent. Another 12 percent chose "Other," but disagreed about who that person should be. One preferred co-host Carrie Underwood, while admitting "she had to keep moving her hair out of eyes" during the opening segment. (In fact, that's why she missed the ballot.) Another voter went to our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame and offered "Faith Hill and her tribute to old school big hair." In fact, we think that deserves a question all by itself....
Right photo courtesy InStyle
Unless you're a host or a judge, Dancing With the Stars isn't really the best venue for showing off your hair. The quick turns, jumps and spins convince many contestants to pin down their styles (Cheryl Burke being a notable exception). So Julianne Hough didn't grab our attention until she stepped off the dance floor and tried her voice in country music. She had long blonde glamour at the 2009 Academy of Country Music Awards, and was good enough to make our "best in show" ballot and finish second to Martina McBride. But as the 2011 CMA's approached, Hough cut her hair to shoulder-length and seemed to add some waves.
Which view of Hough really has the stuff? Our eight-day pre-CMA poll ended with longer locks getting more support from 69 percent of Hair Fans (20-9). "Her new cut looks limp," one voter concluded, "and the color looks like she dyed it at home." (There are quick tools for doing that now, you know.) Another decided Hough's short cut "is not flowing enough for dancing...." But the right photo may have been a one-night-only "wet look" to emphasize control on the red carpet - a look we hope Hough does not make her standard.
Her specialties may be obstetrics and gynecology. But many Hair Fans noticed something else special about Lisa Masterson when she first appeared on the medical talk show The Doctors -- long hair which responded well to "treatment" such as curl conditioning. It helped her make history on our site, as the first doctor to win a Crown Award and only the second African-American winner. But for the current season, Masterson's masterful mane has undergone serious surgery; we spotted it in October with a shoulder-length flip and bangs which begged to drop in her eyes.
Has this doctor become a victim of hair malpractice? Our nine-day poll ended with a majority of the jury voting no; 63 percent prefer Masterson with shorter hair (17-10). While one voter declared the change "much better," an opponent called the cut a change "from ultra sexy to cute." When "cute" is considered a step or two down the hair ladder, we know some Hair Fans have great expectations.
For reasons which remain a secret inside Fox News Channel, Julie Banderas was removed from weekend anchor duty. She's primarily a reporter now. And by her own admission, Banderas has used the change to grow out a medium-long hairstyle which was impressive enough to earn Crown Award nominations and reach the Super-Hair Wars semifinals in 2006. But in a move which would have been impossible five years ago, a viewer launched a Twitter feed called "Short Hair Julie B" - lobbying for Banderas to take her hair in the opposite direction.
So whose side are you on in the Banderas battle? Our poll was open two weeks, while we were away on vacation - and it ended with longer locks prevailing by a strong 70-percent margin (30-13). One voter declared Banderas has "the most gorgeous head of hair in broadcast journalism," and dismissed the critics as "jealous goofs." That group apparently includes the voter who claimed Banderas should "cut her hair even shorter like a boy." We wouldn't go that far by any means, but we personally prefer the look on the left -- with wavy curls giving Banderas's hair a soft look, and probably more overall control.
It was billed as one of the biggest music festivals in U.S. radio history. It was so big that Carrie Underwood didn't even perform - taking a seat in the audience at the iHeartRadio event in Las Vegas. Yet Underwood made news anyway, with the hairstyle she displayed on the red carpet. Her usual all-around medium-long look had light bangs added across the forehead. Underwood has shown signs of bangs on stage before, but never quite like this. So has this seven-time Crown Award winner hit another hair homer?
We'd forgotten we asked this question about Underwood's hair before. In 2008, a short-lived bang look narrowly won approval from Hair Fans. This time, it did not. Our one-week poll was closed, but ended with the deciding vote going against bangs by a 52-percent margin (15-14). A supporter declared, "Bangs beat center part any day of the way." But an opponent called the change a "big downgrade," adding: "Without bangs = good Carrie... with bangs = Evil Twin Carrie." Hmmmm. We thought she simply squinted her eyes in Las Vegas because of the mob of photographers.
Long before there was "Bounce TV," there was the hair on the original Charlie's Angels. Farrah Fawcett's famous flip always seemed able to bounce back in position without dropping in her eyes. Jaclyn Smith had lots of long curls, but with less hold; Kate Jackson had springy short style, but with frequent collapse. But how would these women of the late 1970s compare with the latest set of Angels rolled out by ABC - Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly and Annie Ilonzeh (left-right)? Is the 2011 model of "action hair" better than the classic?
We put the two trios together in a clash, and added the Angels from a pair of early-2000s movies (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu). The results after a week admittedly shocked us. In a stunning reversal from a 2003 poll, the original team dominated from start to finish - winning a massive 81 percent of the vote. The movie team even outdid the new-model Angels by 12 percent to eight (21-3-2), even though Taylor won a vote for best hair at the Emmy Awards only days before.
"Farrah and Jaclyn had classic hair that was always beautiful," one voter wrote. The passage of time seems to have proven that, as Fawcett is now in our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. We think time could work in the new Angels' favor as well -- and the premiere showed plenty of action scenes, putting their hair to serious tests far beyond what the original team faced in an hour. But will the rough stuff be more than their styles can handle? The early glances we've had admittedly have us wondering; Ilonzeh's hair seems strongest so far.
She could have been the Farrah Fawcett of her generation, with long blonde hair which made TV viewers gasp and sigh with every close turn. But Rachael Taylor decided she didn't want that comparison in the new version of Charlie's Angels, so she trimmed her hair to a loose bob for the show. That's apparently good enough for Hair Fans, who saw Taylor and her co-stars present an honor during the 2011 Emmy Awards. She won our annual vote for the best style of the show.
Taylor's tresses seemed ready to drop as she stood on stage, but she maneuvered her head to keep the angled strands out of her left eye. So she qualified for the ballot, and went on to gain a 52-percent majority of the vote. Lea Michele, who won the 2010 Emmy hair vote, settled for second at 32 percent -- but she brought Glee to one voter who wrote her "hair always looks great." Newcomer Vanessa Murano and actress Gina Torres tied for third at eight percent.
Julianna Margulies is entering her third season playing The Good Wife on CBS. But from the clips we've been seeing, her character seems to be heading down a bad path. Maybe Margulies needed to change her hair to promote for something dangerous and risky -- because summer preview pictures showed bangs added to the basic long look she's had for years.
The left picture is from Margulies's appearance at the 2010 Emmy Awards, where she made our ballot for best hairstyle of the show. So in the run-up week to the 2011 Emmys (where she was a winner), we asked about this change - and the final result was a tie: 50 percent pro, 50 percent con (8-8). People who left comments seemed uninspired by both photos. "She isn't five years old anymore," one wrote, "so lose the bangs!" (Huh? We've had "Best Bangs" Crown Award winners well past age 30.) Another asked of Margulies's change, "Did she only do half bangs?" You'll have to watch the new season to find out - but this voter added, "The center part look isn't flattering either."
Right photo courtesy CBS
Why do so many CBS crime dramas seem to have a great head of hair in the cast? We think of Melina Kanakaredes on CSI: New York, Emily Procter on CSI: Miami - and during the run of Without a Trace, Poppy Montgomery displaying long blonde hair which usually stayed in line. But a "red Poppy" apparently will await viewers of her new series Unforgettable, about a detective with an amazing memory. Montgomery has joined a seeming wave of celebrities to red hair - but is that color best for her?
Our one-week poll found red rolling over the options, with Montgomery's change gaining 60 percent of the vote. The old blonde approach received 32 percent, while eight percent suggested she "go dark" like Jenny Anchondo with brunette hair (15-8-2). One voter took us to task for the blonde Montgomery photo, claiming we couldn't "really focus" when we shot off the screen during a 2008 awards show. The "good old days" of analog over-the-air television simply have no respect anymore.
Our Twitter feed has become a wonderful tool for making contact and friendship with several top hairstyles. Take Jenny Anchondo, a morning news anchor in Indianapolis. Her station photo gallery led us to put her on the Hot List - and that led to her winning two rounds of Super-Hair Wars. But after losing the title, Anchondo pulled a surprise by announcing: "Going DARK." And as a fitness trainer, she didn't mean Milky Way bars - but a dark brunette color she told us is here to stay "at least for a couple months."
Should Anchondo stay on the dark side all the time? Our one-week poll found the brunette color winning 79 percent of Hair Fan votes (19-5). "The blonde looks a bit trashy," one voter complained. But another was happy to declare, "She looks great either way!" That voter even suggested Anchondo try a red-headed approach. We wouldn't rule that out; she recently tweeted, "I'll try anything once."
It wasn't the U.S. version of a "royal wedding" - it only seemed that way from all the hype and publicity. When cable reality show "queen" Kim Kardashian married basketball player Kris Humphries, every detail was analyzed. While we did not post her wedding-day hairstyle (much less her three dresses), we know her hair has impressed some Hair Fans in recent years. But we wanted to know if Kim's kut, er, cut is the best in her own family. Is her hair better than older sister Kourtney and younger sister Khloe?
We staged a "Klash of the Kardashians" while Kim and Kris were on their honeymoon - and Kim indeed prevailed, but not by much. She took 44 percent of the votes, followed by Kourtney with 39 percent and Khloe with 17 percent (8-7-3). The top two gained praise from one voter, yet all three were panned for "the boring center part fixation." We'd also add to the best of our knowledge, all three Kardashian hairstyles have had, well, "kollapses" at some time.
Courtesy TV Heads, Hi-Def News Caps
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly says she had a revelation of sorts during maternity leave. She said time away from the workplace has benefits, in terms of bonding with your baby. Commentators on the liberal side of the spectrum seized on that comment from a "right-wing" news network, with Jon Stewart declaring to Kelly on The Daily Show, "When you cut your hair, it sapped your conservative strength!" Oh, he noticed that too. Kelly's comeback struck us more for a big chop from shoulder-length waves to a chin-length bob that appears permed.
One commentator used the often-ridiculed hair phrase "soccer mom" in describing Kelly's change. But the one-week vote of Hair Fans was closer, with 60 percent preferring the long style return (18-12). "I have no problem with her cutting her hair," one voter explained; "She should have just gone to a shorter and layered style.... I say go back and complete what you started...." Others were more blunt about the cut: "It looks like someone just put her hair in a ponytail and hacked it off." There was even one comparison to NBC's Melissa Stark -- but we haven't seen her in so long that we didn't quite understand it.
Call the roll of ESPN reporters, and you'll find several championship-caliber hairstyles. There's Bernstein, Salters, Kolber, Andrews - and now it appears it's time to add one more. Heather Cox's natural-looking mix of layers and waves somehow defies all effort to bring it down across her face. And Hair Fans are impressed enough to vote Cox the #1 hairstyle in the world, in our 2011 "rank the Top Ten Tresses" poll.
A week of voting found support for a wide range of hairstyles - but Cox narrowly prevailed with 33 percent support. The all-natural Super-curls of Alyson Footer came in a close second at 28 percent, only weeks after finishing second in our Cup of the Americas. (That's still better than her Houston Astros have been playing this year.) Third place goes to business news anchor Gerri Willis at 17 percent - perhaps helped by a clear move to grow out her style past the shoulders.
A four-way logjam for fourth place then followed; Sue Bird, Alyse Eady, Brittany Jeffers and Carol Massar tied at six percent. (This left Mara Schiavocampo, Teresa Tomlinson and Liu Xuan with no votes at all.) But here's the strange part - several of the women receiving support in this poll have been lacking elsewhere on the website. Jeffers is especially perplexing, as she gained no votes at all in her hometown City League during this poll and was eliminated in Week 1. Even Cox was a "one and done" loser in extra-time in Super-Hair Wars. What conclusions should we draw from all this -- hmmmmmm?
Elaine Quijano came to national fame as a correspondent for CNN. We admittedly focused on her reporting more than her hair. But since Quijano moved to CBS News, that's changed. She's adjusted her style and lengths over the last two years - going as long as armpit-length, then cutting back to its current stopping point at the collarbone. It would seem Quijano is on a quest for the perfect look, so what should it be?
We asked Hair Fans for help, and they quickly concluded Quijano's most quality style is longer. They said so by a 75-percent margin (18-6), but no one left a comment explaining why. We would say the length is more attractive, while also giving her a greater "margin for error" when she places hair behind her ears (as she frequently does on camera). But that reminds us of one reason we focused on Quijano's reporting at CNN: we recall windy days at the White House shoving wisps of hair in her face from time to time. There's a higher risk of that with longer styles - but also a higher reward of beauty, if she can keep the look in position.
When the bangs went away, Hair Fans were split - but they narrowly gave Katy Perry the benefit of the doubt in a November 2010 poll. Now the pop singer has done another big hair adjustment. Actually, there were two: first she spent a few weeks as a redhead (which she blamed on a dye attempt gone bad) before making the transition to blonde. Curiously, Perry debuted her "blonde moment" at a premiere screening of The Smurfs movie - after appearing at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards with smurf-blue hair.
If you had to settle on one color for Perry, which would it be? Our one-week vote found three-fourths of Hair Fans prefer her blonde (12-4). The other one-fourth chose brunette. No one took us up on our offer to suggest another color - so perhaps it's time for this natural blonde to turn over the dye bottles to another singer (maybe Nicki Manaj?!).
"Something about muggles?" was a question Super-Hair Top Ten Tresses member Brittany Jeffers asked on Twitter, as the final (scheduled) installment in the Harry Potter movie series premiered. We're admittedly in Jeffers's corner - as we never dipped into the Potter pond, having been warned by ministers about what dabbling in witchcraft could do to you. But some Hair Fans are also Potter fans. So when one of them suggested a hair showdown between several stars of the series, we decided to assemble five of them and see what would happen.
Our one-week poll was a fight to the finish - which probably should have been expected in a fantasy drama like this. It ended with a tie for the lead between Emma Watson (the most famous female star) and Bonnie Wright, at 26 percent each. "I wish you had a better photo of Bonnie and her red hair," one voter complained. We wish we'd learned about Wright earlier -- because while Watson's hair tended to get messy in movie clips often, we wonder what kind of secret formula Wright developed to keep her straight locks in such perfect position.
Katie Leung was a close third in our poll, at 22 percent, Then came Evanna Lynch at 17 percent and Natalia Tena (looking a lot to us like Pat Benatar) at nine percent. We resisted the quasi-invitation to put Helena Bonham Carter in this poll; we put hair quality ahead of silliness here.... well, most of the time.
Left photo courtesy Levi Page Show
If ever a modern woman could be compared to literature's Scarlet Letter, Casey Anthony qualifies. But the "A" on her outfit could stand for acquitted -- as the central Florida woman was found not guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter, in the most high-profile U.S. trial of 2011. Even Anthony's hair caused a Twitter explosion, as she wore long locks down and almost unpinned at her sentencing hearing after specializing in pinned-up buns throughout the trial. Anthony clearly grew out her hair during more than two years in jail, compared with the shoulder-length looks shown in pictures before her arrest.
Anthony's trial will be debated for years to come -- but our focus in a one-week poll leading to release day was strictly on her hair. It ended with 68 percent of Hair Fans preferring the short style (19-9). "I like the longer look," one wrote, "but it is too long for her face." But another commented: "Longer looks much better; the pictures don't do it justice!" We commend our voters for limiting the discussion about "justice" in this case to photographs.
Courtesy Getty Images/InStyle
If all you had was this picture, could you name this celebrity? We admittedly would be stumped. She's appeared in several comedy movies, and she had a short stint on our Top Ten Tresses list in 2004. But this short, semi-butch brunette hairstyle is quite different from the look which has made her famous....
Anna Faris is known for blonde hair that's chin-length or longer. Several trend-watchers believe she put on a wig, to shoot a movie called The Dictator in New York with Sacha Baron Cohen. At this point, to borrow from an old commercial, only her hairdresser knows for sure. But Hair Fans seem sure about one thing -- Faris should keep the style she's had for years.
Our one-week poll ended with 79 percent of Hair Fans preferring the House Bunny Faris (19-5). "Short hair is very good," one voter claimed. Another declared Faris's change "the worst makeover I've ever seen on this site!" But at least Faris's hair is very unlikely to muss or fall, when that new movie comes out.
Francesca Battistelli sounds like it should be the name of an opera star. But this young woman is making her name in contemporary Christian music, recording top-selling albums and winning several Dove awards in the spring of 2011. Battistelli has kept the same basic hairstyle for several years - medium-long, with bangs and a little waviness. But the bangs were "away" (combed-back, perhaps) when she visited Sirius/XM Satellite Radio for an interview. This led us to wonder if the singer of Free to be Me should show some freedom to her forehead, and drop the bangs for good.
The answer came quickly from Hair Fans - a one-week unanimous verdict. Every voter supports Battistelli's bangs (12-0). But no one left a comment about them - perhaps concerned about that "judge not" Bible verse. We'll dare to say the bangs are quite effective in keeping her hair out of her face. And we think Battistelli should keep them on the thick, full side - although that's merely a preference, not a final conviction.
"This site is really grasping at straws when you have a poll on Serena Williams." Ouch - we might as well have stood in the path of a Rafael Nadal serve, when we read that comment. But clearly not everyone is a "Serena hater"; her Twitter feed has more than two million followers, and she recently made a People magazine list of the "hottest bodies." We simply wanted to know as the 2011 Wimbledon Championships began if Williams has hot hair to match. She added bangs to her mid-length style after enduring recent health problems.
Our one-week poll found 60 percent of voters don't like Williams with bangs. And the 6-4 margin in the poll suggests something else - that many Hair Fans quietly agreed with our commenter, by staying away from the question completely. No one wrote anything in Williams's defense, or to answer these words: "she's just flat out ugly with nasty hair." So much for the follow-up "Serena vs. Venus" question....
Right photo courtesy Hi-Def NewsCaps
The era of "social media" is coaxing some women to reveal Super-Hair secrets, without our even asking for them. During our latest poll on CNN morning anchor Kiran Chetry, she wrote a Twitter message about having "Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Shampoo" around the house. She admitted using it on her three-year-old son in the bathtub! But Chetry clearly must be using it, too -- because she's keeping a lot of fullness in her Crown Award-winning hair, while undergoing the biggest transformation we've ever seen her make. A well-prepared style which stopped at the shoulders has grown longer, reaching close to bustline-length.
Is Chetry's change a good idea? Our nine-day poll revealed Hair Fans definitely are divided on this - with 52 percent preferring the shorter style which defeated Bonnie Bernstein years ago (16-15). "Shorter is more stylish," one voter wrote; "longer looks blah, like she just washed, dried, went." But another countered: "Longer had its issues, but now it's versatile and fun. The short was boring and did nothing for her look." We'd say Chetry is absolutely taking a "big sexy" risk here. Her short styles have proven to be tenacious and undefeatable, but the long look appears to be one wrong turn away from serious threat of collapse.
Actress Jane Seymour was the first European entry into the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. It was undoubtedly due to her reputation for long locks with a variety of curl. While Seymour has shown hints of bangs through the years to keep all that hair out of her eyes, she's recently taken a more fully-banged approach. Our photo at right from The View (courtesy Inside Edition) shows the forehead fully covered - but is this the right change to make?
We ended this poll after five days, because the answer from Hair Fans was overwhelming: 83 percent say the bangs should be, well, blown up (15-3). "Normally I like bangs," one voter wrote, "but that new style isn't good." Several people noted Seymour's hair is thinner than in years gone by, with one guessing "the thinning has taken place naturally." She turned 60 in February, so age could be a factor in that.
The whole idea (we think) was to display 1970's-era fashion. But when the Stylecaster website put the items on Olivia Palermo, it changed everything for Hair Fans. After all, Palermo has long hair countless Hair Fans want to get in their clutches - and then not let go until they're extracted every last secret about her muscular thickness, perfect curls and seemingly unweakening hold. Yet here was Palermo with bangs that we've never seen before? Had one of the best heads of hair around made things that much better?
We asked you for your opinion of Palermo's addition - and after a week, 56% of voters approved of the bangs (14-11). "The bangs may be a bit too long," wrote one voter (dangerously close to the eyes, even for Palermo). "But they are lush and soft-looking and really bring out her eyes." On the other hand, another voter noted Palermo's strong long hair needs "a reason to draw into her face and not cover it up." That writer added Palermo possesses "one of the sexiest foreheads out there...." A forehead - sexy? We watch the hair around it too much to notice.
(Stylecaster included a side article with the stylist, who explains how to copy this look - more information from someone this close to Palermo's hair than we've found anywhere. Yet we haven't found any other pictures of Palermo with bangs. The stylist doesn't admit to clipping some on, but we're left to wonder.)
The Academy Awards served as a coming-out party for 20-year-old actress Jennifer Lawrence. The nominee for Best Supporting Actress thrilled Hair Fans with thick blonde winged locks, and they named her style the best of the show. But Lawrence made a big change for the movie X Men: First Class - switching to a dark brunette color. So is this something Lawrence should do on a long-form basis?
Our one-week poll found voters like a lighter Lawrence -- as 78 percent prefer the blonde color (14-4). No one left a comment explaining why, but a brighter color certainly makes it easier to admire the turns and twists of the waves she tends to have.
The world is scattered with tremendous heads of Super-Hair, of all lengths and various styles. But many Hair Fans naturally have their favorites. For one visitor to our site, it's MSNBC anchor Alex Witt - but when Witt pulled a change during a weekend in May, the visitor asked for our help. She displayed steamy curls on Saturday, then a nearly-straight look on Sunday. "How about taking those two pictures," the Hair Fan asked, "post them and ask which look people like best?"
OK, that's what we did - and the result was one of the busiest weeks of voting we've had in years! After one week, Witt's straight style prevailed by a 60-percent margin (32-21). "I wouldn't mind seeing her hair done different ways," admitted one voter - although that referred to a ponytail or updo look. Another added: "I enjoy watching Alex just to see what style she has! Both are great, but like the 'straight' just a little better!" While we personally think the curled approach is more enticing and tougher to dislodge, someone declared, "Straight on top, wavy on the bottom doesn't work for me. Pick one and stick with it!"
"Respect Selena" was a trending topic on Twitter as we posted a question about her hairstyles. There's certainly plenty of reason to respect young actress Selena Gomez. She won the Crown Award for Newcomer of the Year in 2007 based on Disney Channel appearances. Then, in what could be a case of Super-Hair magnetism, Gomez became the romantic interest of Justin Bieber. But since winning our Crown, Gomez has chopped her chest-length hair to an angled bob - so we wondered if that was best for her.
Our one-week poll found Hair Fans preferring Gomez with long locks by a 57 percent margin (12-9). "She has such thick and luscious hair," wrote someone in the majority view - a quality which could match Bieber before his world-famous cut. "I just love shorter hair for her," wrote another. Trouble is, Gomez's hair seems to lean into her eyes no matter what the length.
Right photo courtesy Just Jared
The off-season for TV productions can be a "second season" for actresses, in terms of performing in different roles and trying new looks. Blake Lively's long blonde hair has become famous on the drama Gossip Girl - but when she appeared at the Time 100 Gala in New York, the chat was about her hair turning red. Lively says she did it for a new movie called Hick, consulting the salon which crafted the top-level colorful curls of Debra Messing.
Should Lively keep this color change, after the movie work is through? Our one-week poll found 57 percent of Hair Fans like things red, while 33 percent want a return to blonde and ten percent suggest switching completely to brunette (12-7-2). "Tough call," one voter admitted; "she looks gorgeous either way, but I voted red because it's not as common.... in Hollywood." Not to mention at an event honoring Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. (Maybe we should have asked if Lively qualifies for that, too.)
Right photo courtesy AP/ABC News
A lot can change in 30 years - but some British royal traditions do not. Prince William recalled his late mother Princess Diana in several ways, as he married Kate (oops, we should call her Catherine now) Middleton. But besides the ring and the church used for the ceremony, there was the admiration of many British women for the hair of the bride. Diana's layered bangs still bring occasional searches on our website. Catherine's sweeping long sidepart may do the same - yet that leads to the inevitable question: whose hair is better?
We asked Hair Fans in a "royal wedding week" poll, and 65 percent preferred Catherine's cut (15-8). "Middle plays no second fiddle with this youthful flattering hairstyle," was one voter's review. "Diana works it well, but it's no match." We personally think Diana had the harder-working hair. While Catherine's hair bounced into her eyes well before the big day, it's a very rare photo which shows Diana's do defeated.
Right photo courtesy Disney Dreaming
While Ashley Tisdale has received many starring roles from the High School Musical series, Vanessa Hudgens seems to have gained more tabloid attention. A romantic relationship with Zac Efron has led to articles about everything from love to hairstyles -- and most recently, Hudgens showed hair stopping at the shoulders as opposed to much longer. But this was a styling trick, not a real full chop. Hudgens explained instead of going "cut crazy," she "tucked it under." We're not sure how, but she did it so well that we don't notice any pins.
Hair Fans gave modest approval in 2008, when Hudgens showed bangs with long hair for a while. But should Hudgens go ahead and get out the scissors for a complelely short cut? Our one-week poll found 65 percent of voters don't like that idea (11-6). No one left a comment - but we get the feeling Hudgens wouldn't pay much attention. She says she gets "bored" with hair that's "stagnant." Sometimes that's the trait which makes Super-Hair so amazing to watch.
Left photo courtesy Wall Street Journal
We may have mentioned this old joke before - but have you noticed there never seems to be a Sports Illustrated "cover jinx" when it comes to swimsuit models? The women who receive that honor seem to go on to successful modeling careers. But some Hair Fans may be wondering if Brooklyn Decker is trying to be an exception to that rule. The long blonde hair which made the cover received a huge ten-inch trim early in 2011, converting to what stylist Ted Gibson called an "updated modern bob."
"I love!!" Decker announced over Twitter. The quick response from our voters was -- we don't. A one-week poll ended with 76 percent of them panning Decker's decision (19-6). "This has to be the worst hair makeover of the year," one voter complained. "Now it looks like it belongs on a mop cleaning floors." Another blamed the change on a "scissors happy stylist" who "couldn't cut his.... way out of a wet paperbag."
The nay-saying actually started one week earlier, where Decker showed her new 'do at the Academy of Country Music Awards - with one saying she went from "beautiful supermodel to soccer mom." At least we hope husband Andy Roddick likes it.
Martina McBride has been a country music mainstay for more than a decade. Yet the length of her hair has gone up and down - from steamy-short (to win a Crown Award) to medium-long, then chopped to chin-length. Hair Fans didn't seem to think much of that last change. But McBride apparently listened to the critics, grew her hair back out -- and the results of that change were obvious at the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards, where a combination of factors made her the runaway winner for top style of the night.
McBride was helped by our ruling that two top contenders were disqualified for hair falling in their eyes, and the fact that she sang a "safe" song without a lot of movement. She breezed from there to gain 65 percent of Hair Fan votes. Second place at ten percent was a three-way between Sara Evans, Hillary Scott (who won two awards with Lady Antebellum, yet for some odd reason never performed) and model/presenter Brooklyn Decker. Decker received the most comments, by showing up with a thick short style shortly after a big haircut. (We'd already planned to make that change our next topic.)
The "other" which received five percent of the vote apparently was Carrie Underwood -- as a commenter declared: "Best hair of the night! She always does!!!" But two things worked against this tremendous blonde mane on this night. Added strips of red (on a night when red was clearly the hair color of choice) could have led to the conclusion Underwood's hair was so hot, it was on fire. But instead, we decided Underwood was wearing extensions. And when duet partner Steven Tyler started rocking, she shook her head to the beat too much -- and usually well-controlled hair bounced into her eyes. We finally may have found Underwood's Super-Hair weakness: hard rock.
Rachael Flatt won the 2010 U.S. women's figure skating title with pinned-down shoulder-length hair. She went shorter for the 2010-11 season, either because it was "sassy" (her words) or looked more mature (as others speculated). The new unpinned look impressed us so much at SkateAmerica that we sent a Twitter alert before her live free skate -- and it had so much flexibility without falling in her eyes that we rushed Flatt onto our Top Ten Tresses list.
But Flatt had to settle for second place at the 2011 U.S. championships -- and when we asked Hair Fans to rate the style change, most of them were unimpressed. Our one-week poll found 81 percent want the long hair to come back (13-3). "Old style and new color would have been great," one voter suggested. Maybe so - but there would be no question about that hair collapsing on the ice.
Right photo courtesy She Knows
Her stage name is Pink (oops, P!nk with an exclamation point) - but the rock singer's hair is more silver-gray these days. Many of her fans wish the pink color would return, although we think she's being cautious with dyes right now during pregnancy. But Pink offered a self-criticism of her hair on Twitter after a recent cut, saying it was "butchered" into a short pixie style. (She stopped short of naming the stylist.)
Do you agree with Pink's suggestion that she should be red-faced with embarrassment? Our one-week poll found almost everyone agreed, as 94 percent want the old look to return (15-1). No one left any comments, but we think both styles could qualify as Super-Hair. The new cut simply is more obvious, but the old look makes Hair Fans stop to wonder -- and maybe root for a concert at a windy stadium.
When it comes to defining a great head of hair, some people "split hairs" on particular details - such as where on the scalp the splitting of hairs should be. A change of part can give a woman a completely new look. One Hair Fan offered "America's Toughest Trainer" as an example, as Jillian Michaels changed from a center-part shown in DVD's and The Biggest Loser to a right-side approach in a promotional video for GoDaddy (enhanced with extra waves).
"Amazing what a slight move of the part can do," the Hair Fan wrote on our message board. Others agreed in our one-week poll, as Michaels's change received 82 percent support. The center part gained only 11 percent, while seven percent liked our third option: "What's the difference?" Both approaches present challenges, in terms of keeping long hair out of the eyes. In Michaels's case, she clearly needs added body to keep her hair in line wherever she sets it.
Right photo courtesy People Style Watch
Some people would say the timing was more than coincidence. As Justin Bieber made international headlines with the most-discussed male haircut in since.... well, we're not sure when.... a female celebrity equally famous for her hair made a cut of her own. Jennifer Aniston appeared on red carpets with what was described as a neck-length bob. The photo we found suggested she didn't do much beyond blow-drying it straight. But the question remains: did Aniston make any new hair Friends with this change?
Our one-week poll found 63 percent of Hair Fans want Aniston to keep the hair long (19-11). While one voter wrote "It was past time for a change," another disagreed: "When you're an icon like Jennifer Aniston, there is no 'time' for anything." That writer correctly noted Aniston's styles have been even shorter at times; her page in the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame shows one example. And we suspect many Hair Fans will watch closely, to see what Aniston does next.
The phrase "breakthrough performance" sometimes is used during the Academy Awards, to describe a nominee. But in 2011, we want to apply that phrase to hair at the awards as well. We'd never noticed 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence before she strolled down the red carpet in Los Angeles. Shame on us - as the Best Supporting Actress nominee displayed lush loose blonde hair, with strips of "wings" around the eyes strong enough to hold through a breeze and throughout the show.
Lawrence's style impressed Hair Fans enough to win their votes for the best hair of Oscar night. Our five finalists turned into a two-way race, with Lawrence outlasting co-host Anne Hathaway to gain 57 percent of the vote (13-10). For some reason, the only comment during the poll was a declaration that Sharon Stone "looked ridiculous" with a "Bump-it" in her hair. Maybe that's why ABC's star-watchers never stopped her for an interview.
It's become clear that in 2011, "The Big Bang Theory" is much more than a TV comedy. It's a major trend in celebrity hair. If you saw Sandra Bullock at the Golden Globe Awards, you know what we mean -- and Hillary Scott of the country music group Lady Antebellum must have liked it, because she changed from "bang-free" at the November 2010 Country Music Association Awards (left) to heavy bangs at the Grammys three months later.
Scott won a lot of Grammys, but we don't think the bangs were the reason for that - so we asked if Scott made a good change. Our one-week poll ended with the bangs prevailing by a 62-percent margin (13-8). "Bangs beat butt-cut every time!" raved one supporter. But another complained, "Sheep dog bangs always lose to the center part!" While we won't try to settle that debate, we'll admit Scott missed our "best of the show" ballot because the bangs seemed a bit uncomfortably long for her.
They come from different backgrounds, and express themselves musically in very different ways. But Christina Aguilera and Miranda Lambert (left-right) have something in common - long blonde hair which makes Hair Fans hit the "pause" button and notice. That similarity separated Aguilera and Lambert from a tight pack, to tie for the top hairstyle at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Our one-week poll began before the show ended - and it ended somewhat as it began. Aguilera and Lambert were on level ground at 27 percent each. Jennifer Hudson displayed bone-straight long hair with bangs, to finish a close third at 23 percent. Norah Jones followed at 13 percent. And nine percent chose "Other" - perhaps reflecting this comment from a Hair Fan: "Between the extensions and the blah styles, I'm voting none of the above." (Admittedly we face a challenge at shows like this, determining who's wearing the extensions and who is not.)
Right photo courtesy Tennis Forum
When Crown Awards season comes, the campaigning and commenting seem to have a bit higher volume. One e-mail actually demanded a candidate for Best Hairstyle in Athletics be removed from the ballot. Russian tennis player Anna Chakveradze grabbed our attention for long flowing waves. But she made a big change for the start of the 2011 season -- appearing at the Australian Open with a substantially shorter style. We couldn't find any off-court pictures of it, but the ponytails suggests to us Chakveradze's hair now stops around her shoulders.
Before we address the "disqualification" question, let's check the Chakveradze reaction from Hair Fans. Our one-week poll clearly shows they don't, ahem, love the change -- as 71 percent prefer the longer look (20-8). "Her very long hair was beautiful," wrote one distraught voter. "What a shame!" But since the Australian photos are from 2011 and the Crown Awards are for 2010 (with a 27 December deadline), we see no reason to remove Chakveradze from the ballot. Whether she deserves to win a Crown, of course, remains up to you.
Olivia Munn has a wide-ranging resume - as a fulfillment of the old country song Tokyo Oklahoma (born in the latter, brought up in the former), as a fashion model who became a sports sideline reporter and G4 host, and now as an actress on the upcoming comedy Perfect Couples. But a recent haircut by Munn was deemed less-than-perfect by one Hair Fan, who declared on our message board: "It's not horrendous, but I hate it." Brunette locks reaching below the shoulders now barely touch them -- so which look touches you (insert your personal location here) more?
Our one-week poll ended with 63 percent of voters urging Munn to grow out her hair again (15-9). "Long hair on Olivia was one of the best (healthy and natural)," wrote one Munn moaner. "The short hair is just a face in the crowd (just sits on her head)," the voter continued. Another Hair Fan concluded neither look is super -- and when it comes to lasting hold, we'd tend to agree. Put Olivia Munn in the ring against Olivia Palermo and Munn might be more athletic, but we think Palermo's hair strength would win in the end.
With Keith Olbermann's sudden departure from MSNBC, Rachel Maddow becomes the "star" of the cable channel's evening lineup. Maddow's Twitter page has the simple biography, "I see political people." But one Hair Fan looked at Maddow and saw a makeover waiting to happen - in fact, several of them. That Hair Fan did a little Photoshopping, sent us several possible new looks for an otherwise basic short cut, and then we put them before you for a preference.
A week of voting ended with 39 percent of Hair Fans preferring the look on our right -- a collar-length look with soft bangs swept to a side. Even longer hair below the shoulders was the second choice, at 25 percent. Another 18 percent supported putting "helmet hair" on Maddow in the form of a bob, while 18 percent voted for Maddow to stay as is. No one left a comment about these idea, but the Hair Fan who submitted these makeovers even wondered if Maddow should go blonde. Why? In case she applied "at Fox News." Is that a compliment toward FNC, or a slap?
If the one-liners of Ricky Gervais offended you during the 2011 Golden Globe Awards, take heart - Anne Hathaway is hosting the Academy Awards. Given her "nice gal" reputation, she's not likely to be as cutting. (But then again, she might display the new "tough gal" personality she'll have as Catwoman in a future Batman movie.) Hathaway showed hair on the soft side on the Golden Globe red carpet - and it earned your decision as the best hairstyle of the night.
Hathaway's loose balls of curl bounced away from the pack, and gained 48 percent in a week of voting. January Jones of Mad Men wowed us with a plush blonde sidepart, but she settled for second with 19 percent. Third place was a 14-percent tie between actress Olivia Wilde and "Other" (although no one left a comment to say who that other should be). Michelle Pfeiffer's waves were praised on Twitter during the show by CNN anchor (and Super-Hair possessor) Kiran Chetry, but she received only five percent. And one voter expressed disappointment with three different celebrity's styles, concluding: "Didn't see a lot of Super-Hair this year!"
Sometimes small colleges have the biggest thing in hair. We've received nominations for "Best Manes on Campus" over the years from schools large and small. Clearwater Christian College in Florida ranks among the smallest, with an enrollment of about 600. But somehow, a Hair Fan found volleyball player Elisabeth Ennis there - and she led our annual "Elite Eight" contest for the top B.M.O.C. style of the season.
This annual one-week poll usually is close, but this was a runaway. Ennis bumped her winning margin to 62 percent, with one voter calling her "amazing.... perfect." The only woman who came close was Hartford's Lauren Kamena at 31 percent -- and the only other collegian to gain votes at all was Torrie Brown of Wichita State at eight percent.
Right photo courtesy Morgan Pressel Foundation
When it comes to rising stars on the LPGA tour, Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie seem to get all the attention. But it was Morgan Pressel who won a "major" women's pro golf title before turning 19 -- and she's had a consistently good career since. A Hair Fan decided it was time Pressel added a Crown Award to her list of titles. But while submitting her name, we received two pictures with her hair at different lengths -- one from 2008 stopping at the collerbone, the other from 2010 and much longer. (The picture at right is not what was submitted; we used it to verify what her current length is.)
Which look is better for Pressel? Our one-week poll found voters preferring the "short game" by a two-thirds margin (14-7), with one explaining: "Shorter is more stylish with better color." The messy-looking longer picture admittedly may have skewed the results - but they also indicate Pressel's tresses can be brought down into her face with ease, unlike Creamer with her bangs.
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