Cutting-Edge Hair News, 2014
If we staged a Super-Hair Wars match between TV's 2 Broke Girls, who would win? Based on their track record here, Beth Behrs would top Kat Dennings. Behrs won a Crown Award as Best Blonde of 2011, during the show's first season – and did it by adjusting her hair from a long sidepart in the series pilot to a center-part with bangs. With the series now an established hit on Monday nights, Behrs has made another adjustment in Season 4. She's clearly cut her hair to neck-length, even though some of her appearances might lead you to think she's kept the long hair and pinned it up. She's even added some waves, which may or may not be permed.
Has Behrs made a good switch? Hair Fans clearly were divided about this – with the final vote in our one-week poll coming down for the shorter cut by a 53-percent margin (9-8). “She's one of the most beautiful women on TV,” a torn voter wrote, “and I think both styles flatter here, but I'm going longer....” We'd say the waves add some body and strength to otherwise-baby fine locks. So if Behrs is “going for broke” in terms of hold, the change ought to work for her.
The standards at Ivy League colleges (or at least the stereotype of them) are considered a cut above other schools. Students are thought to be a bit smarter and more serious. In Kylene Cochrane's race, she can confirm she's also more impressive in other ways. She's a first-year student in Pennsylvania's College of Arts and Sciences, who's received academic scholarships. She's one of the fastest young distance runners in the U.S. And her long natural curls are stunning to Hair Fans – so much so that Cochrane captured this season's “Elite Eight” title among our Best Manes on Campus.
Cochrane raced to the lead in our one-week contest, as you'd expect a runner to do. Unlike her two-way BMOC race at Penn, this was not a blowout – but she scored a comfortable win with 54 percent of the vote. Second place went to Texas community college entry and Jerusalem film narrator Farah Ammouri with 31 percent. Sarah Liva of Portland State and Hannah Stevens of Arizona tied for third with eight percent. We'll borrow from a track interview to attempt an explanation of Cochrane's success. It's about “stay[ing] confident,” having determination and no doubts – “If you have the mindset that you're going to win, then you'll win.”
She may be from Memphis, but we don't think Lucy Hale is singing the blues these days. She's a star of the cable TV drama Pretty Little Liars, and she's preparing to go on her first concert tour. But when Hale appeared at the 2014 American Music Awards, she did not sing. She settled for presenting – yet she used the occasion to unveil a big change in her hair. Thick length was cut to a bit below shoulder-length, and the deep brunette color was much lighter.
Are Hair Fans, well, hailing Hale's change? The answer came quickly, and it was no – as 86 percent want her hair longer (12-2). “The shorter look is fake and uninteresting,” one voter said. Not to mention the fact that she posed for Instagram before the AMA's with the new style dropping across her left eye. We like hair drama – and that's no lie.
Faith Hill has been a member of our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame since 2007. Yet she's probably made more adjustments and experiments to her hair than any other member. The country singer has been medium-long, shoulder-length – and oh yes, that bowl cut some Hair Fans would rather forget. Some argue Hill has used extensions to, well, extend her success. But her latest move is in the opposite direction. Hill showed up at the 22014 Country Music Association Awards with a well-trimmed, perhaps slicked-back sidepart – quite a switch from the loose length shown at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April (left).
Has Hill made an improvement with this cut? Most of our voters rushed to say no, as 85 percent turned it down (17-3). “When she has it long, it always looks so nice and put together,” one wrote. (As if the short cut isn't?!) Another called for Hill to go even longer than the ACM image showed. But since she doesn't sing for Sunday Night Football anymore, we wonder if the urge to “go long” is still there.
Are we the only ones who have noticed the big all-genre music award shows don't have much country music? Perhaps the pop stars and rockers are jealous that country stars have several award shows of their own. The 2014 American Music Awards were an example of this. Country newcomer Meghan Trainor was allowed to present an award, but she didn't sing. Yet her long blonde hair was good enough to impress Hair Fans, as she was a runaway choice for the best style of the night.
Trainor was the only “pure country” performer on our ballot, and she raced to 63 percent of your votes. Lauren Cohan of The Walking Dead won a fight for second place, gaining 19 percent to edge actress Elizabeth Banks with 13 percent. Country-turned-pop sensation Taylor Swift scored a disappointing six percent, even though her shorter sidepart with perfectly-trimmed bangs survived a fast-moving opening song (complete with her tugging at the hair from time to time). And Khloe Kardashian struck out with our voters, apparently proving she doesn't have the hair genetics of sister Kim.
When HBO came up with the comedy Girls, we considered it a next-generaton version of Sex and the City. And we only found one woman in the cast with Super-Hair potential – Allison Williams, the daughter of the national TV news anchor. She keeps her medium-long hair in line and attractive a great deal of the time. Yet when Williams was cast in the starring role of a TV remake of Peter Pan, she made a surprising offer to the producers. She was willing to cut all that hair and go super-short, the way actresses from Mary Martin to Cathy Rigby have worn it in that role through the years.
The producers decided to have Williams put on a wig instead – and that has Hair Fans breathing a big sigh of relief. When we asked them in a six-day poll to rate the two looks, a huge 79-percent majority said Williams should keep her styles longer (11-3). No one left a comment, so we'll come down on the side of the majority. In fact, we want to see Williams's best long style face Captain Hook in what Peter Pan calls a “fight to the finish.” Now that would be true drama for Hair Fans of all ages.
Photos courtesy InStyle
Natasha Bedingfield is a familiar name in Britain. Her Twitter biography is simple: “I make songs for you and for me.” And she's had success with some of them – as the album Unwrtitten sold well in 2004. We don't recall much being written about Bedingfield's hair over the years. Perhaps that's because it's a typical “rock blondie” look along the lines of Deborah Harry – long hair which plops in her eyes on stage, without much concern on her part. But the length of that hair has varied over the years. In late 2014 she made a big chop to a shoulder-length sidepart with flipped bangs reminding us of Taylor Swift.
Is Bedingfield a Swift when it comes to hair trends? Maybe not, because our six-day poll about the change found 70 percent of voters want the long hair to come back (7-3). No one left a comment either way, but we probably would lean longer as well. With daring long bangs and the impression of more volume, there's simply more hair there. We think that's an unwritten rule of Hair Fans – more hair is better.
Connie Britton is a Crown Award winner and a Hair Fan's Hall of Fame member. Her rich head of red hair has become online legend. But when an awards night comes such as the Country Music Association, everyone has to bring their, well, C-M-A-game. The star of Nashville apparently realized that, prepared her long hair accordingly – and won a narrow decision among Hair Fans for the best style of the 2014 show.
The addition of complex waves simply to present an award admittedly impressed us. Voters agreed in our six-day poll, giving Britton 40 percent of the vote. But it was a tough contest, as Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry was a strong second. She gained 33 percent with a wavy style which was much tamer than in recent years. Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum settled for third place with 27 percent. Two perennial country music contenders did not find our way to this ballot. Carrie Underwood's hair looked superb, but dropped in an eye when she stooped to examine co-host Brad Paisley's “baby shower gift bag.” And since Miranda Lambert changed in mid-show from perm-looking waves to bone-straight, we weren't sure which cut to post – so we didn't post either one.
Right photo courtesy People Stylewatch
Now hold on here – which former MTV star is leading, and who's following? First Kristin Cavallari cut her long blonde hair (see below). And only a few weeks later, Lauren Conrad did the same thing. Conrad's cut probably stunned more people, because her long hair has been admired for years for its thickness and control. Yet Conrad decided it was time for what she called her first haircut in years.... and then she didn't stop there. Conrad made two cuts in seven days – the second one leaving her hair only a couple of inches below the shoulders.
We had a hunch what the outcome of this question would be – and we were right. An eight-day poll ended with 79 percent of Hair Fans wishing Conrad had stayed longer (15-4). But one voter admitted being torn about the decision: “More stylish but less body.” Conrad's track record tells us she knows how to thicken her locks; we'll surely be watching to see if she does.
Right photo courtesy Hollywood Life
Many Hair Fans have their list of favorite styles, which can be subject to change. But followers of pop culture seem to have a few women on a constant watch - and Beyonce (does anyone call her Knowles anymore?) is one of them. Her long hair captivated many people on stage. Then she posted a "selfie" with what looked like a major cut. And in October 2014, Beyonce made another apparent change - with most of the hair long, but bangs cut super-short, not even coming halfway down her forehead.
Style-watching websites declared Knowles has "baby bangs," and most of them seemed thrilled. But not our voters. They said no in an extended nine-day poll by a 77-percent margin (10-3) - with one critic asking, "Did she let her daughter cut them?" If Blue Ivy had, we're certain there would be a tabloid photo of it somewhere. But we're trying to think positively about this. Assuming she's not wearing one of her notorious wigs, if Knowles lets the bangs grow out, they'll be intriguing for even Hair Fans to monitor.
Lauren Conrad may have been the blonde with the buzz. But Kristin Cavallari also used a "reality series" on MTV as a springboard to stardom. Long before The Hills had national attention, they appeared together as romantic rivals in Leguna Beach while Cavallari still was in high school. After bouncing around a few TV shows and movies, Cavallari found a new claim to fame: football wife. She dated, married and became a mom for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Cavallari has shown some variety with her hair at times, but usually keeps it on the long side - until the fall of 2014. Cavallari sought the guidance of Chris McMillan (the master stylist of Jennifer Aniston), who cut her locks ten inches to around shoulder-length.
Friends say Cavallari loves the new look, and compares it to what Brittney Spears is doing these days. But our voters aren't impressed, as 82 percent turned their thumbs down in a poll extended to two weeks by our vacation time (23-5). "Nothing flattering," one Hair Fan explained. "The longer look at least had a style." You can see if McMillan helps Cavallari develop that on her new E! show, The Fabulist.-- and without some effort, we fear her hair will be "sacked" (falling in her eyes) more often as Cutler in the pocket.
Right photo courtesy Us Magazine
Some celebrities aren't afraid to change their hair, if there's a good reason to do it. Actress Sandra Bullock is a good example. Over the years her styles have adjusted from long to short and back again, from straight and sleek to wavy (we thank our Hair Boutique friends for revealing Bullock's hair is naturally curly) -- and even from brunette to other colors. It was a blonde look that helped Bullock win both a Crown Award and an Academy Award for The Blind Side. And now that color may be making a comeback, as Bullock was spotted in New Orleans in September 2014 with much brighter hair. She again was filming a movie with that color, as the darker shade was noticed away from the soundstage days later.
We wondered if Bullock should stay blonde all the time. Our voters responded with a loud NO -- as 65 percent prefer Bullock as a brunette. Only 29 percent in our week-long poll wanted her to remain blonde; while six percent suggested she try another color (11-5-1). Color isn't really a big issue for us, but we think the right picture is more eye-catching because Bullock's hair appears on the verge of getting wind-tossed. A couple of strands curving toward her eye is potential trouble for her - but potentially thrilling for Hair Fans to watch. May that scene survive the cutting-room floor.
Plenty of pop music stars have been known for great hair. But the number of rock stars with great hair is much smaller - unless you count the "hair bands" of the 1980s, which no one dared call by that name at that time. Very few rockers have been nominated for our Crown Awards. But Alanis Morisette made the 2012 ballot, after years known for long natural slightly-wavy hair. Morisette has changed that look from time to time, as she made a short cut for a short time about ten years ago. But Morsiette may have taken the most "rock counter-culture" move of all in September 2014, when she dyed her hair blonde. She explained online it was a "fun" move for turning 40, but she argued blonde-haired women have certain advantages over others.
Are Hair Fans singing along with Alanis on this change? It's Ironic to say the answer was a strong no. Our one-week poll found a massive 88 percent of the voters calling for brunette hair to come back; only six percent like it blonde, while six percent suggested trying a different color (15-1-1). We knew the change would shock some Morisette supporters, and one of them expressed it in a comment. "Of all the hairstyles she could have selected, she picked this one? If Alanis was in the Super-Hair Hall of Fame, I would have voted for expulsion." Let Crystal Gayle and Shania Twain be put on notice....
Courtesy Entertainment Tonight
She's an actress. She's a model. And many men consider her.... well, Fox-y. Megan Fox has been a cover attraction on men's magazines for years - even after she married Brian Austin Green, and even after giving birth twice. Fox's long hair certainly has been a factor in that, especially when it's au natural with a bit of wave on display. But for a tour of Australia in September, Fox made a serious trim in her hair. We would still define it as "long" for Crown Awards purposes -- but it's certainly not as long, stopping around the armpit instead of stretching below the bust line.
Is this a good trim or not? Our Hair Fans decided they'd rather chase the old Fox look, as 73 percent voted for the longer style (22-8). "Shorter hair makes her look fade into the masses," one declared. "The longer was at least distinctive." Well, OK - but the shorter cut can be distinctive, too. It strikes us as a bit "goth," like Fox is hoping for more Twilight movies.
Right photo courtesy Harper's Bazaar
We'll confess -- Naomi Campbell may have pulled the best con job on us, of anyone in Super-Hair history. Her long hair and thick bangs always seemed flawless and perfect on fashion runways. But she's a supermodel, we said to ourselves; she must know every secret of hair preparation. But as we placed Campbell on our Ultimate 50 list, the stories about extensions and wigs already were coming out. Time has confirmed those stories - yet at New York Fashion Week in September, Campbell showed a style which was very hard to fake. She had a pixie cut at one event! But not for long; longer looks suddently came back at other shows and parties.
This led us to wonder if Campbell simply should give up the fakery, and display short hair all the time. Our voters quickly said no to that by a two-thirds margin (12-6). While one admitted "longer looks like a wig," the Hair Fan went to state "shorter looks like she cut it in the dark with a pair of dull scissors." Longer hair also gives Hair Fans more to pursue - in hopes Campbell might have one of those "loose wig" moments, allowing admirers to take home an unusual souvenir.
Mention "Jennifer A" when it comes to hair, and it's easy to conclude you're talking about Hall of Fame member and style legend Aniston. But another "Jennifer A" is quietly on the radar of some Hair Fans, with hair that tends to hold better. She's Dr. Jennifer Ashton, whose career away from the medical office has transformed from CBS News to ABC and the TV series The Doctors. Do an image search for her name, and you'll probably find a mix of Ashton and Aniston photos. But you'll also find Ashton consistently has kept mid-length styles in place for years, using round-brushing and spray masterfully. Ashton's length can vary, but the end of summer 2014 brought perhaps her biggest cut yet - to a neck-length bob, with a sizzled flip to keep the right eye clear.
Is a shorter style better for Dr. Ashton? The six-day diagnosis from our voters was negative, as 78 percent want the long hair to come back (18-5). "Much more youthful longer;" one explained; "Aged her 20 years with one haircut." We can understand that analysis, but we'd offer a second opinion. Ashton's new cut makes her look a lot like Fox News host Gretchen Carlson - a former Miss America, who has kept short hair in line for years. If Ashton can match that, she might be on the way to a new wave of "Ultimate" hair status.
The Bangs were waiting in the wings - but she chose not to make them prominent. They rested to the sides of Zooey Deschanel's eyes, and even hinted at long layers. But her long hair was on full display at the 2014 Emmy Awards, with well-mixed wavy curls. That was good enough for Hair Fans, who consider Deschanel to have one of the best heads of hair alive today. They went for a reliable choice, to vote the New Girl the outstanding style of the evening.
Deschanel wound up in a two-woman race with Emmy winner and Mom star Allison Janney. They were deadlocked late in our week-long poll, but Deschanel's years of competitive experience won out. "Z" beat "A" by 50 to 40 percent, with another ten percent gained by Scandal star Kerry Washington. But our five choices clearly didn't thrill everyone. "That's the best that took the stage?" one voter asked. Arguably, no. Julia Louis-Dreyfus had an eye-scraping pageboy which looked great and displayed some of her legendary hold. But when she was named an Emmy winner, a sudden passionate kiss from Bryan Cranston shook her hair down into her eye. Louis-Dreyfus was heading for the ballot, but an "Ultimate 50" style surprisingly got caught.
Has it really been almost 25 years since Julia Roberts shot to movie stardom as a Pretty Woman? Her big curled head of hair clearly was part of the attraction for Richard Gere. And it's been a closely-watched part of her career ever since. So when InStyle magazine selected Roberts to be on the cover and serve as "special guest editor" of its 20th anniversary issue, we could understand. But again, her hair seemed to take the spotlight -- as her shade was much lighter compared to what she displayed at the Grammy Awards earlier in 2014. In fact, Roberts has become for all intents and purposes a blonde.
The change did not help Roberts win an Emmy Award, but it had a lot of Twitter admirers. Trouble is, our Hair Fans think darker is better for Roberts. The brunettes won our seven-day poll leading to the Emmys with 60 percent, while 35 percent voted for blonde and five percent suggested she try another color (12-7-1 - maybe red?!). No one left a comment, so we'll simply make a two-word statement about the movie where we consider Roberts's hair was its most amazing: Pelican Brief.
One woman is all-business. The other is about games and sports. Yet both have years of experience in preparing great-looking, strong-holding hairstyles -- and both keep those styles in flawless condition under heat of TV lights and assorted other pressures. That combination of beauty and skill enabled Fox Business Channel's Lori Rothman and ESPN's Sara Walsh to tie for #1 hairstyle in the world, in our 2014 "Rank the Top Ten Tresses" vote.
For the first time, we extended the ranking week by an extra day in an attempt to break two deadlocks. But the eighth day didn't change anything, as Rothman and Walsh tied for the top spot at 28 percent each. Rothman already was our #1 style, so she defended the honor well. Walsh is clearly a "comer" with Hair Fans, although no one left comments supporting any of the contenders. After the top two came a four-way logjam: Michelle Asselin, Sue Bird, Jeanette Borhyova and Jody Lowery all had 11 percent. The other four members are on perilous ground, with no votes of support - which is especially surprising when it comes to Brianna Keilar (a two-time Super-Hair Wars winner) and Susie Santo (placed #2 by us).
Right photo courtesy E! Online
She may be known in movies as a "Black Widow," but Scarlett Johansson is very much a blonde. Yet she's never struck us as someone who makes her hair the center of attention, as other actresses might. She adjusts her styles to the movie role of the moment, and seems satisfied with that. But in the summer of 2014, Johansson has been noticed by the media for a couple of things. She's "very pregnant," in the words of a colleague -- and hair which has been on the mid-length side has been cut short. While one website called it a "pixie" cut, we think that's misleading; it's shorter without being too short to be interesting.
So is Johansson's change interesting to you? Hair Fans were divided on this during our week-long poll, finally coming down on the longer side by a 57-percent margin (8-6). We're personally going to lean the other way. The left photo shows Johansson's hair clearly can drop in her eye (perhaps saved only by a well-permed wave). The right picture gives her hair a chance to hold, if she sprays it well -- and admittedly, spray probably is critical for her either way.
Right photo courtesy People StyleWatch
Do some celebrities change their hairstyles simply to get attention - and perhaps on our website? At least one Hair Fan seems to be making this accusation toward Vanessa Hudgens. The former High School Musical star was named a "Young Hollywood trendsetter" as we posted a poll about what actually is a two-part change. The long and somewhat messy look which made her famous first became mostly blonde, reflecting the current ombre trend. Then Hudgens cut her locks to shoulder length.
We could have asked about her new color, but we settled for the length - and Hair Fans clearly are unsettled by it. They voted for the longer look by an 83-percent margin (10-2) - and that led to the accusation. "She's so full of herself," a Hair Fan complained. "Besides, she cut her hair short and went right back to extensions." (Apparently not at the awards show.) "I doubt either photo includes all of her own hair. Go away." Yet we quoted Hudgens during a similar 2011 poll as saying stagnant poll makes her "bored."
Courtesy Us Magazine
First came the color change - from black as Twilight to not simply red, but practically sunrise orange. Actress Kristen Stewart apparently did that for a movie role - but she didn't stop there. She appeared in public in Paris with a much shorter style. The length which helped Stewart gain two Crown Award nominations was chopped into a somewhat feathered short cut. But Stewart's hair was a bit too wavy for classic feathers. And her right side (not really visible from our picture) was slicked back behind an ear so much that one British tabloid called it a "grunge" look.
That tabloid writer added Stewart "rarely makes an effort" when it comes to fashion. But we thought at least the left photo from earlier in 2014 looked nice and presentable. Our voters apparently thought the same way, as two-thirds of them voted down Stewart's cut (12-6). "Kristen used to have amazing hair," one declared. "This new look is.... awful." Another voted down both of Stewart's changes in one fell swoop: "Bad dye job followed by bad chop job." Another critic said when it comes to hair, "she has no clue what she is doing." Maybe that's why it took some effort online to find the name of her stylist (yes, she has one).
When she stays under control, Miranda Lambert has hair which can compete with the best in country music (e.g. Carrie Underwood and Hilary Scott). Trouble is, Lambert hasn't always kept that control on stage - choosing wild songs at awards shows which often allow her to throw her styles down into her face. Perhaps Lambert finally is coming to realize that, because she changed her style for summer 2014. The classic long wavy blonde locks were chopped into a shoulder-length side-parted bob.
One website said Lambert was following the hot hair trend of the season -- and she was launching a new album. But is a shorter look better for her? Our Hair Fans don't think so, as 72 percent of them chose the "longer" option in one week-long poll (13-5). "With the tiny facial features, short hair does nothing for her," one critic wrote. We didn't realize Lambert only stands about five-foot-four -- which is still slightly taller than Underwood. Another voter asked, "Since when did she have kids who play soccer?" (That World Cup poll below still is stinging, we suppose.) Perhaps the shorter style will hold better for Lambert, but the first few pictures we've seen of it make us think it's equally likely to drop during a final chorus.
It's considered one of the biggest sports events in the world. Yet to look at the numbers, Hair Fans cared more about our World Cup IV than that soccer tournament in Brazil. More than 180 votes were cast in our playoff rounds alone (about 50 percent more than in 2010). But when we posted a poll about the best hair at the men's FIFA World Cup.... well, let's say it was about as successful as Brazil's defense in the semifinals against Germany. Only one vote was cast in six days, after we posted four men with what we considered the most interesting hairstyles in Brazil. It finally reached the point where we did something we normally never do. We cast a home-page vote, simply as a test to make sure the poll was working!
The one real vote which was cast may have been a sympathy vote. It went to Brazilian striker Neymar and his seemingly-frosted blonde look, after an injury which ended his tournament. So he gets a 100-percent win - but what are we to make of this? We discovered other websites had FIFA men's hair contests; even the Wall Street Journal staged one. We might guess Hair Fans aren't soccer fans -- but enough soccer players make BMOC lists that we know better. Perhaps they had "voter fatigue" after the victory march of Victoria Warren for the U.S. Or perhaps our voters are saying this site should be "ladies only" - and it may be time to drop that "Men's Top Five" with the Top Ten Tresses.
Pictures courtesy Us Magazine
We didn't realize it at the time, but Emma Roberts ranks as one of the youngest Crown Award nominees in history. She was only 16 when she appeared on the 2007 ballot for Best Hairstyle in a Movie. The star of Nancy Drew finished a respectable third in that vote, and her well-prepared long hair impressed us then. The actress's styles have been watched closely since - perhaps in part because she's the niece of occasional hair icon Julia Roberts. The spring of 2014 brought a color change for Roberts. Or better put, the latest color change - as we didn't know she'd gone blonde for a while. She reverted back to what we think is her original brunette shade.
Is brown better for Emma? Our one-week poll found many Hair Fans thought so; it won a massive 88-percent approval rating (14-2). Yet the people leaving comments wanted to discuss something else. "Her hair was way better longer," one wrote. "What was she thinking going shorter?" Another explained, "She needs more length to offset her strong facial features." Be careful saying that too close to Roberts. She had a brief domestic violence arrest in 2013, so she's probably ready to fight off any hair adjustments.
Who could have imagined a network like ABC would have a famous woman named Zee? Ginger Zee joined the network from Chicago, and inherited the morning meteorologist title when Sam Champion moved to The Weather Channel. We saw Zees hair fall in her eyes almost immediately after joining the network, while covering a severe storm. Yet Hair Fans liked her long hair enough to provide her a Crown Awards nomination. But while Zee became married and went on her honeymoon in June 2014, she did something surprising -- cutting her relatively long hair. She returned to Good Morning America explaining only via Twitter it was a cut for "summer."
Is this a cut Zee should keep year-round? Our one-week poll found Zee scored an F: two-thirds opposed the change (14-7). "Her longer hair was a softer elegant look," one voter explained. "The shorter cut does nothing for her features." We tend to agree with that view -- and we can't help wondering if Zee's new husband knew this change was coming, much less approved of it.
The June 2014 cover of Allure magazine declared Amber Valletta a "supermodel." But unless you follow the modeling game closely, we're not sure how well you'd know that name. Valletta never has been a one-name-only headliner along the lines of "Naomi" or "Gisele." But to be honest, sometimes her ways with hair have topped the bigger stars - with mid-length styles that she knew how to keep in line when the cameras were on. Valletta simmered below our Top Ten Tresses list for a long time. But would her chop to what the stylist called "modern Klute.... shaggy, surfer" cut especially for the Allure cover cost her the respect of Hair Fans?
Our voters were split about this change, but Valletta's cut won a close 56- percent majority (9-7). "The short hair is a better face picture," one explained, "but the hair tells the story and the longer one is a better look." We tend to agree. Valletta's bangs will need a lot of maintenance, to keep them off her eyes. But if she grows out the sides a bit, we see the makings of a classic "bowl" cut which could have a lot of bounce with thick hair.
The sport of gymnastics is all about precision - executing perfect athletic moves quickly, sometimes on challenging pieces of equipment. Only a few women dare to try it with their hair unpinned, lest messiness get in the way. But Mary Lou Retton did it and thrived at it, during the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles. A full head of short hair barely mussed as she won five medals -- and she became a beloved national celebrity from there, with variations on the same perfect short look (our left picture is from the late 1990s). But when we saw Retton endorsing Good Feet shoes on TV in 2014, we were surprised a bit. The bangs which made Retton's styles secure are gone. And while the hair still is relatively short, it's long for her at chin-length - and definitely long enough to drop in her face, if she's caught in a bad situation.
We wondered if this more daring approach is good for Retton, and 64 percent of Hair Fans told us it is (7-4). No one left a comment, but we hope Retton is still as tenacious in keeping the style perfect as she was with the balance beam 30 years ago. A surprising wind could turn her current look into something far below a "perfect 10."
"Duff, as in tough" is how we once described the hair of actress Hilary Duff. In the Lizzie McGuire years on TV, she had bangs which gave her styles a lot of safe flexibility. But Lizzie grew up, Hilary married a hockey player (only to sadly separate from him) and became a mom. Duff grew out the bangs and displayed some occasionally messy looks (yet likeable to some Hair Fans). But then Duff pulled a surprise, with a "summer cut" practically to her shoulders. She called it on Twitter a "morning chop" - but does that mean the sun has set on her hair greatness?
Our weeklong poll showed a lot of Duff disdain, as only 18 percent voters like the change (4-18). One voter moaned she has turned "from a sultry icon of long hair to a forgettable plain style." If Duff is going to make a music comeback as she's hinted, she might be better off working on some hair flips.
Whitney Port might be defined as an Internet-era debutante - a young New York woman who became a celebrity by showing up at stylish events and getting noticed by websites such as Gawker. It was Olivia Palermo's Super-Hair which struck us as most impressive among that group. Port was like a "lieutenant" to the style captain - very good, but not quite as great. Yet we dared to put both of them in Top Ten Tresses when they gained national attention through MTV's reality series The City. Both women have since seen their hair drop to defeat, but Port still gets noticed as a fashion designer. So when she made a big cut in her long blonde hair in May 2014, the post on Instagram had style-watchers talking.
Did Port do a good thing by trimming her locks to shoulder-length? Hair Fans were sharply divided, with the old long look gaining 54-percent support in our week-long poll (7-6). One critic took issue with Port's claim that the cut makes her feel more "like a woman": "a 48-year-old woman instead of a 20-something hottie." Another voter seemed to find another style point: "Whitney's hair looks better parted to the port side." That's the left, for those of you away from the coastline.
To call Jennifer Aniston a modern hair icon might put it mildly -- but she'd be the first to tell you it hasn't always been easy. She's admitted in recent years the "Rachel" cut which made her famous on Friends was difficult for her to manage, and she sometimes felt like shaving it off. Yet with help from personal stylist Chris McMillan, Aniston turned that style into a series of successes -- and someone whose hair once was called "long and frizzy" gained a spot in our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. Aniston hasn't been afraid to experiment with her hair, though; the most recent change in 2014 was a switch from classic California "beach blonde" to brunette.
Is Aniston better going darker? Hair Fans surprised us a bit, by saying yes. Our one-week poll found 59 percent saying brunette was better, while 35 percent prefer blonde and six percent called for something else (10-6-1). Yet one voter declared, "Blonde and longer looks a lot better on her." (She's varied the length of her styles often over the years.) Another offered a more general comment about Aniston: "Her hair has been heading downhill for sometime now. If not for filler and extensions, she'd really be in trouble." With Aniston in her mid-40s, McMullen's next challenge could be to make sure Aniston doesn't succumb to the weakening Super-Hair can face with age.
Cable TV's Family Channel is introducing Hair Fans to some good rising hairstyle stars. We found out about several on Pretty Little Liars - while Shalene Woodley became a star in the series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Woodley displayed a wide range of long hairstyles during that series -- and could put on the plushness in red-carpet events. But to play a cancer patient in the movie The Fault in Our Stars, Woodley submitted to a big cut - and apparently agonized over it as a camera was rolling. Of course, Woodley is an actress. But she had angst about it, should the rest of us be concerned as well?
Our week-long poll found most voters want Woodley to keep in mind one of her tweets about the cut: "Hair grows back." The count was 71 percent for the longer style (17-7) - with one person explaining: "She had beautiful hair, so longer look gives us more of it!" Yet Woodley has dropped hints in interviews she's, well, grown to like the shorter cut. She explained it's eassier to maintain - and sadly, sometimes it looks un-maintained and a bit messy in public.
A few hit movies can make anyone a big star. That's the case with Emma Stone. The female lead in two Spider-Man films has become one of the most-watched women on red carpets. So any hair move Stone makes is bound to be analyzed. In early 2014 she's made a couple -- most significantly adding bangs to her traditional sidepart. It means the left eye of Stone's style is far less likely to drop in her eyes. But does that look better on her?
Our Hair Fans were "Stone cold" when it came to this change, as 76 percent of them opposed it in our week-long poll (16-5). No one gave an opinion beyond a vote - but we're intrigued by how even with the bangs, Stone can do her second new hair move. She's now able to braid the front of her sidepart across her forehead. Assuming that's not clipped on, this is an idea which could make a lot of sideparted looks stronger and more Super.
Right photo courtesy Los Angeles Times
When we see Kaley Cuoco, we can't help asking a question - whatever happened to her TV sister? It was Amy Davidson who made our Top Ten Tresses list a decade ago, for the series 8 Simple Rules.... Her red-headed waves seemed more solid to us. But she only makes occasional guest star appearances these days, while Cuoco may be a classic example of how 'blondes have more fun" in the TV world. Cuoco became the big-name star of The Big Bang Theory, even though other characters went on to win awards. She kept her sometimes-stellar, sometimes-messy long hair for a long time. But shortly after her wedding in the spring of 2014, Cuoco decided to make a big cut. After faking a bob once at an awards show and apologizing for it later, she went for it - putting the proof on Instagram.
Has Cuoco gone coo-coo by making this change? Our one-week poll was close from start to finish, but Hair Fans finally decided they like the shorter cut by a 56-percent margin (14-11). "This change is hopefully for the good," one voter wrote, claiming Cuoco "got lazy" with a "cute" look over the years on CBS. But a critic argued, "She lost her luster with this short cut. She might as well switch roles.... and become the nerdy girl...." That seems a little harsh - but keep in mind, "nerds" can have great hair as well. Ask Cindy Crawford.
If you didn't know better, you might think Catherine Zeta-Jones came from Latin America instead of Wales. Her jet-black hair came to movie fame in a Zorro movie, and she's kept it long and controlled for the better part of two decades. It's a rare day when her main look changes - but in the British spring of 2014, it has. Amid all sorts of tabloid gossip about her marriage to Michael Douglas, the "Z-woman" (as we admittedly sometimes call her) added long bangs across her forehead. It certainly puts less stress on Zeta-Jones's shoulders and processing to keep her hair in position -- but is this a better look?
In this case, our Hair Fans apparently prefer long-hair drama - as 64 percent of them in our one-week poll said the bangs should go away (16-9). No one left a comment on either side of the issue. But that sort of drama is fun to watch. Women with natural long styles have to keep them in the back of their minds, sometimes making adjustments moment by moment. Those who can do it well impress us -- and this "Z-woman" has scored an A grade often over the years.
Few members of our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame have done as many style experiments as Jennifer Love Hewitt. She's gone from bangs to no-bangs and back. She's gone from long hair to bob-short and back. And now in 2014, Hewitt has surprised Hair Fans by turning her traditionally brunette look blonde. She posted the change on Twitter, of course - then explained to a magazine it was not due to the nearness of summer, but the arrival of her first child. Hewitt coined a new word for it: the need to get her "MomJo" going, as opposed to mojo (or, we suppose, even Flo-Jo).
Has Hewitt made a good move by going lighter? Our voters ran away as if they'd encountered one of those ghosts from her old TV series - as 80 percent want the brunette locks to come back. Only 10 percent voted for blonde, matching the percentage who want her to try a different color (16-2-2). One voter said brunette hair "brings out her eyes more." And perhaps this was a vote for natural hair, at least in terms of color.
She's a member of the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. Yet the magnificent blonde hair of Carrie Underwood has been in a bit of slump lately -- at least in the world of Super-Hair. She's no longer an automatic nominee for Crown Award ballots, compared with the last decade. And several recent award shows found hard-driving songs or wind machines getting the best of her styles. So perhaps Underwood needed a night like the 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards, where all she had to do was make an introduction. That allowed her hair to be perfect from start to finish - and this sideswept wavy look allowed Underwood to win the contest for best hairstyle of the show with ease.
The producers of the ACM's threw all the top stars a curve, by dropping confetti on their heads after the opening song. "This is no Head & Shoulders commercial," co-host Luke Bryan told them. Underwood had plenty of time to recover from that, and she rolled to 57 percent of Hair Fans' votes for her first win since the 2012 CMA's. Second place went to perhaps the last singer you'd expect to show up at a country awards show. Shakira performed with The Voice co-judge Blake Shelton, and ended with 22 percent. Martina McBride was third with 17 percent - but also with a comment that her "hair looked great with lots of body, but it also looked like it had a lot of product to hold it in place." (At least her hair held; Kimberly Perry's style shook down in a hurry.) Faith Hill scored a lowly four percent, while Miranda Lambert received no votes at all. Hmmm - do you think she's the second choice of Underwood fans?
Jennifer Hudson doesn't seem to dominate cable TV the way she once did - at least not in terms of Weight Watchers commercials. The Oscar winner and singer probably is busy with other projects these days. And that may explain why Hudson joined the pixie trend in early 2014. Years of long hair (and speculation about extensions) were put in the past, when Hudson posed on Twitter with some young performers.
Has Hudson made a good move? Our week-long poll found Hair Fans divided, but leaning against the change. Long hair gained 56 percent of the vote (9-7). "Hudson was gorgeous with long hair," one voter wrote. "Train wreck results after haircut." There's certainly less "hair drama" in her appearances now. But another voter put that in perspective: "At least with the short hair, we know it's hers."
Katie Holmes probably has made some movies in recent years, but we can't remember the titles of them. Tabloid headlines have drowned all of them out. That's what happens when you have a high-profile marriage to and divorce from Tom Cruise. But when Holmes makes a style adjustment, it still gets noticed. It happened again, when a Hair Fan noted Holmes had added bangs to her straight and long look. She didn't make a big deal about it; they simply were spotted during a vacation to Walt Disney World.
Are bangs better for Holmes? We didn't think the picture we posted showed them well, yet our six-day poll found voters support them with a large 78-percent majority (14-4). No one left a comment, but we'd note a cut with bangs is less likely to drop in Holmes's eyes - which has happened more than once. We'll also note this poll turned out better than the time Holmes tried a short blunt cut. So perhaps leaving Cruise put her hair in better hands.
Arizona can be a fiery place - from the heat of desert summers to the political actions of governors and county sheriffs. And for years, Catherine Anaya has covered it all as a TV news anchor in Phoenix. Yet Anaya has made news in her own right with Hair Fans - as her daring layered short cut won a Crown Award for Best Bangs in 2007, and helped her unseat a City League champion. Anaya even was once in the running for Best Short Hair. But she certainly doesn't qualify for that now - as we stumbled upon her Twitter feed in early 2014 and discovered her hair now is much longer. The bangs notably are still present, but the rest of her head falls below the shoulders in waves which seem to require pins for hold.
Has Anaya made a good adjustment over the years? She openly hoped online Hair Fans would say yes - and she'll be comforted to know they did. Our eight-day poll (extended by a web server issue) ended with a strong 87-percent show of support for long hair (33-5). One voter longed to move to Phoenix to watch "a fox" on TV (even though she's not at the Fox affiliate). But another declared our poll was "fraudulent" from the outset, asking: "Do the long hair people of the world get to know they are being selected for the contest?" To be honest, the answer is no -- here and in most cases. We don't normally notify the women on our home page that we're featuring them. Sometimes that news is taken well, and we're happy to say with Anaya it was.
Right photo courtesy E! Online
Who says housewives can't have marvelous hair? Eva Longoria proved otherwise, well before the "Real Housewives" showed up on cable. Her years on Desperate Housewives with a thick brunette mane gained her an endorsement deal with L'Oreal. Our Hair Fans twice voted her hair the best among the TV cast. Yet Longoria seems to have faded from the spotlight since that series ended. She's involved in various social and political causes, but not very active on stage and screen. So Longoria's decision to add multi-layered long bangs for her 39th birthday may have some people wondering if her hair focus is changing.
We asked what you think of this addition, and our voters were uninspired: 71 percent of them say the bangs should go (17-7). One voter thought our "candid shot" of the new look made it hard to draw a fair comparison. But another called the bangs "childish" and urged Longoria to dump her "shaggy dog look." Since Longoria's latest starring role is in the animated cartoon Mother Up!, she may have plenty of time to experiment with new styles.
It's almost as if Ellen DeGeneres tried to steal the show. She called in a pizza delivery man, in the middle of the Academy Awards. Then she set up the world-record "selfie" as we tried to post our poll for the best hairstyle at the Oscars. We tweeted the alert about it seconds before Twitter became overloaded and crashed. Only the next day, when we returned from another assignment, did we notice the poll options were missing. Apparently we didn't save them (or was it DeGeneres overpowering the Internet?!) - but that extra day might not have made a difference.
Sandra Bullock's complex brunette waves dominated your six days of voting for the top style of the night - which actually surprised us, because we thought the field was very competitive. Bullock received 75 percent of the vote. Cate Blanchett and newcomer Sally Hawkins settled for one vote each, or eight percent. There also was an "Other" vote for a previous Oscar-winner: "It may be short, but Jennifer Lawrence had the best hair of the night!" It certainly stayed in place all evening (even through a stumble on the red carpet) - but it struck us as a touch too slicked down, as opposed to natural hold.
Unless you watch the "Winter X Games," you only seem to hear about athletes such as Lindsey Jacobellis every four years. She's a snowboarder who's won all sorts of competitions around the world, including a silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. But it took the 2014 games in Sochi for a Hair Fan to bring Jacobellis to our attention - and surprisingly, it was not to nominate her for Best Curls in the Crown Awards. The Hair Fan noted Jacobellis changed her well-known blonde hair brunette for the 2013-14 season.
Brunette locks would be easier to find in a snowbank, you know - but does Jacobellis look better with them? Our one-week poll found voters on "board" with the change: 53 percent prefer the darker shade, as opposed to 40 percent for blonde and 7 percent for something else (8-6-1). Yet the voters leaving comments were all on the lighter side. "Like the blonder better," one wrote, "and those curls rival Alyson Footer's!" - as in a Crown Award winner. "Blonde makes her curls jump," another said; "the brown mutes them." We tend to agree with that view - but with the Sochi Games now over, we must ask a question. Did big hair changes by Jacobellis and Shaun White cost them medals?
Left photo courtesy The Inquisitor
Kate Mara has been making the talk show rounds, admitting she's more than an actress -- she's also a liar. Mara knew what would happen to her character on the Netflix series House of Cards, but couldn't reveal it until the second season came out. So why should we believe any explanation Mara gives about her hair? It was long and dark-red (we considered it brunette) during season 1; now it's much shorter (barely above the shoulders), and Hollywood blonde. One website declared it a "dye job," but found it acceptable as "edgier."
We could have asked about Mara's cut, but the Hair Fan who brought her to our attention emphasized the color change. A massive 82 percent of our votes aren't buying that edgy talk; they prefer Mara brunette, compare with only nine percent going blonde and nine percent suggesting another color (18-2-2). "The blonde on her just looks a mess," one voter wrote; "she has now joined the bad hair idea group." Another wondered if she only used "half a bottle of dye." (These are things we admittedly don't know about.) At least Mara is hanging around outstanding hair -- as we found pictures of her appearing with Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King on CBS This Morning.
We've mentioned here before that the 1970s crime drama Charlie's Angels was almost as much about hair as it was crime-fighting. Flexing, bouncing style tests occurred constantly -- and while Jaclyn Smith's hair didn't have the nearly unbeatable legendary styling of Farrah Fawcett, it still impressed a lot of Hair Fans. Smith entered our Hall of Fame in 2012 on the second try. And in early 2014, she's smart enough to keep the same basic hairstyle she made famous. But a visitor noticed a change in recent commercials, as Smith's hair is noticeably lighter.
"It does not appear to be one of her wigs," the Hair Fan told us in an e-mail. So we asked visitors about this blonde change - and a massive 89 percent of them voted it down in our one-week poll. Only five percent like the blonde look, while five percent suggested Smith try a different color (17-1-1). One voter speculated Smith had plastic surgery, to go with her color change. But another seemed to dismiss that theory, noting: "she is 69 years old" (actually 68 when the vote occurred). Yet another voter asked: "She's been known for her rich, brunette color for decades, so why the change?" It does seem awfully late in the game to catch up with Cheryl Ladd.
Photos courtesy ABC News
Amanda Knox probably never planned to become a media star -- never writing a book or appearing in prime-time TV specials, much less getting her hairstyles analyzed. But Knox's world changed when she was accused and convicted of murdering a woman, while doing international studies in Italy. The conviction was overturned, then reinstated early in 2014 with Knox back in the U.S. We're not sure what Knox has been doing in recent years, but she surprised some people by showing a much shorter style in interviews after the latest Italian court ruling. Hair which was long and mostly unassuming (it seemed "pumped up" for our left picture) has been chopped to an angled bob, which probably needs a lot of spray to stay in place.
Has Knox's hair improved with time? Most of our voters didn't think she made her case, as 76 percent of them preferred the longer look (16-5). One ruled her "guilty of a bad haircut," while another declared it a "mess.... not in a good way." Yet another wrote, "Knoxy's not as foxy" -- which probably is the last thing on her mind at the moment, anyway.
Sometimes all you need to succeed is a second chance. Consider country singer Kasey Musgraves. Our first view of her occurred at the 2013 Country Music Association Awards. She sang her hit Follow Your Arrow, and won the New Artist of the Year award. But she finished tied for second on our hair ballot. Two months later at the 2014 Grammy Awards, Musgraves sang the same song with practically the same hairstyle. This time she won not only Best Country Song and Best Country Album, but our award as well -- as she was voted the best hairstyle of the night.
We admittedly were disappointed with the hair choices at this show, and added names to the ballot all the way to the last minute of our deadline. Maybe that's why Musgraves prevailed in our one-week poll, with 37 percent of your votes. Last-second addition Gloria Estefan (an overlooked historical hair gem, we say) was second at 21 percent. Then came a tie between teenage newcomer and big winner Lorde and "Other" - and for once, it was clear who that other was. "Swift: that awesome hair flip should have crowned her!" praised one voter. Taylor Swift actually recreated a flip-filled piano number from four years earlier, which made our Hair Pressure section. While it was scintillating to watch, the hair dropped in her eyes at times to disqualify her from our contest. Presenter and one-time Top Ten Tresses member Anna Faris was fifth with 11 percent.
Her Twitter name could be "Megan Nickles" - but apparently that was taken, so the Megan Nickles attending Missouri State University dropped an N. That makes her "Mega-Nickles" in the Twitter world. And her long curls can be mega-large. That's made her a mega-hit with Hair Fans -- so much so that the first-year distance runner from Iowa almost became the Springfield, Missouri City League champion. And now Nickles tops the list in this season's "Elite Eight" contest among the Best Manes on Campus.
Nickles led our seven-day eight-way survey, with 40 percent of your votes. Second place was a tie between Shaylee Thomas of North Dakota State and Kaitlin Tatum of Columbus (GA) State, at 20 percent each - even though we received an unusual intra-campus challenge for Tatum during the week. There was a three-way deadlock for fourth -- as seven percent was gained by Jaclyn Carroll of Holy Cross, Chandler Champion of Alabama and Desarae Couthren of McNeese State. It shows how great strong styles can be found at colleges and universities across the U.S. If you see top hair anywhere, please let us know!
Tina Fey may have been teasing viewers during the red carpet interviews outside the 2014 Golden Globe Awards. Her brunette hair was pinned, while co-host Amy Poehler kept her blondeness loose. Would the comic with a hair product endorsement deal leave Hair Fans disappointed and mystified again? Nope, not this time - as when the awards show began, Fey unleashed thick medium hair for all to see. She lived up to that commercial reputation, and became your runaway choice for the best hairstyle of the night.
Many people swooned over Fey's hair on Twitter, and it turned into 57 percent of the votes in our one-week poll. The longer sleek look of Olivia Wilde came in second at 29 percent. Then came "Other" in third with 10 percent; one voter suggested Jessica Chastain (ultra-slicked back) or Aubrey Plaza (a woman we never saw on camera, and perhaps just as well). Late ballot addition Emma Stone followed with five percent.
Right photo courtesy New York magazine
Most political experts will tell you at election time, it's all about turnout - getting your supporters to the polls in big numbers. Maybe someone should send that message now to former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. We give her credit for making the first big celebrity hair change of 2014 - showing up at the New Year's Day inauguration of New York's new mayor with layers of bangs across her forehead. The last time we posted a poll about Mrs. Clinton, she had a shoulder-scraping flip hinting at length. The new look aims toward the short side - but it wound up being short on supporters.
Our one-week poll ended with 67 percent of Hair Fans preferring the longer look of Mrs. Clinton. But when one potential voter wrote, "Not voting as I don't like either," that apparently influenced others. The final count was 4-2 -- the smallest vote count for any Cutting-Edge poll we can remember, and much lower than the 2011 vote. If this woman plans to run for President in 2016, she might want to stop by some salons in Iowa and New Hampshire.
We'll never forget the reaction one man had, the first time we showed him Jackie Guerrido at the weather maps on Univision: "People aren't watching her for the weather." That probably is stretching the truth a bit, but we imagine plenty of Hair Fans' jaws dropped when they happened upon "Queen Jackie" in the morning. Between her and Ana Marie Canseco, Despierta America had an impressive hair combination in the early 2000s -- styles which were playfully natural, but knew how to hold under the heat of TV lights. While Guerrido still provides forecasts for Univision's Primer Impacto, her fame has spread through modeling and fashion lines. Yet we were surprised to see Guerrido experimenting with her hair at the end of 2013 -- with a cut from flexing long layers to around the bust line, but more noticeably a shift to blonde shades for the U.S. winter.
We asked you if Guerrido should remain a blonde. The one-week vote was close, with the lighter shade winning by a 54-percent margin (7-6). In fact, the vote was as close as Guerrido wears her hair around her eyes. It's dropped down on occasion, but she still offers great "tress tension" for Hair Fans who desire such things.
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