Cutting-Edge Hair News, 2020
People of a certain age might not like reading this, but Britney Spears turned 39 in December 2020. Pop culture watchers have seen the singer make all kinds of changes in the past 20 years or so. Spears had a medium-long hairstyle which became one of our first Super-Hair Q&A topics, because it received so much interest. Then she occasionally wore extensions, made cuts, went brunette, put on wigs - and had that shocking moment of baldness. While the last few years have found Spears both performing and seeking psychiatric care, her approach to hair seemed to have calmed down. But in December, Spears showed off a shoulder-length cut on Instagram - shorter than the long layered look of earlier in the year.
With no one crying these days to "leave Britney alone," we asked Hair Fans what they thought of this hair change. While Spears's long styles prevailed years ago, this time the short cut was preferred by 64% of you (7-4). While no one left a comment, we can't help wondering if the left photo is enhanced by extensions. But we're also sure that plenty of Hair Fans want to see Spears performing again and putting that style to an action test - even if it's for old-time's sake.
The tennis schedule was jumbled in 2020 by the coronavirus. Wimbledon never happened. The French Open followed the U.S. Open. And no woman really established herself as a dominant player. While Spain's Garbine Muguruza didn't win any tournaments, she placed among the top five women in match wins and ranked third in service aces. Muguruza earned a place on our Hot List in 2016, for what Vogue called "bombshell.... beachy waves." But when she posed on a beach for a Twitter sunset photo in late November, the waves were gone - replaced by a chin-length cut.
"Like the bob?" a follower on Twitter asked us. We put it to the people on our homepage for a week, and six out of ten preferred Muguruza with the longer style. "She's very pretty," one commented; "much prettier than the shorter-hair photo you posted." Apparently Muguruza's change is so new that Google Images hasn't picked up on it. But we doubt it will be any stronger than the longer looks, which dropped in her eyes often.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in some way. For many college students, it's meant a switch from classroom instruction to virtual classes with laptops. For students recruited to play college sports, delayed schedules may be even more frustrating. But at least some of them have used the time to keep their bodies in top condition - hair included, of course. Count Josephine La Marca among them. The sophomore soccer player at Sacred Heart University impressed enough voters with her long locks to be voted the Best Mane on Campus, in our fall "Elite Eight" week.
Matched against seven other BMOCs from across the U.S., La Marca broke a deadlock late in the week for 43 percent of Hair Fan votes. The Northeast dominated, with Boston College's Jenna Bike second at 29% and Yale's Maya Sharp and Adelphi's Emily Whitman tied for third at 14%. It's a good thing we found La Marca when we did - because Sacred Heart has updated her profile page to show almost all that hair thrown behind her shoulders. That probably wouldn't have appealed at all to the hearts of Hair Fans. (Or whatever else might be stimulated in them.)
Photos courtesy Refinery 29
Some real estate agents have impressive connections. Take Chrishell Stause. She sells property in Los Angeles - but how many such agents put a "filmography" on their home page? Stause acted for years on All My Children and Days of Our Lives. Now she appears on Netflix in the reality series Selling Sunset. All that may have helped Stause become a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, and a carefully-watched woman on celebrity websites. So when Stause appeared at the 2020 People's Choice Awards with flipped-back bangs added to her long and carefree blonde hair, it was news online.
Should Stause have stood still with the style she had? Most of our Hair Fans think so, as 80 percent of them like her better bang-free (12-3). "I've followed her for years," one voter wrote. "Simply gorgeous, hair included. Why screw with perfection?" Even an admitted bang supporters wasn't pleased with this change - "not with the Jameela Jamil part in them." When we saw Stause's new look, we actually thought of rock singer Stevie Nicks. Either way, Stause's new style was overwhelmed during our week-long poll by a new romance with a TV dancer - and if he likes her this way, maybe the majority are missing out.
Katy Perry used to be practically a running joke in this part of the website - good for at least one color change question a year. While the singer's hair colors still may be changing, she may have settled on a winning style - a sideparted shoulder-length bob. Perry tilted it back and forth several times, while singing with Darius Rucker during the 2020 American Music Awards. But it didn't drop in her eyes. And our voters rewarded Perry for that, by naming her the best style of the night.
The AMA's had live performances, even though the audience in Hollywood was confined to the balcony because of COVID-19. Perry's performance resulted in the 44 percent of Hair Fan votes. Latin singer "Becky G" with luxurious waves was our personal favorite, but she was second at 33%. Models Cara Delavingne and Megan Fox tied for third with 11%. And for black celebrities such as Doja Cat and host Taraji P. Henson - you might help your cause by settling on one style during a show, and not leaving us guessing about fake-outs.
While Norah O'Donnell has become a national TV news anchor with a strong Super-Hair reputation, another O'Donnell has built a lengthy career covering Washington politics. In fact, Kelly O'Donnell's cuts arguably are stronger and tougher - handling most outdoor live appearances well for NBC News. In the early 2000s, "KellyO" (her Twitter name) kept her styles short and above the shoulders. (An experiment with bangs disappointed our voters in 2010.) But in the last couple of years, she's clearly gone longer. We were struck on a Sunday night in November by how the hair was at least two inches below her shoulders - seemingly longer than in the summer of 2019.
Is this O'Donnell finding her best look after all these years? Our five-day poll found many Hair Fans think so. The longer style won 87-percent backing (7-1) - and for this White House correspondent, we think no recount is necessary. "I like the copper sheen," one voter said. While that wasn't our issue, maybe O'Donnell's hair looks better under TV lights after dark as opposed to summer sunshine.
Fans of the old country music show Hee Haw will remember a segment called "Pickin' and Grinnin'". That can describe country music in general, too. Some people pick, as in playing instruments. Others grin, as they simply sing. Carly Pearce seems to be on the grinning side - and she had reason to smile at the 2020 CMA Awards. She shared the "Event of the Year" award, presented during the morning. Then Pearce won our post-show contest for the best hairstyle of the night.
Come to think of it, maybe we were being played by Pearce to some extent. A pre-show tweet promoted a styling product. That company replied to one of our tweets. The hair held up well during Pearce's song. Then in the last couple of days of our six-day contest, she gained a couple of votes to win the race with 43 percent. Karen Fairchild, Miranda Lambert, Cece Winans and an unknown "other" tied for second at 14 percent. Lambert's center-parted waves were panned by one voter: "She went with that style with that forehead?" We've seen "quaranine cuts" which were a lot worse.
Cast members on TV series must develop more of a bond than we realized. Only a few weeks after we asked you about Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale turning her brunette mane red, a Hair Fan alerted us to what a co-star did. Ashley Benson, who traditionally has been blonde, posted a photo of her own hair with a red tint. Yahoo News called it "a hybrid rose, gold and orange shade" - although with Benson snapping a selfie at an angle, we didn't get a full look at it.
Unlike Hale, Benson didn't comment on the change - instead simply tagging two stylists. Our voters were ready to tag out. An eight-day question found 86 percent of them want Benson back as a blonde (6-1). One voter asked a thought-provoking question: "How come no one ever goes auburn?" That would indeed be darker for fall, and Benson has darkened her hair in the past. Perhaps switching to a lighter shade is simply G-Eazy to... oh wait; that's the name of Benson's boyfriend...
The 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign was filled with accusations, speculation and downright "fake news." One of the strangest items may have been the theory that U.S. first lady Melania Trump has a "stunt double" - a look-alike accompanying President Trump on road trips, while the real Mrs. Trump stays at the White House to take care of her son and recover from COVID-19. Most mainstream media ignored that about as much as Hunter Biden's laptop. But Mrs. Trump's strong hair is tough to ignore. In fact, she won our contest for the best style of the election year.
Our online poll was open for 10 days, and it ended on Election Night with Mrs. Trump gaining 44 percent of your votes. Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen was second with 28 percent, followed by "second lady" Karen Pence with 17 percent. Democrats did not do well, with Jill Biden and Kamala Harris tied at six percent. But one voter thought Biden matched Jorgensen and Pence for being "closest to their natural hair with the exception of dye." And for the person who left a comment about Roku boxes - are you some kind of eastern European troll?
It's a bit disappointing for U.S. soccer fans that NBC barely can find anyone from the U.S. who's qualified to do soccer coverage. Practically everyone on their Premier League telecasts has a British accent. That includes studio host Rebecca Lowe, who moved to the States from the BBC and other channels. While she's focused on the "beautiful game," some people consider Lowe's hairstyles beautiful. But she's changed her look over her years at NBC - from a promotional picture with shoulder-length waves in 2015 to a sideparted bob during the 2020-21 season.
We wanted the "Lowe-down" from Hair Fans about which look is better for her. The one-week question ended with a longer Lowe prevailing by 63 percent (8-5). While no one left a comment, we agree that the longer style is more attractive while the short cut seems severe. Yet either style is capable of dropping in her eyes - which sadly is why Lowe isn't high on our Top Ten Tresses list.
When Priyanka Chopra made her U.S. TV starring premiere in the action drama Quantico, Hair Fans were impressed. She was voted "Newcomer of the Year" in 2015, while receiving three other Crown Award nominations. Had they noticed hairstyles outside the U.S., the honors might have come sooner - as Chopra was named Miss World in 2000. Now known as "Chopra Jonas," she's spent the COVID-19 quarantine preparing a memoir called Unfinished. But did she become finished with strong, glamorous long hair? Chopra Jonas appeared on her Instagram feed in October with a shoulder-length cut and bangs across her forehead.
We asked on Twitter if the Chopra "chop" made your jaw drop. Maybe it did, but not in a good way. A huge 87 percent of our voters say longer is better (13-2) - and the vote was unanimous until late in the week. "Is that a wig?" one asked. Sorry, we don't think so. Other Instagram photos and an Entertainment Tonight interview during the polling week indicate the style change is real. As she wrote in September: "New hair, don't care" - even if Hair Fans do.
When actress Lucy Hale played one of the Pretty Little Liars on cable TV, you might have expected it. After her CW series Katy Keene disappeared in three months during a pandemic, it could have been a natural celebrity reaction. Whatever the reason, Hale contacted a stylist in late September and decided to make a change. Colorist Kristin Ess took Hale's lush brunette hair to a kitchen sink (which is so COVID-19), and before long it was red on the order of Lucille Ball.
"Did a thing," is all Hale wrote about her new look on Instagram. But is it the right thing? While some Hollywood stars praised her, our Hair Fans panned her; 92% prefer the original color (11-1). "Brunette works better with her eyes and complexion," one wrote. The three-second "showoff video" with Hale's hair covering one eye won't work, in terms of being a Super-Hair contender. But the woman who calls herself "Elvis's mama" probably has a dog who's loyal no matter what.
Catherine Zeta-Jones is one of those women with many traits to be a Super-Hair contender. Her long hair often is displayed with no pins and perhaps a few enhancements. She seems to take good care, in terms of control. She even adds some international flavor, as a native of Wales. Yet Zeta-Jones hasn't had much success in our competitions. Could that explain the photo she posted on Instagram in late September? It showed a wavy lob that stopped at the collar, instead of flowing farther down - although she didn't offer a peek behind her shoulders.
Zeta-Jones gained more than 84,000 Instagram "hearts" with the photo - but also comments such as, "You betray your beauty with this hair." Our voters mostly agreed with that: 56 percent of them prefer Zeta-Jones with longer locks (5-4). But they clearly were split. "CZJ's long hair is/was a classic. The shorter style is meh," wrote one. "Shorter looks softer, and longer looks weighed down and wet with product," commented another. But was it all a wiggy fake-out? She posted photos during the week with the classic look back - yet in this year of COVID-19 quarantine experiments, several beauty sites think this change is real.
How do you have a "red carpet show" if award shows have moved online in the COVID-19 age? The E! channel called its carpet for the 2020 Emmys platinum, and put its hosts in front of giant TV screens on a Universal backlot. That meant the hosts looked glamorous, even if the real stars didn't care - and Erin Lim was so impressive that two things happened. She became engaged, then won the vote of Hair Fans for the best style of the night.
To be blunt, it's a good thing we were able to watch E!'s preview - because the quality of hairstyles during ABC's three-hour show didn't impress at all. In fact, we wouldn't have reached five women for the ballot without Lim. But she prevailed with 56 percent of a week of votes. Jennifer Aniston showed great Hair Fan's Hall of Fame waves which held through a fire extinguisher gag, yet she was second at 33 percent. Crown Award winner D'Arcy Carden followed at 11 percent. But one voter wrote of the night, "Seems many women depend on their stylists and have forgotten how to do their own hair at home."
If you think "Little Mix" is a single-serving food product, think again. Wikipedia calls it one of the five top-selling "girl groups" in music history. The British group includes Jesy Nelson, whose story sadly includes online abuse and mental health concerns. But at least she's not afraid to give different hairstyles a try. Nelson's history is built on long brunette waves. But in September, she displayed near-platinum locks on Instagram - even showing a long bob at one point.
Is blonde better for this singer? Our week-long poll ended with an all-out tie: 44% for blonde, 44% for brunette and 11% for an undisclosed other color (be sure to leave a comment in those cases telling us what you have in mind). The only comment at all was that Nelson's blonde photo "looks like fewer extensions." Maybe so - but if it turns out to be a wig, is that really an improvement?
Times change. Our bodies change. Our hairstyles can change with them. Some women delight in the change, while others despair. New York TV newscaster Jessica Moore seems to take the positive approach. On 4 September, she pinned this note to the top of her Twitter account:
When people ask me if I hate getting older, I simply pull up this side by side and walk away.
The pictures above were included with that note. Moore didn't reveal an exact date for the left photo, but hinted on Instagram it was from 2006. That was too out-of-date for our voters, who preferred the more current mid-length style by a 91-percent margin (10-1). "Shorter looks too stiff and too 90s," one voter wrote during our week-long question. Stiff (we'd say "strong-holding"), to be sure. The current look is looser and much more interesting for TV - but oh, for a live report between Manhattan skyscrapers.
First the BET Awards moved to broadcast TV. Now the MTV Video Music Awards have as well - finding a Sunday night spot on The CW, even though that show has a reputation for being the bawdiest awards show of all. Yet not all the hairstyles on display at the 2020 show were avant-garde and freaky. Three women took different approaches to their longer styles, and wound up deadlocked for the best hair of the night.
Our week-long poll ended with Drew Barrymore's carefully-placed light waves, Madison Beer's dynamic straight strands and Kelly Clarkson's natural cut tied at 33 percent. If we had the tie-breaking vote, Beer would get it because of how daring and risky her hair appeared. We're a bit surprised Clarkson didn't get flagged by commenters for possible extensions. But one person didn't think Miley Cyrus belonged on the ballot. "That Jane Fonda Klute mullet is terrible enough without the bad dye job," the voter wrote. Cyrus also drew comparisons on Twitter to Florence Henderson's style in The Brady Bunch. Both Fonda and Henderson impressed then - but that was then.
Her mother, Goldie Hawn, portrayed a stereotypical "dumb blonde" on TV for years. But Kate Hudson hasn't come across to us that way. She's been more of a fun-loving blonde in movies such as My Best Friend's Girl. She's even written books about being fun and happy. Yet who could have guessed that deep-down, Hudson is not blonde at all? She declared herself "almost a brunette" on Instagram in mid-August, seemingly tying it to COVID-19 quarantine. Hudson even asked followers to vote: "au naturale" or "blond 'er up"?
Us magazine reported the Instagram vote was split almost evenly. Not with our voters, it wasn't. A large 71-percent majority called for Hudson to remain a blonde, in our one-week poll (10-3-1). No one left a comment about her color choice, but the vote came close to matching the time Hudson almost shaved her head in 2017. Does this prove once and for all that blondes have more fun - or at least should?
The first change was a stunnning disappointment. Three-time Crown Award winner Gohar Shahnazaryan cut the floor-length hair which made her famous in January 2020, leaving a style which stopped at her shoulders. The nation of super-long Hair Fans (we've found it's fairly large) mourned. But the Armenian champion hasn't stopped there. She followed a celebrity trend for summer, by changing her brunette hair blonde in August. Her only comments about it on Instagram were in hashtags: "#newhair" and "#newlook".
Has Gohar gone too far.... again? The length vote in March was close, but this change was not. Two-thirds of our voters want Shahnazaryan to go back to brunette, while 22% like her blonde and 11% suggested she try another color (6-2-1). While one comment claimed she "jumped the shark" in January, we'd note her Instagram account still shows more than 53,000 followers. And did you also notice her hair was down to her bust line? A second wave of growth seems to be well underway. How "long" it lasts clearly is up to her.
She began 2020 as a morning TV news anchor in Colorado Springs. Then something happened - and Kristen Skovira doesn't even mention the station on her Twitter account these days. From all appearances, she's looking for work. But her blonde hair can't possibly be the reason. Hair Fans liked it enough to make her a Super-Hair Wars undefeated champion at the start of the 2020 season - and now she's won our annual vote for the #1 hairstyle in the world!
This vote lets you choose the best from our Top Ten Tresses list. "Who's Number One Week" ended with Skovira claiming 38 percent of the vote. Second place went to the record-breaking dentist, Michelle Asselin, at 25%. A three-way tie for third followed at 13% among country ingr Afton Addington, Georgia realtor Kim Burch and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen - a woman one voter confused with public relations executive Betsy Stark. "Ursula has thickness; Betsy does not," another voter explained.
The other five members of the Top Ten received no votes at all - with one comment calling for all of them to be dumped. That's pretty tough, but we'll keep it in mind. If you've seen someone better, please let us know.
Her hair should be the "stuff of Legend." In one way it is, as model Chrissy Teigen is married to singer John Legend. But when it comes to the world of Super-Hair, she's really not. Teigen's long hair was a contender for the best hairstyle at the Oscars in 2015. But when she made a cut to shoulder-length in 2017, our voters didn't like it. So Teigen apparently grew it out for another three years, only to visit a Los Angeles stylist known as "Hairinel" in July 2020. "We went short," Irinel de Leon declared, trimming Teigen to a shoulder-length bob.
Do we understand this right - the trim was for a cookbook? Whatever the reason, Teigen did better with our Hair Fans this time. But they still like her hair longer, by a 60-percent margin (6-4). "Shorter is more likely to be her real hair," one voter wrote. It seems to be, based on a follow-up photo de Leon posted as our week-long poll began. But the long look seems more likely to stay in place, especially during long shoots.
Like it or not, we all grow older - and our hair changes as we do. But it seems some people age faster than others. Then there's Demi Moore, who appeared to age in a big hurry on Instagram in July. The Hair Fan's Hall of Fame member is known for being a brunette - and was nominated for a 2019 Crown Award for displaying very long hair in the movie Corporate Animals. So what was this photo of Moore looking washed-out blonde and shoulder-length?
"It's a wig!" someone quickly replied in our comments when we asked Hair Fans about it. "Thank God!!!" It's for Moore's streaming TV version of Brave New World - yet should she make a brave move and actually cut her hair? Our voters said no, but it was close: 56 percent prefer her long (5-4). Maybe Moore's change will become real-life in about 10 years. So in the meantime, let's get back to other critical issues with Moore - such as the carpeting in her bathroom....
While Kim Kardashian tends to dominate the headlines - with everything from justice campaigns to her husband's presidential campaign and bipolar diagnosis - the other Kardashian sisters still have lives outside their reality show. Kourtney has developed a lifestyle website called "Poosh," with a "KMK" tab for those more interested in her than their health. While she had short hair as a girl, Kourtney has kept her (k)uts long as an adult. So it was surprising to see her on the cover of Vogue Arabia in July-August with a straght chin-length bob.
Online speculation is that Kourtney put on a wig - but should she make this change permanent? It was close, but our voters said no; 55 percent prefer her with long hair (5-4). No one left a comment, but we wonder why Kourtney's eyes are closed in that magazine cover photo. Is she concerned that that short style could drop in her face at any moment?
When some women change their hairstyles, they don't give a.... uh, well.... Emily Ratajkowski put it this way in the summer of 2020: "Stop telling women what to do with their hair. And their bodies." The model and actress posted this comment days after changing her hair from its long-time brunette shade to a summery blonde. She even indicated she changed the color on her own, using Karastase products that she endorses.
We opened our one-week poll on Ratajkowski's change hours before we discovered her scolding. We continued on, anyway - and 64 percent of our voters preferred her brunette. Only 27 percent went for blonde, while nine percent called for a different color (apparently "auburn," based on a comment) (7-3-1). One beauty magazine called the critics "people who erroneously think that they're entitled to not only see another person looking the way they want them to look but demand it from them." We aren't demanding, simply asking Hair Fans. But we would ask in response: doesn't that sort of thing happen in all walks of life - from beauty and fashion to politics?
Ariana Grande's hair is world-famous. At least, her ponytail is - famous enough to win the first Crown Award for that category in 2017. But the pop singer is not afraid to surprise her fans at times. When the COVID-19 lock-ins happened in March 2020, Grande undid her 'tail one day - and didn't even bother to straighten out her long hair. Instead, she showed messy curls on social media, writing: "Get a load a dis."
Never mind the slang language - what about those curls? Should this be something Grande does for good? Our voters were split, but preferred the curls by a 60-percent margin in our weeklong poll (6-4). No one commented either way, but her mother declared her a "magnificent beauty" either way - "beyond stunning." That's what you'd expect a mother to write, of course. We'd personally rather see Grande's hair out of her eyes.
It took a month of stunning circumstances around the world to make it happen, but the "BET Awards" finally left the confines of Black Entertainment Television in June 2020. CBS gave the event a full Sunday night simulcast, even though it was a "virtual" show in the coronavirus era. That allowed us finally to track hairstyles during the show, since we save money by not having cable or satellite TV. And that allowed former first lady Michelle Obama to take the style spotlight. Her natural curls won your votes for the best hair of the night.
Obama repeated her success at the 2019 Grammy Awards by gaining 60 percent of the votes in our week-long poll. "The only hair I think is real," one voter commented. The other 40 percent went to the woman Obama introduced for a lifetime achievement award: Beyonce Knowles-Carter. "I cracked up, how you used all of her names," another voter wrote. We simply identified her the way BET did. While they received no support from the public, we'd give "honorable mentions" to Marlie Martin of Black-ish for defending her waves on Twitter during the show, and to singing star Megan Thee Stallion for a dance tune that had her extra-long hair shaking violently while hardly ever falling in her face.
Kaia Gerber is not taking after her mother at all - at least when it comes to hair. Hair Fans realize that mother is Hall of Fame member Cindy Crawford. First Gerber cut her long hair to a bob in 2019, and our voters accepted that. Now in the summer of 2020, Gerber has lightened her brunette style. Our right photo shows it in transition, at a protest march. But Gerber went farther - displaying blonde locks during a Hollywood shopping trip, which were hard to fully appreciate because she pinned them back.
During our week-long poll, Hollywood Life showed them in full view - declaring the color change "accentuated her signature bob perfectly1" But this time, Hair Fans consider it a step too far. The brunette view was preferred by 57 percent of them (4-3). No one left a comment, so we'll express personal disappointment with Gerber about this. Mom's color (which we assume is natural) ought to be best - especially when it's the stuff of legend.
Iggy Azalea is one of the biggest rap stars to come from Australia. But she's had an independent streak, which led to delays in some albums and her own record label. Azalea also has a secret side, with rumors of childbirth in the spring of 2020 lasting for weeks before she confirmed them. Yet one constant in Azalea's career has been her blonde hair - well, until June 2020. For her 30th birthday, Azalea turned her hair red on Instagram. She gave no explanation there, save for an emoji of a red rose.
Blonde photos quickly returned to her feed - but should Azalea keep it red all the time? Our voters said no. In fact, all of them preferred her blonde in a one-week poll (6-0); one wrote that the original color "looks less fake." At least we feel confident that her hair length is not fake, even if she lets it drop in her eye from time to time. To borrow from one of Azalea's songs, she can be Fancy like that.
Photos courtesy Lorde Daily
Christians will tell you there's only one "Lord." Pop music fans discovered a different one in recent years - a singer in New Zealand who calls herself Lorde. Her song Royals was a big hit, and became a theme for a Kansas City baseball team in a World Series year. But Lorde has kept fans waiting for new music since Melodrama came out in 2017. Yet she emerged from the COVID-19 quarantine with a message about that, expressed somewhat through messy hair. In a May 2020 email to fans, Lorde said her next album requires her to have "the longest and wlldest hair yet." That apparently means longer than the shoulder-length look on magazine covers in 2018; she's had it close to the waist at times.
Is a longer look lovelier for Lorde? "Longer with curls!" one comment in our week-long poll shouted - and others seemed to agree. That approach received 88 percent of the votes (7-1). But it's the "wildest" part of the email that concerns us. If the hair falls in her face a lot... well, is Lorde really being lady-like?
When it comes to hair, Houston is a very competitive city. Consider who's based there. Crown Award winner Alyson Footer, former Top Ten Tresses member Simone Biles - and then there are the contenders from one particular TV station. KPRC's Dominique Sachse fought off great challengers twice in our City League section, before losing in 2009. The amazing Brittany Jeffers is there now. And Sofia Ojeda wants to be part of the discussion, with a strong style that battled an active puppy in our "Hair Pressure" section. But in May 2020, Ojeda made a big change. Mid-length well-turned blonde hair was cut to the nape of the neck, and went dark brunette. As she wrote on Twitter: "What a difference."
Indeed - but is it a good difference? Ojeda invited her Twitter followers to vote in our expanded nine-day question. The longer look won, by a 64-percent vote (9-5). "The cut chopped off her waves," one voter wrote. Well, maybe not; a stylist's photos showed they still exist. And as we began the poll, the hair was long enough for waves to be visible again. The Ojeda hairdo is making a comeback - but how many Hair Fans dream of being in the newsroom, to hear her colleagues swap style stories?
It's an old stereotype, to be sure - but some women never seem to be able to make up their minds about some things. Several celebrities could be cited as examples. But Julianne Hough was called to our attention during the "quarantine cut" period. Eight years after a cut to her long hair and two years after turning her well-known blonde style red, she tried out what some called "ombre pink" hair. Hough explained it was a "fairy kitten" kind of look.
The Hair Fan who pointed out Hough's new shade included a Yahoo headline, "It looks so good." Our voters were not impressed at all. In fact, we cut the week-long poll short after five days because it was a unanimous rejection (9-0). "Horrible look," one critic said. "Why so celebs who don't need to make a change ever, always make the worst choices?" Another suggested the color was not Hough's real problem. "The new style doesn't look as soft and silky..." For a better view of what Hough's hair can be, we recommended finding June 2020 covers of Women's Health and Us magazine. A little straightening out and wind action can make a big difference.
The singer known only as "Adele" has kept fans waiting for new music for a long time. The album "25" came out in 2015. She's promised another one in September 2020 -- but Adele clearly has been working on other things in the meantime. In early May, she posted a birthday photo on Instagram which was surprising in several ways. The big headline was Adele's figure, as she reportedly has lost 100 pounds. (That led to a debate over whether or not it's proper to compliment someone for that.) But for Hair Fans, the headline was atop Adele's head - as hair which used to be kept at chin-length now approached the bust line.
Not meaning to offend, but we do comment on hair things here. And in our week-long poll, seven out of 10 voters decided Adele is better with longer hair. One skeptic wrote that "shorter has more body," but we wonder if that's simply a matter of how it's styled. The longer look certainly appears more suspectible to trouble from wind - but note Adele's hands are out, ready to protect it from attack. Hair defense knows no weight limit.
When hair historians write the record of 2020, it could be dominated by the "quarantine cut." Weeks of sheltering to fight the coronavirus have combined with salon shutdowns to make some women feel desperate. We'd think women with Super-Hair wouldn't mind. They're resting their perfect styles for whatever the next great challenge might be. But Merry Matthews can't do that. She's a meteorologist who appears on Colorado Springs television every weeknight. So the woman who represented the U.S. in Super-Hair World Cup V self-trimmed her hair in late April. After years of it reaching below the shoulders, it now was shoulder-length - but still long enough to tuck it behind her ear.
Matthews rated her work a "B-plus." We asked what Hair Fans thought of it, and their score might have been higher: 64 percent preferred the shorter style (7-4). One voter called it "either way... a Top 10 look!" But another called it a bummer: "She lost a ton of appeal with the cut... She's still pretty, for sure, but her face is not her hair." But we side with the majority, thinking the shorter style can be stronger-holding with the right spray. The good news for the bummed is that Matthews's hair seems to be growing back quickly. And with plenty of flex to boot, they can be "merry" after all.
Sarah Richardson might be the Canadian version of the TV series Trading Spaces - except she does almost all the trading herself. She's made a career out of in-home makeovers, with an endless string of ideas for making kitchens and game rooms new-looking and improved. We found some of Richardson's early work on the new U.S. TV channel DABL, and discovered she's changed personal hair designs more than once. In the early 2000s, the cuts were short with bangs that could extend at times. In 2020, Richardson's website shows her style medium-long with an occasionally swooping side.
To borrow from one of her shows, which Richardson look has Real Potential? Our voters left little dohbt (oops, that's how they say it in Canada) - as the long look piled up 92 percent of the count over a week (12-1). A classic argument developed in our comments: "Short hair is best" vs. "longer has more body." We think both lengths are equally likely to drop in Richardson's eyes - but the longer style would be more dramatic to watch.
Left photo courtesy Daily Mail
MTV in the United States gave us Jersey Shore. In the United Kingdom, it came up with Geordie Shore - people with a wide range of personalities living in the same house and trying to get along. That was the breakout moment for Chloe Ferry, who walked in with a buxom build and became a partying misfit. But now Ferry is trying to monetize that fame in a different way. She's developed a cosmetic line, and has been using COVID-19 home confinement to try out different looks on Instagram. In mere weeks, Ferry switched from blonde to brunette and redhead - but apparently not Lauren Alaina blue (below).
Without revealing her natural shade, we asked you which color is better for Ferry. The final score after a week: 50 percent brunette, 33 percent blonde and 17 percent red (3-2-1). So the big reveal for those who didn't check online is.... Ferry is a natural blonde! The other shades were wigs. We think natural is best for her - and if she keeps her wavy to keep it out of her eyes (which seems to happen often), we'll want to invite her into our house to stay a while.
Right photo courtesy Taste of Country
Remember when a "blue-haired lady" referred to someone at least 70 years old? That's all changed in the 21st century. First pop stars such as Katy Perry went for curious color changes. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has led all sorts of celebrities to do some experimenting. Country singer Lauren Alaina borrowed a bit from a classic Crystal Gayle tune, and turned her blonde hair blue in mid-March! But she explained it was "just a shampoo" and would "wash out in, like, a week."
Alaina admitted to People that because of this change, "everyone's going to freak out." We're not sure if our voters reacted that way, but 88 percent of them preferred the blonde color in our one-week poll (7-1). To be honest, we think Alaina's blue is more stunning. But one voter probably spoke for the majority: "People have too much time on their hands these days." At least Alaina did other things to freak out her fans in April - becoming engaged and breaking two toes.
Some people take great pains to have great-looking Super-Hair - and it shows. We refer to them as "championship level." And Kansas TV news anchor Alyson Acklin has proven she's there. She emailed us with gratitude when we put her perfect short styles on the Top Ten Tresses list. She took a wavy variation to the Miss Kansas USA contest, and finished second. Now as Acklin prepares for a summer 2020 wedding, she's quietly become daring. Hair that once was tight at the ear was about an inch below the shoulders in early April.
Is Acklin doing the right thing by going longer? Our Hair Fans tend to like longer looks, but not in this case. Six out of ten preferred Acklin's short cut in our one-week poll. "Shorter had better color," one wrote. We think that depends on where she sits or stands under TV lights. But this much we know: Acklin has taken high-risk hair and increased the risk - so far successfully. When it comes to unconquerable hold, we'll borrow from one station in her chain: her styles are no KUPK-akes.
Right photo courtesy Parade
The first year of Super-Hair Wars had four undefeated champions - and Sarah Jessica Parker was one of them. The star of Sex and the City had sexy (to some) waves which topped supermodel Gisele Bundchen - but lost in the playoffs to eventual Hair Fan's Hall of Fame member Jessica Simpson. Parker kept the mid-length or longer look throughout the HBO series. But that was close to 20 years ago - and these days Parker is taking things shorter. We were surprised by a newspaper photo in March 2020 showing her in the arms of husband Matthew Broderick with a shoulder-length bob and bangs.
Has Parker properly changed with the times? While our voters tend to lean toward longer looks, 75 percent of them in our week-long poll liked Parker better with short hair (9-3). Yet the only comments were from a critic: "I don't think the new style suits her." We'd have to see it more to really know for sure - but the short cut seems easier to keep controlled. Some late-2019 photos of Parker had longer hair, but sometimes - uh - as flat as some Manhattan apartments.
Right photo courtesy Essence
If the name "Fiona" makes you think of a hippopotamus in Cincinnati, you're clearly not listening to soul music. A singer from Toronto known as Melanie Fiona has won a couple of Grammy Awards, and caught the attention of Hair Fans by growing out her locks for years. Unlike some singing stars, the hair was all hers. But in mid-March, the seemingly inevitable happened. Fiona visited stylist Kiyah Wright and cut an estimated 14 inches off. Fiona posted the dramatic "hard" moment on Instagram, writing she did it for "empowerment, breaking cycles, energetic release and rebirth."
All that sounds impressive, but is Fiona's new look stopping a bit below the shoulders an improvement? Our voters said, with six out of 10 preferring her hair longer. "A boring downgrade," concluded one voter who thinks the cut actually was longer than 14 inches. But from the other side: "Long just hangs," with the new cut more stylish. We'd want to pursue Fiona's hair either way, as long as she keeps it in line - but sadly, that doesn't always happen. Good "song styling" sometimes can ruin good hairstyling, you know.
2020 will be remembered for what one ministry has called, "The New March Madness." A month with no basketball tournaments. No hockey tournaments. Only one round of Australian men's football. That's what COVID-19 did around the world. But at least we at Super-Hair tried. We decided to give colleges an online, virus-free competition - extending our year-end "Elite Eight" by having a separate "Terrific Ten" contest with Best Manes on Campus from the winter season, battling to see whose style is best.
Sadly, our week-long contest didn't gain much interest - with the vote count off 43 percent from the Elite Eight in December. But Kayla Erickson of Beloit Colege in Wisconsin prevailed, with half the votes. Abbey Meyers of Chicago Loyola and Briana Niedermeier of Cleveland State tied for second at 25 percent. Seven women gained no support at all - but should take comfort in knowing they were noticed and were in the running.
Two decades ago, Super-Hair in Brazil meant a supermodel named Gisele. Other women had great styles, but little publicity. That led South Amerrica's biggest country into a hair drought on our site during much of the 2010s. But at the end of the decade, much changed. Three Crown Awards for Brazilians in 2017 were followed by two in 2019, with Instagram model Pamella Azeredo winning a top prize of Best Long Hair. Her styles stretch well below the waist. But during the Brazilian summer, we thought Azeredo spent a lot of time in the Rio de Janeiro sun - because her dark brunette color looked lighter in March. We called it "blonde," but perhaps it was more a gray shade.
Should Azeredo consider a permanent color change? Our voters say no. A one-week poll ended with 56 percent calling for her to say brunette, while 33 percent the lighter look and 11 percent called for some other color (5-3-1). But for some voters, the question was a different kind of puzzle. "I don't see that much difference," one said. "None at all," wrote another. OK, maybe we were seeing things. Azeredo likes to play tempting hair games with her Instagram followers - even reaching once in a while for scissors, only to put them away.
The Crown Awards have introduced us to some amazing heads of hair from all parts of the world, including some we'd never seen before. The rise of Instagram allowed an "AM" (account manager, we think) in Armenia named Gohar Shahnazaryan to become famous. With hair stretching to her ankles, she won three Crowns in 2017 including Best Long Hair. She was nominated again in 2019 - but during the voting, Shahnazaryan shocked her 55,000-plus followers by displaying a new style that stopped a bit below her shoulders. Some Hair Fans were so stunned that they called for her removal from the ballot. But that ballot honored 2019 hair, and she apparently made the change in 2020.
We're told Shahnazaryan sold all that trimmed hair for money - so was she penny-wise and pound foolish? Our week-long vote was closer than you might think. The long look won, but by only 55 percent (6-5). "Great haircut," said one. "A waste of a gift from God," wrote another. "Stupid, stupid, stupid!" commented a third. To the critics, we note: maybe Shahnazaryan will grow it back out. To all sides, we'd point out that her hair still is "long" under Crown Awards standards. If it stays below the shoulders, she could contend in that category next year.
Style surprises are not simply for young stars. Even members of our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame are capable of them. At about the same time that Eva Mendes made a big cut, Marie Osmond of The Talk went to stylist Cody Rinegar with classic brunette hair and came out a blonde. People magazine called it "caramel blonde" - and she displayed a chin-length bob with bangs as well.
Osmond has varied her hair length for decades. But going blonde is something else for her. She declared on Instagram, "I think blondes DO have more fun!" But our voters said brunette is better for her by a 73-percent margin (8-3). No one left a comment, but we think a brighter color will allow us to admire the strength of her hair that much more.
As of March 2020, only two Hispanic women (how did we miss Jenny Anchondo?) were members of our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. Eva Mendes also is a three-time Crown Award winner, thanks to thick brown hair that's probably best known for being long and tempting. But Mendes has displayed short styles at time. And early this year, she's doing it again - switching at the end of January to what she called on Instagram a "first-ever" bob. Stylist "Giannandrea" made it shoulder-length, with Mendes using a headband for control (allowed under our Super-Hair definition).
One of Mendes's co-workers at N.Y. and Company called the short cut "cute." Our Hair Fans didn't write any descriptions in our week-long poll, but perhaps they were disappointed. Longer hair was preferred by 69 percent of them (9-4). Mendes's mane tends to fall in her eyes either way. But consider that headband for a moment. How many Hair Fans would want to get their hands on it for a souvenir, and even take a bite out of it - especially with it on her head?
When the subject of a home-page poll makes news, we want it to be about her hair. But it's not always that way, and it's not always good. That sadly was the case when we asked you about a short haircut by actress Hayden Panettiere. As the poll began, her boyfriend Brian Hickerson was charged with domestic battery in Wyoming. It's his second arrest along those lines in a year; the first case was dismissed. We truly hope it wasn't about Panettiere's 5 February cut from mid-length soft hair to a chin-length, almost punky bob.
Panettiere wrote on Twitter that Naomi Szloboda gave her a "bomb" hair cut. Our Hair Fans might use that word differently, as in a failed movie. While one voter said, "I love short haircut," 80 percent of the voters prefer Panettiere longer (16-4). We agree with that view, but the new cut looks tough. May her attempts to keep it in place be peaceful and playful.
If you went to the kitchen for a snack at the wrong moment, you missed her. If you changed the channel when people started singing something other than English, you missed her. Hey, we almost missed Gam Wichayanee - as her part of a song from the movie Frozen 2 in Thai didn't last long at the 2020 Academy Awards. But her long hair impressed, compared to other performers that evening. The well-polished look became a runaway winner of our poll for the best style of Oscar night.
Because our camera wasn't ready for Wichayanee's bit, we went to a red carpet photo of her on Twitter. That apparently settled it, as the woman known as "Gam the Star" in Asia collected 60 percent of the votes in a week. On what turned out to be an international night, Penelope Cruz of Spain was second at 20 percent. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Margot Robbie (representing the U.S.) tied for third at 10 percent. And the only woman of our five to win an Oscar, Laura Dern, received no votes at all - which is stunning, because she used to have a loyal following in contests like this. Have they, well, let it go?
Right photo courtesy Parade/Spry Living
From One Day at a Time to Hot in Cleveland, Valerie Bertinelli has been known for eye-catching brunette hair. It was long and tucked behind the ears as a teenager. Then the bangs came out, and made her styles even better. Bertinelli has become a member of our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame - but she's not through with the hair changes, even beyond age 55. Bertinelli has turned it blonde in recent months, as she hosts a cooking show on cable TV.
Does this late change make Bertinelli even better? Our voters said no. A one-week poll ended with 78 percent of Hair Fans prefering her hair darker (7-2). No one left a comment, but we can understand the support of traditionalism. Could Bertinelli be going lighter on the way to gray? You know - one shade at a time?
If any current musical artist displays the scope of the Grammy Awards, it's Bebe Rexha. She's helped write songs for Eminem and Selena Gomez. But she was nominated for a 2020 country Grammy, for a song with the duo Florida-Georgia Line. Rexha didn't sing during the CBS telecast; she merely presented an award. But her shoulder-length combed-over blonde hair was strong and stylish enough to win our poll for the best look of the show.
One website called Rexha's overall look "boss babe." And she ruled the week of voting, piling up 64 percent of them. Gwen Stefani played it safe with long hair behind her shoulders, and that gained her second place at 18 percent. Brandi Carlisle tied for third with nine percent - joined by "Other," who we think came from this comment: "So happy to see Ariana Grande in the mix." She wasn't on our ballot, though, because her usual ponytail doesn't meet our "no-pin" rule for these shows.
Lizzo and Issa Rae struck out, with one Hair Fan writing: "Does anyone think that's Lizzo's real hair?" We thought so, based on other performances; perhaps the voters said no by their silence.
When she was a Gossip Girl, Blake Lively had plenty of competition for the best hairstyle. Since the show ended, her medium-long hair has impressed often. In fact, she called it a personal "safety net" in 2014. But Lively is starting 2020 far outside that net. In her latest movie The Rhythm Section, she displays a 1940s-era Hollywood 'do - but also shows a short cut with bangs taht apparently gets mussed more than once.
We wondered if Lively would look better with short hair - and Hair Fans quickly said no. Our seven-day poll found 91 percent of you want Lively's hair kept longer (10-1). One called the short look "deadly." Considering Lively's character loses her family in a plane crash, that statement is either ironic or sadly prophetic.
Before Michael Bloomberg became a U.S. presidential candidate, or even New York Mayor, he dared to found business news channels on radio and TV. His channels have introduced Hair Fans to some women with marvelous styles. Anchor/reporter Carol Massar was the first one to crack our Top Ten Tresses list in 2010, for short hair which seemingly can't crack under fire. But in the last year or two, Massar has grown out that look - reaching below the shoulders at the end of 2019.
As they might say on Wall Street, are you "sold long" on Massar's new idea? Most of our voters are. A one-week poll found 71 percent of them support the longer hair (10-4). "What a nice improvement!" one wrote. But another said, "I had to think about this one. I could go either way." Massar's showing she can as well - but we fear she's asking for collapsing trouble with the longer style on windy days.
Ricky Gervais set quite a tone for the 2020 Golden Globe Awards - so much that hair-watchers seemed to adapt it on social media. As often happens on Twitter, some people grumbled about every style in the ballroom. In fact, one voter in our week-long poll said "no one" had the best hair. But we found several women who impressed us - such as Ultimate 50 member Salma Hayek. The Mexican actress came out with thick waves which rivaled her first roles in action movies in the 1990s. And to borrow from her new movie, Hayek wore them "Like a Boss", winning our award night contest.
Hayek held off the competition to gain 40 percent of the votes. Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Kerry Washington tied for second with 20 percent. (If you want to take on Washington's short cut, check the video of her on our Twitter feed.) Comic Kate McKinnon followed with 10 percent. Sofia Vergara surprisingly was left with no votes - perhaps overwhelmed by what fellow Latina Hayek did.
First there was Jessica Simpson, a member of the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. Then came her sister Ashlee, whose hair and styles were quite different. Now there's Emily Simpson... and OK, she's not related to them. But she seems to be the Simpson in the spotlight, thanks to Real Housewives of Orange County. And her long hair impressed some viewers, especially for someone who works as an attorney. It turns out she's worn extensions from time to time. But in December 2019, she showed a layered blown-out shoulder-length look on social media.
Is this Simpson's best look for the start of 2020? Our voters say yes, with the shorter style gaining 73 percent support in a week-long poll (8-3). One praised Simpson for "waves and more volume." And let's face it - shouldn't a hairstyle in Orange County, California have some waves close by?
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