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Cutting-Edge Hair News, 2022

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You can't always tell by lookng if a woman has a hair-related health issue. Chicago TV news anchor Audrina Bigos does. She showed attractive medium-long hairstyles on the air for years. But more recently, she's moved to full-time natural curls. Bigos explained to Vogue that years of "treatment and straightening" led to her losing small patches of hair. It's a form of alopecia, which became an issue in the wake of the Jada Pinkett Smith "discussion" at the Academy Awards and beyond.

Bigos says some people call her current style "wild." But we found most Hair Fans are wild about it, as the curls won 71% spport in our one-week poll (5-2). "The curls rock," one supporter wrote. And while they might into her eyes at times, Bigos's natural curls are practically impossible to undo. They is why some Hair Fans are curl lovers - they can play with curls all day long and cause very little harm.

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France has not fared well in the world of Super-Hair in recent years. Mireille Mathieu's perfect "cap" won our first EuroCup in 2004. But since then, candidates have lingered near the bottom of groups. So the closest thing we could find to a hair showdown in France in 2022 was the national presidential election. Marine Le Pen advanced to the runoff for the second race in a row - facing incumbent Emmanuel Macron, represented here by his bride Brigitte. Both are blonde. Both have rather risky styles. So whose hair is better?

One commenter wrote of this contest, "It shouldn't even be close. Brigitte in a landslide!" That Hair Fan was absolutely right - as Macron scored an absolute shutout in our one-week poll (5-0). But here's what makes the vote interesting: Mrs. Macron is 69 as we post this. She's 16 years older than Ms. Le Pen - and 25 yers older than her husband! It proves hair can look marvelous at any age. Even if her bangs were too long, drooping into her eyes as Mr. Macron won the runoff...

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The way our City League is set up, a local champion could have the title for life as long as she doesn't move away and no challenger is suggested. Gourmet chef Jennifer Bushman was the hair queen of Reno, Nevada for more than a decade. But as we reviewed our lengthy list of championsin 2022, we discovered she'd left Nevada for the "north bay" city of Mill Valley, California. That's not the only change we found with Bushman. A short sidepart cut with what appear to be layered bangs was grown all the way out - still sideparted, but now medium-long with a bit of wave at the ends.

Has Bushman come up with a better hair recipe? Our voters say no. Four out of five said her short style is tastier (4-1). "Shorter looks to have more bounce," one commenter said. We're not sure about the bounce, but we agree with the majority overall. Perhaps both looks can fall in Bushman's eyes, but the shorter cut seems less likely - and that makes the cut more dramatic for us. The longer style seems far more likely to droop and fall when Bushman is over a boiling pot of pasta.

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Her name is Rachel Zegler, and she's from New Jersey. But Wiipedia says her background is Colombian and Polish. Put it all together, and you have an actress who received a dream breakout role in the remake of the movie musical West Side Story. While another actress won a Crown Award for that movie, Zegler attracted us first with long controlled hair at the American Music Awards. But something happened over awards season. For reasons not known to us, Zegler decided to chop her locks. At the Osacsr and Grammys (right photo), the hair didn't even reach her shoulders.

Zegler's movie character might sing "I Feel Pretty" about a change like this. And our Hair Fans would sing along happily - because in our one-week poll, 71% of them preferred the shorter style (5-2). One voter explained: "Not a fan of the slicked down look the longer style has. Hides the hair's thickness and body." Ahhh, but isn't that all the better for Zegler to turn and move dance scenes? We'd want to be a "Shark" hungry to take a bite out of that.

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Rock singer Avril Lavigne once was Canada's great Super-Hair hope. She finished third in Super-Hair World Cup II, then had second-place group finishes in tournaments from 2007-11. Lavigne dropped off the style map in recent years, but she may be plotting a mid-thirties comeback. She appeared as a presenter at the Grammy Awards with mega-pouffy wings on either side of her face. We knew when we saw it that she could win our poll for the best style of the show - and Lavigne blew away the competition.

Our weeklong poll opened as the show in Las Vegas closed, and Lavigne quckly racked up 80% of the votes. "It's her month!" a Hair Fan wrote. Well, yes - "Avril" in French means "April". (But she did announce she's engaged during the week of our poll.) Brandi Carlisle's slicked-down short cut received 20%. If comments decided the order after that, H.E.R. would be third. But the reason was not good. "You really believe that's H.E.R. real hair?" someone asked. Well, yes - that issue has come up with her before. We gave her long curls the benefit of the doubt. But perhaps the biggest surprise was that Carrie Underwood sang late in the show, but didn't gain any votes at all. Is she falling off the style map, too?

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Who would have imagined the Academy Awards would end with a controversy involving hair? Not even the hairstyling category - but the joke Chris Rock tried at the expense of Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia condition. At this writing, Rock has won the public vote over Will Smith for what happened on Oscar night. But we were more concerned with whose hairstyle would win the night - and we're delighted to say there were more contenders than we've seen at any awards show in years.

So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the winner is a woman from an animated movie. And to make matters worse, we put the wrong name on her! That's not Maria Cecilia Botero - it's a Colombian reggaeton singer named Adassa. Her bubbling curls wound up with 38% of the votes, followed by Jennifer Garner and Marlee Matlin in a tie wth 25% each. Oscar and Crown Award winner Ariana DeBose received 13%. And in a surprise, longtime hair contender Penelope Cruz received no support at all.

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Laura Wright had a big accomplishment in 2021 - as the two-time Crown Award winner became only the second woman with an exclusive "daytime drama" background to be voted into the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. But someone else from General Hospital leapt ahead of her months later, in the 2021 Crown voting for Best Hairstyle in a Soap Opera or Telenovela. Perhaps it was due to a cut Wright made to her thick loose hair. She showed it off on Twitter as a shoulder-length bob. "Disappointingly," one comment said; "not the best move."

So is this change, well, Wright or wrong? Our voters disagreed with that comment, as 63% of them supported the cut in our one-week poll (5-3). The only comment during the vote was a bit puzzling to us: "If that's what she really looks like now, it looks like she had more than just a haircut." Do we have any Hair Fans who double as plastic surgeons?

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CBS kicked the Academy of Country Music Awards to the TV curb after the 2021 show. We think it's because CMT and its "Music Awards" are part of the CBS family of networks. The ACMs finally found a place on Amazon Prime - where, even with a commercial-free webcast from a domed stadium, it still didn't reveal all the winners. If great hairstyles appeared on stage, we didn't hear about them. But the celebrities off-stage included Scheana Shay of the restaurant reality series Vanderpump Rules - and she made news by showing off a shorter style. A style that normally is bust-length or longer had become a flexing shoulder-length bob.

Is Shay doing OK with her hair now this way? Our voters think so; 83% of them preferred the shorter style in our week of voting (5-1). No one spoke either way, but this was actually a second chop by Shay. She explained on Instagram that the first cut "wasn't short enough." We'll see if that's still the case when she becomes married later in 2022; we've noticed many brides like to walk down the aisle that way.

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She once appeared in a Netflix series called Everything Sucks! But Sydney Sweeney may be living proof to the contrary. She's a young actress gaining a good bit of attention, most recently on HBO in Euphoria. Sweeney came to fame as a blonde, but she's not insisting on keeping her hair that way. For the upcoming film National Anthem, she has what one website calls "honey red" hair. She told Teen Vogue during our week-long question that she hid it under hats and hoodies for a while, before making the (somewhat) big reveal.

Do you swoon over Sweeney more as a redhead? Our voters do; four out of five of them preferred the red shade in our poll. While no one left a comment, Sweeney revealed in that magazine interview during our week that red is closer to her real hair color. "I feel more Syd in this color," she said. Maybe, somehow, Hair Fans felt it as well?!

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Photos courtesy Scottish Sun.

Scotland may not be known as a sun-drenched place. But it has a TV series called A Place in the Sun, about hot properties. One of the hosts has been a "hot" former model named Danni Menzies. Yet in January, she announced she's leaving the program after six seasons. And as if to make the break official, Menzies posted a change of hairstyles on her Instagram account in February - going from relatively straight mid-length strands to well-rounded curls.

Has Menzies traded up by going wavy? Our voters say she has, by a 75% margin over one week (6-2). "Straight look is limp and flat," one voter wrote. Based on the photos we posted, we understand - but check her Instagram account, and you'll find Menzies feels so free with her curls that she's letting them drop across her face. They'll block the sun. Is that a good thing?

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Long-time Hair Fans may have wondered whatever happened to Brittany Jeffers. She emerged as a Miss America contestant and TV news anchor in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2010 with hair that was the perfect combinaton of thick well-placed beauty and tremendous hold. She deservedly reached #1 in the world in Top Ten Tresses. When Jeffers moved to Tulsa, it took a lot of Oklahoma wind to muss and finally defeat her style. After a few years in Dallas, Jeffers now is a reporter in the ultra-competitive hair city of Houston. But she's adapted to the challenge - and much to our surprise, she posted a Valentine's Day Twitter photo with her hair longer than we've ever seen it. It's bust-length, as opposed to her classic shoulder-length cut.

Is long hair more daring for Jeffers? Perhaps so, but our voters like it. A week-long poll ended with 63% of you supporting the change (5-3). No one left a comment, but we still marvel at the fullness that Jeffers has - with added curl only making the hair tougher to undo. She may be "off the radar" for a lot of people, but we still think Jeffers can compete on a championship level against the best styles at any time.

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If anyone qualified to be a model for the recent "curtain bangs" trend, we think it was Jennifer Aniston. After all, she's aurrounded her face with her famous mid-length hair for years. She once called her hair "my shield," and something she hid behind. For all of that, Aniston easily enterred your Hair Fans Hall of Fame. So when Aniston indicated she'd added bangs to her hairstyle in Instagrem photos in February, it was a big deal for style-watchers. One website gave it an exclamation point right away.

Did Aniston make the right move, away from her classic look? Our six-day poll found 71% support for the bangs (5-2) - but at least one skeptic. "When Jennifer had bangs on 'Friends,' they always looked fake. [We don't even remember them.] I need a clearer photo to tell for sure, but I'm saying thumbs down because of her history." As we post this, Aniston hasn't posted any follow-up photos to confirm the bangs are real. Considering the messy-hair pictures she's posting, they couldn't hurt.

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Right photo courtesy iSpot.

Apparently we focused on the wrong young woman during the years of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Amy Davidson had the stronger hair for us, and she made the Top Ten Tresses list as a result. But Kaley Cuoco (the blonde, wouldn't you know?) has become the bigger star - appearing for years on The Big Bang Theory, then The Flight Attendant, not to mention plenty of commercial endorsements. A Hair Fan on Twitter noticed one ad for Priceline, where bangs are added to her mid-length style. They might not be, you know, big bangs, but they're there.

Is Cuoco cooking better with bangs or not? A poll extended to nine days due to technical issues found 63% of Hair Fans prefer the bangs (5-3). One voter noted this isn't really a new idea for her: "She's always rocked bangs going back to season one of TBBT." We'll accept that view - but the ad speaks to one reason why we preferred Davidson over Cuoco. Cuoco's hair frequently looks limp and weak, even if they're plumped up for special occasions like awards shows. At least this look is less likely to drop in her face.

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Are top fashion models rivals? "Frien-emeies?" Working together for the same cause? The questions go at least as far back as the Cindy Crawford-Carol Alt era. But we couldn't help asking again when two modern-day "supermodels" took opposite actions. First Karlie Kloss turned her hair from blonde to brunette (see below). Days later, Gigi Hadid change her hair color from brunette to blonde! (Some reports indicated she actually was a redhead for several months in 2021 as well.) .

One website called Hadid's latest color "sunflower blonde" - and it was a bright idea for other voters. The blonde look won 71% support in our week-long poll (5-2). One voter was focused on something else about Hadid'd hair: "Waves are better." Probably atronger for her style, yes - but she still lets them drop in some photo shoots. That's why we're reluctant to call them "Super-models" nowadays.

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Karlie Kloss describes herself on Twitter as a "giraffe", standing six-foot-two. An attractive giraffe, though, as she's considered a leading fashion model - and a bright one intellectually as well, based on other projects she's performed. Kloss's hair was bright blonde for ten years, at the peak of her fame. But in mid-January, in her words, she switched "over to the dark side" - posing in Manhattan with brunette locks. Based on one YouTube video we found, she had that color in her early modeling years as well.

Katy Perry and Serena Williams praied Kloss's color change online. And to our surprise, so did our voters - ALL of them, in fact, preferring the brunette look in a one-week poll (5-0). No one left a comment, but we personally think the golden blonde makes Kloss stand out more. And notice how close Kloss put the brunette hair to her eyes. Based on her history, she's not a Super-Hair model to us.

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The series Glee made several young performers stars - and led to a couple winning Crown Awards. Lea Michele received three, including Champion Hairstyle of the Year in 2013. She did it with mid-length styles which were especially attractive on red csrpets (such as at left). But after a couple of short-lived TV series and a best-selling book, 2022 began with Michele ready to make a serious change. She showed a cut on Instagram that she called (before taking the title away) "the Rachel" - as in Jennifer Aniston's Friends character, we assume. "2022 ready," another post from Michele said.

Stylist Tommy Buckett, who cut Michele's mane, called her "brave" for making the change. But one of our voters called it "awful" - and 64 percent of Hair Fans said they prefer Michele longer (7-4). "Short hair is great," one said. But another wondered if she "thinned it out with that limp cut." Then there was the reminder of a controversy surrounding Michele's Glee years - whether she was "the Mayor of Extension City. Quote That!" In fact, a web search for Michele's name might lead you to the "long straight sexy bang layer" wig in her name, selling for more than $100. But shouldn't sell that, if that's what she was doing?

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Left photo courtesy IMDb.

Someone nominated actress Elena Kampouris for a 2021 Crown Award for Best Long Hair. But there was a big problem with that. Kampouris cut the long hair at some point, and had a bouncy curly bob for most of the year. It bounces so much when she sings along to pop songs in the car that it was hard for us to stop a Twitter video for a vidcap. Great for Hair Fans to watch - but is it really better for her?

Our voters are not as captivated about Kampouris's cut as we are. Two-thirds of them preferred the longer look in our one-week poll (6-3). "She looks great," wrote one supporter of the change. But one apparent slap called it a "flapper girl look.... softer and silkier when long." Another asked, "Her hair is so super-thick, why would she hack so much of it off?" Maybe because it fits better for Kampouris's role in the Netflix drama Jupiter's Legacy - a tight brunette wig reminding us of Cindy Williams in Laverne and Shirley.

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Some of the best hairstyles in journalism in recent decades have been on duty at the White House in Washington. Ann Compton's perfect short cut set the standard for years with ABC News. NBC News then brought out several outstanding examples: Lisa Myers, Norah O'Donnell and Kelly O'Donnell. While some might debate whether the hair of Kristen Welker is on their level, she deals with changing conditions regularly outside the White House. Welker's style has changed at times as well: the transition from 2021 to 2022 found her anchoring NBC Nightly News with hair as long as we've seen on her, a couple of inches below the shoulders with nice added curl.

Would Welker do well to stay with this look? Our voters think so: three-fourths of them chose the longer style in our one-week poll (6-2). No one left a comment, but that support actually was down a bit from when we last asked about her in July 2019. Maybe Welker should spray down this style and lock it in before things erode any more.

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