Cutting-Edge Hair News - 2004

Courtesy Disney Channel

Her life always seems to be on the edge, and her hair seems the same way. "Kim Possible" of the Disney Channel has a sidepart so thick that it often bounces all around her left eye - but only occasionally bounces into it. That impressed Hair Fans, who declare her the young woman with the best hair in animated cartoons.

We decided to have some year-end fun, and put top styles in "Toon Town" together. An 11-day fight turned into a runaway, as "K.P." outsmarted her three opponents to win a 60-percent majority. The long locks of "Teen Titan" Starfire (a character we admit was new to us) came in second, with 30 percent. The tightly-trimmed Buttercup of "Powerpuff Girls" settled for five percent, as did Daphne of "Scooby-Doo fame."

No one chose (or maybe dared) to leave comments on this one, but we have to scratch our head at this. Maybe Kim won because of her family background -- with two genius parents, she could outsmart everybody else. But this hair falls, while the others never seem capable. We'd lean toward Daphne, with a loose-looking headband that always kept her soft waves out of her face somehow. (Did the voters prefer Velma, for some reason?)

Thanks to all of you who take part in our polls! And we welcome any news tips you have on changing or controversial celebrity styles. Contact us at .


They call her "Tai" on ABC's Good Morning America, but there was no tie at all when reporter Taina Hernandez was put in one of those "only in the world of Super-Hair" contests. With Scott Peterson convicted and heading for death row in northern California for murder, we asked which reporter in the media "trial of the year" had the best style -- and at first glance, it appeared the verdict was never in doubt.

Our one-week poll ended with 80-percent showing for the ABC reporter. But then we discovered a coding error in the poll -- so if you voted for MSNBC's Jennifer London, it may have been recorded as a Hernandez vote. We apologize for the mix-up. But let's say as a tag-team, they overwhelmed the 20 percent of Gloria Gomez of Sacramento station KOVR and Court TV's Beth Karas (12-3). Maybe we'll settle that duel in a Super-Hair Wars down the road. (And where were the supporters of "other woman" Amber Frey?)

This poll shows Hair Fans knew what they were doing, by calling for a Hair Watch on Hernandez's style. Now she's moved on to the Robert Blake trial - and with Michael Jackson yet to come, she may be crowned ABC's official Celebrity Criminal Correspondent.


In a single fall weekend, you could have seen the shifting styles of actress Rosario Dawson in action. She appeared on prime-time TV in one of the Men In Black movies with a well-cut solid short style. And Dawson also was at the movies, displaying a longer look in Alexander. But which approach is, well, Greater for her?

Hair Fans were divided for awhile, but a 71-percent majority in our two-week poll (extended due to computer problems) wound up endorsing Dawson's new style (25-10). While no one left comments about it, we must point out the shorter look is Super-Hair while the longer look is not. Dawson's 'do fell with ease during an appearance on David Letterman's Late Show.

(By the way, for the voter who left a comment about Jennifer Aniston's children - what tabloid have you been reading, anyway?)


Call this a case of mixed emotions. Melissa McDermott made her CBS News prime-time debut November 10, with a bulletin announcing the death of Yasser Arafat. But that appearance led to a firing at CBS News, because it interrupted the last few minutes of CSI: New York.. Personally, we say the more great styles, the merrier. But is more of a McDermott mane better for her?

The anchor of Up to the Minute displayed what seemed to be a growing-out shoulder-length look. Our one-week poll found 57 percent of you disagree with this change (12-9) -- but no one commented either way. Perhaps she's trying to distinguish herself from that other "Mc" in the early morning -- four-time Crown Award winner Susan McGinnis.


For all the jokes people make about Jessica Simpson, have you ever heard one criticizing the quality of her hair? We haven't, and for good reason. She can make it look fabulous -- and make it strong enough to last in challenging situations. That's what Simpson did at the 2004 American Music Awards, which helped make her the Hair Fans' choice as best style of the show.

The long curls with a hint of looseness around the face shook a bit, but stayed solid through her song. Impressed voters gave her a 58-percent runaway majority among our nominees. Ashanti showed herself well with a shorter style, tying for second with 16 percent. (And did you see that hair on Good Morning America a few days later? It had great bounce.) C.M.A. champion Gretchen Wilson also had 16 percent, while presenter Nicolette Sheridan gained five percent (from Terrell Owens, maybe?!). And our personal favorite had no support at all - Gwen Stefani, with a style which bounced like crazy on stage without a muss.


With some awards shows, it's a struggle to find enough styles to qualify for our "best hair" contest. With the 2004 Country Music Association Awards, it was just the opposite - as we had a true challenge of cutting the field to only five. So many great cuts were on stage in Nashville, even our voters were challenged to determine which one was best.

We posted five candidates just before the end of the show -- and five days later, all of them were only two votes apart! Newcomer Gretchen Wilson scored the last vote, to win with 26 percent. She edged Julie Roberts's 21 percent. Alison Krauss, guest presenter from CSI: Miami Emily Proctor and Shania Twain tied with 16 percent each. And one person left a comment rejoicing that Faith Hill has long hair again. (It was pinned, though, so she didn't make our ballot.)



Hair Fans who saw the movie King Arthur might have wanted to jump through the screen and into the action when they saw Keira Knightley. Her hair was medium-long and loose - and she was ready to fight all comers to keep it. But in recent months, the British actress has surprised some people by going to a short style reminiscent of Twiggy in the 1960's.

Voters in our one-week poll weren't sure about this one. We wound up with 53 percent preferring Knightley's shorter look, and 47 percent liking things longer (31-27). "Was she by any chance drunk and passed out to receive a cut that is so nasty," one critic asked. (We haven't checked any British tabloids to be sure.) But another voter was "so glad that she had a cut - the long hair was so cr*p...."

(We personally lean on the short side here, because we've seen Knightley's long hair in her eyes. This short look is quite "peek-a-boo" and certainly has the potential to fall - but we'd want to watch closely to be sure.)


They had some run-ins with the law during college. They may have skipped commencement. One of them got her states wrong in the last-minute campaign rush. But through it all, 22-year-old twins Jenna and Barbara Bush had Hair Fans in their corner. They won our "Election 2004" showdown for the Republicans!

Thanks to the early voting phenomenon, we let you vote for nine days on the daughters of the U.S. presidential contenders. The Bushes dominated, winning a 78-percent majority (25-7). We won't challenge the results in court -- but we'll only mention all the women in the Bush family have defeated styles, save for grandma/former first lady Barbara.


When your hair is as short as Cindy Brunson's was in the last couple of years, there's nowhere to go but longer. We liked her well-cut short style with enticing bangs at ESPN News - so we were surprised to see her growing out the look to neck-length in October.

This new style certainly puts her Super-Hair status in jeopardy (she's still unbeaten to our knowledge) -- but do you like this change? Hair Fans certainly do, giving it 78-percent support in our one-week poll (38-11). "Definitely longer is better than that de-facto bowl cut," one backer wrote. Another voter liked the length but said, "she needs to lose the glasses!" (Now hold on here. The glasses can help keep long bangs off the eyes -- and isn't this a bit of the Tina Fey look?)


Right photo courtesy Marie Claire

When last we checked on Jessica Simpson, it was the middle of 2003. The singer-turned-actress was experimenting with a brunette color, and most Hair Fans were against it. Now the issue is different - long vs. short. Simpson has displayed soft styles stopping around the shoulders in recent months. But the November Marie Claire magazine showing a slicked-back look only reaching the neck made us wonder what you think of it.

Our one-week poll found Hair Fans still want that old long-haired look - as 59 percent preferred it (22-15). But one voter seemed to go back to the earlier question, and asked us to pass along this advice to Simpson: "She's a natural beautiful woman without the bleached out look. Grow it waist length; go long and blondish brown." The voter explained a brown color with blonde highlights will grow longer faster, and the roots won't be a problem. We hope Simpson sees this advice - but after what we've seen on Newlyweds, does she really know how the Internet works?


Come to think of it, maybe Katie Couric doesn't have the most interesting hairstyle on The Today Show -- at least not anymore. Amid all the talk about Couric's bangs or lack thereof, newscaster Ann Curry quietly has grown out a short tight style to a wavy look that's below shoulder-length. Hair Fans like what they see, because Curry's change brought strong support in a two-week survey.

The long look was supported by 72 percent of you (39-15) - and brought such comments as, "I'd like to see her go longer yet, hope!!!!" Another reported hearing about a lot of other women taking this approach with their hair, and liked it. But one voter spoke for Curry to show some moderation: "She needs to go the medium distance between the two" - perhaps stopping above the shoulders?! We can see how that might be easier to control.


Imagine for a moment who could have been contenders for Best Hair at the 2004 Emmy Awards. Mischa Barton chose to pin up her great long locks. Kristin Davis didn't win an award. Marlo Thomas's style looked good, but we had to make a tough decision to leave some women out. Yet when a week of voting was finished, the hair prize for this year went to Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City!

The contest was quite competitive, as Parker prevailed with only 28 percent of the vote. But one critical voter compared "S.J.P." and her sizzled curls to a "man in drag." Another Parker, Mary Louise (who won our poll back in January for Best Hair at the Golden Globe Awards) was close behind with 24 percent. Portia di Rossi also received 24 percent for a lovely long sidepart with bits of curl, which she kept gently pushing back into place like it had hidden Velcro instead of spray.

After those three came a strong write-in campaign for Mariska Hargitay, gaining 12 percent support. (With that swept-back, pinned-up look which looked like it was frozen in a wind tunnel? OK, if you say so....) Sharon Stone's popular short cut fell flat in this race, winning only eight percent backing. Kathryn Morris of Cold Case was the biggest disappointment. For once she had no pin in her hair, but her bubbly curls thrilled only four percent of you.


She was "Legally Blonde" successfully on film -- not once, but twice. So what possibly could make Reese Witherspoon turn into a deep brunette? The answer is another film. Witherspoon explained to Jay Leno recently she changed colors for an upcoming movie about the life of singer Johnny Cash.

Witherspoon says she likes what some have called "the dark side" -- but do Hair Fans like it? No clear majority emerged in our nine-day poll. While 48 percent of voters want her to stay blonde, we were surprised to find a strong 44 percent like the switch to brunette. Eight percent of you went for our third option, a "redhead Reese." (24-22-4) Personally, we can't picture this - and we're still struggling to get used to a non-blonde look.


Big and wavy, long and tempting, incredibly close to collapse yet sticking in position. All this describes the hair of Daisy Fuentes at several events this year -- including the 2004 Latin Grammy Awards September 1. It was the runaway choice of Hair Fans for best hair of this show.

Our nine-day survey ended with Fuentes winning 54 percent of the votes. Tracie Ferguson of the Black-Eyed Peas was second with 15 percent (as if they perform in Spanish?!). Native Cuban singer Albita had eight percent - joined in a tie in the final days by Constance Marie and Daniela Mercury, perhaps due to sympathy votes. There also was one vote for "other," but no name was left. We missed the first part of the show with Jessica Simpson, but we can't presume anything.

The only comment left with this poll mentioned not the stars or styles, but our web site's color scheme. Once Paige Davis is finished with Super-Hair Wars, we may give her a call..


Her teammate Misty May seems to have a thicker head of hair, but it collapsed on a modeling runway. By comparison, U.S. beach volleyball champion Kerri Walsh's hair is longer - but it's also wispier, even when tied back on the sand. Yet Hair Fans seem to be satisfied, as Walsh was the top choice for best hair at the 2004 Olympics.

We offered five candidates which caught our eye in the first half of the games, and Walsh led them all with 35 percent of the vote. Diver Laura Wlkinson (whose curls almost won her a 2000 Crown Award) settled for second with 26 percent. The non-American athletes followed, as Zimbabwe swimmer Kirsty Coventry had 17 percent. Chinese gymnast Ziang Nan impressed the short-hair fans (unpinned during exercises), also gaining 17 percent. Top Ten Tresses member Ana Gabriela Guevara stumbled here, with only four percent.

One risk we took posting the 11-day poll halfway through the games was that some great cuts came later, before we could see them. One voter called for Belarus's Yuliya Nesterenko, who won the 100-meter dash. (Super-Hair and the world's fastest woman -- wow!) We also might have added U.S. sprinter DeeDee Trotter, who dared to run 400 meters with medium-long hair and seemingly no pins at all. And how did we forget softball's Jennie Finch and soccer's Julie Foudy?


Right photo courtesy Netscape

"What gives?" asked a voter about our survey on a style change by actress Lucy Liu. "With the bangs her face looks fat. Without, it looks way too thin in these photos.... is the camera playing tricks?"

We think it's a matter of photography, more than Liu "putting on a few." The old look, from a premiere with her Charlie's Angels co-stars, is almost face-forward. The new look is closer, shot more at an angle - and she has a wider smile. This voter suggested Liu would be best with a "thin face" from the left, and the bangs from the right.

With that side issue addressed, what about those bangs? Hair Fans were quite split on this one - with 51 percent supporting the change in our week-long poll, while 49 percent are opposed (22-21). One supporter of the change speaks for us about it: "I liked it before, but I think this is sexier." Absolutely - as the overall level of hold for the hair seems to be increased with bangs added. Now let's see her fight Demi Moore in a movie.


Before we get to your questions about our Top Ten Tresses list, we'd like to ask one of our own. Where in the Internet world is the Kelly Tilghman fan club? As much support as the Golf Channel host receives here, we can't find even one group in her honor. Maybe it's because golf enthusiasts seem to be polarized about her - either you enjoy her with a passion, or are so irritated that you wish she'd go back into obscurity on the Asian tour.

Tilghman again topped our annual opportunity for you to rank the Top Ten styles - and unlike 2003, there was no tie with anyone. She gained a strong 55-percent majority over one week, helped by one loyal fan who revealed how close he's been to this head of Super-Hair: "Kelly has the softest hair I've ever ran my hands through. Period."

Judy Fortin fell far back, into a tie for second place with fast-rising Stanford University gymnastics coach Kristen Smyth. "Don't know what it is about her hair," one voter said, "but I like it." EuroCup champion Mireille Mathieu proved she has a following, coming in fourth. And newcomer Ana Gabriela Guevara raced in from Mexico to be #5.

The news is not good for the other five members of "The Ten." They received no votes at all, making them vulnerable to being dropped in coming weeks. And that brings us to the question one voter asked: "What is Super-Hair's fascination with Carolyn Peck?" [left] If her #2 position on our Ultimate 50 doesn't explain it, we'll say this: when it comes to natural and soft-looking, yet strong-holding and downright tough hair, we say Peck has the best African-American style of them all. If you've seen better, please let us know -- we're always open to suggestions.


What can two to three inches do to a hairstyle? In the case of Seattle TV news reporter Amy Clancy, a little extra can make a big difference. In the last year, she's turned a face-framing neck-length style into a shoulder-length look with a flip at the ends. And if our week-long poll on the change is any indication, Clancy's probably won a lot of new fans in the process.

A Hair Fan in the U.S. Northwest alerted us to this change, suggesting it qualifies Clancy to be re-entered in our Seattle City League Challenge Round. (She finished fourth in the 2003 contest.) Our voters overwhelmingly agreed, with a 94-percent majority for the new look (30-2). One explained Clancy looks younger with the extra inches. Call us out of step, but we're in the minority opinion on this one. Clancy's old style looks to us more natural, less forced - and we'd guess easier to care for and keep in place.


How much would you pay for a head of Super-Hair? Well, let's clarify that - not to put a bounty on the destruction of a Super-style, but to have one of your own? We never really thought about that question, until the July 18-24 TV Guide came out with Katie Couric on the cover. It claims she pays New York stylist Louis Licari's salon around $600 for "a haircut and color treatment."

We realize New York prices tend to be higher than the rest of the U.S., but is this a fair price for this style? For the first time, we asked Hair Fans what a great cut (especially this one) was worth. A noteworthy 21 percent of you say it's worth every penny of that $600. But most of you gave Couric the Price is Right buzzer for overbidding - as 33 percent of you would pay $60, and 25 percent $36. And then there was the 21 percent who think Couric's cut is only worth $6 - which we think is below the going rate for MasterCuts at the mall. (5-8-6-5)

"She looks so much better with long hair and highlights," one voter commented. "I wonder if she will grow it even longer or keep the present length. It is nice to see women in her position growing out their hair. ( along with Ann Curry)" We personally take issue with Curry's decision to go longer, but that's another poll for another time. As for whether $600 actually gives Couric Super-Hair, we invite you to check our Hair Watch section - because we're watching this cut closely.


Left photo courtesy InStyle

Talk about "getting whacked!" When the nominations for the prime-time Emmy Awards were announced 15 Jul, actress Edie Falco of The Sopranos showed up seemingly prepared to star in The Sharon Stone Story. A soft yet enduring mid-length style suddenly was head-tight and ultra-short. Jann Carl of Entertainment Tonight complimented Falco on the change -- but our one-week poll found most Hair Fans saying, "fuhgeddaboutit."

A 58-percent majority prefer the longer look (15-11). "Who put the Nair in her conditioner?" one voter asked derisively; "did she lose a bet?" Another found a strange lesson in Falco's change: "You shouldn't put your head in a blender to cut your hair." (This sounds incredibly logical to us.) Yet for summertime in the U.S., as Falco herself pointed out, it's a very easy cut to care for.


Courtesy TV

We put MSNBC west-coast reporter Jennifer London on our Hot List late in 2003 because her hair was truly different for her field - medium-long throughout, and very high-risk in terms of control. Her ability to keep a sideparted style in place remains outstanding. But in recent months, she helped her own cause by trimming the long hair on her right side back to bangs.

The adjustment was a safe move -- but was it the right move for her? Once again our one-week poll found voters divided: 52 percent of you like the bangs (12-11), while 48 percent want the "old London" back. (We personally prefer the older look, because it offers more drama and suspense for viewers -- especially on windy days, when there's pressure on hair around the ears.) But one Hair Fan voter noted quite well: "Jennifer London looks good with both bangs and no bangs." Why that voter went on to add a comment about Hilary Duff, we aren't quite sure; we don't think the women look alike at all.


Right photo courtesy Marie Claire

Time flies when you're watching Super-Hair. It's hard to believe more than three years have passed since Ashley Judd won our first Crown Award for Best Hairstyle in a Movie. She's appeared in other movies since then, not to mention Broadway - and in the last year or so has grown out her hair from the award-winning tight cap to a more free-flowing and wavy neck-length style.

Which look is better for Judd? Our week-long poll (which without our even thinking about it was probably filled with Judd's fellow Kentucky fans, following our City League in Lexington) revealed Hair Fans are quite divided. There are 52 percent for the longer style, and 48 percent for the shorter (32-29). But the comments by voters were unanimous for Judd to keep the hair growing out. "She looks like 100% better with longer hair! I love that do!" one wrote. Another said: "I don't care for those close cut styles. Women should take pride in having long pretty hair...."

(We personally prefer the longer style - and we imagine she'd need almost the same amount of hairspray to keep it in line, compared with the tighter 'do. Either way, some of us dream of having husband Dario Franchitti take her for a hot lap in a race car without a helmet.)


Left photo courtesy Teen People

Should there be a Super-Hair scouting system, to look for future great cuts? Some Hair Fans may have marked down "one to watch" when they saw young Lindsay Lohan years ago in The Parent Trap. Both then and now, her hair had great thickness and fullness - yet with a substantial amount of control.

After the movie Freaky Friday came out in 2003, Lohan displayed bangs with her long locks - but for her current film Mean Girls they were grown out. We asked you which look was better for her, and our one-week poll found 68 percent against the bangs (15-7). One voter claimed the bangs make Lohan "look like Goldie Hawn." It took awhile, but we think we see that a little - only Hawn's never had hair quite that long.

(We must point out, though, that without the bangs Lohan does not have Super-Hair. It's still fabulous and great - but on the Saturday Night Live episode where we snapped the vid-cap at right, not even round-brushing and spray on the sides could keep the long hair from floating into an eye on occasion.)


When the "girl group" Wilson Phillips sang "Hold On" in the early 1990's, some Hair Fans didn't think about how it related to the singers' rough relationships with their rock-star parents. The Hair Fans applied it to their fresh, great styles. Wendy's long hair tended to fall a lot, so she was discounted. But Carnie had solid bangs across her forehead, which held in line well. And Chynna Phillips had a short style which wonderfully mixed movement with precision -- bangs which could float across the forehead when she turned or dealt with wind, yet was tight enough on the side to only hint at approaching the eyes.

It's good to see this group make a comeback with the album California, and interesting to see how the ladies' looks have changed. All prefer long styles now -- and none more so than Chynna, who has a wavy sidepart that's sizzled back on the left side and locked in place with spray. So which cut is better? Our ten-day poll found the longer approach prevailing with two-thirds support (18-9). But as one voter put it well: "she's a babe either way."

In fact, Phillips revealed on PrimeTime Thursday she's expecting a baby. But that program revealed the longer style is not Super-Hair -- because she let quick turns throw it in her face on-stage during concerts.


At the 2003 Miss Universe pageant, Miss U.S.A. Susie Castillo toyed with both straight and curled styles - then went for her natural curls on pageant night, and didn't make the top ten. In 2004, Miss Australia Jennifer Hawkins faced the same decision. She showed a straight look in preliminaries, then went for waves on the final night - only in her case, she won it all.

Hair Fans voted the wavy approach the best style of the pageant (see below), but we wondered if the straighter style above would change any opinions about her. A bit to our surprise, it did not. A strong 85-percent majority in our nine-day poll said Hawkins looks better with some added curls. (17-3) The only comment we received was a strange message: "The United." Is this the pageant's official airline?

(We agree with the voters here. Check our Hair Watch, and you'll find Hawkins needs those waves to keep her long hair from flopping around a bit.)


Give the judges at the Miss Universe pageant some credit - they tend to choose women with top-notch hairstyles. On our web site, Denise Quiñones and Amelia Vega have impressed us enough to achieve Top Ten status. And you were impressed enough by Miss Australia to make Jennifer Hawkins not only Miss Universe 2004, but your pick for best hair of the pageant!

We posted five of the top 15 contenders for the crown during pageant night - and perhaps buoyed by her winning the title, Hawkins surged to a 52 percent lead over nine days. Norway's Kathrine Soerland was second at 22 percent. Jamaica's Christine Straw and Swiss beauty Bianca Sissing finished tied with nine percent. And as for the nine percent of you who voted for "Other" - why didn't you leave a comment as we asked, and name your favorite?

(Hawkins certainly is gaining a following among Hair Fans -- as she was selected to be the focus of a Hair Watch. Check there to see if she's Top Ten material.)


The TV drama 24 shows events in "real time," with one season depicting a one-day time period. But the time between seasons can be months or years - and that explains why co-star Elisha Cuthbert has displayed a number of different hairstyles in three seasons.

Cuthbert's cut was medium-long in year one, but trimmed to a blunt-cut bob in year three. Which style is better for her? Our nine-day poll found you're in a retro mood, with 70 percent preferring a longer look (19-8). No one left comments either way -- but it seems she doesn't mind letting hair get in her eyes either way.


Courtesy Entertainment Weekly,

Is it really American Idol, or a musical version of America's Next Top Model? The third season of the show has seen Jennifer Hudson straighten her hair, Jasmine Trias remove her Hawaiian flower pin (see below) - and then Diana DeGarmo received what felt to her at first like a "mullet" cut. The shoulder-length waves changed to flat-iron straight, with bangs and even occasional flared tips.

Do the stylists on this show know what they're doing? Hair Fans voted again -- and it would seem this time they might. Our one-week poll on DeGarmo's 'dos found 70 percent prefer a longer style (14-6). But here's where it gets a bit confusing. When we posted this poll, we considered the new straighter look "shorter" and that's the option we gave you. (DeGarmo called it a "mullet," after all.) But further review shows the new style actually could be considered longer hair. So our apologies if we confused you - perhaps we should have asked about "old look/new look" instead.

(We never vote in the polls we post -- but we'd have to prefer the waves, for the control they give. Watch even short clips of the show, and you'll see the straight style gets in DeGarmo's face all the time. Does Jasmine have any pins to spare -- maybe with Georgia dogwood blossoms?)


Its title had seven letters, like Friends. It lasted one season longer - and even started with a F. Yet Frasier did not sign off from prime-time TV with the flourish and flair of that other NBC comedy. Maybe that's because it was set in Seattle, not York - or maybe because the women in the cast didn't cause a hair sensation, as Jennifer Aniston did.

To be even-handed, though, we asked Hair Fans who had the best hair on Frasier over the years. Are we ever thankful to report there was no write-in campaign for Kelsey Grammer. The majority of the rather sparse voting in our week-long poll went for Peri Gilpin, the call screener who was a 2003 Crown Award nominee. She beat Brit Jane Leeves by a 69-percent margin (11-5) -- and one voter praised Gilpin as "very pretty and very underappreciated. She always has great hair, too!" She was pretty enough to earn not an F grade from another voter, but an H: "Peri is a hottie!"


It's not unusual for a women's magazine to have a "Hair Issue" once or twice a year. But did TV Guide ever have one before Jennifer Aniston began appearing on Friends? And the cover featuring her in the mid-1990's wasn't simply a hair issue - it was "The BIG Hair Issue!"

Aniston made "The Rachel" look as well-copied in its generation as Dorothy Hamill's wedge was two decades before. In fact, when Entertainment Tonight did a rather absurd tribute to the opening sequence of Friends in 2003, Maria Menounos with her great hair declared, "I'd have to be Rachel!" But did Hair Fans really consider her the most stylish member of the cast on that show? During the week of the final episode we asked you -- and sure enough, Aniston (bottom right in our photo) prevailed.

A 66-percent majority said Rachel's hair was the best of the Friends. Courteney Cox (at top) took second place at 24-percent, as well as the only comment of support: "Monica had the best cut." Lisa Kudrow was a poor third with seven percent. (Perhaps that was because Kudrow came out of blonde hiding on The Oprah Winfrey Show after the final episode, and showed herself as a brunette.) We offered a fourth option for "someone else" - maybe love interest Aisha Tyler?! - and while three percent selected that choice, no one named any names. (19-7-2-1)


If you've read our definition of Super-Hair, you know hairpins are not allowed. But if you're going to wear a pin, it helps to have one that's attractive. Several stars such as Uma Thurman and Charlize Theron have worn flowers on an ear at award shows recently. And for American Idol contestant Jasmine Trias, the flower was a reminder of her home state of Hawaii.

"I'm glad you got rid of that silly hairpin," judge Simon Cowell told Trias when she finally performed without a flower April 20. Of course, voters decide which singers advance based on their vocal talent (at least we thought they did) - so it left open the question of whether Trias should be a "flower child." We were a bit surprised to find Hair Fans want the flowery look back. In fact, 68 percent of them do (15-7).

No one left comments on this unusual question, but let's settle one issue about that pin. Jasmine obviously needs it to keep her hair out her right eye. Without the flower, the style plops down. Our right photo from April 21 hints at it; her performance April 27 left no doubt about it. But come to think of it, is that partly why some Hair Fans voted the way they did - because THEY want to reach for the flower, and undo it? Hmmmmm....


One unexpected joy we've had with our web site is the opportunity to introduce future stars with great styles. Take Carolyn Hughes, the morning and noon newscaster in El Paso. She took Super-Hair Wars by storm in 2001 (reaching the final round) and spent several months in our Top Ten Tresses list. Since then, Hughes has experimented with a bob (which she revealed in a 2002 Super-Hair Q&A interview) - and these days at Fox Sports Southern California, she seems to be hinting at longer hair below the shoulders.

Is this a good move for Hughes? Most Hair Fans think so, as a one-week survey resulted in a strong 77-percent majority (20-6). But one voter cautioned, "she needs to be careful not to feather it to a retro 70's look." Considering Hughes first was suggested to us by the Feathered Back site, that statement could be open to debate.

In fact, Hughes may need those feathered edges to keep her hair unbeaten. We've noticed a couple of video clips at the Fox Sports web site where her style almost caves in with a breeze blowing. The good news is that many more Hair Fans can follow Hughes's progress now - thanks to a new national cable show she hosts on Sunday nights.


You have to get up pretty early in the morning to see some of the best heads of Super-Hair on television. Unless you rise with the roosters to watch the CBS Morning News, you might never see the Crown Award-winning style of Susan McGinnis. She's not only a three-time winner for "Best Bangs," she claimed the top-level "Best Short Hair" title in 2001.

But that hair may not be short for, well, long. McGinnis confirmed to us in early April that she's growing out the short look that made her famous. We don't know how long she's going (and at this point, she may not know herself) - but Hair Fans are cheering her on. Our week-long poll found strong 83-percent support for a longer style. (19-4)

"I can see the difference in length and it looks good on her...." one supporter wrote. "I think that her hair would look real nice at the bra strap length." A late voter liked that, and suggested "some light teasing for fullness on the bangs/crown would add to it as well." "But long or short nobody has better bangs!!!" commented another - adding: "maybe another interview is in order." We're glad you asked; check Super-Hair Q&A for April.

(We have only one misgiving about this change - the precision we've come to admire in McGinnis's short styles will be very much at stake here. Will she be able to keep longer hair out of her face, even with those Super-Bangs?)


On Monday, March 29 stock prices in New York closed modestly higher - but the big news for Hair Fans came as the closing bell rang. While the markets were in session, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo (we loathe the nickname "Money Honey") went to a New York-area stylist and made a major change. The sideswept look of the morning, which viewers had come to know for years, became a center-parted bang-filled style in the afternoon.

Bartiromo told the New York Daily News (which we thank for the right photo) she asked stylist Serge Normant for "something a little different." She reports early e-mails seemed to support what she calls a "pretty radical" new look for her. But voters in our one-week survey decided she would have been better off investing the cost of the cut in fly-by-night Internet stocks. A 65-percent majority want the old style back. (17-9)

"I think she just got lazy," one disappointed Hair Fan wrote. "Her new style is flat, limp and unprofessional." Another moaned the new look "looks unwashed and unkempt." (Now hold on -- wouldn't the stylist have washed her hair, while making a change like this?)

While we welcome those opinions, we personally side with the minority here. Bartiromo's old style plopped in her eyes often. The new look is quite unlikely to do that -- but we do suggest she blow-dry it for a fuller-looking, less Norah Jones-ish presentation.


Courtesy Teen People

Some actresses change their hair between the completion of a movie project and its premiere. Others change their look for a specific film. We believe that's what Julia Stiles did -- cutting the medium-long style from the Save the Last Dance years for a shorter old-time 'do shown in Mona Lisa Smile.

Which style of Stiles makes Hair Fans smile? Our week-long poll finds voters divided -- with 54 percent leaning toward the longer look. (30-26) The comments, though, were all against the shorter look.

"Did she give herself a hair cut?" one wondered. "What's her excuse?!" asked another. "She was too lazy to go to the neighborhood SuperCuts? She decided to whip the old, reliable Flow Bee for this change in style?" (Wow! We haven't heard the Flow Bee mentioned in a long time.) We personally lean shorter -- because it sits much closer to Stiles's eyes, so more care is required to keep it in precise position.


So she stepped away from cheerleading this academic term. So she was ineligible to defend her surprising 2002 Crown Award win as Best Hairstyle in Athletics. Hair Fans still think quite a bit of Virginia Tech junior Allison "Sherry" Curran. They placed her above seven other college contenders, in our first version of "March madness."

We took the eight women posted in our Best Manes on Campus section and asked you who had the best style. The voters were tough, with only a few of the "Elite Eight" gaining support at all. Curran wound up receiving a 54-percent majority in our week-long poll. Arkansas's Kristen Patton is the runner-up with 38 percent, followed by Kentucky's Emily Gimmel with eight percent.

(Of course, we have to ask which Curran cut voters chose -- the curly magazine-cover style which beat Anna Kournikova, or the normal straight look we show above? That may have to be another Edge poll in itself. Learn more about both of them from our 2003 interviews with Curran and a stylist.)


One of the most pleasant surprises from our recent 2003 Crown Awards was the strong support for British actress Marsha Thomason. You may have known her from movies such as The Haunted Mansion, but she seemed overshadowed even on the cast of the TV series Las Vegas by women such as Vanessa Marcil and Molly Sims.

When the series premiered in the fall of 2003, Thomason had shoulder-length curls which were pulled away from the face and securely in place. But then we noticed a Las Vegas message board debating a change in her style - and sure enough, at mid-season she suddenly went to a long and almost-straight look with bangs. The longer look is what she normally displays, but our week-long poll surprisingly found most Hair Fans opposed to it. A 63-percent majority prefer Thomason bring the shorter curls back. (12-7)

"No 'Fro!" protested the only voter to leave a comment. He complained the shorter look was too retro-1970's. But truth be told, we haven't seen the curls collapse on Thomason -- and they appear loose enough that a strong wind could challenge them. We believe the longer look has slipped into an eye in one episode, amidst the hustle and bustle of a casino.


Left photo courtesy Natalie

Her name is Natalie Portman - but these days she could answer to "bob." She adopted that short cut for the February cover of Vogue magazine, replacing a longer style which gained fame in a Star Wars movie.

The old look fell in her eyes. With the new look, that doesn't seem possible. But Hair Fans aren't impressed by that. In our week-long poll, Portman's longer locks were preferred by 65 percent of you. (24-13) "Is she trying out for Catherine Zeta-Jones role in a stage version of Chicago?" one voter wondered. (No, we don't know if she is.) "Grow the hair back out, Natalie!"


"Blonde is back!" exclaimed Steven "I'm not a hairdresser" Cojocaru on Entertainment Tonight, in the days after the 76th Academy Awards. Indeed, several stars at the event had a lighter shade. And one of them won our online contest, to find the best hair at the 2004 Oscars.

Sandra Bullock's long light waves finished first in our weeklong poll, getting 44 percent of Hair Fan votes. Julia Roberts, who seemed to add blonde highlights as well, was second with 22 percent. Catherine Zeta-Jones did not change from basic brunette, and that was fine with the 14 percent who chose her. The top real blonde in the field, Best Actress Charlize Theron, had to settle for fourth with 10 percent. Then came writing winner Sofia Coppola with eight percent and Scarlett Johannsen with two percent.

Since no one offered comments about their votes, we'll offer some thoughts you might want to discuss on our message board. There's another trend "Cojo" did not mention, but others did - all the great-looking waves on display that night. We especially liked Coppola, who improved on her sidepart from the Golden Globes by adding curl. (The curl built to go around her left eye was quite romantic and tempting.) And do all the big-name stars with blonde tints give legitimacy to what Natalie Allen did on MSNBC awhile back?


It's comforting to know we get some choices on this web site right. Of the four females who starred in the series Sex and the City, only one of them made our Top Ten Tresses list. Our "Ms. Big" was Kristin Davis, who was on the list for about half-a-year in 2002. She tops the list among Hair Fans, who chose among the actresses in an end-of-series poll.

We started the survey on the Sunday of HBO's final first-run episode. It ended a week later with Davis taking 41 percent of the votes. We were a bit surprised to find Kim Cattrall in a tight race for second with the show's #1 star, 2000 Super-Hair Wars undefeated champion Sarah Jessica Parker. Parker edged Cattrall by 25 to 23 percent. Cynthia Nixon settled for only 11 percent.

Our camera snap from a "farewell" appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show is a great example of what Hair Fans love about Davis's style. There's an enticing, yet probably very strong wave -- and the sidepart is close enough to the left eye that a wrong move could be dangerous. In this hour, the hair flexed fabulously without caving in. Yet if you love this look, you might not want to see what's just below....

It took a photo shoot in Hawaii for In Style magazine to do what years among New York "metrosexuals" could not. A quick turn of the head throws the sidepart across her left eye like no other situation we've seen. The few other pictures we've seen of Davis with hair in an eye has it barely scraping the left eye. It's obvious to us she cares about style control - well, 99 percent of the time.


We "Don't Know Why" she made the change. She probably wouldn't tell us why, anyway. She'd consider it silly - much like the TV commercial promoting her new album. But we were all over (or wished to be) singer Norah Jones and her touch-tempting long hair when her first album came out in 2002, so a new look for her new album "Feels Like Home" simply begged for our attention.

We first discovered the added bangs across the forehead when she presented a couple of Grammy Awards, and a promotional photo from Blue Note Records confirmed the change. But our one-week poll found Hair Fans quite split about it: 52 percent say her hair looks better without bangs, while 48 percent prefer them. (12-11)

No one left comments this time, but we lean toward the majority here. The left look has sensual steaminess, admittedly due to what one paper called her natural "lush waves." And without bangs, there's plenty of mystery to the style. How does she keep so much hair in position and out of her eyes so well? (She's still unbeaten and in our Top Ten Tresses list at this writing, so she takes better care of her hair than some might think.) The right picture shows her secret, while reflecting more efficiency. Both approaches are very good, but we think the left is simply great.


Courtesy Netscape/Reuters

Sarah McLachlan is a Canadian rock singer who's not known for being a hair maven. But on any given night, anything can happen - and our Hair Fans selected her as the woman with the best hair at the 2004 Grammy Awards.

As we like to do, we posted five styles which caught our eye while the show was in progress. In fact, McLachlan was a last-minute addition - yet her long sizzled waves wound up taking first in our week-long poll with 39 percent of the vote. Fellow Canadian Celine Dion was second with 21 percent - but was that mid-length style really hers? One Toronto newspaper writer claims it was a wig, but we recalled Dion showing longer locks on Oprah Winfrey's birthday show.

As for the other Grammy contenders, Madonna was third with 18 percent. She received the only voter comment: "Nice b**t cut! Marcia Brady style?" Then came the woman who was our personal favorite, "Fergie" from the Black-Eyed Peas. Her 15 percent topped Paulina Rubio's six percent.


Hair Fans truly are a different sort of people. While others around them talked after Super Bowl XXXVIII about everything from a beer company's dog to Janet Jackson's (ahem) body, Hair Fans focused on Bonnie Bernstein's added waves. But we wanted to know about the national anthem singer, who has made several style changes of her own over the years.

Beyoncé Knowles disappointed us a bit, by wearing a ponytail for her presentation. But it led us to ask if you prefer the singer with straight locks (as she showed in her hometown of Houston that evening), or the waves and curls she's also displayed. Our week-long "post-game" poll found straightness winning a large 76-percent majority (26-8).

One voter suggested Knowles apply the KISS principle -- and not as in romance with boyfriend Jay-Z: "K(eep) I(t) S(imple) S(traight) her hair." Another wished Knowles would keep her hair longer, as in a recent Pepsi commercial. "Did anybody see the change made though? Beyoncé cut her hair near her bra strap and has added some bangs."


We didn't know about her when she was in the cast of The West Wing. We didn't know the name when she appeared in a TV version of the play Angels in America. But now we know who Mary Louise Parker is - and so do Hair Fans. She's our runaway winner as the woman with the best hair at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards.

Less than a month after giving birth, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave Parker a Supporting Actress award -- and her thick, natural medium-long hair must have impressed viewers. Our one-week poll ended with Parker receiving a strong 54-percent majority. Queen Latifah's curls may have raised some eyebrows, as she finished second with 16 percent. Then came Renee Zellweger with 14 percent, and Nicole Kidman and Eva Mendes with 8 percent each.


"Opposites Attract," she once declared in a song. But when Paula Abdul shows opposite hairstyles, which one is more attractive?

The American Idol judge did a noticeable trim in recent weeks -- one more evident in her "special correspondent" role for Entertainment Tonight than in auditions taped several months ago. We let you sit in the judge's chair for a week, and evaluate which style was better. The result was our busiest question since the American Music Awards in November, and quite a division. A 56-percent majority want Abdul to grow the hair longer again, while 44 percent like the short quasi-bob. (30-24)

No one left comments on this question - which may mean Simon Cowell has NOT discovered this web site. But for the record, Abdul does NOT have Super-Hair under our definition because the longer style fell often in her eyes. The shorter look seems more secure, though - especially if she takes good care of the bangs.


Right photo courtesy TV

When we posted pictures of Ultimate 50 member Natalie Allen with short hair instead of long hair, we heard about it. When Allen was named to the Hair Fans' Hall of Fame and we posted "old" pictures of her, we heard about it. And when Allen showed up on MSNBC in early January looking like a blonde, her supporters let us hear it again - but it least we weren't the target this time.

Many have longed for Allen's return since CNN dismissed her. One TV news message board suggested during her absence from the air, she went through a divorce. While we can't confirm that, we can show you the change she made to a lighter color -- one she teased us with during a surprise co-hosting appearance on Extra in the U.S. summer of 2003. But our eight-day survey found little support for the blonde look, as only 11 percent of you like it.

Out of four options, a 55-percent majority want Allen to keep the long look, but go back to the original brunette shade. One voter called the "deep, dark brown hair of her later CNN days.... more luscious...." Our personal preference of "brunette and short" had 20-percent backing -- while only 14 percent think she should experiment with a blonde-short style. (5-24-9-6)


Three years ago, Marg Helgenberger of CSI was added to our Hot List for a short style which earned her a Crown Award nomination. These days, the detective has changed her approach - with straight hair stretching to shoulder length, sometimes kept sleekly behind the ears.

So did Helgenberger make a mistake? Voters in our five-day poll said absolutely not. In fact, we cut the survey short in part because the margin was so lopsided -- 90% in favor. (26-3) One person panned the actress's old look by bashing bang styles in general, and comparing it to Hillary Duff.


Super-Hair has a new digital camera - and we can't help pointing it frequently at our TV screen. While it's not exactly top-level vid-cap quality, it allows us to get better and more up-to-date shots of women with great styles. One of them is Top Ten Tresses member Teri Polo - so when she showed a different look on the December 23-25 I'm With Her, we didn't dare miss the moment.

Polo showed a straight style with bangs in a movie shoot, then her regular strong waves for the rest of the program. She took a straight approach during her earlier years in acting, so we wondered what Hair Fans preferred. The one-week "Polo poll" found a 64-percent majority want the waves (23-13), which one voter called "not too extreme." With this strong a level of support, it's no wonder Polo's a Crown Award nominee for "Best Curls" - and as we write this before voting begins, we wonder if Debra Messing should be a bit nervous.


Review other Cutting-Edge polls: 2003 2002

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