Cutting-Edge Hair News, 2010
Actress Michelle Williams (not to be confused with the former "Destiny's Child" singer) may not be known so much for her movie roles as for a romance. She grew close to the late Heath Ledger during filming of Brokeback Mountain, and they had a baby together. Williams cut her medium-long hair after Ledger's death, and is displaying a close short cut in promotional interviews for the film Blue Valentine -- a cut which made one online "best" list for 2010 with comparisons to Twiggy.
The question here, of course, is whether our Hair Fans like it -- and a one-week survey found 60 percent of them do (15-10). "I love shorter hair on her," one voter wrote. But another wrote the comment "Neither?" as if Williams still has some work to do. We personally think the short look displayed on ABC's Nightline needs, well, something -- as the strips of hair look thin and very capable of collapsing in her eyes. That certainly adds a dramatic element, though....
Left photo courtesy Marie Claire
Ashley Judd was one of our first Crown Award winners - taking the Best Hairstyle in a Movie prize in 2000 for a tight short cut. Judd grew it out to a bouncier neck-length look by 2004, and won a narrow vote of confidence here. In recent months Judd has gone still farther, and displayed hair below the shoulders in a Thanksgiving Day interview with CBS News. If Hair Fans liked the style a little longer, would they love it a lot longer?
Our one-week poll may have inspired voters to reach for a classic country song by those other Judds - as Mama, they think the new look is crazy. That is, they don't like it. A large 72-percent majority want Ashley to keep her hair shorter (13-5). One voter explained: "Longer is too limp and boring." That's quite a change from the 2004 comments -- but we tend to agree with it. The current style simply seems to easy to defeat, unless she sprays the sides down tightly.
Right photo courtesy Wide World of Women
It can be easy to look past Elizabeth Cohen on a "hair honor roll" of CNN correspondents. After all, her beat is medicine - and even though we don't agree with it, there's a stereotype about scientifically-focused women not caring much about hairstyles. The picture on Cohen's Twitter page shows a simple, straight and efficient look. But Hair Fans noticed when Cohen "glammed up" for a November interview, adding waves and seemingly adding inches to her hair.
The discussion about Cohen began on our message board - and when we brought it to the home page for a one-week vote, the waves won with a 73-percent majority (11-4). "Wavier is cute and classy," one voter declared. We might have changed the last word to "sassy" -- but still, it's a more interesting hairstyle to examine. And while Cohen's straight cut seems to be Super-Hair with little risk of falling in her eyes, the curly cut opens the door for possible collapse under the wrong (or would some of you say right?) circumstances.
If all you've seen of actress Stana Katic is her work on the TV series Castle, you might conclude she takes conservative approaches to her hair. But photos at entertainment websites show something very different - a woman who lets styles run wild and free at times. So it didn't surprise us when she appeared at the 2010 American Music Awards with hair so long, it clearly smelled of extensions. But Katic has grown out her hair a bit on the current season of her series as well. So which look is best for her - short, longer or longest?
Our week-long poll ended with the longest look winning, with 40 percent of Hair Fans preferring it. The other 60 percent was split between the other styles. "Long hair on her is sultry and is versatile," one voter commented. "The short hair is boring and stale." But another objected to Katic showing the center-part at the AMA's. Whatever look she has, we can tell you it isn't strong enough to prevent the hair from falling in her eyes.
The Weather Channel sometimes seems to treat great heads of hair like tropical storms in September. They come, they linger for a while, then they move on. As many Hair Fans (us included) mourned the removal of Alexandra Steele, others found a new style to celebrate. Comments left at our message board praised longer locks on meteorologist Kelly Cass. "Looks really good now," one wrote. "I would like to see the layers grown out so it is one length," another suggested. And one member posted photos of the change on the board, to suggest Cass is blonder now (although that could be a matter of studio lighting).
We put the Cass cuts on the home page for a public vote - and seven days later, Hair Fans endorsed the longer look by an 81-percent margin (17-4). "Her hair is prettier longer" one fan exclaimed. "She can do more things with it!" (One voter called for Cass to display a ponytail.) Another seemed to grumble, "I like shorter hair." Don't worry; Heather Tesch is still on the payroll.
For some entertainment writers, Taylor Swift's appearance at the 2010 American Music Awards was a big deal. That is, the way she appeared - with her trademark curls straightened, and bangs across the forehead to boot. Apparently those writers missed some of Swift's public events early in the year. We did not, asked Hair Fans about the change here - and they've now shown they're consistent. Their votes supported straight locks in January, and a similar look earned their vote for the top style of the awards show.
Our one-week poll began as the AMA's ended, and concluded with Swift receiving 62 percent of the votes. "I loved the new look," one voter wrote, "but found the bold bangs quite nasty." (The January picture admittedly showed a softer approach.) Singer/actress Christina Milian finished second at 23 percent, for waves one voter said can win "From AM to PM." (Yes, that's one of her songs.) Third place was a tie at eight percent between Katy Perry and Ke$ha (our first woman ever to have a dollar sign in her name). And in a bit of surprise, frequent hair contender Sheryl Crow received no votes at all.
We came close to a first at the 2010 Country Music Association Awards - almost putting two members of the same group on the ballot for best hairstyle. The women in Little Big Town impressed us that much, and with very different looks. Kimberly Roads showed blonde curls, while Karen Fairchild displayed longer brunette hair with bangs (which gained praise from at least one person on Twitter).
We put Fairchild on the ballot, but did we make the right choice? Our five-day poll ended with Hair Fans singing no. They're for Roads by a two-to-one margin (10-5) -- but no one left a comment explaining why. Perhaps her hair looks neater?!
She changed dresses at least seven times during the 2010 Country Music Association Awards. And as best we saw, she changed hairstyles at least twice (perhaps wearing extensions in her opening number). But some things never change when it comes to Carrie Underwood. She's a frequent contender for the best hair prize at awards shows - and Hair Fans declared her the best of this year's CMA's.
Our poll was posted as the telecast ended, and Underwood raced ahead in a hurry. Six days later, she had 48 percent of the vote. Then came a mild surprise, as Karen Fairchild of the group Little Big Town tied Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum for second with 19 percent. (We learned through real-time Twitter updates Fairchild added bangs recently, and they apparently helped.) Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland finished with ten percent, while Kellie Pickler had to settle for five percent and a comment suggesting she was the one showing extensions on stage.
Left photo courtesy The Inquisitr
We're not sure how, but Katy Perry quickly went from counter-culture rocker to one of the most wanted women on the Internet. Comedian Russell Brand wound up capturing a singer who's not afraid to go wild with her hair - including a wig for the MTV Movie Awards which gave "blue-haired lady" a completely new meaning. The biggest real change we've noticed on Perry in 2010 is the growing-out of tightly-trimmed bangs, so they can cover an eye (as they seemed to do in a Late Show interview vid-capped above).
Is the end of bangs a "Perry good" move? Our eight-day poll went down to the wire, ending with 53 percent supporting the change (10-9). No one commented on Perry's looks at all - except for one e-mail we received, which hinted one of those pictures might have Crown Award potential. (Assuming, of course, this modern-day Madonna doesn't change her hair again.)
Dozens of women ran for office in the 2010 U.S. elections - and in some states they squared off against each other. Perhaps the most unlikely place for that was South Dakota, where the population is so small that the U.S. House "district" covers the entire state. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (left) emerged from that state in 2006 to win a Crown Award for Best Hair in Government and Politics. But state House member Kristi Noem gave her a hard challenge for re-election -- and we wondered if she had a better hairstyle to match.
We set up our own ballot, with nine days of voting which ended on Election Day -- and Noem made it no contest, winning 86 percent of the votes (12-2). No one left a comment explaining why, but we haven't seen Noem's short style collapse in her face as her opponent's has.
So a Republican candidate won this race, after Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California prevailed in a similar vote earlier in the year. It tells us Hair Fans are independent thinkers -- looking at what's atop the head, more than the thought process inside it.
Right photo courtesy Huffington Post
British actress Keira Knightley has never been one to get in a rut with her hair. In 2004 she switched from longer locks to a Twiggy-type cut, and Hair Fans narrowly approved of it. In 2010 Knightley's done it again; having grown her hair back out for Pirates of the Caribbean movies, she suddenly switched to a lengthy bob - one which at first glance actually looks like a long style pinned back.
Did Knightley go "two-for-two" with you? Our week of voting ended with an outcome like many British soccer matches - a draw. While 50 percent like the change, 50 percent do not (10-10). "I love the short haircut," claimed one side; "This shows why you should never cut your own hair," argued the other - although we have no proof that's what Knightley actually did. We'll say only that the new look adds more drama, for those who want to see if Knightley can keep her cut out of her eyes.
Right photo courtesy Emily Deschanel Daily
Perhaps she was encouraged by younger sister Zooey, who makes them look thick and full. Perhaps she followed the example of the author of the Bones novels, since she stars in the TV series with that title. Whatever the reason, Emily Deschanel has added bangs for the current season of her Fox drama. A Hair Fan alerted us to it on our message board, calling it a "great new look." But would others agree, when we put it to a vote?
After one week, the answer was obvious - as 86 percent of visitors support Deschanel with bangs (12-2). One explained they help soften her "sharp features." And they certainly should help keep Deschanel's hair out of her eyes, which was a noticeable issue for her outdoors in earlier episodes. As for whether strong Bones mean strong Super-Hair.... well, feel free to send us our scientific research about that.
Is this really a good sign for the future of the Miss America pageant? The 2010 queen made a big hair chop in the middle of her reign - and it's received absolutely no media attention. Not even entertainment tabloids which follow such things seemed to notice Caressa Cameron's cut around Labor Day (early September). But to be fair, Cameron and the pageant also haven't mentioned it - there's only the photographic evidence on the website. (We asked Cameron about it through our Twitter feed, but have received no response.)
We can't remember a pageant queen ever making a hair change this massive in the middle of her term. Hair Fans who voted in our one-week poll seemed disappointed by it -- as 59 percent prefer Cameron's hair longer (10-7). One suggested the woman who dreams of becoming a TV news anchor is looking more like "Miss Soccer Mom." Another suggested a secret hair plot, which we personally doubt: "If her hair was really extensions all along, she should lose her crown faster than Vanessa Williams." We're sure of one thing: if Cameron was Miss U.S.A. or Miss Universe, Donald Trump would have had veto power over this cut -- and we suspect he would have said no.
Left photo courtesy Real Beauty
How much "pouf" is too much? Some people think Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi puts too much height in her hair on MTV's Jersey Shore. Yet when we asked Hair Fans about the young woman's latest style adjustment, a voter complained our "before" picture didn't show enough pouf. It wasn't "ridiculous looking" enough. Perhaps the updated photo on the left will please that person - even if the old look overall did not with most people.
A lengthy vacation extended our question about Snooki to more than two weeks - and it ended with 64 percent of voters preferring her new look with bangs and a bit less height (9-5). The bangs admittedly are too long for our taste, dangling in her eyes during promotional appearances. Yet the official "SnOOki feed" on Twitter indicates she can still go "big hair" whenever she wishes.
Right photo courtesy Popeater
When Anne Hathaway won a Crown Award in 2006 for the movie The Devil Wears Prada, the issue for some Hair Fans was whether her long hair should include bangs. How many of them could have guessed the actress would go even farther - and cut off her long hair completely? Hathaway stunned the London paparazzi by displaying a near-toehead look at an outdoor movie shoot. She apparently made the cut for the role, thus following the lead of Britain's Emma Watson weeks before.
To borrow from another Hathaway film, did she Get Smart by making this big change? A survey extended to 11 days ended with 70 percent of our voters saying no (16-7). "Looks like she went to a barber instead of a stylist," one disappointed Hair Fan wrote. "Is she starring in a remake of Just One of the Guys?" another asked with a slap. No, it's actually called One Day -- and Hair Fans can only hope the long hair comes back in several months.
Left photo courtesy Hollywood Life
If you're a "Gleek," you know how talented actress/singer Lea Michele is - and you may have noticed how she works to keep her long hair in position. Recently she added bangs to her style. And on the night of the Prime-Time Emmy Awards, we suspect she was glad she did. Michele's hair looked sharp, and she walked away with our vote for the star style of the show.
Our five-finalist poll was posted as the final awards were presented - and one week later, Michele had captured half the votes thanks to protective bangs. One voter guessed: "Was there an abundance of wind and humidity and a lack of hairbrushes....?" Yes to the wind -- as the Nokia Theatre red carpet along Hollywood Boulevard seemed to be a breezeway. It pushed several styles around, prompted plenty of women to wear up-do's -- and in response to another comment, the breeze flipped Claire Danes's great-looking hair into her face in an interview.
Back to the results: Julianna Margulies of The Good Wife had good enough hair on stage to finish second, with 19 percent of the vote. Memorial singer Jewel followed at 13 percent. Then came a tie at six percent between Carrie-Anne Inaba, Kyra Sedgwick and write-in actress Connie Britton.
She was 28 when she was inducted into our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. But Maria Menounos's title of "youngest hall member" almost was supplanted in 2010 - as 27-year-old Carrie Underwood came one vote short of induction. That development displeased one Hair Fan, who wrote: "In the city I live in, you have to be at least 35 to be selected for our sports hall of fame.... You need to bring respectability to your Hall of Fame. Fix it."
First of all, it's the Hall of all Hair Fans - but is it a good idea to have a minimum age limit for induction? Hair Fans were at split ends on this proposed rule change. The one-week poll ended with a 50-50 percentage tie (8-8) -- and without majority support, we will not make a change. "Now if someone's 16, I'd say yes," one voter commented. (We intentionally left the number for the minimum age open for discussion.) But we have another, more traditional concern about this idea. What if a woman doesn't want to reveal her age?
"Dear all. Cut my hair off a few days ago. Feels incredible. I love it." With that online note, actress Emma Watson announced to the world a major hairstyle change. Shoulder-length hair which had a variety of looks in the Harry Potter movies suddenly was gone - and all that was left was a super-short cut. There was speculation Watson made the change for an upcoming movie role. But the Hair Fan who alerted us to it on our message board moaned: "I hate!!!!! pixie haircuts."
What do other Hair Fans think of a more "elementary" Watson look? Our one-week poll found they're moaning as well, as 70 percent voted down the big cut (14-6). "Is she having Rosemary's baby?" one wondered - and indeed, some have compared Watson's new style to what Mia Farrow displayed in that classic movie. We would only add this looks like a case of jumping from one side of the "hair road" to the other. Watson's long styles mussed frequently; the new cut is so short that it's indestructible, but leaves no real drama for Hair Fans.
Paula Creamer has quite a mix of attributes. She's competitive on the golf course, yet "cute" enough to wear solid pink and put a cartoon panther on her clubs. She was athletic enough to win the 2010 U.S. Women's Open with a thumb injury - yet she displays long hair and bangs beautiful enough to win Crown Awards. Put that combination together, and you might understand why Hair Fans have voted Creamer #1 hairstyle in the world!
Our eighth annual "Rank the Top Ten Tresses" week may go down as our closest ever -- as Creamer was the only woman of the ten to top 20 percent of the vote. Her 21 percent edged four women by one vote; Brittany Jeffers, Toni Marsh, Carol Massar and Vaida Petraskaite all tied at 14 percent. Sixth place saw another logjam - Becky Quick, Alexandra Steele and Lisa Sylvester tying at seven percent. It's interesting that four of the five leaders among our votes were in the bottom half of our latest rankings, while our "top three" were shoved down the list by Hair Fans.
Right photo courtesy Wide World of Women
"Patti Ann Browne.... looks like she got a haircut. Could it be the start of the end of her long hair?" When someone sent this news to us via Twitter, it was surprising. But when we saw pictures of the Fox News Channel anchor, we didn't quite see what the Hair Fan was concerned about. Browne's hair still reaches her shoulders. The only change we noticed involved the bangs Browne developed in recent years; from what we can tell, she's grown them out.
What could this Browne do for you, if you had a style preference? In true FNC tradition, our one-week poll was very "fair and balanced" - with the final vote coming down for Browne keeping the bangs by a 52-percent margin (11-10). "Bangs make her look more youthful," one voter argued. But a bang-basher countered: "Bangs make her look not serious in reporting, like she is 12 years old." The left photo may have been a bit unfair along those lines; it came from the late-night talk show Red Eye, where things tend to be more carefree. But we admittedly would be more inclined to reach for those bangs, if the right moment came....
If all you knew about Sheryl Crow was her music, you might conclude her life is all about having fun and soaking up sun. But she's known for having some serious causes - and we've concluded she's pretty serious about her hair. Crow can display loose wavy precision at awards shows -- a look which makes Hair Fans long to touch it, yet hesitate over the harm they (or maybe she) might create. But when Crow sang on The Late Show during July, she surprised us with a blown-straight style. It seemed to hold in place every bit as well, but is it a better look for her?
To borrow from her latest album, our voters might go "100 Miles from Memphis" to avoid Crow's straight experiment. They preferred the wavy look by an overwhelming 86 percent margin (12-2). "Straight looks totally dull and lifeless," one Hair Fan commented. We'd add Crow's curls are more (choosing our words carefully) mentally stimulating - quite complex to examine, not to mention sort through and handle.
Right photo courtesy Inside Edition
"Eek!" is a response we don't receive often when a picture is posted on our site. And it's never come from the person we've posted - until we noticed former model and current fashion analyst Katrina Szish had grown out her bob. Szish's surprisingly strong short cut had become her signature. It's all over her web site and Twitter feed. But her hair hit the shoulders for interviews about the infamous Mel Gibson tapes, and we wondered if the one-time "Style Spy" and Top Ten Tresses member had made a good style move.
Szish explained to us via Twitter the "eek" was because our long-hair photo came from a "bad hair day: pouring rain!" Our Hair Fans seemed to agree, as 65 percent of them want the short style to come back (13-7) - but for different reasons. "Longer is too limp," wrote one (perhaps a sunny day might have changed that view). Another simply stated, "I love shorter hair." But one voter gave Szish the benefit of the doubt, saying her long hair is "spectacularly beautiful" and her bob is "drab run-of-the-mill...." High-risk short hair with sturdy hold is never run-of-the-mill with us.
We admit it: after the first season of The Bachelor where we were impressed by the hair of Shannon Oliver, our interest in the reality series faded like those roses they hand out each week. But maybe that was a big mistake -- because the 2010 edition has brought out nice styles, along with the usual tabloid headlines. Jake the airline co-pilot spurned Tenley Molzahn (left) for youthful Vienna Girardi (right). Then Jake and Vienna broke the engagement with TV feuding and rumors of cheating, as another "reject" named Ali received her own Bachelorette contest. This wave of commotion led us to ask: which woman would Hair Fans choose?
We put the three ladies together, asked who would win a Super-Hair War -- and after one week, voters gave the rose to Tenley. Her loose waves gained 45 percent of the votes, topping Ali's 36 percent and Vienna's 18 percent. Perhaps this explains why Molzahn is trying to cash in on her TV fame. She was identified on ABC's website as working in "college admissions" -- but now her own website promotes her as everything from "America's Sweetheart" to a "Disney character." Minnie Mouse, she's certainly not....
The first question some Hair Fans probably asked when they saw these pictures is "Why?" Why would we post a poll on DC Comics's decision to give Wonder Woman a 2010 makeover? Because we know some people care about this superhero's hair -- a lot. Some were lured to the Lynda Carter series in the 1970's by her bouncing loose hair, facing life-or-death battles while protected only by a headband. (And almost always holding strongly in place, as true Super-Hair should!) We've even read appeals that whenever a Wonder Woman feature movie is made (and why hasn't there been one?), the hero must have curls. (Example: search our site for Susie Castillo.)
The latest cartoon upgrade will let that group down. And Hair Fans voted the change down in our one-week poll by a mighty 80-percent margin (8-2). A member of the majority explained Lynda Carter's TV character "had some big 70s hair, but it was full of body. The new style looks oily." Very true - not to mention the strips of hair dangling around her face. We fear one good fight would leave this style all over her eyes. Is this new Wonder Woman from Amazonia, or a Seattle grunge band?
Courtesy Elle, Stylelist
Regular viewers of Hannah Montana know Miley Cyrus is a hairstyle chameleon. But in real-life, she's admitted father Billy Ray has been a big influence -- even strongly recommending how she wears her hair. As she approaches adulthood, that could be changing. Members of our message board noted Cyrus with a shoulder-length wavy style at an awards show in Toronto. So is this shorter look something she should do all the time?
Our one-week poll found Hair Fans on the long side by a 68-percent margin (17-8). One voter said the Toronto style "makes her look like a Carmen Electra clone. Not good." (Couldn't a simple change of eye makeup change that?) Another noted Cyrus's trademark is "the long hair that markets to a younger demographic. Get away from that and her fans won't follow." Hmmmm - do ten-year-olds prefer long or short hair? That's a question we'll leave for magazines like J-14.
The Twilight series of movies has made some fans swoon over hair, as much as blood. Robert Pattinson has drawn rave reviews. Kristen Stewart frankly makes us wonder at times. But we think co-star/vampire Ashley Greene has been overlooked - with long hair that can be tantalizingly thick at its best. But the U.S. summer sun seems to have affected Greene's hair, along with many others. She showed lighter locks in interviews promoting Eclipse.
Do you prefer, uh, light Greene or dark Greene? Our one-week poll found Hair Fans on the dark side, by an 84-percent margin (16-3). But the decision may have been based more on the styling. "Darker has much better cut," one voter wrote. But other answered, "Love the symmetrical cut and color on the lighter. Like the dawn of something brilliant." We wish Greene showed more brilliance with the hold of her hair, but our left photo comes from a red-carpet event where a strip plopped across her left eye.
When it's an election year in the U.S., almost anything goes. And when a candidate dares to bring up an opponent's hair, we'll certainly pay attention. As U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (right) prepared for a TV interview in Sacramento, California, she quoted a friend talking about opponent Barbara Boxer: "What is that hair? Sooo yesterday." Fiorina later offered regrets for making Boxer's hair an issue, but did not apologize.
Yet the question remains: is Fiorina right? We put the candidates together, asked you who would win a Super-Hair War -- and Boxer (left) crushed the critic by gaining a 76-percent majority (13-4). While no one left a comment one way or the other, we would suggest Fiorina take a close look in the mirror. When she ran Hewlett-Packard, her style had interesting length and bangs. Today Boxer does, while she doesn't.
Left Photo courtesy Lionsgate
Have you noticed how many actresses celebrate a "movie wrap" by getting a style makeover? Add Katherine Heigl to that list. She appears in the summer movie Killers with a short blonde style, along the lines of her look on Grey's Anatomy. But in TV appearances promoting the film, Heigl is very much a brunette - a color change one web site traced to March 2010.
So which Heigl hair hue best suits you? Our one-week poll found Hair Fans preferring blonde, by a 71-percent margin (22-9). But one voter stunned us by longing for a third option: "Can I vote neither as being attractive or good super-hair?" We wouldn't quite go that far -- as the style on the left has carefully-placed curl on the forehead, to add both bounce and dramatic hold. "Kill" that curl and you'll defeat Heigl's style, but is it possible?
"Hayden just cut her hair real short. I hate it." This short note from a Hair Fan on our message board indicated yet another break from the Hayden Panettiere we've come to know. With her series Heroes canceled, she's free to do what she wishes with his blonde locks. Earlier in 2010, she tried red and brunette looks - and now red carpet events show a tightly cut and slicked-back style.
Do other Hair Fans agree with this complaint? Our one-week poll left no doubt: 82 percent prefer Panettiere with longer hair (23-5). One guessed the only excuse for a big cut might be "donating to Locks of Love." But recall what she told a magazine about her color shift: "I need to change." Her need and Hair Fans' wants clearly are two different things.
Law & Order came close to becoming the longest-lasting drama in prime-time TV history. A lot of performers passed through the New York Police precincts and District Attorney's office in that time - including a series of Assistant Prosecutors with professional, high-quality attractive hair. So to mark the final original episode, we asked which woman had the best style.
Our jury of Hair Fans clearly was divided, and ended a week of deliberations with a split verdict. Angie Harmon and Elisabeth Rohm (left-right) tied for first at 34 percent. Harmon admittedly probably didn't show this particular hairstyle in court, but it helped her win our first Crown Award for 2000's Newcomer of the Year. Rohm's success surprised us, since she was considered a relatively ordinary actress during her years on the series.
Third place went to the latest A.D.A., as Alana de la Garza gained 29 percent. Then came Ultimate 50 member Annie Parisse, who tied with Super-Hair World Cup I champion Jill Hennessy at four percent. (We didn't even realize Hennessy was on this series.)
Jacky Bracamontes was an unknown name to us, until a Hair Fan suggested her for the 2007 Cup of the Americas. The Mexican beauty queen-turned-actress proceeded to wow voters with long wavy hair - dominating a group which included Canada, and giving America's Bonnie Bernstein a spirited fight in the finals. Bracamontes returned for this year's Super-Hair World Cup III with a shorter style, stopping around the shoulders - but with even more accentuated wave. Yet as of this writing, she's off to a strong start in group play again.
So which look makes you stop and look at Bracamontes more? Our one-week poll found the 2007 style (on the left) prevailing by a 68-percent margin (13-6). "Either is quite sexy," one voter wrote, "but the longer look is sexier and looks like it has less product." To be honest, that style had us wondering if Bracamontes puts on extensiones at times - but a review of her website has us doubting it. But doesn't the current style look more like she's ready to fight for her curl and hold?
Left photo courtesy Reporter Caps
ABC News had the two Starks for years - and NBC News still has two O'Donnells. While Norah has the anchor desk and legendary hair precision, Kelly O'Donnell has the daily Congressional grind and a redheaded color which has gained her Crown Award nominations. After years of careful combing and spraying with her neck-length hair, Kelly recently began exposing bangs across the forehead. (If they were there all along, she hid them very well.)
Has this O'Donnell made an improvement which might challenge the other? Our one-week poll found Hair Fans vetoing the bangs by a 73-percent margin (16-6). While no one left a comment, perhaps they decided the old approach was softer-looking and less harsh. O'Donnell certainly kept it in line well; the only time we've seen her hair collapse on camera was from a fierce wind on Cape Cod.
Right photo courtesy TV Heads
Amanda Drury has become a specialist in Asian financial markets for CNBC, reporting from her native Australia. And she became skilled in medium-short hairstyles, impressing us enough to make the Top Ten Tresses list for six months. Now Drury is being transferred to the network's world headquarters in New Jersey -- and she's moving with hair that's about five inches longer, reaching her armpits.
Is this "Drury Lane" heading in the right direction? Our one-week poll found 69 percent of Hair Fans calling for a U-turn, and a return to the shorter cuts (20-9). "Look at the ends," one voter explained; "they look ragged and messy." But another contended those ends reflect a "nice natural wave.... Much better look!" Another claimed instead of beauty, Drury now "looks too witchy/not friendly." Uh-oh - we hope Drury doesn't cross paths with any of those New Jersey Real Housewives.
When Heidi Klum co-hosted the 2008 Prime-Time Emmy Awards (left), one Hair Fan told us her long wavy hair never looked better. The German supermodel has displayed long looks for virtually her entire career. So when she suddenly appeared on The Tonight Show in April with a big trim and bangs across the forehead, a lot of her admirers were stunned.
"Is this a retro-late 70's look?" one voter in our weeklong poll asked. Another answered Klum had changed to "the Toni Tennille haircut" from that era. (Actually, Tennille's cut was a little shorter.) While one commenter declared, "I love short hair," most of our voters didn't in this case. The "Heidi helmet" was rejected by a two-thirds majority (16-8).
So why did Klum make this change? Was it something to do with her TV series Project Runway? She told an interviewer the real reason: "I get bored" with the same style day-in day-out. We support what Klum did because this style can show spectacular bounce and motion, yet hold when it matters most. (Think about Tennille singing some of her early hits.) As thick as Klum's cut looks in the back, we'll be interested to see if she can keep this style long-lasting and long-holding.
"It's a sea of blonde!" So one woman told us on Twitter during the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards - a brunette who wondered where the singers and presenters of her, uh, hair color were. Three blondes wound up making our ballot for the best hairstyle of the night. And Miranda Lambert completed an evening of personal upsets all-around, by winning the most votes among Hair Fans.
"Was Carrie not there?" one voter asked when we left Ms. Underwood off the ballot. That was the first surprise, as Lambert and Underwood sang together on a rocking country opening medley. Lambert's hair held its line -- while Underwood's seemed to bounce down in her eyes for a moment, putting her out of our running. (It appeared to bounce down later as well, while presenting an award.) Lambert wound up leading with 38 percent of the vote. A surprising name came in second with 24 percent: Olympic skiing champion Lindsey Vonn, who served as a presenter. Some praised her "spectacular long layered hair," while others condemned her as "lazy" for an "awful butt-cut."
The brunette on the ballot finished third, as Hillary Scott from the group Lady Antebellum gained 19 percent. Redhead Reba McEntire was supported by 14 percent, while actress/presenter Kristen Bell had five percent.
Right photo courtesy TV Heads
Which heads of Super-Hair make you stop and pay attention? We admit NBC News correspondent Norah O'Donnell has been "must-see" for us over the years - as short sideparted hair don't come much better, and seldom have been prepared more precisely for daily adjustments in weather and length. She made our Project 20/10 list for a tremendous combination of beauty and hold. Yet we were stunned to discover O'Donnell has grown out that classic look in recent months. Hair not only touches the shoulders now, but falls below it when she doesn't add a flip of curl at the ends.
Has O'Donnell made a good move here? The response from Hair Fans was a quick and overwhelming YES, as or one-week poll ended with 85 percent support (22-4). "The 90's soccer mom look was overplayed," one voter explained. (Which is curious, because O'Donnell only became a mother after displaying that look for years.) Another surprised voter wrote, "She is actually pretty now that she has long hair." If we were her Washington celebrity husband "Chef Geoff," we'd be insulted by that. Yet we would note the longer style is probably tougher to maintain and keep in place; we've already found a picture or two where O'Donnell's hair looked downright limp and weak on camera.
If you recognize this woman simply by her picture, you're either deep into celebrity gossip - or deeper into X-rated media than you might want to admit in public. We had to search carefully online to find this photo of Janine Lindemulder, because warning messages came up about nudity. But her layered long hair entices us more than her, uh, body -- enough to understand why she gained the attention and wedding ring of motorcycle maniac Jesse James.
In a ripped-from-the-headlines contest involving James's real and alleged lovers, Lindemulder was the choice of Hair Fans. In what might be considered a "devil or angel" choice, Lindemulder's hair was preferred by 57 percent of voters -- while second wife, spurned love, award-winning actress and "America's Sweetheart" Sandra Bullock fell short with 39 percent. The two women have clashed at a distance, in a child custody dispute. But at least Lindemulder hasn't gone on the physical attack, as she reportedly did to James with a flowerpot and a car. (Take-home lesson: challenge this woman's hair, and she will fight back!)
The two women who reportedly had affairs with James didn't fare well in our one-week poll. Tattoo model Michelle McGee proved to be anything but a "bombshell," receiving only one vote for four percent. Melissa Smith gained no votes at all - so does she need a style makeover?
Hayden Panettiere seemed to us like a perfect choice to play an unstoppable cheerleader on the TV series Heroes. She's youthful, athletic -- and possesses often strong hair (especially from our picture at left on The View), although her character is real enough to have the locks appear weak in critical moments. On top of that, Panettiere fits the blonde stereotype some people have of cheerleaders. So we were surprised to find pictures of Panettiere on red carpets with a much darker shade -- and wondered if that's the right color for her.
Our six-day poll actually offered three options, and Hair Fans chose the old-school approach: 48 percent say Panettiere should bring the blonde look back. Only 26 percent like the change to brunette....
....and intriguingly, 26 percent voted for her to try red hair (11-6-6). We didn't realize until we posted these results that Panettiere actually went redhead for several weeks early in 2010! [Photo courtesy I'm Not Obsessed]
One Hair Fan asked an obvious question: "She's been blonde since she was a little kid; why go unnatural?" Panettiere gave this answer to People magazine: "I need to change, I need to get myself out of this slot. I don't feel like a blonde right now!" Hmmmm - are hair color and personal feelings connected?! There's a college research project waiting to be submitted.
Sharyl Alfonsi has been a favorite of Hair Fans for years - beginning when she worked the morning shift at a Boston TV station. She went from there to national correspondent duties for CBS and ABC. And her styles have shifted along the way, from super-short to shoulder-length. In recent months, Alfonsi has softened the right side of her style - going to one length all-around, instead of what one Hair Fan calls a "swept bang" look in 2009.
Is the latest Alfonsi adjustment working for her? Our eight-day poll found 73 percent of Hair Fans think so (11-4). The voter who described the old look admitted disappointment with its "feathered ends. Too bad she couldn't have kept the same hair on top, but gone with the wavier ends in the new look." Don't worry too much - knowing Alfonsi's hair history, that could be coming. But we agree with the voters on this latest adjustment; it's a much more natural-looking and softer style.
Courtesy Yahoo Music, NBC
American Idol has turned several people into national celebrities - but the careers "after Idol" have varied remarkably. Carrie Underwood has become a singing star and Super-Hair champion. Katherine McPhee expanded from the final round in 2006 into acting, and hopes to have her own TV series in the 2010-11 season. When we saw McPhee in an episode of the comedy Community, we were stunned by how her hair had changed - as long locks with a bit of added romantic waves were chopped short in recent months.
Is a look that tight really right for McPhee? Most Hair Fans don't think so, with 69 percent voting against it in our one-week poll (18-8). While one comment declared her short hair better, another called it a "McStake." But what's curious to us is how both styles are at risk of falling in her eyes. (Check McPhee's web site to see the evidence.) If we had a choice, we'd rather see her long hair fighting to stay in position -- a much more "dramatic" challenge.
As February turned to March, Sandra Bullock had a winning streak not even the football player depicted in The Blind Side could top. In eight days, Bullock won a Crown Award for Best Hairstyle in a Movie, the Best Actress Oscar for that same movie (a double no one else has ever achieved) - and in between, Bullock also claimed a "Razzie" for the Worst Actress in a different movie! Now Bullock receives one more accolade on top of all that: top hairstyle at the Academy Awards, as voted by our Hair Fans.
The one-week poll opened as the telecast from Hollywood ended, and ended with Bullock claiming a 52-percent majority of the votes. "Bullock's hair is a bit too pressed down," one voter determined, "but is clearly the best in this group." It was smooth enough to hold and last through another wet Sunday in Los Angeles, which resulted in a repeat of the pin-up style trend evident at the Golden Globes.
A short "pixie cut" displayed by actress Carey Mulligan came in second, with 29 percent. Molly Ringwald emerged from hiding with a shoulder-length cut and bangs, which earned her 14 percent. And we admittedly were pleased to see longshot Chris Innes receive one vote for five percent - the first time we've put a film editor on any ballot.
Courtesy Inside Edition
Some Hair Fans regretted the 2009 Crown Awards voting occurring during the 2010 Winter Olympics. They left comments suggesting some athletes at Vancouver could have been contenders for Best Hairstyle in Athletics. We pay attention to things like this, and hastily arranged an end-of-games contest for B.C.'s in B.C.: beautiful cuts in British Columbia.
Our week of voting ended with U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn capturing the virtual gold medal, breezing like a downhill racer to 63 percent of the vote. The U.S. took silver as well -- or maybe we should say platinum. "The platinum fleece" is how one voter described the curls of snowboarding Lindsey Jacobellis, who received 25 percent. The bronze goes to Canadian freestyle skier Jennifer Heil with eight percent. One vote went to "other," without specifying a name -- and we really couldn't award a medal to every Olympic athlete now, could we?
(We must note we posted Vonn on our Hot List during Crown nomination season - and if someone had suggested her then, she probably would have made the ballot.)
When true Hair Fans go on vacation, do they really go on vacation? We're admittedly always on the lookout for great styles -- and we came across this one when we stopped at a motel in southern Illinois. Jennifer Rukavina is a TV meteorologist in Paducah, Kentucky. Her well-rounded neck-length cut appeared loose on camera, yet stayed in line well. We put Rukavina on our Hot List as a result -- and were surprised not only when she contacted us about it, but attached pictures showing an updated longer look.
Should Rukavina keep going longer? Our one-week poll found 63 percent of Hair Fans think she should (17-10). "Strong jaw" is how one voter explained the choice; "the long hair makes that gentler." Another supporter of the change said, "Longer has better color, but needs more body." Perhaps a light permanent wave (not overdone) could help accomplish that -- but without that, we lean toward the shorter cut. Spray on the side can make that style much easier to keep in place.
(As this poll ended, Rukavina graciously sent us a set of answers to our hair questions. Watch for them in Super-Hair Q&A!)
Left photo courtesy Media Bistro
Some media-watchers have wondered in recent years if CBS News and CNN are destined to merge. The networks have done several obvious partnerships - but in the case of reporter Kelly Wallace, CBS hired her outright. Since making the move from cable to broadcast, Wallace has trimmed a shoulder-length head of hair to a tightly-cut bob. But is this cut too much of an "edit" for her?
Our week-long poll found Hair Fans disappointed, as three-fourths of them want Wallace to grow out the style (21-7). "I think CBS wanted her to have the 'Katie Couric' look," one voter speculated. "It doesn't look right on her." Another went farther, declaring the change an "I give up" look. Yet from a Super-Hair point of view, our perspective is different. Wallace's shorter cut is much less likely to give up and collapse in the elements, if she uses a slight bit of iron heat and a good spray. The longer style was overpowered by wind several times on camera.
Right photo courtesy Huffington Post
Why is it that the wives of U.S. Presidents only seem to make hair news when they're Democrats? Hillary Rodham Clinton did. Laura Bush really didn't (even though she was entered in a Super-Hair War, which she lost). Now style-watchers say Michelle Obama is -- with loose hair which threatens to fall in her eyes at times, but only drops on rare occasions. When the first lady attended the funeral Vice President Biden's mother in Delaware with a shaped bob, some people seemed to talk more about the 'do than the eulogy.
Is the new look a B.O.B. - as in Barack Obama beauty? Our one-week poll found Hair Fans uninspired, as 73 percent of them preferred the old style (8-3). We tend to agree, as the 2008 hair seems more natural and less confining. One voter dared to ask of the bob, "Was she singing back-up for Diana Ross at the funeral?" Maybe we need to find a Republican with a style change, to balance out such language...
Is it any wonder that Carrie Underwood was selected to sing the national anthem before Super Bowl XLIV? After all, she may have the only head of hair in the music world that's strong enough to handle potential South Florida breezes. Hair Fans continue to give Underwood votes of confidence - most recently winning her third award show vote in a row, for the best hair at the 2010 Grammy Awards.
Underwood only appeared briefly, during a tribute to Michael Jackson. And we admittedly were disappointed that the photo at left was the best we could shoot from the live telecast. But her layered shoulder-length style was impressive enough from an angle for Hair Fans to give her 65 percent of the vote. One voter summed it up succinctly: "Beautiful girl. Beautiful hair. Period." More than one declared Underwood's hair "perfect," and it certainly seemed that way to us. Second place was a tie at 15 percent between usual hair contender Sheryl Crow ("outstanding" to one) and Katy Perry (who reminded one of Betty Page). Then came a four-percent write-in vote for Ke$ha - the first time anyone has voted here for a woman with a dollar sign in her name.
Nickelodeon already has "iCarly." So we'd like to introduce you to "1-Carly." Carly Steffen is a first-year student at the University of Minnesota. She was #1 in her campus's BMOC competition, which one voter considered the best we've had in some time. And now the cheerleader has out-energized seven other top college styles, to win our annual "Elite Eight" contest!
The week-long clash was quite competitive, as Steffen prevailed with only 29 percent of the vote. Then came a three-way tie for second among Melissa Gallaher (Greensboro), Christian Marks (Northwestern State, Louisiana) and Katie Riley (Central Florida) - all scoring 14 percent. The other four women settled for seven percent. And that was a noteworthy disappointment for two of them, as Denise Ellison finished second in our AAA Cup several months ago and Andrea Sellmeyer was a 2008 Crown Award winner.
Singer Christina Aguilera could be her generation's version of Olivia Newton-John - when it comes to hair, we mean. Right when Hair Fans think they've analyzed a way to defeat her great style, she changes to a different look and makes them start all over again. Aguilera pulled another surprise at the 2010 Golden Globe Awards, by cutting the long blonde locks which could "save the world from cable" in TV commercials to an elegant round-brushed bob. It was impressive enough to be voted our top style of the night.
The Golden Globes honor television and movies -- yet our one-week poll turned into a battle of singers. Aguilera prevailed with 50 percent of the vote, followed by Fergie of the Black-Eyed Peas with 38 percent (based solely on her red carpet appearance). Presenter Zoe Saldana was third with six percent, while Julia Roberts received both three percent and controversy -- as "Twitter-bugs" seemed to loathe the loose curls she displayed, which practically caved into her face as she presented the last award.
Then there was the voter who wrote in "none of the above," declaring it the worst lineup of award-show styles we've ever had. Blame that in part on rainy weather in Beverly Hills, which prompted many women to protect their hair - and actually made "up-dos" a fashion theme of the night.
Right photo courtesy Hollywood Life
Country-pop singer Taylor Swift seems to be winning every major award where she has a nomination -- except maybe in our polls for the top style at award shows. Her natural curls earned a "fresh style" headline on the cover of the February 2010 People Style Watch. But what would happen if Swift dared to straighten out those curls? She did recently during a public appearance in Hollywood (where we think she was dating that other Taylor from the movies).
Should Swift go straight all the time? Our one-week poll found 65 percent of Hair Fans think she should (22-12). "It was time for a change," one voter explained. "It makes her look more grown up." Another called the straight look "totally different. She looks great. I still sorta like the curls, though." So do we - because Swift can utilize the slightly extra weight of the curls to keep the hair in place, and even twist them somewhat naturally together for hold. The straight style simply seems too ready to drop in her eyes.
Left photo courtesy TuffChix
Paige Hemmis once stood at the precipice of monumental Super-Hair history. After winning the 2007 Super-Hair Wars championship, she led Bonnie Bernstein in the Challenge of Champions by one vote with only hours of voting to go. A last-minute flurry of Bernstein votes allowed the perennial champ to escape (at least for one more year), but Hemmis's thick long waves had given her all she could handle. It's a look Hemmis can display at special events, but doesn't really "work" on construction crews doing Extreme Makeover Home Edition projects.
Hemmis has appeared on TV this season wearing a basic straight style, with bangs across the forehead. We asked if bangs are better for her -- and perhaps we should have expected the outcome. Hair Fans gave Hemmis one of the biggest rejection slips we've ever had: 96 percent opposition (27-1). One voter longed for more body and waves, even asking: "What's that color called: corn?" We'd be more polite around Hemmis and say it's blonde - lest she pull out a hammer or saw to defend herself.
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