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Celebrity hair vs. Celebrity hair.

August 3, 2010

L-R: Three celebrities with extremely long hair that you all know the names of.

As the resident hairstylist here at the IFMiB offices (and by offices I mean our respective computers and devices scattered across the globe, utilized by our crack team of pop culture bloggin’ maniacs), it is my great privilege to present to you my totally biased opinions on the state of Celebrity Hair Today. I pretty much notice hair every waking minute. And as much as I am loathe to admit it (because I think we already give famous people far too much credit and money for the things they do or don’t do), celebrity hair has a lot of sway over the desires of many clients coming to salons all over the frickin’ planet. But frankly, I am tired of everyone wanting the hair pictured above. I don’t know what kind of secret inner circle of hairstylists made the choice, but enough with the long-ass, middle-parted hair (or sometimes side-parted if one is feeling frisky!) that falls in ringlets around the bosom already! I’m over it! It’s as ubiquitous as Apple’s white ear buds and twenty times more annoying. So if you too are looking for an antidote to the Rapunzel-like tresses being sported by every other celebrity siren, may I suggest taking a cue from a few of their sisterly rebels?

Full disclosure: I really like short hair styles. And I define “short” as above the shoulders on up. And I super-duper-extra love Carey Mulligan’s cute-ass, Rosemary’s Baby-esque haircut. I find it to be a rather brave choice in the face of the ultra-femininity of the boob-framing locks that so many of her peers are sporting right now. But see, Ms. Mulligan is far more of an actress than she is a celebrity and I think that’s a big part of it. She can rock any ‘do she wants because she knows she’s got talent to get her noticed and the rest is just gravy.

Janelle Monae’s hair is so amazing it could confiscate my entire life. I dream of being able to create a hairstyle this amazing for someone. I love it for so many reasons, not the least of which being that she is a rare black celebrity working her natural hair. And then, even better, her natural hair is being worn in such a sculpted, structured way. I feel like a lot of people just assume that if black folks wear their hair natural then it will automatically be a bubble afro. But there’s a ton of texture variety to natural hair and, unlike a lot of pin-straight hair, it is very sculptable and capable of holding some strong, fierce shapes.

I saw this on the magazine rack at Walgreen’s a few weeks ago, squealed like a schoolgirl and immediately added it to my purchases. Yes, I know this contradicts some of the reasons I praised Janelle’s hair above, but I love a lot of different looks, sue me! And this one, oh man, Rihanna can pull it off with the two-tone color and the asymmetry and everything. I honestly didn’t give her music a second listen when she had her regular, pretty girl long hair. Then she started showing up with short looks, shaved parts and all sorts of angles and I started paying attention. I think more women need to bust out a short style, even if it’s just once in their lives. P.S. I am hopefully going to get to do a version of this hair on a client soon. RAPTURE!!!

I will confess to not listening to the music of English singer/songwriter Adele all that much. She has a song that used to play a lot at the last salon I worked at that I liked a lot, but I find the lion’s share of her music to be a bit dull. However, I have always dug the hell out of her hair! And she has tons of it! So see? I don’t hate all long hair. But while Adele’s been guilty of the boob-framing hair thing on occasion, she always rocks the fiercest fringe (that’s bangs for you non-pro folks) and she does an updo – especially a side chignon – like there is no tomorrow. Seriously, she could smuggle diamonds in that thing it’s so grandiose.

Yes, yes, yes, I know Victoria Beckham is a pretty divisive celebrity for a lot of folks. Trust me, I am not saying I find her all that useful or talented as far as celebrity figures go. But I will say this for her: the woman can wear the fuck out of a short haircut. Especially this bob that she wore last year and seems to be working her way back to again. This is the kind of haircut that can take someone from having a drab, suburban style to having something insanely sexystylishholyshitamazing and they still don’t have to do a lot of work to maintain it. This was the kind of haircut that Vidal Sassoon pioneered so people could look effortlessly stylish and not have to wrestle with products, tools and pins forever and a day. Gah, I love it. I love sculpting this look on someone’s head!

I swear, I am not putting Dame Judi Dench in here to pander to Snarky’s Machine and her endless love for La Dame. The fact is, this woman’s hair has rocked my world for quite a long time. To be honest, I would be thrilled if I my hair would do exactly what hers is doing here (mine has a little too much curl to it to quite do this shape). I love when older women do not surrender to the notion that being a certain age means you can’t have style or edge. I love how piece-y and tousled her hair looks yet there’s a strong shape to it and she wears it with utter confidence. I mean look at her: this woman is 75 and she has total style and looks as sharp as hell. And you know Jamie Lee Curtis totally takes a picture of her with her to her stylist and is all “Make me look like Dame Judi!!”

And finally, I want to address one of three celebrities pictured in the image at the start of this post. And that would be you, Sarah Jessica Parker. I want to show you a picture:

Do you remember when you had this amazing haircut? Let me remind you – it was season four of Sex & The City, before the show began its slow descent into schmaltzy soap territory and you brought Mikhail Baryshnikov on as your blandtastic beau and then finally got back together with Big for the 953rd time. It was back when you let your hair have it’s natural curl and you hadn’t sold your soul to the extension gods so you could perpetually look like you should be naked astride a white horse to get some taxation reform going. Maybe some tired queen told you that look made you young and maiden-like. Well, I am here to tell you that he’s wrong. You looked seriously fantastic with this hair. You need it back. Maybe if you get it back it will save you from either making SATC 3 or it will at least help it to not suck so eternally hard as SATC 2 did. Just think about it. If you’d like, you could even fly me to New York City to give you this haircut myself. Because, you know, there’s clearly not a hairstylist there brave enough to tell you to yank out those pieces and get to cutting. You think it over and give me a call, okay? Okay.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2010 9:55 am

    I love this post!! And I would contribute to a fund to send you to NYC to sit outside SJP’s apartment in the village with a sign offering a free haircut.

    I had a similar experience with Rihanna. That SOS song was ok, but once she shaved off her hair and told me to Shut Up and Drive, she got my attention.

  2. August 3, 2010 10:56 am

    Great examples. It seems to me that women think long hair = beauty so they go that way. It’s a bit easy to think that, especially with everyone saying it’s true! Also it seems that hair can be used as a “hide and seek” device… if you don’t have a lot of confidence that day, just pull the follicle curtain. There’s the Samson myth where people start believing they’re “better” if their hair is longer…

    As someone who has been bald, had short hair and now is back to shoulder length and getting longer, I have a different perspective (which I’m sure doesn’t fully count, since I’m a guy) but if you have long hair, the theory is you have more options… you can pony tail it or put it in pigtails or braids, wear it up or loose, tease it and mousse it and spray it for days into A B-52’s style so there are a lot of different looks you can achieve. This could be why the starlets favor that option, because you want every casting director to see all the different things your hair can do (that your acting ability probably cannot).

    Carey Mulligan reminds us that a beautiful face is your best asset! Not everyone can pull off that boy cut look… Mia, Winona, Natalie did, the late and lovely Persis Khambatta went bald in the first Star Trek movie and NCIS star Pauley Perrette did too, in real life, before she hit the big time:

    Personally, I think everyone should go bald for at least a few months as an adult, just so they can have the experience of hot water running across their bare scalp in the shower! I guess that has nothing to do with hairstyle advice, but it’s pretty neat.

  3. August 3, 2010 12:00 pm

    Omg, I loved the RUSSIAN. He was the only guy she dated she kind of “deserved” not the Deux Ex Smackina – nobody deserves that – but the kind of boyfriend that realistically has the kind of cheddar she sought in mates. Someone like Big would have already been snapped up by a far more ambitious woman – like Miranda.

    Anyhoo, I loved her hair from the end of season four to the episode “One” in season six. I loved the various stages of her shaggy cut with the razored layers. It was the perfect haircut. She wore some great outfits with her shorter do as well.

    Also, I had that above pictured hair in like 1999! Now I rock a big fro situation (most days) and I find it is much fresher and adds an instant chicness to my look. It’s also kinder to my hair than all that bonding, pressing, flat ironing and obsessive hair texture matching.

    Fantastic entry.

    I love shorter hair, but on myself I prefer chin length, but big hair. Either some kind of curled Monroe situation. a ‘fro, bouncy sausage curls, pincurls or a wispy, tousled bob.

    That mermaid hair, unless there’s some delicious locked situation is kind of played out.

  4. August 3, 2010 12:02 pm

    I’m guilty of using long hair as a “security blanket,” but not in the way one would think. I’m not afraid of losing my femininity or anything — I’ve had very short haircuts in the past and generally, I think I look better with shorter hair — it that I’m a woman in her mid-thirties and still don’t know how to style hair. I live in sleek ponytails (the one style I actually can do and like). I love Carey Mulligan’s hair, but mine grows so fast, and I don’t have the time nor the cash to keep it looking neat. Maybe someday.

  5. August 3, 2010 12:02 pm

    Also, I love Dame Judi’s iconic cut. I also enjoy Sophia Loren’s cloud hair and Camille Cosby’s silver fade. Diana Ross Jr. has a lovely, judicious take on big, glamorous hair.

    Can you get with Angela Bassett’s people? Just watched Contact and I don’t know what Ms. Angela has underneath that piece of road kill they put on her head, but someone needs to bring back her post divorce pixie from Waiting to Exhale.

    Ms. Angela is one gorgeous woman, so gorgeous, even the dizzying array of awful wigs she’s forced to wear on screen can’t conceal those stunning facial features. Does have Ellin LaVar’s digits?

  6. August 3, 2010 12:48 pm

    also, Helen Mirren looks good in that same look:

  7. August 3, 2010 4:19 pm

    I love, love, love short hair. Right now I’m working on getting the long hair look going, but only because I’m growing it out to donate. I plan on having a short razored shag at the end of this process, which will probably take another, oh, 50 years or so.

    I discovered the joys of short hair when I was 21. I’d had my hair short before then, but it was a horrible, traumatizing cut that made people confuse me for a boy (I was chubby 8-year-old tomboy). And it was just a bad cut. But I chopped all my hair off when I turned 21 in a sort of Shirley Manson-style cut. It looked faaabulous and made me appreciate good short cuts more.

  8. August 4, 2010 12:57 am

    Had a way busy day so I am replying to lots of folks at once!

    @Snarky’s: I totally consider the hair you described as short! I feel like anything that is just above the shoulders or shorter is “short hair”. This took me awhile to get since, in my mind, I have short hair so something just above the shoulders seems long to me. But in hairstylin’ world that is still considered short. And I NEVER have a problem with volume. And I think an “afro situation” is always totally chic and way sexy and standout. I freakin’ love Lisa Nicole Carson’s hair and “Diana Ross Jr”‘s hair too – gorgeous! And yes, it is criminal that Ms. Basset has had to wear some of the pieces she’s worn in films. CRIMINAL. I think she rocks short looks way better – they really compliment her strong bone structure and angular jaw line. I feel the same way about Halle Berry – short hair is so much more her. Long hair swallows her little face up.

    @nycepenpusher: I am totally on board with your ideas about long hair and it’s versatility IF people actually do lots with it. So many long haired folks seem to just put it up in a messy bun or ponytail day after day after day so it makes me wonder why they bother with it. At least some folks, like Kathy, rock a styled, sleek ponytail so it looks fresh and done.

    @Kathy: Like I said above, I *love* that you said “sleek ponytails”. I think a well styled ponytail is a thing of beauty. But most folks just wear them as if they’re about to wash their faces before going to bed. Sleek ponytails or even textured, curly ponytails are great, just so long as some effort is put into it. Also, a thought on the short looks for fast growing hair – with my clients who wear really short looks (men and women), I always have them book a free neck trim/texturizing appointment between cuts. That way I can clean up the perimeter and take some bulk out which extends the life of the cut. It only takes 15 minutes tops and it can really refresh the cut w/o having to do a full cut for the full price.

    @eieioj: I love that you’re growing your hair out to donate, that is awesome! And I have to tell you, it is SO much fun as a stylist to cut all that hair off in several ponytails and then get down to shaping and creating the hot new short cut. It’s like friggin’ hairstylist xmas or something.

  9. Octavia permalink
    August 4, 2010 3:58 am

    Pretty sure Janelle Monae is some kind of wonderful-haired awesome-shoed superhero. She wears a fancy cape and flies around fixing fashion crimes.

  10. August 4, 2010 9:04 am

    My hair is frizzy, coarse and with big curls that only come out when it gets long. I’ve had it nearly down to shoulder length, had big ringlet curls, even did a ginormous ‘fro back in the big-hair 70s. In recent years I kept it short out of sheer laziness, but lately I’ve been getting better about using product and — most importantly — not washing it every single day, and now I’m really enjoying the curls again. I have great appreciation for stylists everywhere who patiently wait for their clients — or nudge them — to gain the confidence to stray from the mainstream.

  11. Alyx Vesey permalink
    August 4, 2010 9:13 am

    Short hairstyles are for winners.

    Also, I think the inclusion of Carrie’s season four chop in this list, though wonder how we’re relating her hair length to her relationship status. Carrie cut her hair after she and Aidan decisively split and kept it throughout the “barren” fifth season. As it’s not uncommon for women to do this following a breakup, I wonder how we associate hair length with heterosexual monogamy.

  12. jenn permalink
    August 4, 2010 10:07 am

    i have always longed, longingly longed, after SJP’s hair from season 4. everything from the length to the curl to the auburn in back/blond in front color. of course i don’t have her face shape to pull it off, nor the coarse curly hair, but it is one of my all time favorite looks. distinct, yet still her. and it made her look younger, but not in a juvenile or desperate, clinging-to-youth way.

  13. August 4, 2010 11:42 am

    Jenn, I think the bob she has looks great with course curly textured hair.

  14. hsofia permalink
    August 4, 2010 5:37 pm

    What a fun, thoughtful post. I’ve felt slightly exasperated with my hair most of my life, not having had a professional hair cut until I was in my mid to late 20s. And even then, only one of the six or seven stylists I’ve been to has been able to cut it evenly. The one stylist who did a good job is the guy I found to cut my hair to less than 1/2 inch. He maintained it for me and I looked as chic as this afrohemian can look. Unfortunately, when I talked about growing it out, he talked about “texturizing” it. So back to the self ‘dos for me. I’d love to be more adventurous, but haven’t found a good stylist who doesn’t balk at trying to deal with natural hair. I feel like to get a really good styled cut, I’ll *have* to straighten/relax it. I’m finally understanding why white girls with curly hair are constantly straightening their hair.

    The second SJP photo is great! I had forgotten about that ‘do, but she really did look fabulous with it. My favorite SJP styles are from season 1 (when her hair was darker and more casual), and when she would wear the curly, casual bun (season 2 or 3). I did NOT like those Massive Bullet Buns she started wearing in season 3 or 4. I didn’t care for the long J-Lo/Jennifer Aniston honey blonde look that’s apparently put everyone in hollywood in a hair style coma.

    Also, I loved Mikail Baryshnikov’s character! He had some definite problems, but there was something sexy about him. But I knew Carrie wouldn’t stay with him. She is too conservative for that.

  15. IrishUp permalink
    August 4, 2010 7:11 pm

    Sharon Stone also rocks the short haircut.

    I’ve stopped dying mine. I’ve got trademark Black-Irish hair (fine yet wavy-to-curly) that is probably 60% to the silver-white it’s going to be. I’ve been looking for a cut that is in the Dame Judi/Sharon Stone/Halle Berry mold, but I just came across this cut, and I may be in lurve….

  16. August 4, 2010 8:37 pm

    I love Sharon Stone’s sassy cut! Gotta give props to Anita Baker who brought the sexy back with her iconic sassy edumucated black mom hair cut in the 80s.

  17. August 4, 2010 8:40 pm

    Also, agreed on Halle. Didn’t she and Mia Farrow settle the debate regarding short hair being incredibly sexy? Now they both rock long hair and I miss their short cuts.

  18. August 4, 2010 8:42 pm

    @hsofia: I think it’s really challenging to find stylists who can work with natural hair and be innovative and fresh with it. I am still learning myself, but I think since my hair has a bit of coarseness and wave of its own it’s at least a little easier for me to relate to some curly, wavy textures. I actually find totally straight hair more of a challenge to work with because it shows every little cut and mark. Oh and I totally agree about SJP’s “massive bullet buns” as SATC progressed – they were just too much and were far too styled for something she did at home. One thing I am noticing more in TV and movies is people who are supposed to be everyday folk who are so clearly styled by pros. This gets really distracting when I rewatch later seasons of Buffy – SMG is always blown out and flat ironed whenever she shows up for a battle that she supposedly just ran home to grab some weapons for!

    @IrishUp: I think that cut on Sharon Stone is great! She always looks good with short styles. She did a pixie look awhile back that was fantastic. And I love that other hairstyle you linked to! It’s got so much movement and depth to it.

  19. August 4, 2010 9:22 pm

    Oh and I totally agree about SJP’s “massive bullet buns” as SATC progressed – they were just too much and were far too styled for something she did at home.

    Whew. I thought maybe I just didn’t have the chops to perfect that bun! Mine always seemed more school marmish and less ballerina than hers! I really liked the one she rocked in the second episode of season three, when she was coming home from shopping and saw that skeevy politician sitting on her front steps.

  20. August 4, 2010 10:16 pm

    YES YES YES about the Buffy hair. The first seasons were at least believable (and Cordy had no reason to mock SMG’s hair, because it was still obviously professionally done).

  21. evmaroon permalink
    August 4, 2010 11:23 pm

    I fell in love with this post! That’s karinkydink krazee! But I did, I fell in love with it! More, please!!!

  22. Kia permalink
    August 5, 2010 3:39 pm

    I have not been able to log in for quite some time but am so happy to be able to comment on hair!

    The lack of originality in Hollywood hair mirrors what I see in my day to day life. Except long, dead over processed hair is even worse of course.

    I’ve been all over the map lengthwise and having sworn off chemical relaxers several years back I’m thrilled with all of the info online regarding styling natural hair.

    BTW Harry Potter’s Emma Watson is now rocking a pixie cut.

  23. August 5, 2010 3:50 pm

    Kia, isn’t Emma’s hair so freaking cute?

  24. August 5, 2010 5:19 pm

    I love big hair, like Lisa Nicole Carson and Tracee Ellis Ross. I say it again and again, the bigger my hair the more confident I feel.

  25. August 5, 2010 6:38 pm

    oh my gosh, I love Emma’s hair in that picture! It really suits her.

  26. August 5, 2010 7:58 pm

    I am wondering if Emma’s hair deserves its own li’l post. It’s freaking adorable!

  27. evmaroon permalink
    August 5, 2010 8:00 pm

    She looks like Natalie Portman in that photo. Whoda thunk it?

  28. hsofia permalink
    August 6, 2010 1:07 am

    re: Emma’s hair – she has a lovely face and big eyes; that style is gorgeous on her.
    re: Buffy’s hair – hahaha. I’ve noticed that (I’ve been making my way through the seasons). Especially as Buffy never once mentions her hair or seems to ever go to a hairdresser. Yet she gets more and more glam (and she, too, went honey blonde, in season 5 or 6).

    @snarkysmachine – Halle’s hair is short again. I don’t know when she cut it, but it was short during the Golden Globes and earlier this summer. It’s not the same style as it used to be, but it’s definitely above the ears.

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