Cutting-Edge Hair News, 2005

In 2004, Sarah McLachlan was a winner. In fact, she was a winner here - as you declared her the woman with the best hair at the 2004 Grammy Awards. But at the 2005 American Music Awards, the singer showed quite a different style; loose waviness turned into a short sidepart which doesn't even reach her shoulders.

Our voters were noticeably divided about this change. While 55 percent of you prefer McLachlan's locks longer, 45 percent do not (12-10). All the comments we received preferred the new look. One wrote a short style "fits the shape of her face better and makes her look cuter." Another boldly claimed the old style seemed like there were "dark brown raman noodles over her head." (Did this voter check in during a lunch hour?)

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: .


Left photo courtesy Luis Palau

Cece Winans is one of the most famous names in gospel music - but we've never seen her wearing one of those extra-large "go-to-church" hats. She lets the hair show, and she's worn it well over the years. It's been nice and presentable, without getting in the way of her musical message.

Winans' latest album cover shows a return to long straight locks, compared to a short and somewhat spiky of recent years. The change brings an "amen" from Hair Fans, with a large 81-percent majority voting for length (22-5). One voter commented about the short look: "Did she cut it herself?" We'll take that as a creative form of constructive criticism.


She's been the definition of a "Boho" fashion trend in 2005 - so much so that Sienna Miller received her own "star style" page in the fall InStyle Makeover special edition. Her long loose hair helped illustrate the casual approach. So it was quite a surprise when Miller showed up at a celebrity event in November with a much shorter cut, and plenty of bangs. Surely this couldn't be in reaction to her romantic troubles with Jude Law, could it?

It turns out Hair Fans didn't feel burnt by Sienna's change at all. Our one-week poll found 69 percent of you support the shorter style (24-11) - which regular visitors know goes against our general trend. "Finally a cut with some style," one backer wrote. "Not all women should look like Barbie." One person even wrote using Sienna Miller's name, suggesting she "go a bit shorter." (C'mon Sienna - e-mail us if that's really you, because we want to chat!)

But other voters say Miller went too far: "Any shorter, and she could brush it with a toothbrush!" And one even speculated of a hair attack, as "a cruel prankster sneaked up behind her with some electric clippers." Well, at least she's smiling bravely despite those bangs hitting her eyes.


We're hesitant to say actress Anne Hathaway is "lucky" to have fabulous long hair. But it's certainly been an attention-grabber in movies such as Ella Enchanted (c'mon, do you really think it was unpinned in so many scenes by accident?) - and it's worthy of display on magazine covers, such as the December Lucky. But that cover brought out something we'd never seen from Hathaway before: bangs across her forehead.

One Hair Fan told us this change actually occurred as far back as June - but is it a good change? Our one-week poll found 63 percent of voters unimpressed (15-9). "Dear Ms. Hathaway," wrote one, "bangs went out of style in the 80s and even a few years back." (Really? We've noticed other Hollywood stars with them lately.) But another praised Hathaway for bangs which "really bring out her beautiful, deep, big brown eyes!" (We're not sure about that, either -- since wouldn't Hair Fans be drawn to the bangs first?) We agree with the other commenters who declared Hathaway looks great either way -- and would point out bangs are a good way to keep long hair from falling in the eyes, which may really be her goal.


To be honest, we'd forgotten about Shakira. We didn't know the Colombian singing star had a new English-language album, or had her music playing on Top 40 radio stations in the U.S. But when she appeared at the 2005 American Music Awards, her long layered waves impressed us - and enough of you agreed to name her hair the best of the show.

"Jenny McCarthy is a joke, right?" one voter wrote during our week-long A.M.A. poll. Well, maybe not - as her retro-70's blown-dry brink-of-disaster sidepart engaged Shakira in a two-headed race for the title. Shakira wins by 39 to 32 percent. One Shakira backer openly admitted displeasure with her hair being "not as long and not as blonde." But they both win applause from us for displaying great-looking, high-risk, tempting hair.

Former "best of show" winner here Sarah McLachlan went shorter this year, and fell into a third-place tie at 11 percent with Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child. Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland had to settle for eight percent.


When Hair Fans gather to talk about their special interest, the discussion can be fascinating. We were reminded of that when we posted five candidates for the best hair at the 2005 Country Music Association awards. The comments were not about the singing, but about technical details such as how heavy a mousse to use for hold -- and even about whether some stars had well-prepared styles, or a well-rounded ball of (shudder) "frizz."

Martina McBride wound up the runaway winner of our week-long poll for the best CMA style, as she gained 58 percent of the vote. The support was so overwhelming that we suspected a McBride fan club showed up to back her, but we couldn't find any online evidence to prove it. American Idol champion Carrie Underwood put in a surprisingly strong second-place showing, at 17 percent. Then came Faith Hill with 11 percent and Gretchen Wilson with six percent.

Hill was a strong write-in candidate among commenters during our Academy of Country Music Awards poll in May - and A.C.M. winner Sara Evans had write-in support from eight percent of you this time. "Fantastic style and length," one person wrote. But a debate raged pro and con, about the other contenders:

"Martina.... her long hair looks so much better on her than the shorter styles she had a few years back."

"Martina's hair is too limp.... Looks like she didn't wash it that day."

"I was glad to see that Faith had longer hair again, but she needs more blonde in it." (What -- she colors it?!?!)

"Faith's is the best: not too big, not limp or oily looking like Martina's."

"Redneck woman's (Wilson) is too redneck."

"Just about every female at the awards show was trying to see how much of a frizz ball they could be." (Apparently not a compliment.)

We would add only one note to all of this -- our disappointment with Norah Jones. Her wispy pulled-back style appeared to fall in her left eye while at the piano. For her great style to be defeated this way almost seems criminal.


Match this woman against not one but two famous supermodels on a web site, and she normally shouldn't stand a chance with voters. But in our 2004 EuroCup, BBC News veteran Gwenan Edwards proved her hair had understated strength that can win -- finishing first in her group, and fourth overall. So when we did an updated search for Super-Hair World Cup II qualifying, we were surprised to find Edwards seemingly growing out her Top Ten quality short style to shoulder length with a flip.

Is this the right direction for the host of travel program(me)s? Hair Fans weren't quite sure what to think, over the nine days of our poll. While 48 percent like the longer look, 52 percent do not (13-14). And one commenter dared to offer a third option: neither one. Ouch -- maybe that's why Edwards didn't win the qualifying round for Wales in 2005, after surprising Catherine Zeta-Jones a year before.


When you see someone on TV day after day, it can be easy to forget how that person used to look several years ago. We'd forgotten about the short, tight style Robin Meade displayed when she first arrived at CNN Headline News from Chicago. That look is a distant memory now, replaced as of late October by a face-hugging style which seems to imitate somewhat the current comeback of the shag style.

We asked you if Meade was right to grow out the old style - and there was little doubt in Hair Fans' minds, as 83 percent supported the change in our one-week poll (24-5). Yet several voters seemed disappointed with the current picture we showed. Why? "It was longer a few months ago," one explained. Another reported finding pictures "with her hair about bra strap length that look the best. Keep it long, Robin," the man pleaded.


We thank a Hair Fan for reminding us of one of the first politicians to make our Top Ten Tresses list. Katherine Harris was Florida Secretary of State at the time; now she's in the U.S. House. Are there enough quality styles like hers, to allow for a new Crown Award: "Best Hair in Government and Politics?" We think we can find them, but some voters in our poll on the issue weren't so sure.

"When I think of female politicians, Super-Hair does NOT leap to mind," one argued; "more time should be spent on BMOC or best NFL cheerleader hair!" Hmmm - we hadn't thought that much about the cheerleaders. All that turning, twisting, bending, bouncing, flexingggggggggggg....

Oops, sorry. Suffice to say, our two-week poll on this question ended with division: 53 percent like the idea of a new Crown Award, while 47 percent do not (10-9) - so look for it on the ballot!


It wasn't that long ago that Jules Asner had men in general twitching a bit with excitement. Even Hair Fans openly admired straight, long locks which the E! host took care to keep in perfect position. They made our Top Ten list at one point, too -- but then around 2003, Asner cut her hair to neck-length. She's been growing it back out ever since, but should she have made "the chop" in the first place?

Our one-week poll made it clear: Hair Fans felt Asner "Revealed" too much of her shoulders with that cut. A large 68-percent majority say her locks should stay long (17-8). One voter wondered if Asner made the chop herself -- though as a Hollywood correspondent, we'd guess she would have turned to a Rodeo Drive stylist for that. Another bluntly made a hair-career connection: "Pre-cut, star of E-news and graces cover of Maxim.... post-cut, Life&Style and nothing else." (Ouch!)


When a woman dares to change a familiar style - especially an attractive and winning style - she takes a chance. Maybe the adjustment will work, and even improve appearance; maybe it will look awkward and prove hard to handle. In the case of Louisville's City League champion, the admirers of Angie Glotzbach seem to support it.

Glotzbach revealed to us in Super Hair Q&A she'd grown out the short style we posted during the City League tournament. She sent us an updated picture, and a one-week poll found 60 percent of you like the new look (12-8). One commenter offered a warning: "I think it looks good both ways, but she shouldn't grow it out much longer if at all lest the length weighs it down and it starts to just fall and lose style." Check our interview with Glotzbach, and you'll find she uses some "extras" to keep that from happening - and that sort of effort can produce true "Super-Hair."


It was a TV moment which would have left many Hair Fans clutching the sides of their lounge chairs to stay under control. On an early episode of According to Jim, Courtney Thorne-Smith shook her head back and forth in front of Jim Belushi for seemingly 15 to 20 seconds -- all to show off what she called her "thick lustrous hair." We knew it was, even if Jim didn't. While the hold isn't perfect, it's delightful to watch -- especially when it's well prepared, and placed close to her eyes.

Thorne-Smith's signature look has been short, so we've been surprised in recent months to see her add a few inches. The style now falls a bit below the shoulder - and Hair Fans are divided about whether this is good for her. The longer look prevailed in our week-long poll, but with only 56 percent of you (15-12). In fact, a different debate arose in our comments section: should Thorne-Smith get rid of her bangs? Would her hair look better without them, or is she cuter with them? To be continued....


Courtesy KABC-TV,

In sports, the battle of "youth versus experience" always makes for a classic confrontation. In Super-Hair, it can be the same way. A veteran actress and a teenager emerged as the top two tresses at the 2005 Emmy Awards - and our one-week poll ended with Marcia Cross and Alia Shawkat tied for top honors.

Cross certainly is better known, from Desperate Housewives -- and her TV flip was turned into inviting waves for the awards. She earned 38 percent of the vote. But so did Shawkat, who may be new to you unless you watched the comedy Arrested Development. Her long hair with hints of curls at the ends also received 38 percent. Emmy-winning veteran Blythe Danner gained 10 percent, and impressed us by showing hair can have tempting movement and where-it-counts hold at age 61. Alyson Hannigan of the new comedy How I Met Your Mother also received 10 percent.


At first glance, you might think the cover of the September Elle magazine shows Jennifer Lopez with an up-do. But she's up to something more than that. Lopez told talk show host Regis Philbin 9 September she's changed from long hair to a "shorter look." To borrow from a cover story in this issue, perhaps the question Hair Fans are "dying to ask" is - why?

Our nine-day poll found J-Lo's higher hair kicked off the block (get it?) by 85 percent of you (23-4). "What are women thinking?" one voter complained. "They grow their hair long, and then chop it off in some nasty short style." Another person had a hair flashback: "At least Raquel Welch waited 'til she was older to do that to her hair."

Then there was the voter who compared the Lopez look to a "rat's nest.... just washed and mussed up with a lot of gel and/or spray!" Some Hair Fans would rather do the mussing themselves, you know -- and they might want to try it with a look like this one.


Many Hair Fans seem to be food fans as well, because they like the looks of Rachael Ray from TV's Food Network. Yet the pictures we posted of her brought complaints that we weren't showing her current style - even though we "borrowed" photos from her channel's web site. At last we saw what they meant on a rerun of The Oprah Winfrey Show in late August: shoulder-length and flared a bit.

So has Ray improved on her above-the-shoulder style of recent times? Our nine-day poll found 64 percent of you think so (18-10). The only voter to leave a comment wrote not of Ray's hair, but of a voice he claimed is becoming "louder and more irritating." (You don't think this person's perspective changed, once Ray announced her engagement?!) We were disappointed to see Ray's hall fall in her eyes during a taped part of her segment with Winfrey. Slaving over a hot stove can do that....


Courtesy TV Heads

When a great style is nominated for our Hot List, we give it immediate attention. When it's hair belonging to a familiar face who's been on display for years, we find that a bit surprising. Yet Linda Stouffer of CNN Headline News gained a Hot List nomination, for letting bangs grow out with a slightly flared sidepart. It demanded we ask a question, though: is this one Hair Fan's opinion, or do others agree?

We asked you to compare Stouffer's new look with one which received a 2003 Crown Award nomination -- and the new look prevailed with 60 percent of the voters (15-10). "The loss of the outward flip is a great improvement for her," wrote one voter. Another suggested Stouffer adjust even more: "grow longer, maybe a couple inches below her shoulders." While the new look appears less processed, it's certainly a riskier style. You'll have to watch Stouffer on TV, to see if she makes any wrong moves to bring the hair down.


Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Whoever created The Dukes of Hazzard was a marketing genius. The 1980's TV show had a fast car for dramatic chase scenes, handsome studs to draw in women, and a good-looking gal for men who aren't that thrilled with cars. And to make absolutely sure plenty of guys were interested, the gal had to have head-turning hair. That was true with Catherine Bach, the original "Daisy Duke" of the TV series - and it's apparently true of Jessica Simpson in the 2005 movie version.

We arranged a Daisy Duke Duel between these beauties - and while other online surveys rate Bach either hotter or smarter, Hair Fans declared Simpson the one with better hair. The one-week race ended with Simpson winning 62 percent of the vote (18-11), and praise for a style that's "fuller and thicker.... gorgeous!" But to be honest, we've seen both Daisies with defeated hair over the years; breezy afternoons in the countryside can do that.


Regular followers of our Top Ten Tresses list and readers of our newsletter know we haven't been too thrilled with Kelly Tilghman in recent months. Her basic hairstyle really hasn't changed. But she's been throwing sections behind her ears much more on The Golf Channel - a safe move, but not the daring fully-loose approach we've come to expect from her. Yet Hair Fans must not be that disappointed, as she's at the top of our "rank the Top Ten" leaderboard for the third year in a row!

The week-long poll to pick the number-one style in the world was the tightest yet. Tilghman ties for first for the second time, as she and newcomer Erica Blasberg have 25 percent of the vote each. (Hair Fans = golf fans?!) Not far behind in a third-place tie with 17 percent are TV reporter Jennifer London and meteorologist Alexandra Steele (who made a nice comeback, after some disappointing showings in votes here). AAA Cup champion Amanda Coetzer tied for fifth with the curls of Melina Kanakaredes, each with eight percent.

The poll was not good news for four Top Ten members; Stephanie Dhue, Renee Goldsberry, Carolyn Peck and Debbie Wasserman Schultz received no votes at all. In fact, the Congresswoman received the only comment from a voter -- and it was negative, opposing our rating her #1 in early August. Talk about a fast fall....


Courtesy Kaptured For You

We've actually asked you about one late-afternoon star of CNBC before. When Maria Bartiromo changed hairstyles literally during a trading session in March 2004, the stock market went up a bit -- but Hair Fans voted the new bang-filled look down. But time may have changed your mood about this style.

A new nine-day poll finds 57 percent of voters like the length, as opposed to Bartiromo's classic short look from a few years ago (24-18). But we agree with what one person left as a comment: "the longer style looks messy and doesn't flatter the shape of her face." (Do you think she's growing it out until the Dow hits a record high?) Another wrote of Bartiromo's cuts: "Like it both ways, but she needs to keep it out of her eyes." If it should "go," please let us know....


Left photo courtesy The Women We Love

Do you know someone who watches the Weather Channel for hours at a time? Maybe it's a budding meteorologist - or maybe you've found a Hair Fan. Several women with top-quality hair appear there every week, enough to start a great discussion about whose style is best. It may be time to add Kim Perez to that discussion, based on her changing from a short cut to a soft neck-length look.

Hair Fans strongly supported Perez's change in our one-week poll, giving her 81 percent approval (25-6). One voter declared Perez now looks younger. Another showed no shame, comparing the shorter style this way: "someone squashed a kiwi bird on her head." (Well, maybe that's why Perez made the change - we don't think she's from New Zealand.)


Courtesy TV Heads

The last several months have brought surprising changes for NBC News correspondent Norah O'Donnell. The first came when she moved away from the White House to a "chief Washington correspondent" job for MSNBC (replaced curiously by another O'Donnell, Kelly). That disappointed us. But then came June, and "Norah-O" downright shocked us. The pageboy she made famous in Washington, which proved so well-constructed and indestructible it spent a long time on our Top Ten Tresses list and provided good Hair Watch drama, seemingly was turned around. The part is now on the other side, and flipped tips make the style seem a bit shorter.

We wondered what you thought of the switch -- and the outcome surprised us yet again. Our one-week poll found strong 61-percent support of O'Donnell's change (11-7). While no one left a comment, perhaps it's because the new look seems "summer-y" and comes across less like a helmet. After thinking it over, she's probably still using the same amount of hairspray to keep the hair in position. But we'd guess the new approach is more challenging to keep in place; hopefully she'll be allowed outside the office to show us.


Courtesy Yahoo Movies

Based on what we've seen, actress Gabrielle Union just might have Super-Hair. She's displayed a variety of styles in movies and magazines - and none of them ever seem to be in her eyes. They've ranged from sleek shoulder-length in "Breakin' All the Rules" to long curls in a 2005 film version of "The Honeymooners."

So to borrow from a New Hampshire newspaper, which look is the "Union Leader?" Our one-week survey went against the usual trend here, as 59 percent of you recommend the shorter look (10-7). No one left a comment explaining why in either direction -- but obviously the longer the style, the most challenging the hold should be. So we're keeping our eyes on Union's current look -- and give her credit for adding the curls for control.


It was Jaime Colby who told Super-Hair Q&A in 2004: "Once you flip, you never go back." So when the cable reporter sent a "Fox News Alert" directly to our InBox, it was a stunning announcement: "The flip is gone.... we're moving on!" The flared style which Colby called "liberating" went through a two-step change: first she removed the flipped tips while keeping her normal short style (left, from June) - then surprised us even more by growing out the style to shoulder-length (right, from 3 July).

For the first time, we had to restart a Cutting-Edge poll because a style changed beyond what we originally thought. But Hair Fans don't mind a bit, as they give Colby's new long look a 66-percent yes vote. As for the short styles, only 10 percent prefer the flip while 24 percent like the basic cut with no flares. (19-3-7)

Colby described her new look for us as having waves, but some "chunky sections." One voter speculated she's using more gel or spray to keep the hair in place. Another wrote: "I always wondered how she would look with longer hair and now the guessing is done. I really like the change but not to crazy about the side swept bangs." Colby's indicating to us this style is a work in progress, and not final yet. But there seems to be no doubt about one thing: hair which held with amazing firmness under tough conditions now is at even greater risk of collapsing. It will be fascinating to watch in action.


Right photo courtesy The Bosh

To read and watch the entertainment journals/tabloids, Sharon Stone recently has either been a bad parent for leaving a child in a car, or a loving mother for adopting a child. But of course, Hair Fans have a different issue. Should Stone be growing out the tight short cut she's had for years (shown above at the 2005 Academy Awards) to the length she had early in her movie career? It's a bit below the shoulders as we post this - and a narrow majority of you like the change.

Our one week poll found 53 percent support Stone going longer (16-14). "It is about time she grew her hair longer," one voter wrote. "She is one of those women who should have never taken the chop." But another disagreed noticeably: "I always felt she should have gone even shorter.... She looked great in a short pixie, and might have been able to pull off a long crewcut with bangs." What futuristic movie is that writer casting?


Courtesy BBC News

When we mention the name "Destiny's Child," whose name comes to mind first - and whose hair comes to mind first? We suspect on both counts, the answer would be the woman in the middle of our photo above. Beyonce Knowles has developed a solo music career, a series of modeling and commercial endorsements - and eye-catching, "let-me-at-it" long hair prepared to some extent by her stylist/mother.

With Destiny's Child announcing its 2005 tour would be its last as a group, the time seemed right to ask if Beyonce really has the best style of the three. Our one-week poll confirmed she does, but not with the runaway margin you might think. Knowles received 53 percent of the vote, while Kelly Rowland (at left in our photo) edged Michelle Williams for second place by 27 to 20 percent (8-4-3).

(We should note all of these styles are defeated, by our Super-Hair definition - but if we had to choose only one for an evening on the town, we'd probably pick Kelly. Her short style would be a tougher challenge to bring down. And her appearances in horror movies might give her experience in fighting to keep something "alive.")


From Baghdad bombings to Michael Jackson's trial, Teri Okita covers all sorts of stories for CBS News. And for years, she's done it with carefully-prepared medium-long hair - usually behind the shoulders, almost always behind the ears and frequently combed back at the forehead. It's a look that's safe, strong and tempting at the same time -- but she changed in the U.S. spring of 2005, trimming it to shoulder length with layers on the left side.

Is Okita's new look OK with you? Our one-week poll found most Hair Fans saying no - as 54 percent want the longer hair to return (13-11). But the comments section praised the short style as "more professional," as opposed to a long look which was declared "too flat" on the air. (And hair near the left eye is also riskier, if she has to do a live report outside; look how she's leaning in that right photo.) As for the voter who commented on women who "cut their grown-out bangs and let them hang in their face" -- we agree it's a bad choice. But at least Okita is trying to keep the bangs out here. It'll be worth watching, to see if she can succeed.


She may forever carry the label of "runaway bride," but we're not sure that's completely fair to Jennifer Wilbanks. Yes, we saw the mug shots from her series of arrests in Georgia. Yet we think she's physically attractive - due in part to well-cut hair, which she might be able to wear unpinned in the marathons she runs.

When Wilbanks took her longest run of all, from Atlanta to Las Vegas, she chopped her mid-length hair to about chin-length. The afghan came off her head for a court appearance 2 June, and we wondered if she'd made a good style change. Our one-week poll found Hair Fans quite split: 50 percent prefer it shorter, 50 percent longer (11-11).

"I'd have liked to seen her right after she hacked her own hair off," one voter wrote. "I like the style now, the shorter hair looks fuller as it's not weighted down." But another was not so compassionate with Wilbanks: "Since part of her lie was to cut her own hair, I think part of her punishment should be for the next year she has to cut her own hair using a pair of electric clippers and she has to have her eyes closed and wear boxing gloves." (This makes us wonder if that's Don King's approach.)


Maybe we asked the wrong question about season four of American Idol. Maybe we should have asked which finalist would win a Super-Hair War - Bo Bice or Carrie Underwood. (We did that in season one, and Kelly Clarkson beat Justin Guarini.) Instead, we gave honor to the champion and her great thick blonde mane - asking if you think Underwood should keep her hair curled, as on the night she was named the winner, or straight as she had it the following day on The Tonight Show.

Our one-week survey left little doubt, as 68 percent of you want Underwood to keep it straight (19-9). While no one left a comment, her natural straightness allows her plenty of style options. She wore extensions on occasions during the competition, and can add the curls for special occasions -- although if you watched carefully, a strip of curls hit her right eye just after she was declared the winner.

(If you're captivated by Carrie's hair, we understand there's a larger-than-life billboard of her outside her Oklahoma home town - straight, loose and fabulous.)


When "Other" shows up second in the race for best hair at an awards show, we suppose we could take that as a slap in the face. But with the 2005 Academy of Country Music Awards, we're looking on the bright side - because we admit a lot of women displayed marvelous styles. Cutting our nomination list to five truly was tough. And that's why "Other" is an option in the first place -- because we realize Hair Fans have a wide range of preferences.

The only woman to top "Other" at the Las Vegas show was singer Sara Evans, shown above. Adding some bangs to her medium-long hair helped her gain 33 percent of the votes in our ten-day poll, as well as style control. (We could do without those blonde streaks, though. Maybe that's why one voter claimed Evans "looks like she just walked off the set of Laugh-In.")

Then came Lee Ann Womack, with hair so close to her face it appeared only an eyelash kept it out. She seemingly didn't want to dare moving on stage -- and the high-risk hold paid off with 19 percent support. Reba McEntire was offered as a short-hair choice, and finished with 16 percent. Backstage interviewer Molly Sims showed supermodel hair strength, but only took seven percent. Presenter Michelle Stafford from the Young and the Restless received five percent, but also questions about "feathered Farrah hair." (As if that's wrong?!?!)

So who did the "Others" want to see on our ballot? One voter offered several names. "Did you see Heidi [Newfield] from Trick Pony with her long blonde hair...." (Yes we did, and we wondered where she'd been.)

"....or Faith Hill finally decided to have long hair again." (We posted very late because of her - but when she sang, the curls seemed a bit too loose and unruly compared with other styles.)

"What about Gretchen Wilson with her want to touch hair." (She keeps surprising us with her style control, but it struck us as run-of-the-mill compared with others on this program.)

We may not agree on whose hair was best, but can we all agree and rejoice that there's plenty of great hair in country music these days? On this night, there was much to admire - and hardly any styles collapsed during the live telecast.


Left photo courtesy

Let's make one thing clear right away: our poll on Trish Bergin was about her hair - not her work as co-anchor on Inside Edition Weekend. We say this because on the final day of the one-week survey, a television news web site reported Bergin was being dropped from the show. We don't know if it had anything to do with a style change she made in April, trimming shoulder-length strands to a chin-length bob.

Would you have called Bergin into your office, after seeing this shorter cut? Hair Fans were sharply divided about it, with 52.5 percent against the change while 47.5 percent are for it (21-19). Bergin's styles sparked the most interesting hair debate we've had on any poll in a while:

"She looks cuter and younger with the bangs!"

"NO Good - I saw her on TV last night and the new style looks even worse live. She should have left it long."

"NO comparison! You can really see just how pretty she is now! Stunning!"

"They could have won the short vote if her hair was an inch or two below her jaw line, and left those nasty bangs long instead of letting them hang in her face."

"I like it both ways. Wish she would have split the difference." That's the opinion we lean toward here -- and if Bergin grows out this new style an inch or two, it will look softer and less severe. As it is now, though, she apparently still has to tuck hair behind an ear to ensure the short style doesn't fall into her face.


The first time we saw Valorie Kondos Field coaching women's gymnastics at UCLA, we thought we'd found the sister of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They looked so much alike, right down to witty personality and long waves. But for the 2005 national championships, "Miss Val" (as she calls herself online) trimmed the waves several inches so they barely touched the shoulders.

It's perhaps a more mature look, but is it best for her? Hair Fans certainly did not award a perfect ten here - marking her change down sharply, with two-thirds preferring a return to longer locks (10-5). Our apologies for web server problems which marred our eight-day poll, and may have prevented some of you from voting.


In 2002 actress Selma Blair made the cover of Teen People magazine - then made our Hot List. We admired a cut which was long enough to be flexible and playful, yet well-trimmed enough to stick tightly if need be and stay out of her eyes. But Blair apparently wasn't satisfied there. Early 2005 issues of InStyle showed she's grown her style out to shoulder-length, with some downright dangerous bangs.

Did Blair make the right move with this change? This was a tough decision for Hair Fans -- but our one-week poll ended with the longer look favored by 54 percent of you (14-12). You'd never know from our comments section that this vote was close. "What's with girls going with boys' haircuts?" was one example. "With short hair, she looks like one of Mike Brady's sons!" (That's a Brady Bunch reference, for younger readers.) Another turned the poll into a trivia question, comparing short-haired Blair to "that kid from The Courtship of Eddie's Father."

(Trivia answer: Brandon Cruz.)


"I just wanted to say I love your Web site. LOVE it!" With those words, Marina Harrison made Super-Hair history - as the first subject of a Cutting-Edge Hair News poll to write us while the survey about her was in progress!

Hair Fans with good memories may have noticed something familiar about Harrison, as they watched the Miss U.S.A. 2005 pageant (right). The woman representing Maryland made our Hot List in 2003, when she competed as "Miss Maryland" in the Miss America pageant (left). Winning two high-profile state pageants in two years is no small accomplishment. And we were struck by how she changed her hair a bit for Miss U.S.A. -- going much straighter, with less volume and a bit more length.

Is Harrison's hair hotter now than two years ago? Most voters in our eight-day poll say yes - giving the change a big 85-percent approval rating (11-2). Yes, Harrison DID vote -- and we found out which way in an interview for Super-Hair Q&A. We're also curious about something else she wrote: "The recent poll.... has to be the funniest thing I've seen in months. You are really adding to my list of party stories."

(We should note Harrison finished in the top five at Miss America, but only the top ten at Miss U.S.A. Did the judges disapprove of the style change -- or were they actually looking at the ten finalists' swimsuits?)


She's arguably the biggest sinner on Wisteria Lane - showing a lot of skin in the bedroom, with a gardener who seemingly can't get his hands off her. Perhaps he does on TV what some Hair Fans dream they could do in private: get their hands on Eva Longoria and her thick layered locks, which often rest at the brink of falling in her eyes. They voted her hair the best of the Desperate Housewives cast members.

Our one-week poll was inspired by a cover story in Vanity Fair magazine, and a flood of rumors with it about the ladies holding catfights in front of the photographer. Longoria led the voting with 48 percent, followed by Teri Hatcher (voted best at the 2005 Golden Globes) with 38 percent. The other stars didn't do so well: Marcia Cross with seven percent, then Felicity Huffman and Nicolette Sheridan at three percent each. No one chose recent addition Lesley Ann Warren -- admittedly a sentimental choice for "old-school" Hair Fans who remember her tempting curls from Mission: Impossible years ago.

Interestingly, Longoria won despite a public appearance in Hollywood midway through the poll, in which her hair looked like this - across her face and very messy. But then again, could this be what Hair Fans are dreaming about?!?


As we post this, Alabama's softball team is ranked #11 in the country. Utility player Jordan Praytor wears #2, emerging as a star batter even as a freshman. And in the eyes of Hair Fans, she's certainly #1 -- topping seven other "Best Manes on Campus" in our second annual search for the best collegiate style of all.

Our one-week survey found Praytor in command throughout, finishing with 54 percent of your votes. Then came a tie for second between Arizona cheerleader Krista Garland and veteran Kentucky TV reporter Emily Gimmel, at 15 percent. Duke's Kaitlyn Bailey and Flagler's Ashley Moen tied for fourth with eight percent, while three other candidates failed to gain any votes.

While no one left comments on this contest, we suspect this is a matter of attractive long hair gaining more interest. (We're still not sure exactly how long Jordan's locks are.) That intriguing little flip of curl around the right cheek could be a factor as well.



We were first introduced to Sharyn Alfonsi when she was nominated for the Boston City League. She didn't fare well then, with the style shown at left - but she advanced to become a CBS News correspondent, and now is showing a style which is still technically short, but a good bit longer and "grown-out" than a year ago.

Hair Fans left little doubt in our one-week poll -- they like what Alfonsi's doing, with 69 percent in favor (18-8). "She could wear it either way," wrote one voter speaking for many; "Short was distinctive.... I think the long will be sexy. It's still growing out!" Others were more blunt about the super-short pixie look: "Cover her face, and you think she's a man!"

There was also the voter who told us "I like it when it's over eyes a bit." We think we saw Alfonsi's hair actually in her eyes, during a report on a New York toy show. Bouncing on a pogo stick can do that - but the CBS News web site sadly doesn't seem to have that report archived.


The hair insiders say perms and waves are back in 2005. One of the best examples we've seen of this trend on television only makes brief appearances each day - Jacque Kessler, the "court reporter" on Judge Joe Brown. She doesn't interviews plaintiffs and defendants anymore, so we're left with short introductions outside the courthouse and above the bench in the balcony. The waves seem to hold well for this former Top Ten Tresses member. But this leaves the question: is this change really best for her?

Our one-week poll found not all Hair Fans are "riding the wave" quite yet -- as 59 percent of voters want Kessler's straight style to come back (13-9). Yet the waves won praise by those who left comments. "The curls are not too tight," one wrote, "and it doesn't look sticky or stiff. Looks very natural." Another asked us for more Kessler 'caps: "This looks like it would be very easy to care for and I think it's very sexy." We'll be happy to shoot some more pictures; look for them in the photos section of Let Your Hair Down.

(We also welcome your thoughts to help the wavy-haired voter who wrote to say she hates her look, and doesn't always like to use a straightener on it.)


Courtesy InStyle

We can't speak for Eric Benet, but we know Hair Fans love Halle Berry -- especially since she grew out her pixie cut over the last couple of years. The Crown Awards in two consecutive years speak for themselves. But at the Oscars this year, she changed from the curls we've come to know to a long straight style (see picture of that on the next page). Both drew strong support from visitors to our web site - but which look is hotter on Halle?

Our one-week survey found voters quite divided: 52 percent prefer Berry with a straight style, while 48 percent prefer the seemingly endless curls (14-13). One voter probably spoke for many by writing, "Either way she is really hot with her long hair." It truly is tough to choose one or the other, like choosing between tasty flavors of cheesecake -- but she keeps the curls in place so well that we lean toward that look.


Courtesy Kaptured For You

"Huh?" was the simple title of a comment we received about Kiran Chetry - and that may have summed up the feelings of many Hair Fans in early March. The Fox News anchor had displayed a one-length short style for years, and you might say it grew on people. She came to our site in 2004 and became an undefeated champion of Super-Hair Wars, then won two Crown Awards.

Perhaps Kiran saw the trend toward sideswept bangs and decided to join in - so she appeared on the air with a lookalike look: bangs only over the left eye, and not really long enough to be "swept." This change didn't impress voters in our one-week poll - as 61 percent were against it. (17-11) The voter who asked "Huh?" went on to write: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." (Sounds like a "Fox conservative," if you ask us.)


Halle Berry keeps making history - not only in Hollywood, but among Hair Fans. Take the weekend of February 26-27. How many actors have shown up to accept a Razzie award -- for the worst acting of the year? Berry did, but Hair Fans will do that one better. She's their overwhelming choice for the best style at the 77th Academy Awards.

Our top candidates were posted here as the show neared the end -- and emcee Chris Rock turned out to be right: it was a "Def Oscar Jam." Berry's carefully-controlled long straight hair gained 71 percent of the votes in our seven-day survey. As one voter put it: "Halle can be my long hair gal anytime." Beyonce's blunt cut (only displayed on her third song) followed with 13 percent, giving minority styles a one-two finish -- a Super-Hair first!

Gwyneth Paltrow, whose flowing blonde locks wowed us as appearing straight out of a Breck commercial, received seven percent for third place. Cate Blanchett and Virginia Madsen tied with four percent.

(But Berry's appearance above should raise an obvious question - straight hair or curls? Check elsewhere in this section for that one....)


An NBC News reporter said of the 2005 Grammy Awards: "hair was on display as much as talent." Even a lack of hair, as radiation treatment patient Melissa Etheridge performed without a wig. Yet to be truthful, we had trouble filling a ballot with contenders for best hair at the Grammys - because from Tyra Banks to Jennifer Lopez, many stars showed up with pinned-back or tied-down looks. (We thought only the Oscars did that sort of thing.)

The voting was close for several days - but then, like a Lance Armstrong kick in the Pyrenees Mountains of France, along came Sheryl Crow. She won our nine-day poll (extended due to computer problems) with 43 percent of the vote. Blues singer Joss Stone went a bit wavy, and finished second with 16 percent. Our personal favorite was Alicia Keys, but her daringly straight style wound up tied for third with Gretchen Wilson at 14 percent. Norah Jones only scored eight percent, perhaps because her long hair appeared limp and weak.

We also had two write-in votes (four percent) for bluegrass musician Alison Krauss. We had a serious debate in front of the TV set when we saw this style - and we concluded she had to pin that look in the back somehow or other, to make it stay that way. The pins kept her off the ballot.


The quest for Super-Hair often can be a game of inches - and that can mean more than women such as Brooke Bouma setting their hair less than an inch off their eyes. An updated photo we found with Bouma's hair about two inches longer may have made the difference, as she won the Des Moines City League title.

Perhaps the answer seemed obvious, but we wondered if Bouma's current style is the right one for her. Our one-week poll found Hair Fans evenly split for several days -- but then a rush of votes came to settle it: longer is better by 74 percent of you (29-10). The debate here turned not to hold or control, but color. "Better color with the shorter cut, and the roots aren't as differently colored," one voter said - to which another responded: "This was an odd chance to see the darker roots; she normally keeps them hid. Longer is much better."

(Either way, we'd like to see Bouma outside with her hair on a windy Iowa day. We'd "root" for her style to hang tough!)


She may not show a "style of the month," a la Gwen Stefani or Christina Aguilera. But when Katie Couric of TV's Today changes her hair, it's sure to get people talking. Viewers during the week of January 26 were able to see both old and new Couric cuts. The old sidepart (at right) was displayed in a taped hour-long special on teenage sex. The new look (at left) debuted on Today January 24 - perhaps prepared for the Donald Trump wedding the prior weekend.

Our one-week poll found Hair Fans not sure what to make of this change. It ended with a late surge to a 58 percent majority for the old, longer style (29-21). "Shorter look is more professional than stylish," one voter wrote -- but another wondered what Couric was thinking: "Sometimes it is best to leave things that were perfect alone." (Was Couric's old style "perfect" Super-Hair? Check the Hair Watch we conducted on her to find out.)


In 2003 Marlie Hall was a new reporter with a major New York TV station. In 2004 she was a "small business expert." Now in 2005 she hosts the program Recipe for Success on cable TV's Food Network - and apparently she's developed the recipe for hair success as well.

Hall's well-brushed straight style was declared the channel's best, in a specially-requested one-week poll of Hair Fans. Interest for Hall surged in the last couple of days (perhaps among fellow Haitian-American "Creoles"?), to give her 47 percent of the vote. Network megastar and author Rachael Ray had to settle for second with 21 percent, as backers grumbled about the picture we posted of her. (Hey, it came straight from the network web site on the weekend we posted the poll!)

Farther down our list were Giada de Laurentiis with 16 percent, Sandra Pinckney with seven percent (how many of you remember Pinckney as a former Top Ten Tresses member?), Sara Moulton with five percent -- and five percent for "other" good suggestions. "Jill Cordes from The Best Of!" one voter pleaded. "Her was and is great. Short to long to back short." Another asked, "Where's the pretty blonde from How to Boil Water?" We think this refers to Lynne Koplitz; the pictures we saw of her hair appeared pinned-back.

All this shows how many good styles are waiting to be discovered on this channel - and imagine if Nigella Lawson had a show there! We hope Hair Fans are learning how to cook great meals for their friends. That is why you're really watching, right?


When it comes to making a "style statement" for a special event, you don't always need a big cut or a color change. Sometimes all it takes is a little "volume" to make some noise. Teri Hatcher did that for the 2005 Golden Globe Awards - and she won not only an acting prize, but Hair Fans' votes for the best style of the night.

We offered five candidates for your consideration, but it was never close. Hatcher's poufed-out hair, filled with thickness and a good bit of body curl, was the overwhelming choice of 71 percent of you in our one-week poll. "She should put that much effort in for her shows," suggested one fan. (But do Desperate Housewives have time for such things?)

The only other woman on our list to receive any votes was Mischa Barton with 23 percent (25-8). And the six percent for "Other" apparently was expressed in this comment: "Mariska Hargitay beat them all with her grown out layers from her great short cut looks fantastic!!!!!!!" While her hair did look great, she missed our ballot because it appeared a layer slipped into her right eye during an acceptance speech.


Left photo courtesy Hispanic magazine

When we first posted Elizabeth Vargas on the Ultimate 50 in 2000, we quoted her as saying her hair is naturally curly, but "looks better straight" on television. We've found a couple of recent occasions where the ABC News anchor/reporter has dared to show her curls in public. The picture on the right is from a New York special event, but you may also have seen the curls when she reported from Beslan, Russia late in 2004.

Is Vargas right about her hair on TV, or should she keep things curled all the time? Our eight-day poll left little doubt what Hair Fans think -- and they say Liz's locks are correct on camera. A big 83-percent majority say she should go straight (24-5). "Curled looks like she just came in from a rainstorm," one voter complained. But another offered a compromise: "Longer would be better to stretch the curls out, but straight would give her a more sexy look."


By winning a web site vote last fall, Emily Gimmel earned the title of "Best Mane on Campus" at the University of Kentucky for a second year. But after we finished that poll, we discovered Gimmel had undergone a big chop for her - cutting her hair to shoulder-length, and even adding a bit of bangs.

But this change left Hair Fans feeling "Kentucky blue," because they voted Gimmel down in our eight-day poll. An overwhelming 65 percent want the long locks back (22-12) - but the comments section was split 50-50. "Shorter looks more stylish," wrote one. "I like her hair longer myself," replied another. Yet we understand in the TV news business where Gimmel works, cuts like this are encouraged these days. (Maybe the "experts" should be led to our web site?!)


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