The Best Of 2015

Around this time of the year, I typically do a “best of” post that overviews the greatest beauty moments of the previous 365-ish days (in my humble opinion).  In the past, they’ve been some of my most viewed posts and they’re really fun to put together because I’m normally so excited about trends and all the surprises we’ve witnessed throughout the year.

This time around, however, I honestly had a hard time putting together a list of groundbreaking trends or happenings in the beauty world.  My Little Pony-colored hair took over the world, you can now wear black or blue lipstick without being stared at like a freak, blah, blah.  I guess what happened in 2015 was a lot of normalizing of things that were formally seen as fringe behavior.  But we didn’t have a lot of brand new, I think is what I’m trying to say.  Jennifer Lawrence grew out her pixie cut into a versatile lob, Adele also debuted an amazing lob that had me gasping and proud to be in medium-length territory, long-wearing liquid lipstick sealed its reputation as the most covetable formula on the market, and Kim Kardashian went platinum for a week.  Honestly, nothing that notable.

I only have one real “Best Of 2015” moment, but it comes heavy with significance- In 2015, Victoria’s Secret featured a black model with completely natural hair (read: no extensions, no weave) for the very first time during their annual fashion show.

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This, actually, is a huge deal.  Maria Borges, of Angolan descent, literally made history as the first black Victoria’s Secret model to eschew the famous “bombshell” waves in favor of her own hair.  And you know, when I think about it, Maria might actually be the first Victoria’s Secret model to wear her hair cropped this short, period.

One of the things that has bothered me about VS over the years is that try as they might to diversify their models by ethnicity, we still see them all with the same bodies.  But more along the subject lines of this blog, we still see them all with the same hair.  There are no other hairstyles featured on Victoria’s Secret models besides long, shiny mermaid waves.  Do I like this hairstyle?  Yes, of course.  I am constantly wearing my hair wavy, and you know I love length.  However, one hairstyle isn’t exactly a fair representation of all women and hair types in the world, or even in this country.  And yet Victoria’s Secret, in their fraudulent kind of “girl power” way, has continued to depict long, wavy hair as the most aspirational and desired hairstyle on every model, no matter their ethnicity.  Because in all our pink-infested, bow-and-lace-adorned, diamond-encrusted push-up fantasy dreams, this is apparently the hairstyle every woman should have, no matter what their hair looked like originally.

But not every girl needs to have long, wavy hair.  Not every girl can have long, wavy hair.  And not every girl wants to have long, wavy hair.  That’s why Maria’s choice to wear her own hair for this particular show is such an important move (and it was her idea, just so we’re clear and giving proper credit).  It is significant in terms of body image, in terms of race, and in terms of women (especially minority women) being able to collectively say “no thanks” when time and again we are presented with a billion-dollar business’s take on what perfect hair is.  There seems to be this underlying assumption that if the Victoria’s Secret body is what an ideal body looks like, well, then a head full of Victoria’s Secret bombshell waves must be what an ideal head of hair looks like.  For the first time, we are shown that that’s not always the case.

It’s taken way too long for Victoria’s Secret to get with the program in terms of hair.  It’s kind of pathetic that this had to be such a big deal in 2015 and not, say, 2000, that it was still only one woman, and that it wasn’t Victoria’s Secret’s own initiative (along with the myriad of other issues I may have with the company). However, this still deserves celebration .  And even if it’s just one woman, it makes a difference.  xo, MR

Image credit to Dimitrios Kambouris of Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret, 2015

Top Fall Hairstyles 2015

I remember when it was a mortal sin to have your roots showing.  It meant you were sloppy, didn’t know that white wine goes with fish, and couldn’t pay your bills.  I remember thinking that I would never be able to have highlights because the obsessive upkeep was daunting.

And then around 2008 I saw a picture of Drew Barrymore and Sarah Jessica Parker, each with maybe a half-inch of roots showing through their then-blonde hair.  Huh.  I liked it; I liked the ease and style of it.  I hadn’t realized that a certain model named Gisele, with hair that was highlighted in strategic places not reaching above her chin, had unknowingly kicked off what would probably the biggest hair trend of 2010s and I was just seeing the tip of the iceberg with Drew and SJP.

It’s funny how some hair trends can be so surprising.  I used to think I’d never have highlights because I didn’t like the perfect, stripe-ish quality they had, and I didn’t want to be back in the chair every few weeks.  A few years ago I never thought I’d see anything like ombre.  Now there are varieties of it that I don’t think we will ever not see.  Some hairstyles are odd in that they make their way back around again in a cutting-edge sort of way, even if we thought we’d never see them again (like the painfully dated bowl cut we’ve seen on Zendaya, who somehow makes it look good).  And some hair styles are just timeless and always lovely to behold.

So what’s trending in hair that I like right now?  One concerns color, one concerns texture, and another concerns cut.

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When I cut my hair short I hadn’t realized that Sienna Miller had cut her just a month or so before me.  We have been relative haircut twins for this past year, but what I actually love about her current hair is the color.  This isn’t quite red enough to be strawberry blonde; it’s more of a rose gold.  It’s playful but not veering into pastel territory.  It’s unexpected.  I would love to try this myself but I’m worried the maintenance would be unbearable and I’m not sure how well it would work with me skin.  We’ll see though.

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Serena Williams was having a pretty great 2015 until this past month when she was defeated in the U.S. Open.  Her playing season for the year appears to be finished, but hey- she championed the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the French Open, scored a Vogue cover, and she’s had awesome hair doing it.  Serena’s natural curls are so pretty.  I love her texture and how voluminous her hair is with a side part.  Serena’s hair is bigger than life and has matched her bold determination and personality this year.  Alas, I will probably never have hair like this, so all I can do is swoon from afar.

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I know, I know.  Dakota Johnson sort of irritates me on principle, just because she did Fifty Shades.  Yes, sorry, just because of that.  But that is no reflection on how fantastic her hair has looked these past couple months.  During her press tours and appearances earlier this year surrounding Fifty, I actually didn’t care for her hair that much because it seemed like she was going for a Charlotte Gainsbourg look but was somehow missing the mark.  A few months later though, and a mid-length cut with longer, thicker bangs frequently parted in the middle has me considering bangs for myself.

Ugh- I never, ever thought I would consider bangs again, for as long as I lived.  It isn’t so much the upkeep as it is getting them to look just the way I want, everyday.  And if they look wonky, I can’t through it all up in a ponytail and pretend they’re gone; I have to pin them back, which defeats the purpose of having them in the first place.  But this “modern shag” at least looks amazing on Dakota.  I’ll just live vicariously through her hair for the moment.

I’m not certain what will be happening to my own hair in the next couple months because of my spending restriction plan, so for now, I may just keep what I have and save the changes for later.  Anything different you’re thinking of doing these days?  Maybe I can live vicariously through you, too.  xo, MR