The Haircut You Just Might Get In 2016

As some of you may have noticed, the lob (or long bob) kind of took over the world of hair in 2015.  Everyone seemed to have piecey, collarbone-length hair with plenty of texture, and I’m talking both celebrities and women on the street.  I myself have been an enthusiastic participant, though I really had no choice as I’ve been growing out an a-line bob from the spring.  Anyhow, all the lob business from this year is actually residual from the lob’s first wave of dominance in late-ish 2013.  Which was actually an echo from its more earlier appearances in 2010.

Yes, the lob has been around for about five years or more.  Trends in hair like the lob are becoming a little bit easier for me to spot, but it does take patience as they tend not to come to full fruition for at least a couple years after their first appearance.  You first see the cut, likely on some celebrity or maybe a model on the runway, and they’re the only one sporting it.  You think nothing of it, except for the fact that you’ve never really seen it before and they’re the only one with it.  It’s their cut.  But then a year or so passes and you spot another celebrity wearing the same cut, perhaps of greater status.  The cut may be a result of growing out an older style, like a pixie or bob; a hairstyle of convenience, one might say.  But whatever, it’s just a cut and not yet a trend.  However, you’re still a bit intrigued.

But perhaps within another year or so, you see one or two more celebs rocking it, maybe with some minor variations.  It looks good, and it’s starting to crowd your Instagram feed.  The cut earns a buzzy name, like our beloved “lob”, and it starts showing up in magazines and blogs and is referred to by that aforementioned buzzy name.  This cut is now being intentionally requested at salons, and is no longer simply a result of growing out an older style.  It’s at this time that you begin thinking about what you’d look like with this haircut.  Now, if you were to book the appointment at this point in time, you’d just barely be beating the rush.  But then …

Then, perhaps within less than a year, the superstar A-lister gets the cut.  She shows up to some red carpet event with it, and the deal is sealed- this cut has now officially reached trend status and will be everywhere for the next 9-12 months or longer.

This, my friends, is the road that our next “It Cut” has been journeying on toward full-blown trend status.  And what is it?  Some may call it the “swag” (short for the “swingy shag”), but because I cannot bear to use such the word swag when referring to myself or my body, I’ll simply refer to it as “the modern shag”.

attends the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on NBC from The Shrine Auditorium on March 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

We can blame Taylor Swift here for bringing the modern shag into “It Cut” territory in 2015.  Full of movement and body, the modern shag these days tends to be the result of a bunch of bored lobbers like myself, looking for a way to spice things up while waiting for our lobs to grow out.  The feathery texture towards the front of this cut adds lots of volume and youthfulness, but the real anchor of the whole look is in the bangs.  I know bangs are a big commitment for some and can quickly devolve into a major inconvenience, so that’s something to consider when thinking about this cut for yourself.  The bangs need to be thick and “curtain like” in order to balance out the fullness of the rest of the hair.  Thin, wispy bangs coupled with a cut that brings a lot of volume with it will look wonky and imbalanced, so keep that in mind.  You will notice in this post, however, that the bangs can be worn parted in the center or across the whole face, so there is some freedom in that.

But where was this cut back in, say, 2010?  Was the swag even a thing until this past year?  As it goes with most all hair trends, the answer is most certainly “yes”. And here’s our first celebrity to have most consistently worn the cut for the past five years-

Alexa-Chung-short-hair

I can’t remember seeing Alexa Chung without a haircut that at least somewhat resembled a modern shag.  Coupled with her ever-present cat-eyeliner and Peter Pan collars, she’s been channeling the sixties since reaching celebrity status.  The volume, the curtain bangs, and the messy texture all reflect the current style that we’ve been seeing more often these days.

However, I do recall noticing a model around this same time that I daresay has had even more influence over hair trends than Alexa.

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Freda Beja Erichsen has been a hair muse of mine for years, mostly because our textures seem so comparable.  I feel like what she can do with her hair, I can also try with mine.  Freja’s hair was sort of the banner for a first round of shag haircuts around 2011.  The cut frames her incredible bone structure in amazing ways.  I actually jumped on board with this when I cut thick bangs in the fall of 2011 after my wedding, but I didn’t play with my texture enough and I never did get the bangs quite right.  I’m convinced I could do better with a second go-round, though.  Freja’s hair may not have garnered a ton of requests in salons the way ombre was at the time, but I’m convinced that her locks are actually even more responsible for this current trend than Alexa’s.  I’m betting that Alexa’s cut was actually inspired by Freja’s first.

Anyhow, the trend status of the modern shag perhaps remained under my personal radar until I started noticing Kerry Washington with the cut about two years ago.

Kerry-Washington-Hair-Styles-Medium-Haircut-with-Bangs

Again, wispy layers in front, tons of texture, and thick bangs.  This was about the time when I noticed that it wasn’t just the bangs that were making a comeback, but the “shaggy” layers that were coming with it.  Emma Stone also sported a similar cut during her press tour for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014, though her layers around her face are maybe a little longer than Kerry’s and not quite as shaggy.

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Emma’s cut has a little more of a blunt feel, though it shares the same characteristics of curtain bangs, volume, and texture.  Keeping the layers longer may be a better strategy for faces with more of a circle shape like Emma’s; too many layers around an already-round face can make your head look the size of Texas even when it’s not.

Along with Taylor Swift making things really official in 2015, one of my favorite hairstylists, Sunnie Brook, dubbed the haircut with its buzzy “swag” name in an interview with PopSugar Beauty just this past October, likely sealing my fate as the next victim of the swag.  Lord send help.

To my long-hair friends- Lest you be discouraged, don’t think that this cut is only for those with mid length hair.  You can easily acquire feathery, face-framing layers and curtain bangs with long hair, as well.  But as I said earlier, this cut will likely be most popular among women growing out lobs.  I know I’ve already posted on Dakota Johnson’s hair (which I am, admittedly, in love with), but we’ll wrap things up with yet another image of her awesome living example of a modern shag.

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I can say that this very cut has left an itch on my brain for the past three months as I’ve watched my own lob continue to grow.  We’ll just have to wait and see what 2016 holds for my hair.  And yes, that is just over a week away.  xo, MR

Image credits to (in order of appearance): Jason Merritt for Getty Images, Dominique Charriau for Getty Images, photographer unknown for GoRunway.com, Frederick M. Brown for Getty Images, Gilbert Carrascquillo for FilmMagic, and Jon Kapaloff for Getty Images.

WORST Beauty Moments of 2012 … or, in which I give cause for everyone to hate me.

Cool your jets.  Yes, I haven’t even said anything yet and I’m already telling you to cool your jets, just in case.

I initially began writing a post on my favorite beauty moments of 2012, but then I thought to my self, “Self, you’ve kind of sprinkled your favorite bits in posts throughout the entire year already.  No one’s shocked to see another shot of Keira or Kate on this blog.  What may be shocking though, self, is what folks discover that you actually don’t like.  And let’s face it, self- we’re always a little more interested at hearing about what bugs the crap out of us as opposed to what we squeal over.”  And admittedly, many of the “worsts” seen here may not be that shocking to some of you at all anymore.  If you read regularly, you know what I like and what I don’t.  But in case some of the following does take you by surprise and you find yourself wanting to set fire to me, let me just preface by saying this: Relax.  This is just me giving my opinion.

#1  Demi Lovato perfectly demonstrating my concept of “overcooked” and my eternal frustration with extensions.

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Too … much … everything.  I literally want to rip the extensions right out of her scalp.  Or brush them like a crazed maniac until they cease to look like Disney princess wig strands.  And if these are not, in fact, extensions, well, they look like it and that’s still a problem.  And the shape of the hair looks rather like pigtails with a life of their own as opposed to healthy, curled locks.  They’re so perfectly positioned, it’s like someone’s taped them to her blouse.  Just makes me wanna chop ’em.  Chop ’em right off.  And then there’s always the very makeup-looking makeup.  And the nose piercing.  And the tan.  And the door knocker earrings.  And the cleavage.  And you get it.

#2  Julianne Hough doing it wrong.

Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Rock Of Ages" - Arrivals

By now you all know that I love me a messy topknot.  I like ’em nice and unflattering, and right there at the top of the head.  So very Je ne sais quois, so very Man Repeller.  However, when you find yourself in a fancy dress at a fancy premiere, it might be time for a touch of effort.  But what gets me about this  particular topknot is that I’ve got a bad feeling that whatever stylist responsible for this (maybe even Julianne herself) tried too hard to not seem like they were trying too hard.  Know what I’m saying?  Like, I get the whole 21st-century irony of going for a messy topknot in a designer gown, but you can still detect the hard work that unfortunately went into this.  You see the pins.  You see the pretty, well-done makeup oddly-yet-intentionally juxtaposed against the haphazard hair.  You see how the knot is so obviously off-center on her head with its plainly uneven shape, almost as if it was planned.  The point of topknots is to not give a damn.  This one, all too clearly, does.

#3  People cut their hairs off.

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2012 New York City Ballet Fall Gala

I know, I KNOOOOOW.  But before you get your panties all in a wad, keep this in mind- I am simply very strongly attached to hair with length.  This one is truly more of a personal “worst”, and there’s no expectation to agree that Miley’s or Anne’s or anyone’s pixie cut is bad (and I wasn’t exactly a fan of Miley’s look before anyhow).  In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that these haircuts are quite good.  Anne looks great, and the cut does nothing if not frame her beautiful face and earn her that Oscar that she’s so desperately been jonesing for.  But again, just bear in mind that I’ve got a thing for long hair that you can do stuff with.  It’s just me.  I couldn’t do what Anne did, or I’d at least do it and then shamelessly plop a Kate Beckinsale wig on my head for the next six months to come.  In her own words, “I dreamed a dream of times gone byyyyyy, with lots of hair and lots of braidiiiiiiing …”.

#4  Taylor Swift still looking like Taylor Swift.

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Fine.  Hate me.  Hate me with everything you’ve got, but I don’t care.  It’s time for a change with this one, it is.  And this one looks like nothing if not Disney princesses personified, so you know that’s really saying something when it comes from me.  I applaud Taylor for sticking to her stylistic guns, but you’ll have to forgive me for saying that there’s just not enough excitement for me in her look.  I’m bored.  To tears.  Taylor made the Earth-shattering change of adding red lipstick to her look some years ago, then shocked the world by styling her hair straight instead of with those teenage curly-cues we were so used to!  THEN she cut BANGS!  What WILL she do NEXT?!  I mean, Nicki Minaj must’ve gotten a hold of her or something … BANGS!!!

#5  People pinning airbrushed, Photoshopped, Kim Kardashian-esque eyeshadow looks to their Pinterest boards.

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Because nothing inspires more confidence in a makeup artist (for brides, no less) than seeing something like this and a caption below reading “PERFECT FOR WEDDING!!!  EXACTLY WHAT I WANT!!!!”.  Yes, you pin looks for the purpose of suggestion, for inspiration.  But bear in mind that the perfection typically exhibited on such images like the one above usually involves Photoshop editing, like that used for photo spreads in magazines.  It takes a steady hand to create this look, along with a steady few clicks of a mouse.  But I will, however, submit that I could recreate this look to the best of my abilities, given all the proper resources.  Just don’t freak out when you see a tiny bit of eyeshadow fall-out on your cheekbone, and relax!  I’ll have these with me!

#6  Speaking of Kim Kardashian …

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Yes, Kim.  Thank you for the contouring tips.  But now that we all know that you have to paint A TREE on your face everyday to look the way you normally do as you stomp the pavement with Tracy Jordan Kanye West at your side, I can’t say that we’re all that interested anymore.  Or at least, I’m not.  And that tree on your forehead isn’t including the rest of the clown mask you’ve got going on there.  For the runway, yes.  For the pavement with Tracy Jordan, no.

#7  THIS IS NOT THE FACE OF SNOW WHITE.

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This … I … I can’t even.  I.  CAN’T. EVEN.  Yes, I know we’re going for the face of the I-pull-myself-up-by-my-own-armored-bootstraps, I-play-in-the-mud-and-I-wield-a-sword-and-I-won’t-be-gender-stereotyped feminist Snow White.  And toward that I have no qualms.  But THIS is not even THAT face.  This face may have remained fixed with this EXACT expression for the entirety of the film (that so sorely disappointed me that I can hardly bear to discuss it).  And in fact, I’m pretty sure we can find this expression on Ms. Stewart’s face  throughout every other film she’s been featured in this side of FOREVER.  But the red lips, the alabaster skin, the hair a shade of raven’s black … I got none of it in Snow White and the Huntsman.  I get that the point wasn’t to Disney-fy Snow White in this case, but the look just wasn’t there.  I don’t know.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe I just don’t know what I want, and maybe it’s not such a problem with the styling as it is with the confession that I just didn’t want her.

#8  Christina Aguilera looking like she rolled around in the MAC stockroom.

NBCUniversal's "The Voice" Press Junket And Cocktail Reception

We’ve already discussed this situation, so I won’t add much.  But the lavender ombre’ really caps it off for me.  It’s subtle, like a garlic sandwich.

#9  Justin Bieber looking prettier than Kate Beckinsale.

Justin-Bieber-AMA-Awards071

Those baby pink lips.  That perfectly smooth skin.  Those fluttery eyelashes.  Those immaculate eyebrows!  That shiny hair with those beautiful diamonds!  No, I’m not talking about a Victoria’s Secret Angel strutting her stuff in the Fantasy Bra on the catwalk, or some girl that George Clooney is seducing in Lake Como.  I’m talking about Justin Bieber.  Yes, this guy, the alleged heartthrob of this current generation of young teenage girls.  Maybe I’m just partial to the scruffy, rugged look, or maybe I’m not being patient and allowing puberty to catch up with ole’ Justin, or MAYBE I’m just NOT cool with the fact that this, *ahem*, young man so clearly spends more time in front of the mirror applying his Creme de la Mer and strawberry-scented Bonne Bell lipgloss than I ever have or ever will.

#10  And lastly, the kicker …

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Um, ma’am?  Excuse me, ma’am?  You … you’ve got a sock on your head. I know you’ve shaped it into a purty little Cinnabon roll the size of a cabbage with your hair, but … you’ve got a sock on your head.  Oh, but I can’t see the sock?  Well, here’s the problem- I still know it’s there.  And it’s bothering me.  I want to poke it.  I want to poke it bad.  I want to shove my foot in your sock-hairs so I can keep warm in the winter cold.  Oh, you’ve cut a hole in that sock?  Well then lend it to me as a wristband for my awesomely sweaty workout.

Consider sock-buns the Bump-It of 2012.  Every time I saw some girl last year with a conveniently-placed tuft of volume at the top of her head, I so desperately wanted to play Whack-A-Mole and throw down a hammer on that bump just to see if it was some Bump-It impostor or if it was just real hair, teased and sprayed for height.  Same game goes for sock-buns this year.  Should you ever feel some bony finger poking your giant bun on the back of your head, I apologize in advance.  It’s just me being curious.

Welp, there you have it.  I’ve got a feeling I’ll be cranking out a “Best of” list sometime soon in order to make up for this one, but in the meantime, enjoy.  And you be sure to let me know if you’re feeling particularly enraged by any of the aforementioned.  I’ll send you a complimentary sock in the mail.  xo, MR