Big hair is back

Apr 22, 2012, 08:33 IST | Yolande D'Mello

Bigger is better, say fashion designers who are bringing the beehive, bouffant and Afro in the limelight after a three-decade hibernation. Tease it, curl it, crimp it � big hair is making a comeback

You may have poked fun at your parents for dressing in what seemed like the image and likeness of Elvis and Priscilla Presley in their wedding photographs but, believe it or not, the beehive hairstyle is back and fashion designers are buzzing with excitement. We’d take it easy on the bell-bottom pants and polka dotted skirts, though. The fashion police is on patrol.

Actress Chitrangada Singh sports big hair during a shoot. Pic/Rajeev Tyagi

Manhattan–based hair stylist Orlando Pita took inspiration from the sixties to strut big hairstyles at New York Fashion Week 2012. Meanwhile, on March 2, the Milan Fashion Week celebrated Big Hair Friday, which showcased wearable hair that clearly said big is the new sexy.

Celebs going big
Cheryl Cole attracted massive media attention with her fantastic volume- plus tresses and Katy Perry consciously tried not to stand next to Bruno Mars at the Grammy awards 2012. Perry sported a pale purple puff and Mars’ shiny locks were set in the same mould. Lady Gaga’s hair has defied every rule of physics, but it’s not just experimental artistes who are opting for the extra hair volume.

While many thought Sex And The City actor Sarah Jessica Parker was simply having a bad hair day, the curly-haired belle was, in fact, starting a new trend with her out-of-control, larger-than-life bouffant. Closer home, Chitrangada Singh at a product launch in February, Aishwarya Rai at Cannes in 2010 and Deepika Padukone in March — all toed the line by going big and making sure their locks were elegantly pumped up to match their star status. The label ‘big hair’ first came into the limelight when disco made everyone groovy in the late 1970s.

The poster of actress Farrah Fawcett became iconic and was followed by divas like Cher and Madonna.  Even the boys caught on to the trend with Kisss, Bon Jovi and the artist formerly known as Prince wearing their hair big. The term took turns to represent the character of punk, glam, goth through the years and even inspired a number of Japanese street fashions like Harajuku and ganguro. 

Big doesn’t come easy
Styling requires backcombing, teasing and the liberal application of styling aids such as hair spray and hair gel, often in combination with the use of hair dryers. Crimping irons, perms, hair rollers are just some of the tools to go from plane Jane to beehive Betty. Little wonder then that Dr S Murugusundram, founder secretary of The Hair Research Society of India is not impressed with this big hair trend.

She says, “There is no natural way to do this to your hair. You have to use synthetic products and apply techniques that could cause temporary or even permanent damage to your hair.” Speaking to us from Chennai, Murugusundram is busy planning the annual International Congress of Trichology that will be held in September. The theme for the year —abolish quackery in Trichology. Dermatologists from around the country will attend with 20 international speakers who will form the panel.

Using product in your hair once in a fortnight is fine, says Murugusundram but adds, “There are ultraviolet hair sprays that absorb more sunlight and can be harmful to hair. Chemical perms and straightening of hair is done by breaking the disulphide bonds in the keratin (the basic protein that forms hair) and that destroys the structure of the hair.”

Donuts make it big
Avani Shah, owner and stylist at Happy in the Head, a salon in Sion agrees with the doctor. “The whole concept of big hair is to create a fuller, denser look. Backcombing or teasing, a technique to creating big hairstyles is bad for the hair because there is a big chance of breaking the root. While combing it out too, you need to be careful.”

She gives us the cheat code to big beautiful hairstyles without doing too much damage. “Using donuts, that are essentially hairpieces that come in a rolled ball instead of backcombing can reduce the strain on your hair is also easier,” advises Shah. “The condition and quality of your hair is a reflection of the body and its health. If you are getting enough nutrition your hair will look good. Weak and dull hair is a sign of ill health,” says Murugusundram.

Bouffant beauties

Katy Perry at the Staples Center for the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California in February. Pic/ AFP Photo

Deepika Padukone with a bouffant Pic/ Satyajit Desai

Puff daddy

Adam Lambert attends The Blonds fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Milk Studios in February in New York City.
Pic/ AFP Photo

Prateik Babbar at the press meet for Ekk Deewana Tha. File Photo

Disney Fashion presented the show, Memories of Mickey & Minnie, with fashion apparel and accessories for adults at Lakmé Fashion Week 2012 featuring designers Little Shilpa and Nitin Bal Chauhan. File Photo

The big fad world

A model presents an outfit during the Carolina Herrera show in February at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. Pic/ AFP Photo (Right) A model at the Rocco Barocco show, Spring Summer 2012, Milan Fashion Week Pic/ Rex Features

How to work that beehive

Hair stylist Drishya Bhagyanath styles Prutha Rajeshirke’s hair at her Santacruz-based salon Trendy. She says this look is easily achievable with straight hair. Curly hair will need a blow-dry

Divide hair into small sections and backcomb using a tail comb by hold the hair perpendicular to the scalp and teasing from root to tip. Hairspray will hold it in place

Use a hairband to flatten the front portion of the hair to enhance the puff at the crown. Use hairspray to tame fly-away hair

You can tie a loose side ponytail or a straight one. This elegant look works best for an evening out with friends. Brush out gently from ends to top to undo the tease

The big hair dictionary

Particularly popular in the African-American community of the late 1960s, the hairstyle is often shaped and maintained with the assistance of a wide-toothed comb colloquially known as an Afro pick

Beehive is a hairstyle that is also known as the B-52, for its similarity to the bulbous nose of the B-52 Stratofortress bomber. It was particularly popular in the US and remains an enduring symbol of
1960s kitsch

It is a type of hairstyle characterised by hair piled high on the head and hanging down on the sides. It was thought to be created for Marie Antoinette, who is believed to have wanted to create the illusion of having fuller hair.
illustrations/ amit bandre

Go to top