The Year In Hair

The Year In Hair featuring Rihanna, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Grimes, Oprah, Ciara, Lil Mama, Amanda Bynes, FKA Twigs, HAIM, Ariana Grande, Le1f, M.I.A., Michelle Obama, and Sky Ferreira

December 26, 2013

2013 was a year of #selfies and musical comebacks but it was also a year of reinvention, with social media-savvy pop culture icons using their hair as a point of transformation-- and, of course, a way to get people talking. From Michelle Obama’s headline-making bangs to Rihanna’s red carpet doobie wrap, hair was a frequent news item this year. The most ubiquitous of all was the pixie cut—worn by Beyoncé, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and a handful of actresses-- which felt like the middle finger of hairstyles in a year where pretty was out and fugly fashion was on trend. Here are some of the many highlights -- figuratively speaking-- from the year in hair.


Not only did Bey steal the year with her last-minute, surprise self-titled record, Yoncé also showed that hair is one more thing she does better than everyone else. Starting out the year with diva curls at President Obama's inauguration, the singer overhauled her look shortly after getting her hair caught in a fan by Instagramming her new pixie cut and, a week later, stepping out with a bob in Miami. Then, just as the year was closing, we learned that Bey's shorter hairstyles were likely just for the many, many videos that accompanied her album, which all received different looks like the French roll and long braids.

Sky Ferreira

The more shoots singer/model Sky Ferreira did, the shorter her hair got until eventually she cut it into a jaggedy bob. Ferreira has updated her look again with a brunette dye job and bleached eyebrows for her new stint as the face of hair care product line Redken.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj must have cut her beauty costs in half this year by ditching frequent dye jobs for platinum hair. She went full-on ‘fro at the MET ball, but more often than not, like for her infamous Halloween costume, she kept her tresses long, straight, and bang’d throughout the rest of the year.


What didn’t Rihanna do to her hair in 2013? The singer brought back the mullet, championed the doobie wrap, tried out a bob with bangs, wore an asymmetrical cut with her head shaved, went back to her natural color and long wavy locks, and started and ended the year with a pixie cut. No one worked harder this year than Rihanna’s hairdresser.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus kickstarted the pixie cut trend back in August 2012 -- but, even after the style had become a mainstay in Hollywood, the pop singer still found ways to shock with her short hair. See: her Gwen Stefani-throwback buns at the VMAs or her spiked ‘do at the MET ball, where she was one of the few to get the punk memo. Nowadays, Cyrus is wearing a more sophisticated bob in the vein of Anna Wintour—perhaps in an attempt to earn back the Vogue editor-in-chief’s approval, after her infamous VMAs performance apparently cost her the December issue cover.


Ciaria's look evolved from long ombre waves to natural curls before she showed up to the AMAs with a rock from her fiancé Future and a short, new ‘do #bobparty


Grimes’ Claire Boucher also veered from candy pink and opted for darker locks at the beginning of the year—first for an Iris Van Herpen campaign and then for Vogue, with a bowl cut to boot—before settling on a natural reddish brown.

Amanda Bynes

Who could forget Amanda Bynes’ weirdo wig collection? Even amidst her other exploits, the retired actress’ ever-changing transformations stole the show.

FKA Twigs

Beguiling R&B songstress FKA Twigs made baby bangs and sea creature braids look cool. With her career on the rise, don’t be surprised if they’re trending next year.


While everyone around them chopped off their hair, sister trio HAIM kept their Rapunzel-like tresses—making comparisons to Hanson far too easy.

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande also resisted change and made long waves and pageant ‘dos her signature, à la her icon Mariah Carey.


So many people were going short-hair-don't-care this year, but New York rapper Le1f took a page out of both HAIM and Ariana Grande’s playbooks by going long and blonde.


M.I.A. applied her characteristic boundary pushing to her locks in the video for "Bring the Noize," unleashing a fuchsia dye job and a eccentric veil made out of her own hair.

Michelle Obama

FLOTUS’ bangs might have been short-lived but they’re forever immortalized thanks to the scads of coverage they received—Karl Lagerfeld was characteristically blunt about like them. But Michelle Obama soon said goodbye to her bangs anyway, citing them as a distraction while giving speeches.


Also a fan of wigs, Oprah Winfrey appeared on the cover of her magazine’s hair issue wearing the weight of a small Chihuahua on her head (3.5 pounds), a hairpiece she dubbed “Wild Thang.”

The Year In Hair