The Best Hair Of 2011

All right, roll call: So far we’ve shown you the best shoes, the best nails, and even the best makeup, but, girl, we need to talk about that HAIR. From Evan Rachel Wood’s dramatic change from shoulder-length waves to a choppy, textured pixie to Katy Perry’s slow-but-steady transition from black to pink (!!!), 2011 was filled with epic tonsorial moments that definitely merit mention in our countdown. Some would say we’ve got the best HAIR RIGHT HURR. Others of us would say that it’s corny to say stuff like that out loud. Others still would say that this is a free country and naysayers can suck it. ANYWAY: hair.


Rihanna on May 27, Kelly Osbourne on Nov. 19, and Katy Perry on Nov. 20.
Photo: WireImage/Getty Images

It’s one thing to spot a gal sporting ’50s pin curls or a Marcell waved blonde bob, but it’s a whole other ballgame when stylized ’dos look modern. Rihanna’s twin Victory Rolls are offset by the casual cascade of bright red curls down her back. Kelly Osbourne’s perfected the Marilyn Monroe waved bob with the ideal degree of structure and softness, but the thing that prevents it from becoming too slavish an homage is her rock and roll dark roots. Katy Perry sported a barrel-curled bang that’s a fantastic throwback to ’40s style but with the contemporary edge of a bright pink palette.


Olivia Wilde on Aug. 8, Lady Gaga on Oct. 2, and Kat DeLuna on Sept. 25.
Photo: WireImage/Splash News

These undulating ponytails were the hair DUH moment of the year. How is it that applying multiple elastic bands every few inches along a ponytail can end up looking so awesome? Some of our fave cascading ponytails were seen on Olivia Wilde (who looked lovely and gamine under heavy bangs), Lady Gaga (extra kudos for using her hair as a rubberband), and Kat DeLuna (who slicked it back on top but kept it messy on the bottom). So easy, so breezy, so worth the countless “ouchless” rubber bands that will populate the bottom of your purse…


Nicki Minaj on Aug. 28, Beyoncé on Sept. 13, and Jessie J on Nov. 3.
Photo: WireImage/Getty Images

Ombré color schemes began inching up celebrities’ coifs back in 2010, but mostly we were talking brunette roots that faded into blonde tips. This year, ombré was taken to a whole OTHER extreme with dazzling colors and more dramatic blonde-to-brunette contrasts. Nicki Minaj’s blonde coif transforms from highlighter yellow to tangerine orange into bubble gum pink. That’s right—she’s sporting not one, but FOUR colors on a single wig head of hair. #jealous. Beyoncé’s strands start out as a rich honey blonde and transform into a deep chestnut brown for a high contrast gradation while Jessie J rocked jet black with bright red tips. We give her bonus points for matching her red-and-black hair to her red-and-black outfit because, um, that’s THOROUGH.


Ginnifer Goodwin on May 3, Evan Rachel Wood on June 21, and Carey Mulligan on July 21.
Photo: Getty Images

It takes a glut of gumption to chop off your locks—especially if they’ve been a part of your look since forever ago. We give these girls their proper dues for not only taking the hair plunge, but styling their short strands in the most cop-worthy manner. Ginnifer Goodwin has been a master of shorter styles for a couple of years now, but her razor-cut pixie frames her heart-shaped face beautifully. However, it was Evan Rachel Wood who underwent the biggest transformation this year—going from shoulder-length curls to barely there hair. Here, she slicks back the sides and leaves all the volume on top for an ’80s-inspired lift. Carey Mulligan’s deep side-parted pixie looks as elegant as it does ’60s mod-chic with strong brows and enormous doe eyes completing the look.


Katy Perry on March 8, Jessie J on Nov. 17, and Lady Gaga on June 23.
Photo: WireImage/Getty Images

Short blunt bangs are cyclical, but this year they came with a twist—super bright ’dos. Katy Perry, Jessie J, and Lady Gaga all flaunted thick, straight-across bangs in hyper-saturated hues. Katy and Lady Gaga paired their extra short fringe with long strands while Jessie J kept her fire engine red bob close to her chin with bangs just brushing her brows.


Rihanna on May 2, Elle Fanning on Oct. 24, and Kim Kardashian on Nov. 23.
Photo: WireImage/Getty Images

Who DOESN’T love a braid?! From fishtails to milkmaids to reverse cowgirls (wait, that last thing is something else ENTIRELY), we’ve seen multiple versions of the schoolyard mainstay. Rihanna, Elle Fanning, and Kim Kardashian showed off some stellar looks: Rihanna’s waist-length side braid was our favorite of the year. (BOOM. Yup, declarative statements FTW.) The braid starts at her temples, meets in the back, slides along her shoulder to snake down her bodice in a red masterpiece. Elle Fanning wore a romantic updo that’s completely mimic-worthy with a bit of messiness thrown in for good measure. Kim Kardashian also sported a plait that began as a French braid to keep her side-swept bangs out of her eyes and ended in a side braid that kept her piecey layers tucked in as she served food to the needy on Thanksgiving. As you do…


Iggy Azalea on Oct. 20, Bip Ling on July 20, and Lady Gaga on Nov. 6.
Photo: WireImage/PictureGroup

There’s nothing we adore more than a great, FIERCE ponytail. Iggy Azalea is the queen of the slicked-back tail—she always wears them high and tight. Plus, she gets extra points for tucking the rubber band under a strand. Bip Ling proves that a high ponytail doesn’t have to be severe. She wore hers a little off to the side with a cute, white bow for an extra girly touch. Lady Gaga wielded a super-thick side pony with chunky, blunt-cut layers throughout. INTENSE. Plus, can you imagine the wicked headache you’d get carting that thing around? Total dedication, as usual.


Jessica Simpson on April 26, Demi Lovato on Aug. 7, and Beyoncé on May 17.
Photo: WireImage

Every year, the sea salt-misted, slightly crunchy beach wave comes back in style for being awesome. Soft, effortless curls look great on human beings. Pure scientific fact. Some of our favorites blessed the heads of Jessica Simpson, Demi Lovato, and Beyoncé. Jessica’s piecey golden waves looked like she came straight from the beach—not overly curled and slightly messy. She even pulled part of her hair back for a twist on the traditional look. Demi pulled her hair half up but left side-swept bangs for a more glamorous take while Beyoncé’s blonde locks are curled away from her face for a fresh, layered look that makes her cheekbones look ridic.


Lady Gaga on June 19, Nicki Minaj on Aug. 28, and Katy Perry on Nov. 20.
Photo: WireImage/PictureGroup

You’d have to be completely oblivious (like to where maybe it’s a gift) not to notice that a LOT of ladies opted for brightly hued hair this year. We’ve seen all sorts of noisy confections on our celeb’s heads so of course we had to pick our favorites. Lady Gaga went through an aqua hair moment that we couldn’t get enough of. Who knew that the seafoam green infamous for making bridesmaids look fuggo looks wonderful when paired with porcelain skin and red lips? Nicki Minaj took her pink and yellow hair color to the next level by twisting the two into one delicious-looking sherbet swirl. But of all the colors we’ve seen this year, we GOTTA give it up for Katy Perry because her cotton candy strands are actually real. Yeah, that’s right, she went from jet black to pink to blonde all in a matter of months AND her hair still looks like it’s in tip-top shape. *slow clap with a side eye*


Willow Smith on June 26, Kat Graham on Sept. 14, and Nicki Minaj on April 8.
Photo: WireImage/Getty Images

OK, we HAVE got to give it up to those ladies who turned their locks into sculptures. It takes serious dedication to tease hair into topiary-worthy styles, so props to Willow Smith, Kat Graham, and Nicki Minaj. Willow transformed her braids into a heart (awww) while Kat Graham took her strands to new heights in a futuristic, undulating beehive. Nicki sported an ’80s sculpted perm that takes on a very Gumby-meets-The-Jetsons vibe. We love it all. Now if only we could get their hairstyles to shadow box. That would be pretty.

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