Katy Perry is doing the most in her selfie.
Photos: Katy Perry’s Instagram
Katy Perry debuted a new look on Instagram last night and we’re not just talking about those bleached eyebrows. KP’s baby hairs come on the heels of Rita Ora and FKA twigs doing the same with similar coiffures. That’s three, which ~officially~ makes it a trend. For those unfamiliar with what Katy’s doing, she’s gelling down her bangs, then styling them (traditionally with a toothbrush) in waves. Still curious about the mechanics? I rounded up a couple of handy tutorials here and here.
The look isn’t exactly new. The last time baby hairs were mainstream was in the late ’90 and early ’00s, and depending on where you live, they’ve been here the whole time. If the ’90s had an official King of Baby Hair, it’d be Ginuwine, while its reigning Queen would naturally be Chilli . That being said, you were more likely to find baby hairs as a trend in more African-Americans neighborhoods. Everyone from Missy, Brandy, and Omarian have flirted with the style. That isn’t to say there hasn’t been crossover appeal: J.Lo also adopted the look, and served it with a little Latin swerve. (Video examples include “I’m Real (feat. Ja Rule)” and “Do It Well.”) It’s been debated exactly when and where the trend originated, and while it has echoes of finger waves from the ’20s, I’d put my money on the ’70s and LaToya Jackson.
Baby hairs of yesteryear.
Baby hair’s having a moment, not only in mainstream culture but also in high-fashion editorials, which can only mean that it’s going to hit peak saturation and disappear soon. Katy Perry’s adoption of the trend brings it to the forefront of cultural relevance (at the moment) before it’s absorbed completely, which might be for the best, as the fascination with the trend appears to stem from Eurocentric beauty ideals. Having white women adopt the trend creates an interesting wrinkle in a hairstyle that predominantly people of color have adopted, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen in recent past. Call cultural appropriation the buzzword of this decade. Does that mean the trend dies? Or does it evolve? Albeit with another loaded meaning. It’s something worth considering. In the meantime, I will be burning my middle school pictures.