Picture Book Reveals How the Hairbrush Turns

Monday Magazine | August 7, 2004
Browsing through the hair styles in Big Hair is like watching a pack of shaved, backcombed, fluffed-up poodles playing fetch -- it’s both funny and horrifying. The thing about the poodles, though, is their bad hair isn’t their fault.

Not so here. One flip-through of this cheesy coffee-table picture book will leave you speechless, because the smiling people in these photographs actually allowed these hairstyles to happen to them. Massive mullets? Check. Hats and veils made out of hair? Double check. Glass Tiger glam? Big fat check. “What were they thinking?” you may well ask . . . but think of your own high school yearbook pictures. Who’s laughing now, smartass?

It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to open this book twice. That said, it might serve as a good ice-breaker on a blind date, or at a house party where few of the guests are acquainted. It also might be a useful “what not to do” guide to show a new stylist when all you’re looking for is a little trim. Come to think of it, it’s the perfect back-of-the-toilet book, too, especially if you remove the dust jacket. Underneath that protective sleeve (featuring, you guessed it, big hair) is a Barbie-pink, textured cover. And the cover art? Why, it’s a shiny silver hairdryer, of course, and a few silver sparkles for that little touch of class.

Big Hair may seem like a big joke, but don’t be too hasty to dismiss this book -- what goes around does come around, after all, and it probably doesn’t pay to be haughty in these retro ’80s days. Sideburns were ridiculed for years, then made a smashing comeback. Both the Farrah and the razored look returned. And after years of scorn, a once-banished mullet recently showed up on Meg Ryan’s ultra-perky head. Suddenly, the “beautiful people” were no longer at war with the mullet. Ah, how the hairbrush turns.

It’s no surprise that Big Hair doesn’t include any text (at all), because the pictures certainly speak for themselves. But the book could do with an appendix of styling products, and perhaps some step-by-step instructions for the daring. But hey, those of us who remember the ’80s know you can make just about any style stick with 14-hour spray and a bit of toothpaste . . .

Monday Magazine

Founded in 1975 to provide a critical voice in Victoria's political and cultural communities, Monday Magazine continues to shake British Columbia's conservative capital city with tell-it- like-it-is features and reviews. Targeting educated, active adults and Victoria's growing youth market, Monday...
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