Bearers of big hair can shower you with tales that will make you tear up. Big hair is not easy to manage, whether it is a coily, curly mane that takes hours to tame to one that gets betrayed by humidity. Coming from someone who has been called Medusa in her teens and Bob Ross in her 20s, my big hair journey has been bittersweet. I have fallen to the temptation of keratin and straightening treatments, only to despise the unbalanced texture later.
My 17-year old self was swayed by popular culture; I did not see a lot of big hair on screen, in magazines or even around me. But the newfound acceptance of big hair and texture in popular culture bodes well for the next generation of the big hair tribe. With Stanger Things Season 4 Volume 1 being the latest piece of entertainment to celebrate OTT volume, here’s a quick appreciation story to let the creators know – ‘You’re doing great, sweetie!’.
The MVPs Of Big Hair
Starting with the lovely Nancy and perennial heartthrob Steve. The former lovers’ character arcs get gradually hair raising, literally! Nancy’s permed bob gets shaggier as the story progresses, an ode to the trials and tribulations she’s put through. Star Natalia Dyer recently opened up about preferring the big-haired, messed-up look of the character over a clean look. The detail lends a certain flair to her role, which she plays with incredible nuance and poise. Steve Harrington’s Elvis-inspired coifed hairdo is already the stuff of legends, with this season being no exception. Can the two hair gods get together already, an unpopular opinion I am aware of but still hopeful for what happens in Volume 2.
Set in the mid-80s, the hair looks in this season are spot-on for the decade. Eleven’s blunt bangs, which Erica Sinclair unironically pulls off better IMO, were popularised by icons like Cher, Madonna, and Pat Benetar. Her mullet is another great throwback moment to the time when gender-fluid haircuts were cool, way before high fashion got obsessed with them today. Excessive crimping, side-ponytails and the whale spout were saved for the “popular girls”, most of them sported by Eleven’s antagonist Angela. Even the men on the show, barring the exception of Will (who really needs a hair makeover, BTW), sport some crazy big hair. An instant fave among viewers, newbie Eddie Munson, is the quintessential metalhead in all his frizzy-haired glory. Dustin’s curls and Lucas’s tall faux fade are carefully juxtaposed with one another. These kids are the moment; there, we said it!
Series hairstylist Sarah Hindsgaul revealed that she worked with inspirations that went beyond just how you see a particular trend. The hairstyles look as polished, or not, as the characters’ stories. Eddie’s not-perfect shag is interpreted as a result of him cutting his own hair at home. Nancy’s small frame paired with intense volume might just be her way of channelling confidence and power while she realises her journalistic aspirations, which was still primarily considered a boy’s club back in the 80s.
The internet and meme FYPs might be buzzing with the kids’ terrible-haircut stories. But for someone hoping for a renaissance of 80s hair, this show has made me very happy. In today’s landscape, all that volume will blend well with the young aspirations of experimenting with looks and expressing oneself through them. If I had to pick a decade for that to happen, my vote would go to the fabulous 80s! Is it too much to ask that 80s hair to return?
Images: Netflix, Giphy