Why should you keep your hair dreams within the boundaries of ‘the norm’? Layered Online’s Deborah writes an ode to the chameleon stylings of Halsey
Bubblegum pink. Platinum blonde. Rainbow roots and entirely shaven. There’s not a look Halsey hasn’t tried, a persona she hasn’t slipped into. She’s so different from your stereotypical popstar styling that she stood out to me from the off.
I still vividly remember hearing ‘New Americana’ and ‘Colors’ for the first time – while lost in London, on next-to-no-money and living with a freedom and appetite I’d never had before, feeling caught between being a ‘proper’ adult and my leftover student mentality. I quickly devoured her whole debut album, and was stunned to discover the husky voice belonged to a pixie with vivid teal hair. Which made total sense – she didn’t sound like anyone else, so why would she look like anyone else?
Halsey is known for switching up her look to portray the many facets of her personality. Whether it’s channeling the vibe of her latest album or song, like Gaga or BTS during each ‘era’ of music, or indulging in the whims of her mood, her approach to her hair is like make-up: transient, flexible, a question of ‘who shall I be today?’
“I wear my personality on my sleeve, for sure, and my look is constantly changing because so am I,” she has said of her shifting styles. And there’s nothing she hasn’t pulled off. She taps into her biracial culture with intricate braiding, happily plays with old Hollywood styling on red carpets, and is equally comfortable in florescent wigs in her back garden. “I never have any reasoning for why I do anything with my hair. I usually wake up one day and decide I want a change, and then I do whatever is easiest and the most fun and different,” she told Allure magazine in 2018.
Her ‘You Should Be Sad’ video, for example, taps into at least four looks from female artists who have inspired her. You can find tasters of Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and Shania Twain as she shifts into different iterations of a scorned woman singing her revenge.
As someone who has always had a distinct, singular style, ever since she was a teen – definitely classic, with the focus on accessories to bring interest to an outfit – I don’t know why it took me so long to think of my hair as just another accessory. I switch earrings, bags, make-up, shoes to hone my look, yet never thought to do anything to the layered, long locks that had been a staple all my life.
Maybe it’s not such a surprise that less than a year later I’d gone ahead and chopped off my locks for the first time into a bob, donating the lengths to the Little Princess Trust – and for the first time, was able to look in the mirror and see someone different looking back at me. Someone who reflected the challenges and experiences that I had lived through. Someone older, wiser, shedding the skin of that overgrown teen that I’d carried for so long.
Although I probably won’t be shaving my head like Halsey any time soon…