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Genre hairstyles to try while you are on lockdown

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Apr 23, 2020, 3:00 PM EDT

Mia Farrow's pixie style from Rosemary's Baby is one of the most iconic cinematic haircuts, which had long been attributed to celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon after images of him cutting her hair on set were released. If you go back in the Vogue archives to 1966 you will find evidence of the actress sporting this look before taking the role of Rosemary Woodhouse, dispelling the popular story. When Sassoon passed away in 2012, Farrow revealed on Twitter that he only trimmed what was already very short hair. Rather, she had cut her own hair two years before the publicity still was released.

Stories about famous hairstyles often take on legendary status, particularly when it is this definitive. More than 50 years after the release of Rosemary's Baby, this cut is still associated with Farrow — even though she hasn't worn it this way for a long time. Knowing that it wasn't the work of a professional but a DIY 'do only adds to the appeal, which is even more relevant in 2020 now everyone is contemplating what to do with their hair while salons are closed.

Credit: Lucasfilm

Genre has long provided style inspiration, from intricate up-dos to bold coloring. YouTube tutorials will give you the finer points of how to achieve time-consuming looks, which you might normally only consider for Halloween. However, now is the time to let your wild side shine. Alternatives to professional cuts and dye jobs are being sought, and unless you live with someone who has trained in this profession, things could get a little interesting when attempting to cut your hair or someone else's while at home.

Adolescence is often the height of hair experimentation, which has potentially left some of us wary of the DIY option. Speaking from personal experience, I have been on the receiving end of a hair disaster and also facilitated one. Unlike those previous occasions, there is no trip to a stylist to fix the mistake so this is a disclaimer to say all of the below suggestions are not us telling you to opt for an extreme cut or offering a roadmap to hair happiness. Rather, if you are looking for inspiration from movies then here are some potential pointers.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Short Hair, Don't Care

Kicking off with a haircut you definitely can't take back, but if you were ever contemplating shaving your hair off, now could be the time. For the post-apocalypse choice of Furiosa (Charlize Theron) in Mad Max: Fury Road or the dystopian world of V for Vendetta, the buzzcut is a low-maintenance option. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) went razor short in Alien 3, giving her a hardened look after two movies facing a deadly foe. In Black Panther, the all-female Dora Milaje have shaved heads — they had longer locks when they were introduced in the comics in 1998.

Two other recent purveyors of this style are Nebula from the MCU (technically she doesn't have hair but Karen Gillan shaved all her hair for the first Guardians movie) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) from Stranger Things. But if you only want to dip your toe in the clipper waters without going the whole way, Gina Rodriguez's half-and-half Annihilation cut could be the trick.

Credit: Paramount Pictures 

As someone who has shorter hair, in the past, I have tried trimming the back with the aid of a mirror. Let's just say my stylist couldn't stop laughing when she saw the results. Mia Farrow mentioned she did her pixie herself — kudos to her. Again, these are tricky waters as it isn't a case of just lopping off bits. No matter how many movies showcase the ease of perfecting a motel or gas station makeover whether solo or for someone else — I'm looking at you, Jason Bourne — you're not going to have the textured definition of your dreams.

We are not going to come out of this necessarily looking like Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) after the opening act of Avengers: Endgame.

Credit: Focus Features

The Color Wheel

For anyone who dyes their hair on the regular, this is going to be a time when switching from professional to an at-home kit is a must. Of course, this could be the ideal time to grow the dye out, and for some truly great blonde-plus-roots styling, look no further than Kristen Stewart in the recent Charlie's Angels reboot. Otherwise, genre is awash with bold color hair from Leeloo's (Milla Jovovich) instantly recognizable orange Fifth Element locks to Ramona Flowers' (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) ever-changing shade in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Clementine's (Kate Winslet) hair matches her name at one point during Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and she waxes lyrical about how coming up with the names of the shades is a dream job. In Ghost World, Enid (Thora Birch) is making teal work for her and Harley Quinn's (Margot Robbie) got a splash of pastel in her dyed blonde locks in Birds of Prey. And for something completely different try the Storm from X-Men silver twist. Alternatively, Rogue's flash of gray is favored by a lot of Hollywood dudes at the moment (see, Richard Madden and James McAvoy).

Credit: Warner Bros.

I Got Bangs!

Take it from someone who learned the hard way, but if you're gonna chop your bangs (whether yourself or asking someone else to brave the scissors) be aware that if you do it while your hair is wet, they will be a lot shorter when it dries. This might seem obvious, but at 14 years old when my friend gave me blunt bangs, we didn't factor this in — this is one reason why I am glad camera phones did not exist in the '90s. I ended up looking like Winona Ryder as Lydia in Beetlejuice but a lot less cool. The Lydia wet-gelled approach is one way to go if it doesn't go according to plan.

Spock's straight bangs aesthetic requires a very steady hand if that is the vibe you are looking for. And for a fringe favoring waves, going back to the iconic Farrah Fawcett Charlie's Angels cut is more forgiving.

Credit: Warner Bros.

The Smart and Capable Cut

An extension of the banged look, there is one dominating hairstyle trope for smart and capable women in science-fiction and fantasy. Taking its name from the shape it takes, the bowl cut has long been derided for its DIY sensibility.

The Mystery Machine gang would look a lot different without Velma's bob, Quorra's (Olivia Wilde) from TRON: Legacy is serving the edgy version of this style, and Pacific Rim's Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) has added some blue streak flair to hers. It is highly unlikely that any of these women had a bowl put on their heads to achieve this slick power look, so use caution if you want to turn your kitchen into an at-home salon.

Credit: Getty Images

Let it Grow

Rather than cutting your hair, maybe invest some time in perfecting Leia's (Carrie Fisher) many intricate hairstyles (buns included) or Rey's (Daisy Ridley) three-bun signature. For the sci-fi retro blend, Rachael's (Sean Young) bumper bangs and victory rolls from Blade Runner are the way forward. Alternatively, get a jumpstart on Halloween with the Bride of Frankenstein (Elsa Lanchester) as your muse. For those with long dark hair maybe let your inner Morticia Addams shine.

And for genre-inspired working-from-home outfit ideas, look no further!

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