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Let's Take A Fine-Tooth Comb To Orange Is The New Black's Hairstyles
We need to talk about a relative dearth of hairdon'ts at Litchfield.
As with any show that's frequently narratively driven by flashbacks, it's hard not to pay special attention to the tresses of its characters. Wig Cops everywhere spent years chortling over Lost's various attempts at evoking an era, after all. And already this season, Orange Is The New Black has brought us some very Wig Cop-worthy moments in its flashbacks. (Can we talk about the soul patch on circa-1994 Sam Healy?) But make no mistake: there's plenty of room for style policing in the show's present-day setting, even considering that 90% of the cast is only ever allowed to wear the same five things. Let's set aside the suspension of disbelief for a second, because there's a whole lot of hair on this show that looks way too good for prison.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone in Litchfield should be rocking the full Blanca Flores here. And certainly there'd likely be a couple of resourceful glam gals like Morello (excuse me, Muccio) and Ramos, who'd have the wherewithal to maintain perfect rag curls with only the help of a few random items they sneak out of the cafeteria. But in a world where everyone has to wait in line for hours for a few minutes in the shower and a couple of seconds in front of a sink, and in a world where the commissary routinely runs out of everything remotely interesting, there's no way a large number of these women are sporting salon-quality blowouts on the daily. (Does anyone even HAVE a hair dryer? That seems like it'd be contraband, and I'm definitely not seeing a lot of outlets next to the sinks.)
"But wait," you say. "There's a salon on property!" And yes, there absolutely is. But in-house stylist Sophia has been in the SHU for what feels like eons now. So what else is a girl to do? Visit rival stylist Danita? According to Sophia, that's basically hair suicide. Plus, the prison population just doubled -- I'm sure even Danita's appointment book is full to bursting these days.
So forgive me if I'm feeling a little skeptical regarding the long layers that Red's uvula-challenged bunkmate is sporting:
And Aleida Diaz's perfect waves:
And Soso, who got a free haircut courtesy of Leann last season that seems suspiciously smooth and even:
Theoretically, Alex could probably manage the upkeep on that blue-black herself, and Red manages just fine on her own, but when it comes to Piper's hair, we know that's not girlfriend's natural shade...and yet, she's had the exact same amount of root showing for pretty much the entire year-plus she's been in Litchfield:
(I'll grant you that, in Piper's case, it could just be that she's spending so much time with the community's skinheads that her hair looks decent just by dint of the fact that she HAS it. Maybe after this episode, she'll decide to get rid of it so that her head goes better with her new brand.)
And while the voices in Lolly's head have a lot to say, I'm going to go ahead and guess they are not particularly helpful as far as maintaining the sharp angles on her Anderson Cooper-inspired coif:
True, Lolly's grooming regimen is probably a step up from when she was living in a vacant lot on the streets of Seattle -- and props to the show for bringing a relatively strong level of realism to her heartbreaking backstory, including a couple of wigs that won't get the Wig Police called...which is, ahem, more than I can say for every wig that was featured this week:
But let's be real -- super-short hair requires its own maintenance. Lolly has neither the presence of mind nor the support of friends to maintain that buzz cut so perfectly, and in a prison where one can actually build an eight-foot-high cardboard fort in the laundry room that goes unnoticed by all but the counselor who's actually invited inside of it, she's not getting the kind of staff support where they'd be invested in her hair health.
Now hairstyles in prison, just as they are on the outside, would definitely be a broad spectrum...and certainly they are in the world of Orange -- I just think the spectrum skews a little too heavily toward camera-ready locks. In a world where work detail's gotten increasingly bleaker, and mirror time's at a higher premium, we should be seeing many more practical, low-maintenance ponytails than we do. And unless the new batch of inmates included a shocking influx of morally-compromised cosmetologists, I'm marking that as implausible.