Three Things About Extreme Hair Wars

Have you been watching Extreme Hair Wars? Can you imagine yourself asking for one of those hair styles in the salon? Here are three things we take away from the show that you won't hear anywhere else.

The show is about showmanship

In The Huffington Post, Tahmina Begum and Ellen Wallwork call this show the equivalent of Mary Berry's Great British Bake Off. The difference is that you can imagine eating a bit of the cakes baked by the baking contestants, whereas you can't imagine wearing one of the hair styles.

In the quest to be named Champion Stylist, the contestants are supposed to create the most creative, elaborate, and frankly, outrageous hair style. The aim isn't to create a wearable hair style. It's more like an architect who wants to leave an iconic legacy. However, an architect's aim is to design a building that is practical and can be inhabited and used. In the case of Extreme Hair Wars, the top styles are the most impractical.

Indulging in dangerous practices

The judges, Martyn Holmes and Robert Masciave, say that the worst thing you can do in this industry is be safe. They take that maxim to the max in the show. The things they do to a person's hair has no end of manipulation. There's back combing and braiding, hair spray and accoutrements. It's not what you'd want to subject your hair to on a regular basis (or even once).

The contestants must fulfill a theme, which involves having a vision. It also means controlling the execution of the vision. To reach that vision, hair is placed and curled and matted and - well, you get the picture - until the contestants feel they've created a representation of that vision. Might work with cakes, but as a hair styles, let's not pretend that this vision has any bearing on reality. In fact, that's why they call it a fantasy hair competition.

Models can make anything seem serious

The fanciful hair creations are worn by models. They're a relatively homogeneous group: young, tall, thin, and oh so serious. They preen and pout, even while their faces are covered with glued-on beads, their hair is gooped up formed into gravity-defying animal likenesses, and strange substances being dribbled down their faces. Trying to imagine this same style on a middle-aged woman with a round face is hard. Trying to imagine such a typical woman subjecting herself to such machinations without laughing is even harder.

Do these three observations mean that the show isn't worth watching? Not at all! The show can be great fun, a pleasant way to pass a bit of time with your friends making wisecracks, as one does. Just be sure to watch with a healthy dose of humour and cynicism.