• Cover: July 28, 2014
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Wigging Out

It sounds silly, but we all wonder: Would changing my hair change my life?

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  • When I arrived at Bumble's uptown NYC salon on a chilly Sunday morning, I found Zoe and Carrie standing before a full buffet of wigs, giggling. I giggled too as Zoe led a tour of the goods, pointing out auburn Nashville-style curls, icicle-blond shoulder-length bobs, gray high-priestess tendrils. We browsed choppy Patti Smith shags and $800 wigs hand sewn from virgin European hair. Virgin European hair! I repeated the phrase in my head, savoring it the way I would the words pebbled kidskin or champagne reception.

    Before we could get down to business, though, we had to get my real hair out of the picture. Carrie parted it in the middle, made two braids, and pinned them to my head. A stretchy bald cap went over the braids, forming a condomlike seal and giving me the look of a pinto bean. Then the wig parade began. "You look so different," Zoe observed as wigs flew on and off my head, each new style swiftly erasing the woman wearing it and replacing her with a fictional character. Studies have shown that hairstyles are a key factor in how we recognize people's faces, and here was a rather spooky form of proof: As my hair changed shape and color, I hardly knew the person in the mirror.

    ON ELLE: Hair Masks That Replenish All Hair Types

Wigging Out
It sounds silly, but we all wonder: Would changing my hair change my life?
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