Christina Hendricks, Before and After

Nevermind the boobs or the Botox—I want to talk about the evolution of her hair.
Michelle Villett
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Nevermind the boobs or the Botox—I want to talk about the evolution of her hair.
Christina Hendricks before and after

If you're a Christina Hendricks fan like I am, then I've gotta warn you—after reading this week's Before and After, you're gonna feel slightly crushed. That is, if you were holding on to the notion that her hair is real.

I don't know why it took me so long to come to terms with this, but thanks to a few of you ultra-observant commenters on the Mad Men Season 7 premiere beauty report, I now realize Ms. Hendricks has quite the wardrobe of wigs. Not that there's anything wrong with that—but like I always say with these profiles, it's helpful to know these things instead of assuming celebs are born perfect.

Like I mentioned last time, I'm opening up the discussion here for ALL aspects of how a star's look has evolved, not just speculation on needles and surgeries. For the record, I don't think 38-year-old Christina has done anything to her face other than the usual tiny tweaks with fillers and Botox, but I have no idea about the boobs. (I decided not to publish that '90s Playboy photo of her in a bikini because I find it degrading and, well, if she wanted an enhancement it doesn't bother me. At the very least, it was an excellent career move!)

Instead, the '90s photo I want to share is of Christina in high school:

Christina Hendricks, 1990s

Full-fledged Goth girl! And kind of adorable. She has said she grew up "feeling ugly, awkward and horrible" and began dyeing her hair at age 10. The wigs started just after high school—she wore one to enter a Seventeen cover model contest (and lost), but it was then she realized she could actually feel pretty. Verrry interesting, n'est-ce pas?

By 2004 (age 29), she was still looking for her big acting break, and didn't have all the top stylists on speed-dial like she does now:

Christina Hendricks, UPN TCA Press Tour, 2004

As you can see, her dyed red hair is a bit rooty and certainly not as shiny and voluminous as we're used to seeing it now.

Here's another shot of her real hair from 2005:

Christina Hendricks, Serenity premiere, 2005

It's fine and flat, but I don't think it looks too bad here.

Two years later, 2007, marked the debut of Mad Men and the rise of Christina's fame—but she was still getting her red carpet act together:

Christina Hendricks, American Cinematheque Award, 2007

See how something feels a bit off about this hairstyle? You can see her scalp around the part, and it seems like there are both straight and curly pieces in the lengths. I'm guessing it's one of those hairpieces (called a fall) that sits on the crown to add the appearance of fullness. But it's not anywhere near as high quality as the ones she wears later on.

At the SAG Awards in 2008, Christina wore her hair up and very textured, in an even more vibrant red colour:

Christina Hendricks, SAG Awards, 2008

Seeing as we know how thin her hair is, I feel like she's had some help here, too, to fill in the crown area.

I think this next pic, also from 2008, is her real hair again:

Christina Hendricks, Breaking Bad premiere, 2008

And same with this one (again from 2008):

Christina Hendricks, Paley Festival, 2008

In these, you can really see the difference in hair quality. It's fine, fuzzy and she just doesn't have a lot of it—possibly she even suffers from hair loss. I'm sure it's partially genetic, but I wonder what the effect was of the constant hair-dyeing and styling?

In 2008, she told the New York Post, "I wear little wiglet pieces [for the show], and then they blend my hair in. There’s just so much teasing and construction, my hair would just be breaking off. The just try to preserve our hair, little helpful things."

As the success of Mad Men grew, you can totally see how Christina got to upgrade her beauty team for the red carpet as well as the TV show. Celebrity makeup artists have told me the reason stars seem to get better-dressed and better-looking is because it's all paid for by the studios. When they have a hit show, they of course want their stars to be as aspirationally hot as possible. This pic's from the Golden Globes in 2009:

Christina Hendricks, Golden Globe Awards, 2009

See how things are slowly but surely improving? From now on, you won't see Christina without a wig or hairpiece. Here, a careful observer can detect the hairpiece adding volume.

This next one's from 2010:

Christina Hendricks, Directors Guild of America Awards, 2010

I always loved this photo, but now I see how it's doesn't make a lot of sense for her bangs to be so fine, and then have the visible scalp just before an enormous bouffant. Not that she looks bad, though. Her makeup here looks great.

One of the most famous Christina shots, which you'll surely remember, is from the 2010 Golden Globe Awards:

Christina Hendricks, Golden Globe Awards, 2010

Still love it, even if the hair's a wig. See how it's a new, brighter colour, even? And it's so thick and full, with no scalp peeking through—in fact no part at all. As we all struggle with our mousses, root-lifting sprays and round brushes in hopes of achieving something similar, I think it's important to know this ain't real.

The following year's array of wigs made it even more obvious, to those paying attention (which sadly, I wasn't!). Here's Christina, now age 36, at the 2011 SAG Awards:

Christina Hendricks, SAG Awards, 2011

So obvi that there's a piece on the top. This wasn't one of her best looks at all—I remember thinking something was strange about the hair at the time, and I think her makeup is a little too matte (and wrinkle-accentuating).

Her hair suddenly transformed to a lighter red, bobbed wavy style at the 2011 Emmys:

Christina Hendricks, Emmy Awards, 2011

She has so much hair here! And truly, it does look amazing (especially how it's a bit matchy with the lipstick colour). I wonder how she can stand wearing wigs all the time though—my head would get so hot and itchy.

Now we're back to a longer, curlier style, at the same event in 2012:

Christina Hendricks, Emmy Awards, 2012

Really love this one, too. (And how her skin looks so fresh here.) But yeah, there's just no way anybody could achieve this look when born with such fine, thin locks.

Notice how she's been able to expand her wig wardrobe. Also in 2012, Christina stepped out with a straight, side-parted version:

Christina Hendricks, The Book of Mormon opening night, 2012

I do love this wig. Just imagine how much all these things must cost to have made! Really like her red lipstick, black liner and blush here as well.

I'm not feeling this neon red one with bangs, though (circa 2013):

Christina Hendricks, AFI Awards, 2013

It's kinda cheap-looking, I think. Also wondering if she did something to her mouth? Not sure if it's just her expression here or if she got a few jabs that made it difficult to move there.

Now see how she went from that bright red to this completely different strawberry blonde (at the 2013 Emmys):

Christina Hendricks, Emmy Awards, 2013

I don't think I need to convince anybody at this point, right?

Another wig in her collection is this wavy long bob style from the Mad Men Season 6 premiere in 2013:

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men Season 6 premiere, 2013

And this takes us to 2014, the photo that ignited this whole discussion in the first place:

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men Season 7 premiere, 2014

I was marvelling at her miraculous ability to never have roots, and to have this perfect little fringe of bangs. Now I feel so foolish not to have noticed it's all smoke and mirrors!

But that's okay—I'm still a mega-fan. And in a way, a bit relieved to finally see how they make the celebrity sausage, so to speak. Famous people rely on hairpieces, wigs and hair extensions SO MUCH, and the general public just has no idea. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with them doing so, just that we shouldn't lament not having thick, shiny and lustrous hair ourselves, when what we're admiring is totally fake.

As for injections, it's a safe bet that she's dabbled with them, like everyone else in Hollywood. She has a very good injector (and if she's done her breasts, a very good surgeon).

Final thought: You really do need bags of money to afford believable-looking wigs. Let me know what you think?

Have your say

How do you feel about Christina Hendricks wearing wigs? (Or making any other "enhancements"?)
Which looks are your favourites/least favourites?
What do you think about the popularity of wigs, hairpieces and extensions in Hollywood—totally okay or are you bothered by fake hair?