Beyond the 3lb. wig, what did the Oprah Magazine issue really have to say about hair?

By now, you've all seen it: Oprah's 3.5 pound natural hair, afro wig. It covers nearly the whole of the September issue of her monthly magazine, O, which this month has thrown out traditional fashion coverage for a more headstrong approach: a hair issue.

Opting out of the fashion foretelling that marks the center of many women's lifestyle magazines, though this issue does point out military garb, velvet fabrics and windowpane prints as this fall's best trends to watch, O Magazine set out to deal with the world of hair care and hair concerns. And the new editor-in-chief of the magazine, Lucy Kaylin, whose first issue at the helm is indeed this one, didn't fail to impress.

This hair issue has to be one of the most encompassing pieces of coverage on hair that corporate women's lifestyle media has produced. It shows little to no discrimination or stereotypes towards any one way of wearing your hair, and the personal stories from women who have gone natural, kept it straight, buzzed it off, dyed it blonde and let it go gray are as relatable as they are inspirational, and they remind the reader that hair really is a crutch, for better or worse.

Like the magazines you grew up reading, in which long, straight blonde hair models showcased the best cuts for your face or the best way to get those perfect, all-over curls, this issue of O covers everything you've ever read in the past - but never like you've read it before.

When it comes to the best cut for your face shape, the issue showcases different lengths and styles based on your hair-type, too: straight, wavy/curly and kinky. And this in and of itself may be a beauty industry first.

Then, the coverage of natural hair steps in, noting that over the past five years, the sale of relaxers has plummeted by 40 percent. Better yet, the article offers a side bar explaining that if you want to opt out of the TWA (yep, that abbreviation was just mentioned in O!), transitioning can take several years, and what you can expect at each stage in the 12 months. Director Dridgett Davis steps in here to explain that for her, transitioning was a four year process, but worth every second of finding her true self along the way. Hair care and hair culture coverage extends from natural hair to processed, dying to going gray, getting extensions to saying "Screw you" to society and chopping it all off "a la Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes." Overall, while there were certainly a few hair portrayals that felt a bit biased (like the circus-themed coverage in general which situated a big, blonde, frizzy haired model being tamed by a sleek, gray chignon-wearing woman with a blow dryer and brush), there is much more here to be proud of than not.

From the proper coverage of balayage, co-washing, no-poo, the kitchen, LOCs and shrinkage to learning where extensions come from and how their global cost is a lot higher than previously thought, even to the point of being morally wrong (think Disney and Wal-Mart type corrupt productions), not much was left uncovered.

Lessons Learned

Here, the top takeaways from an issue that may just encourage you to subscribe to the magazine:

  • 90 percent of celebrities on the celebrities on the red carpet are wearing someone else's hair. The other 10 percent are generally younger than 16 or just got a pixie cut.
  • Sales of relaxers have plummeted 40 percent over the the past five years, though extension sales are on the rise.
  • Much like you can't type and talk, stylists generally can't cut and conversate, so keep your salon gossip to a minimum during the actual cut. 
  • Cordless hairdryers that come with car chargers are now a thing. Seriously.
  • In 1908, L'Oreal made three different hair dyes. Today, the brand makes 219.
  • 60 percent of women will deal with hair loss at some point in their lives.
  • The hair transplant process sounds painful, but apparently isn't - except for your wallet (15K a treatment!).
  • Stress doesn't cause gray hair. Whew!
  • American women spend nearly $59 billion in hair care - which is more than three times the annual budget of NASA.
  • This nugget: "57 percent of women give a choice between great hair and ten more IQ points would take the former," which is ironic because "women were judged smartest in photos that hid their hair altogether."

What do you think of the actual content of this issue of O Magazine? Let us know in the comments below!