Out of the numerous scandals and secrets plaguing the royal family, one remains the most enduring, year after year: what is up with Kate Middleton’s hair?
How does it stay so shiny? Who gave her the right to such great blowouts? Does she really change it up before each pregnancy to divert attention from a budding bump, per an infamous conspiracy theory?
And this week, as the Duchess continues to emerge from lockdown for public appearances, such as one on the British show BBC Breakfast, her new look made onlookers wonder: what’s up with those new highlights?
Kate appears to have lightened her base color and added highlights, says Clint Wilson, co-founder of New York’s Salon SCK. “She’s definitely going for that sun-kissed, summer look,” he told The Daily Beast. “Everybody wants to do something to feel brightened up and a bit different after being quarantined.”
As she spoke about her three young children being “bottomless pits” when it comes to eating, Kate wore a Emilia Wickstead polka dot dress retailing for around $1200. Austere it was not, especially as her country’s unemployment rate is set to reach peaks not seen in 40 years.
As much as she would love to project, Kate Middleton is not just like us. But even she may not be immune to the transformative powers of a new haircut, especially when it comes to marking a new phase in life. The Duchess is navigating a reentry of sorts, making a few TV socially-distant appearances after months spent inside.
“A look like this would up your maintenance,” Wilson said. “When you change your base color and get highlights, that means you’re signing up for much more time in the salon. Maybe go in every 4-6 weeks. Kate just went from having no roots [done] to having to get roots colored every four weeks.”
Remember the time before coronavirus, when everybody deeply cared about the potential estrangement between Kate and her sister-in-law Meghan Markle? Since the Sussexes moved to Los Angeles to pursue their true calling of high-paid speaking engagements, Kate is left to pick up some of the glamorous slack left by the notedly glamorous Markle.
Though Kate’s style has always skewed more girl-in-the-country-estate-next-door rather than all-out Hollywood, she has evolved in her flashiness this past year. Read any British tabloid and you’ll become convinced it’s a reaction to Meghan’s popularity. But then remember that sexism exists to pit powerful women against each other, and you might shrug and think that maybe she just wants to try something new.
Whatever the reason for Kate’s new look, isn’t it fun to talk about something that doesn’t relate to our imminent doom? Her hair is the visual embodiment of keeping calm and carrying on. Despite worldwide unrest, Kate’s reliably fabulous. Sure, it is concerning that maintaining such a manufactured image is part of any job. Still, she pulls it off like a pro.
“It’s refreshing to see people with fresh hair color again,” Devin Toth, another stylist at Salon SCK, said. “Throughout the pandemic, many people became their own kitchen beautician, relying on at-home products like box color, root cover-up, and concealer. Those types of products are super important and have their place for sure, [but] it’s great to see salon quality hair again, especially in bright summer colors.”