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Hair Yea, Hair Nay: Whitney Houston

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When Whitney Houston belts out ”I’m Every Woman,” she’s not kidding. Over the past decade, Houston’s style — clothes, makeup, and especially her hair — has hit as many high and low notes as her ballads. ”She’s gone light, dark, curly, soft curls,” agrees the diva’s hairstylist, Ellin Le Var. ”She’s done almost anything and everything you could imagine with her hair.” Now, with a new updated shag for the video ”Exhale (Shoop, Shoop),” Houston makes up for such fashion faux pas as wearing a big silver bow in the ”I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” video. Created by Le Var and makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, who gave Janet Jackson those remarkable raccoon eyes for ”Scream,” Houston’s new look succeeds because the makeup blends in and the hair lies back. ”By the hair being smaller,” says Aucoin, ”the bones really come forward.” Heads up, Hillary Clinton.

1. Debut Whitney (1986): Who could always love this hair-spray fest? ”She likes a more sophisticated look today,” tiptoes Le Var.

2. Eye Shadow Whitney (1988): During her dance-kitten period, she overindulges her taste for brightly colored eyes and lips.

3. Eyebrow Whitney (1991): Beautiful, except that her brows resemble commas.

4. Bodyguard Whitney (1992): A 29-year-old mother-to-be, Houston grows up with a bob cut and softer makeup.

5. Diva Whitney (1994): The big hair pulls attention from her fabulous face.

6. Exhale Whitney: The hair’s sleeker and natural tones prevail. ”I used an apricot color on her cheeks and golden warm brown tones on her eyes and brows,” says Aucoin. ”I went for a sort of burgundy for the lips. The contrast brings forward the perfection of her teeth.” Add a super-toned bod and Houston’s found the greatest look of all—at least for now.

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