The Real Meaning Behind All Those Hair Changes In 13 Reasons Why

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
After watching the credits roll on the second season of 13 Reasons Why, most viewers were satisfied to find that most of the loose ends were officially wrapped. But, like a few other critical fans, we still had some questions — one in particular we've been holding onto since the first trailer dropped: Mrs. Baker has a pixie! But... why?
Here's the thing: Hair changes matter for the Netflix hit. In season one, protagonist Hannah Baker made a drastic change to her long curls just before she died by suicide. And by the time the second season aired, fans everywhere began to pick up on more hair changes among the rest of the cast, like Mrs. Baker (Kate Walsh), Alex Standall (Miles Heizer), and Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe).
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But, again, why? Did their haircuts and color changes represent emotional shifts in the same way Hannah's did? Or was this just a way for the series to represent a minor jump in the show's timeline? Since no tape or polaroid would give us the answer, we asked the mind behind every character's hairstyle on the show: hair department head Carla Farmer.
Farmer exclusively revealed the meaning behind some of the most significant — and more subtle — hair transformations in season two, the products used among the cast, and whose hair took the longest to style, ahead.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
On Mrs. Baker's New Haircut

"They had filmed episode one and two for the second season before I was hired," Farmer says. "So, when I got there, they had a well-oiled machine as far as referring to season one and continuity went." However, there was one hair choice Farmer made an adjustment to immediately: Mrs. Baker's hair.

The original plot for Baker always included a drastic pixie cut, like we see throughout the majority of the season. Farmer and her team were prepared to make a smaller tweak with a smoother (still very short) wig, but ultimately, the idea was canned. Farmer had already ordered the new wig, and it sat around all season until she had an idea: "The second wig we had purchased for Kate, we ended up using in one of the last episodes," she explains.

Take a closer look at Mrs. Baker at Monet's Cafe during her daughter's wake and you'll notice her hair longer and sleeker than before. By that point, the trial was over, Mrs. Baker was moving to New York, and her hair no longer solely represented her emotional response to a tragedy.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
On Jessica's Straight Hair

In the season’s third episode, “The Drunk Slut,” we see Davis flat-ironing her hair straight in preparation for her testimony at the trial between the Bakers and the high school. Farmer confirms that this was a very conscious decision for that scene in particular. "It was in the script that her hair was straight," Farmer says. It's one example of the show tackling its race problem, but it's also another moment in which Davis' hairstyle choice was a subtle nod to her inner conflict.

Although it wasn't always verbalized, Farmer confirms that Davis' natural curls — how polished vs. how loose they appear — are a big indicator into how she's internalizing her sexual abuse throughout the season. Farmer tells us that oftentimes they would use the curling iron to define her natural curl pattern (for her hair to appear purposefully styled) as opposed to using only a diffuser and some air-drying products for a more undone effect.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
On Alex's Dark Hair

Similar to Davis, Standall's hair carries its own subplot throughout the second season, as it's revealed early on that Standall grew out his bleached ends to hide the scar left behind from his attempted suicide. But Farmer reveals this new brunette hair is a wig she created for Heizer's role. "He wore a wig the entire season," Farmer explains. "The only time he didn't was at Hannah's wake and the dance. That was Miles' real hair cut short at the end of the season."

But what about all the flashbacks? "Up until the end, his hair underneath the wig was bleached," she says. "We had to send him to the salon a few times to touch up the blonde, but due to schedule changes, we sometimes had to depend on lighting tricks on set to make his ends appear brighter on camera."
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
On Hannah's Long Hair

Throughout most of season two, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) is joined by Hannah's ghost. But there's a small plot hole: The last time we saw Hannah, she had short hair, but her return in season two seems to have ditched that cut entirely. Farmer guesses that this was yet another conscious decision: "I think they wanted to remember her as she was before she died with her longer hair," she says.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
On Tony's Extensive Routine

"Although we were under a tight time limit for hair, Tony took time," Farmer recalls of the actor who took the longest to prep before his scenes. Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro) has some of the most recognizable hair within the ensemble cast: It's long, it's shiny, and it's almost always slicked back with a healthy dose of pomade from Lay Rite. Unsurprisingly, Farmer confirms that it was his thick head of hair that required its own barber, a flat iron, and a keratin treatment to maintain his straight look.
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