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In picking what article to go out with before our Comic Con induced hiatus, there was one thing that was nagging me for so long it just could no longer be ignored. Pouring through all the clips and pictures of my vast collection, I set out to uncover the mystery. I'm talking about the enigma known as Sam Winchester's hair. 
 
Just like Sam, his hair has been wandering from place to place, never finding a real purpose in this world. We have to wonder if Dean's consistent clean cut look and Sam's ever changing mess is a reflection of the paths their characters have taken. Nah, I'm reading way too much into that. Still, hair doesn't lie. Let's go through the seasons and see if there's any plausibility to that theory.
 
Season One
 
Pilot Hair
 
Not half bad. Sits nice, has a bit of wave, and definitely makes him look like the younger brother.  A good way to kick off the series. It makes the statement, "I'm Sam, an ordinary guy, but I have a good idea of who I am." Boy, does that change.


 
Wendigo Hair
 
Sam loses control fast.  His lack of care could be blamed of grief, but all that's needed here is common sense. By cutting the top shorter, the bangs are meant to hang down evenly now. Too bad they don't! Plus, the top looks matted half the time, kind of like hat hair, and the sides look like they’re fighting each other, taking any direction they want. Sadly, this look sticks for a while.

 
Home Hair
 
This is the "Sam needs to fire his stylist" hair. The jagged layers flop on top in a disorganized clutter, there's some sort of curly action going on in the back that's hardly flattering and most of the episode it looks like he just got out of bed. Granted, both Jared Padalecki and Eric Kripke said in interviews for most of season one they had no idea who Sam really was. I guess they found the hair to match that. It still makes him look like a pup though.

 
Provenance Hair
 
Skipping forward a bit, Sam has indeed fired his stylist by this time because it doesn't look like the hair has been cut all season. There's one side effect to growing out the top layers like that. When he combs his hair (like on his date with Sarah), he looks like one of The Beatles, circa 1964. While the look works for comedic pleasure with Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory, here, um, no.

 
Devil's Trap Hair
 
Yikes! He's totally given up. I get that Sam's face looks like he went a few rounds with a two by four, which he kind of did, but does the hair have to suffer too? Parts are flat and matted, one side flies away like he stuck his finger in a light socket and there's no sign of even a vague attempt at style. Just get to a barber and at least do something about the split ends. Heck, use Dean's machete. Anything!

Next page, Season Two, aka, the vast improvement.

Season Two
 
The best hair season ever. Not too many hot messes here, and it's continued growth throughout the season got better and better. Heck, it even looked good when he was praying to the porcelain God in "Playthings."
 
Bloodlust Hair
 
I'm not sure why, but this episode is sort of a turning point. Sam goes from that pup look to a real man. The hair is well feathered on both sides, has a little personality, a little style, and makes him oh so sexy. Even when bound and gagged after having a bag over his head it wasn't bad. 

SPN 0215
 
Born Under A Bad Sign Hair
 
Even manic, tied to a chair Meg!Sam looked pretty hot with those dangling bangs covering the face. Forget all the other times with the evil leer and perfect coif. Fine packaging indeed.

 
Heart Hair
 
This episode put Sam's hair through the ringer, and it passed with flying colors. It's the indestructible hair style! Case in point, an entire day of passionate love making. Sound asleep, naked in each others arms, and his hair is perfect. That episode is all sorts of win. 

SPN 1026
 
 
All Hell Breaks Loose Hair
 
Well, if you're gonna die in your brother's arms, you might as well go out looking fabulous. What a pretty corpse, and even when waking it looks pretty well done. It just goes to show you, always keep your hair in check, just in case you get stabbed to death. 


Next, season three and it's tragic toll...


Season Three
 
We go from best to worst. The only explanation I have is budget cuts. They couldn't afford to give the boy a haircut.  Sam's hair wasn't cut all season and by the finale, there was no hope, kind of like Dean's fate. I get that Dean was dying and all but sheesh!
 
Bad Day At Black Rock Hair
 
Okay, your bangs and top layers are getting a little too long. You a) trim them up a bit so they lay right or b) let them flip up in a haphazard flyaway style that makes you look sort of girly. Okay, not sort of. Good luck or not, the rabbit's foot didn't do Sam's hair any favors. 

 
Red Sky At Morning Hair
 
I bring this one up only because of one thing, Winchesters in tuxes. So, did the hair match the hotness of the monkey suit? It most certainly did. See what happens with a little attention and some hair gel?

 
Mystery Spot Hair
 
Does this even need a comment?
 
vlcsnap-00094

Long Distance Call Hair
 
This is the mother of all bad hair days. There's profound evidence he did use Dean's machete this time. 
 
The layers from earlier in the season have grown out, so why not try to feather what's there behind the ears? Er, doesn't work. What results is a flat looking disorganized jumble that looks like he hasn't washed it in a month. The way the hair parts at top of the head is a disaster and the exposed forehead is so blaring we need sunglasses. Judging by how much better it looked in next episode, "Time Is On My Side," I'm thinking he got a hair intervention.   



Next, Season Four...


Season Four
 
A definite improvement, just like the whole season. For most of the season it remained manageable, with a few noted exceptions. It seems that exercising demons with your mind doesn't require good hair. Sam has to be grateful for that.
 
Lazarus Rising
 
A bit of trouble here, but at least he worked in a cut during his grief. It's far better than when he wept over his brother's demise. I hope the new look made him feel better. Hair has to be shorter though when pulling demons with your mind, but that also must generate electricity given how his hair flipping up in retreat, just like Dilbert's tie. He ended up working out that side effect later though, you know, when he got better and stronger. 

Sampowers
 
I Know What You Did Last Summer
 
Sam's emotional state might be all over the map on this one, but for some bizarre reason, his hair looks great in every scene. Kinda hot actually. Maybe the hair symbolizes, "Barely holding it together?" Nah, I didn't think so either. It even manages to look so fine when he's drunkenly killing another crossroads demon and not so successfully fending off advances from a horny one. However, winner in this episode is when he stitches his own wound before tending to Dean's dislocated shoulder. I'd be tearing my hair out over that much pain. Sam decided otherwise and damn was that a wise decision.

 
On The Head Of A Pin
 
If you're going to torture and kill a high level demon with your mind, might as well carry the style that fits. Granted it doesn't look as great at it could, but at least it's out of his face so we get the full effect of all those twisted facial expressions that are required in zapping a baddie to oblivion. 

 
 
When The Levee Breaks
 
The rare time where a mess is a good mess. This is Sam at his lowest point, and the hair tells the sorry tale just as effectively as the haunting makeup. Heck, even in that state it looks way better than all of season three. And season one. By this time, Sam's identity and his hair are clearly one in one. 

 
 
Hmm, I guess there is no pattern. Sam's hair stubbornly does what it wants, and its caretaker isn't in the mood to fight it. He's got bigger fish to fry. We don't mind either, for we love him bad hair or not.  So, what's your favorite Sam hair episode? Your least favorite? 
 

Comments  

Dianeuk
# Dianeuk 2009-07-19 07:07
My family is mostly Scots, Cornish and Welsh, in every generation someone gets THE hair! In this generation it is my daughter and my cousins son. THE hair is RED,SRONG WILLED,and RESISTANT!!! We call it celtic hair.

NO matter what products are used, NO matter the cut (or how much it costs), NO matter the means resorted to IT does its own thing and returns to the "styl" it wants!!!!

Believe me many have tried to tame it , ALL have failed!!

SO I am thinking that maybe Sam (Jared) has a similar heritage in being Eastern European (ie. Polish, lots of celts there too) and has THE hair for his generation? Just a thought.

Diane
trina
# trina 2009-07-19 09:00
I think his season 4 hair is great, and I also for the most part liked season 3. Season 2 was actually hit or miss for me, but by the end of the season all was good. Season 1 made him look 12. I have always pictured Dean religiously finding the nearest barber every six weeks and trying to get Sam to come along. Sam has to be the least vain tv character ever.
Jojo
# Jojo 2009-07-19 09:59
I have to agree that Heart was his best hair episode... but I like messy, untameable hair, so In My Time Of Dying is a close second... and Shadow.
Dany
# Dany 2009-07-19 11:08
Hi Alice! You just made me laugh my heart out with your comments about Sam's hair!

I hate his season 1 hair, liked it in season 2, spend season 3 shouting for him to get a decent hair cut and liked it again in season 4. But I got to say that my favorite Sam's hair is in BUABS and Heart.

I'm wonder what's season 5 is going to do to his hair?...

Anyway, great as usual Alice :D
Bethany
# Bethany 2009-07-19 11:36
Diane i know what you mean i have that hair no matter what you do it does what it please.

I think Sam's hair is often hit and miss it's because he has long hair and grows out leading to some interesting looks whereas with Dean's short hair it's hard for it to be flyaway or messy.
det_coverdale
# det_coverdale 2009-07-19 23:41
For me, my favourite 'hair episode' conincides with one of my favourite Sam performances: Born Under A Bad Sign. In particular, I call your attention to the scene where Sam has Jo tied up (I was actually hoping you'd include that screencap, Alice, but no matter). His hair looks really good there (no whispy bits, no funky wave). Maybe the demon liked to spend a little extra time in front of the mirror? And it didn't hurt that Sam looked hot in that scene, too. Embarrassingly enough, it was the first time I remember wondering what it would be like to run my fingers through his hair.

But, all in all, who here can't empathise when it comes to bad hair days?
Antoinette
# Antoinette 2009-07-21 17:18
Thanks for a fun post dedicated to the enigma that is Sam's hair!

I must admit, I pretty much always love his hair, even when it looks terrible, but even I draw the line at the total "I just lost my jerky dad" hair meltdown in "Everybody Loves a Clown":

http://caps.oxoniensis.org/caps/spn/202/spn202_0327.jpg
elle2
# elle2 2009-07-21 22:14
Alice,

I love your obsession with Sam's hair, actually, it makes me ask the question of why the heck don't they do something about it? Is it supposed to symbolize the confusion, restlessness, searching part of this character? (As stated above, how Dean's is more military such as his approach and being a good soldier?) I really don't know and occasionally it distracts (but usually only when I think about it really hard) Perhaps Sam's hair is another character to the show, not quite on par with the Impala but, you know, somewhere????

Have a great, great, great time at the Con!!!! I'm busily working on some articles to fill up your box upon your return.
alysha
# alysha 2009-07-25 15:15
I wonder how Jared feels aobut his hair? Does Jared long to cut it, but he can't because he has to keep Sammy hair? It's probably not all that unmanageable for Jared, but the long days on the set in high humidity take a toll on his wavy hair.

I would love to read a humor fic where Dean finds Sam's flat iron and gives him trouble about it! LOL!

I think my two favorite good hair moments would be BUABS (S2) and IKWYDLS (S4). Worst would be ELAC (bringing new meaning to the word flicky) and "No Rest for the Wicked" in which it was flat ironed to death and producted into stringly greasiness!

The only comfort it that when I have a bad hair day...I think of Sam! :D
Suze
# Suze 2009-07-27 15:26
My hair never looks the same for 2 days in a row so I've given up expecting anything else from the damn stuff ... It's rather endearing that Sam's top-hamper actually looks as if he lives on the road whilst Dean's is suspiciously well groomed for someone who spends all his time fending off the forces of evil ... I suspect he has another layer to the Impala's Boot Of Bounty that's just stuffed with industrial strenth hair products. :lol:
Amanda P.
# Amanda P. 2009-08-23 22:18
I started to notice Sam's hair more towards the end of season 1, actually it was the beginning of Salvation. It was raining and i know that while not everyone's hair reacts as badly as mine to humidity I noticed Padalecki's did. It was a little tamed on top, but the bottom puffed out a lot. It was also then I finally noticed his hair got longer. I have a thing for men in long hair, so as the series progresses and the awkwardness finally passed with his hair, it turned out looking pretty good. Especially when the bangs finally went bye bye.
In Born Under A Bad Sign, I think that Meg really helped him there. I really liked how well his hair looked during that episode. Aww there was nothing wrong with his hair in "Long Distance Call" to me it looked a hell of a lot more tamed then like... ever. Sure it looks a little too slick but it looked great. The feathered look also didn't look bad at all. His hair in season 4 looks great too, finally trimmed in all the right places. Especially in "I Know What You Did Last Summer"
:D
silivren
# silivren 2009-08-27 08:41
wonderful post. loved the tongue-in-cheek humour and the pics (can never have too many piccies of the boys).

anyways, am i the only one who absolutely loved sam's hair in imtod and elac? the flicky-out one? he looked like such an adorable little puppy with it.

also, agree that the buabs hair was smoking hot and the pic you use was just priceless. it really says something about your life when a alcoholic, chain-smoking pervert of a demon takes better care of your hair than you do.
silivren
# silivren 2009-08-27 08:42
*used*

sheesh
PetraO
# PetraO 2009-08-27 16:35
This had me rolling on the floor after reading your article... Sam has been given an award for best hair!
:o No joke!

http://blogs.trb.com/network/cwsource/2009/08/the_sourcies_adore_these_luscious_locks.html#comments
Maithreyi
# Maithreyi 2009-10-04 06:31
Mmm, I'm actually deeply, deeply jealous of Padalecki's hair. It's... glorious. So rich and thick and there were several moments in Season 4 where I wanted to run my fingers through the strands, particularly where it adorably curls at the nape of his neck.

... Um.

But I am so glad you pointed out the atrocity that was his Season 1 hair - I've seen several people mention they miss it! The horror!

And yes, Sam's hair does resemble one more accustomed to a life on the road, and you know, fighting forces of evil on the side... but hey. Why waste all the beautiful hair when you can't style it properly?

(yes, I might be obsessed with Padalecki's hair. Might.)

Season 4 is a huge improvement - it was probably at its very, very best in "Death takes a holiday". I think Sam got a haircut in between Sex and Violence and DTAH, and god did the cut suit him or WHAT.
JessM78
# JessM78 2009-10-19 08:59
Wow, and here I thought I was the only one dangerously obsessed with Sam's hair (I actually wrote up meta discussion on his hair in my LiveJournal). So glad to hear I'm in good company!

I thought his hair looked cute at certain times in season 1, and I even loved it in IMTOD and ELAC (the messy, flicky hair combined with the bruises on the face did it for me).

Gotta say though that I'm LOVING the hair in season 5 so far! Nice and long, but it's got just a bit of layering on top and it's not constantly slicked back and plastered down like it was in early season 4. I hope he keeps this look for a while. :-)

One last thing, I linked to this article in my Sam's Hair meta livejournal post, is that okay?
Maraki
# Maraki 2010-03-01 04:45
hello there! i guess my comment is a bit late, but I just found this blog! it's EPIC!! and this elaboration on sam's hair? Man, I had such a good laugh, thank you!! it is saved on my spn folder! :P
keep up the great job!
cheers from Greece
RGNYC
# RGNYC 2010-08-18 17:52
Are you going to update this for season 5? It's hair-larious! -RG
zoey
# zoey 2010-10-29 19:03
I hatehatehate it when Sam tucks his hair behind his ears!!! I don't know whay, but i just dosn't look /right/!
smileypop9
# smileypop9 2011-02-14 17:12
'Heck, use Dean's machete. Anything!' LOL that cracked me up. I could imagine Sam cutting his hair with Dean's machete. O.o
Jeewl
# Jeewl 2011-04-03 13:49
:lol: yes i googled 'sams hair'. to see if anyone else was troubled by the same thought. its seems so.
season 2 was definitely the best sam hair year others not so much.
Junkerin
# Junkerin 2011-04-05 07:59
Could you please, please contiue this wounderful list. There is now a season five and six and maybe a season seven!
PLEASE
Alice
# Alice 2011-04-05 11:37
I did! I wrote a season five Enigma of Sam Winchester's hair last summer (link is below). It's far more detailed and has categories! Season six's will come out during Summer Hellatus. This will definitely be an annual tradition.

www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-list/category15/9523-the-season-five-engima-of-sam-winchesters-hair.html
spnMom
# spnMom 2011-10-13 19:11
This was a very amusing article, but I have to say that I love the Pada-hair in all its forms; yes even Everybody Loves a Clown hair :-) I loved the bangs from Season 1, all of the flips and flops. His hair has a life and a personality that adds an extra layer to the show (for me at least). Jared has said that he gets a hair cut at the start of every single episode. He just has a lot of life in his hair that is hard to control. Viva
Ang w
# Ang w 2013-01-31 10:47
Please get a hair cut... Seems like I am not the only one thinking this
Alice
# Alice 2013-01-31 11:35
Bite your tongue Heathen!! :-)