Nov. 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM ET
Getting a dramatic new haircut is never easy. For Michelle Duggar, mom of 19, a birthday makeover that ended with her familiar long, curly tresses being cut and straightened was a shock — to the whole family.
“It was quite different. Definitely different,” Michelle told TODAY.com on Friday (using polite-speak known by women the world over to mean, “Oh no, what have I done?!”).
The big makeover happened in August, in advance of Michelle’s 46th birthday, and it aired this week on the Duggars’ TLC show, “19 Kids and Counting,” which chronicles the daily life of the large, Arkansas-based Christian family. On the show, you can see the shock on Michelle’s face when she’s spun around in her salon chair to see her hair about eight inches shorter and straightened.
“This is what I look like when I get out of the shower!” she told the TLC camera in an interview right after the haircut. Her naturally wavy hair had reached past the middle of her back since junior high, Michelle told TODAY.com.
Her husband, Jim Bob, was not a big fan of the new ‘do. “I do like it longer,” he said — twice.
Michelle said she plans to grow it out. “I want to please my hubby, it’s all about what he likes,” she told TODAY.com. “He says he likes my long, flowing hair!” And waking up an hour earlier every day to straighten and style her hair before tending to her 19 children is not in the cards, Michelle said.
Her youngest was a bit shocked, too. Michelle said that Josie, who turns 3 next month, kept touching her straightened hair and saying, “Mommy? Mommy? Mommy! Mommy?” as if to make sure she was still the same person.
But she’s not reverting totally to her former style. Some days she wears it straight, some days curly, and her older daughters have helped her discover new ways to style it. Many nights after their family Bible study, Michelle told TODAY.com, her older daughters will gather ‘round her with curling irons, brushes and bobby pins and play with her hair. Michelle says it reminds her of the days when they were younger and she’d do their hair in braids or pigtails — but now the roles are reversed.
“My girls have played with it more than I have; I’m busy, I don’t have time for that,” she said. “I used to play with their hair when they were little, and now they do it on mom.”
Her daughters’ hairstyle sessions have even won over Jim Bob. One night they pulled her hair partially back with bobby pins, keeping it in loose waves, and she said her husband gasped: “He was like, ‘I love it, I just love it.’ I was like, wow, he really likes it.”
All of the Duggar girls have long hair, and Michelle said she wanted to make sure they weren’t inspired by mom’s surprise makeover. The night after her makeover she said she went to her daughters’ room while they were getting ready for bed and told them, “Girls I just gotta say to you, don’t get any ideas, don’t rush to a hair salon and chop off half your hair.”
She needn’t have worried. “ALL of my girls all said, ‘Oh mom, don’t worry, we are not going to go and chop off our hair.’ I was like phew, thank you.”
You could say the whole makeover has been a learning experience. Thanks to her daughters, she learned some new ways to shake up her style while still pleasing her man. And, Michelle says, she learned a new term: The mullet. Until she heard someone joking about it on a Christian radio station, she said she’d never heard the term — and didn’t know people referred to her short-in-front, long-in-the-back hairdo as a mullet.
“I just realized what a mullet is, I never really heard of that before,” she told TODAY.com. “I thought, that is so funny!”
TODAY Moms editor Rebecca Dube hopes her husband likes seeing her hair in a ponytail, because most days, that's what he's going to get.