Why ‘Real Housewives’ Doesn’t Let the Cast Change Their Hairstyle Mid-Season

When The Real Housewives of Orange County premiered on Bravo in 2006, it started a reality television sensation. The show focused on affluent women in Southern California’s Orange County. Although the women weren’t all housewives, they all had seemingly bottomless wallets, designer clothes, and awe-inspiring homes. Unfortunately, their lives proved not to be as picture-perfect as initial impressions would have you believe.

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“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast
“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast | Bruce Glikas/WireImage

The appeal of The Real Housewives franchise is watching the ups, the downs, and the drama that takes place behind wealthy doors. The women on the shows share their romances, family drama, divorces, and legal woes with the world. Very little is kept from the camera’s prying eyes. According to MSN, during filming, the ladies are filmed for 14 hours a day, six days a week. Producers have no sympathy for revealing the casts’ secrets because signing on is an entirely voluntary choice. Everything from children to bankruptcy is open for discussion. Even phone calls are not private. During filming, the women take calls on speakerphone to make both sides of the conversation usable for episode content.

Luckily for Bravo, more than enough women worldwide are willing to take part in The Real Housewife franchise. There are equally as many fans eager to view the chaos. The Real Housewives have filmed in ten United States cities. There is even an all-star edition set to premiere this year on Peacock. In addition, there are several Real Housewives internationally. If that isn’t enough, the franchise has produced several successful spin-offs, including the popular series Vanderpump Rules.

No mid-season hair changes

Although The Real Housewives reveals women’s lives with varying lifestyles and locations, the franchise has a uniform formula. All castmates must follow a long list of detailed rules. Several of these rules deal with the appearance of the cast. Fans might notice considerable changes in some of the lady’s appearances from season to season, including some nips and tucks. During each individual season, however, each castmate must maintain their look with minimal changes.

The castmates’ appearances do not change throughout a season because Bravo will not allow it. The ladies can’t change their hairstyles or other features to maintain consistency in the interview segments of the show. The ladies must have three looks. The looks include the same outfit, hair, and makeup. They continue to use the looks repeatedly during the three months of filming. 

In an interview with Glamour, former Orange County housewife Vicki Gunvalson explained the rules for no appearance changes during filming. She said, “You wear the same outfit all year long. You get three looks [total]. But for three months, you have to wear the exact same outfit, same hair, same makeup. You can never cut your hair in the middle of it because you’re supposed to look the same.”

Appearance Consistency


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Although restricting women from cutting their hair might seem excessive, Bravo has its reasons for the rule. During episodes of The Real Housewives, scenes frequently cut away to interviews with cast members. By having the women wear the same hair, outfit, and makeup, the producers are able to capture a sense of consistency and continuity throughout the season. The interviews are long, taking place over as much as six hours. By keeping looks consistent, producers can ensure every scene appears in the moment.

The Real Housewives cast also must coordinate outfits for specific events, including promotional shoots. They are allowed more leeway during reunion episodes as long as they are in cocktail attire.