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Anybody paying careful attention to Zayn's hair over the last few years would totally have known this was coming

cathy suhocki
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1. Straight up wake-up call

Zayn Malik has officially left One Direction. Many were shocked and saddened. But was his hair trying to tell us this was coming all along?

In early 2012, Zayn's hair was reaching up toward the heavens, getting in a good stretch. But could it have been reaching for something else? Perhaps for truth? Zayn's tresses were clearly open to exploring life outside of One Direction. How could we have missed it?

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2. Blonde swirl alert

In October of 2012, his hair gave us a sign we couldn't ignore: blonde streaks. Though they were perfectly and naturally swirled in the front of Zayn's coveted quiff, they were flagging us. All of us.

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3. Shaved silent

In 2014, Zayn's tresses must have been giving away too much, because Zayn decided to cut them off, literally. His sides were shaved allowing his faux hawk to dominate. But you couldn't keep the hair quiet forever, could you, Zayn?

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4. Sharp sideburns, proceed with caution

Zayn's sideburns are normally perfectly chiseled. Any hair-ologist can tell you that the insane effort of Zayn's perfect burns were a direct clue that he was trying too hard to block the inevitable.

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5. Messy sideburns, red flag

And, thus, the sideburns became messy. Reaching out to give us all fair warning. "We're scattered!" his facial hair cried. "We're scattered and broken, just as 1D will be soon!"

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6. Getting ahead of itself

Zayn's hair was done at this point, and considering running right off of Zayn's head. It's almost as if his hair was begging and pleading with him to get away from it all.

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7. Impending fauxhawk

Let's discuss the Fauxhawk for a moment. Wild, free, crazy, sexy. All of this is true. But what was the deeper message? Clearly, this 'do was telling us how wild and free Zayn truly wanted to be. Wild and free... from One Direction.

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8. Shaggy and Windblown Advisory

It was 2014 when Zayn must have had an inkling his hair was telling all of his secrets. His sides had grown out and his hair was shaggy and free. Free, just like Zayn was yearning to be.

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9. Message from the pseudo mullet

At this point, Zayn's hair was erratic. It had so much to tell us. So many things to warn us about. Oh, how could we have missed all of these signs?!

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10. Ponytail tale

Zayn's headbanded, low ponytail was in direct opposition to the Zayn styles of yesteryear. 2012 Zayn hair: up top, fun-loving, vulnerable. 2014 Ponytail Zayn hair: hidden, safely tucked, buckled down for the storm ahead.

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11. Slicked back

Not one to let his hair get the best of him, Zayn tried to tone the messy tresses down (and keep them quiet, perhaps?) with a good amount of gel. But his hair breaks loose so perfectly on the side, falling in front of sad, brown eyes and giving us all a sign of things to come.

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12. Heavy facial hair ahead

From messy sideburns to a full-on beard. People. If you don't see the signs Zayn's hair is giving in this picture, you are hopelessly in denial.

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13. Warning: Side-swept to the right

This one was impossible to miss. By laying fully to the side, Zayn's hair is literally saying "exit, stage right" in plain English, British or American. It didn't take much decoding to figure this one out.

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14. The comb after the storm

These days, Zayn's hair has calmed down. All of the secrets and lies have been made clear, and the hair has nothing to hide, nor does Zayn. Finally, the man and his hair are at peace. Finally they are free.