The latest buzz on Britney Spears has a lot of people shaking their heads.
It wasn't long ago that few thought or cared about what went on inside the mind of the pretty, perky pop star. Now, after she shaved her head in a bizarre episode that culminates a months-long saga of controversial behavior, it's the question being asked by her fans, her foes and the general public: What was she thinking?
While psychologists and those around Spears speculate about the cause of her downward spiral, two things seems clear: The one-time pop princess is acting out and in dire need of help.
On Friday evening, Spears walked into Esther's Hair Salon in Tarzana, Calif., reportedly complained that her hair extensions were too tight, and asked owner Esther Tognozzi to shave her head.
"She sat in my chair and said, 'I want my hair shaved off.' I said well I'm not doing it," Tognozzi told the syndicated entertainment news show "Extra."
"Of course I tried to talk her out of it," Tognozzi continued. "I said, 'You know maybe you're having a hormonal moment or something, and maybe tomorrow you'll feel differently about it. Let's talk about this."
Tognozzi said she was talking to Spears' bodyguard when the pop star grabbed the buzzer and began buzzing off her own hair.
"She buzzed off all her own hair and I just cleaned it up when she was done with it, Spear said.
According to Tognozzi, Spears showed little emotion as she chopped off her brunette locks, except for tears in her eyes and voicing fear for her mother's reaction when she looked at her newly shorn head in the mirror.
"The only emotions that she showed was when she said her mom was going to be mad that she was doing this to her hair and she got a little bit teary eyed," she said. "Then she all of a sudden realized what she did."
Tognozzi said she tried to talk to Spears about her kids but that "she wasn't very talkative."
The salon owner speculated that maybe Spears is on the cutting edge of a new trend.
"I said to her now all these kids are gonna be following her and shaving her hair and what did she think of that?" Tognozzi said. "I told her she's lucky she has a nice-shaped head. She looked cute. She's a cute little girl."
The strands of hair Spears left on the salon floor were posted on e-Bay. There are reports the bidding reached $1 million before the auction was removed from the Web site, because the hair could not be authenticated.
After leaving the salon, Spears headed to the Body & Soul tattoo parlor in nearby Sherman Oaks, Calif. According to Us Weekly, she got two tattoos there, one on her hip and one on her wrist.
When a Body & Soul employee looked at the pop star in disbelief and asked why she shaved her head, Spears said, "I don't want anyone touching me. I'm tired of everybody touching me," Us Weekly reports.
Acting Out for a Fresh Start?
Like a three-year old throwing a tantrum, Spears is acting out, said psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall.
According to Marshall, by shaving her head and tattooing her body, Spears is rebelling against her the people who handled and molded her, just as she was in November when she repeatedly flashed her private parts to the paparazzi.
"This is a major form of acting out," she said. "She's not using words and language as a way to express what's going on. She's doing things -- the crotch shots, shaving her head, the tattoos. It says that she hasn't learned to assert herself and become independent through self assertion rather than through acting out.
"The hair represents the stylists, the handlers, people who are in control of her life and manage her looks," Marshall added. "Now she's saying, I'm in charge of my looks."
By going bald, Spears may be seeking a rebirth.
"I think the shaving of her hair is a fresh start, is a new beginning, taking matters into her own hands, doing it her own way," Marshall said. "I think most importantly, in her own maybe distorted way, it's getting rid of the superficial and getting down to something deeper."
According to the entertainment news show "Access Hollywood," on Friday, a representative from Spears' record label admitted rumors that the pop star checked into a rehab facility last week but left quickly were true.
ABC News has not confirmed reports of the alleged rehab visit, but if they're true, Marshall said that Spears' head shaving and tattooing could be her way of rebelling against rehab.
"Like her hair, which represents other people telling her what to do, rehab is experienced by her as one more act of rote conformity. So she rebelled by walking out, shaving her hair, getting the tattoos," she said.
Step Away From the Spotlight
Marshall's prescription for Britney is simple: therapy and time away from Hollywood.
"I think psychotherapy would be the best thing for her," she said. "Seek therapy, have her own autonomous life … step out of the limelight for a while."
Salon owner Tognozzi hopes Spears' mom, Lynne, will step in and take charge of her daughter and her young sons.
"I would say, 'Please take your daughter and get her off the media circus, and just take her home for a while, and take care of her and her babies,'" Tognozzi told "Extra."
In fact, Lynne may be coming to her daughter's rescue. Perezhilton.com reports that Spears' mom was spotted on a flight from her Louisiana home to Los Angeles on Saturday and gave the paparazzi a "thumbs-up" signal.
Even if she does get help, Spears' head-shaving is likely to haunt her long after her locks grow back. Marshall believes that if going bald can help Spears discover her true self, then picking up the buzzer may have been a good move.
"If the cutting off of the hair is getting rid of the superficial, getting down to something more meaningful, then I think everybody should back off and let her get down to something deeper," she said.