Going for the Chop

I’ve always loved the idea of long hair, but the truth (which it’s taken me a long time to accept) is that it doesn’t love me, and so a few months ago I went for ‘the chop’. And this time, for the first time, I’m not looking back…

Not withstanding my years as a tomboy when short haircuts and trousers were de rigeur (I refused to wear a skirt for 6 years. Not a lie), I have always hankered after long thick hair. A swishable mane of the stuff that would hang halfway down my back like a pristine pony’s tail (I was also obsessed with horses, perhaps, Doctor, this is the connection?) But sadly, I just don’t have the hair to fit my daydreams. Fine, flyaway and apparently unable to grow much below my clavicles without splitting, it has always been best suited to shorter styles. And yet, I never felt suited to shorter styles (despite my face being too narrow for long hair). They were just too grown up or too office or too old or unfeminine – and in one traumatic haircut incident, which took me years to grow out and I’m still not quite over – too Princess Di for my pretensions to bohemia.

And, so the cycle went….grow hair until it looks awful. Cut hair. Hate hair. Grow hair out until it looks awful. Cut hair, Hate hair. Grow hair. And, so on. I felt that long hair made me look young, more stylish, more me. But then, this September I went for the cut that changed everything.

Having reached that length of hair and stage of the summer when something Really Needs to be Done, I booked an appointment at John Frieda in London. (full disclosure – I was invited to experience, although I didn’t have to write about, the salon). I figured that I’d get it chopped to its usual just above shoulder length, get it looking healthier and then, quite probably, grow it again to its normal straggly length just to continue my usual frustrating pattern.

Previously, I’ve been a bit of a slut when it comes to salons. I chop and change in the same way they chop and change my hair, so I’ve been to a lot of hairdressers in my time. But, I’ve never ever left a salon – even a smart London one –  feeling really happy. It’s always been a case of tie it up, stand in front of the mirror at home and then get used to it. I’ve never loved the cut or the styling, it’s just always got the job done, which makes me think I’ve been getting it wrong all these years because Laura at John Frieda, was quite simply brilliant. She cut my hair shorter than I’d originally thought I’d want (the top picture is just after it was done) and styled it in a way that I loved (and tried and failed to recreate at home). But, perhaps the biggest testament to her cutting skills is that I still loved it after and I still love it now, although 3 months on, it is in need of a cut again.

I’m not saying everyone should get their hair cut short, especially not those lucky ones of you who really do have fabulous long hair, but the experience has shown me that finding a really good hairdresser can make a world of difference. (I noticed this with my colour too. If anyone wants amazing highlights that really suit your skin tone, Sam is definitely your man) If  you’re prepared to go shopping and spend money on clothes, then why not spend it on your hair instead (or as well if you can afford it)? You wear your hair every day and having bad hair, however beautifully you’re dressed, is not going to make you feel good. The experience has also shown me that it’s good to embrace change. I may not have long swishy hair, but I am no longer obsessed with the idea of having long, swishy hair, which is another first for me.

I also learned a couple of hair tips, which whether you’re happy with your hair, your hairdresser and your length or not, might be useful.

  1. Never use more than a 5p size amount of shampoo as this can cause frizzy/static hair (WHO KNEW?!!). Now, I struggle to lather up this amount of shampoo, but I’m definitely using less than I was before.
  2. Never use a metal brush. You probably all know this. I didn’t – and guess what, it also causes static hair.
  3. Never blow dry on full heat. Again – you may all know this, but I didn’t! Always make sure the temperature is tolerable on your hand, otherwise it’ll be too hot for your hair.
  4. You can blow dry curls into your hair using a round brush – practically impossible to do on your own, but worth a try! If you can master it, spray some hairspray on before you dry and this will hold the curl. I can’t do this one!



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