Seems to me that there's a mass movement towards "clearing the shoulders," when it comes to hair at the moment. Everyone's getting the chop and I recently found myself asking for such a change. I wanted a new look, THE new look that every stylish lady seems to be asking for. Time and time again I was hearing women say they felt liberated, freed from the weight of their long hair, after such a change. There's no denying that lobbing off six to eight inches of hair is in fact lifting a weight from one's shoulders- literally. But, what happens when you chop away a year of your life.
As the average woman's hair grows at a rate of .5 inches a month, it is fact that one is actually taking away a year of your hair's life when they welcome the scissors and remove six inches or more. For some this can be emotionally cathartic, for others it can become a horrible nightmare- a major mistake.
In the lead up to my appointment with Neville's in Knightsbridge, I consulted the pillars in my life for advice on a cut. The best friend, my mom, the boyfriend and the most stylish lady I know all weighed in on the situation. They all said "think twice." "You'll miss it when it's gone" seemed to be the overall feedback. Yet all agreed that a change may do me good. I stepped into the salon with an open mind.
As Christian, my uber stylist at Neville's, brushed my hair out, I had a chance to see just how long it had grown over the years. Reaching to almost my elbows, when combed out wet over my shoulders, my hair was quite honestly screaming at me as it was extended. It was begging and pleading. "Don't let us go," it screeched. "All this time we've been together and just like that you give us the chop and discard us from your life as if no time at all has gone by." This hair has seen me through two breakups, three house moves and over four dozen transatlantic flights. That's a committed relationship if I ever saw one.
Christian and I talked. I looked nervous. He explained he wasn't going to give me the mega-chop. My face and body shape weren't meant for the "clear the shoulder" look. In fact, I think he phrased it somewhere along the lines of "you aren't a small lady, this won't work for you." Harsh, but honest. This, folks, is what's needed with a hairdresser you trust. Anyone else probably would have just looked at the pictures I'd brought in and said, "sure, let's get cracking." Oh no, that wasn't the case here. Me asking for eight inches to be eradicated wasn't in the agenda. Instead, I got a compromise. I can deal with this.
Rather than taking me to a place I would truly regret, we agreed on a clean up. We would remove four inches (still a huge amount) and add a few layers to give my hair some shape. When you have a blunt cut on hair that stretches down your back, things can get a bit heavy.
So in the end I chickened out, or perhaps saw sense thanks to Christian. I didn't do a massive blunt "clear the shoulders" moment. And here's how I know I did the right thing. I came home that night and jumped in the shower (I like to style my hair myself as soon as I've had it cut - so I can see what I'm working with on a daily basis ahead of the morning rush). As I was washing out the shampoo, I ran my fingers through my hair and had an incredible feeling of sadness. I could feel the difference. A great deal of hair was gone. I stopped dead in my tracks and said a silent prayer for small favors. How on earth would I have felt had I gone for the mega chop?!
What's the moral of this story? It's pretty simple and actually there are two. Decisions with hair should not be made lightly. We aren't all Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding doors - where a total chop and dye job transform and improve. Big changes require a great deal of thought. This leads me to the second lesson. Even if you think you've made up your mind, trust the man with the scissors. This means you have to find that man to trust. Don't trust just any hairdresser. Dear god in heaven, that would be a mistake. Use your network for something - find a trusted partner in crime who will tell you what's what and not let you make a massive makeover mistake.
Oh, so you want to see the new hairstyle? Get ready to be shocked. Ok, in truth you can't tell much of a difference, except for a shorter length. But the shorter length has made all the difference.
And I'll just say... Kate Middleton cut her hair two days after me. I'm not calling her a copycat or anything. I'm just saying she may or may be copying my every style move. (For those of you that don't understand jokes... that was one. Just saying.)