Anatomy of a haircut

Was just checking back through some photos I didn't upload and found these 'before' and 'after' shots from my last haircut!

 (Jacket: Topshop; Scarf: Helen Moore)

A mere four hours later...

What a difference a few hours makes, least of all on my expression! Sitting in a chair with only glossy magazines, cups of coffee and the occasional attention of a perfectionist hairdresser does get a little lonely, but it's worth it. 

I've waxed lyrical to anyone who'll listen about the importance of a good haircut (partly, probably, to justify the cost of mine) but you genuinely can't beat one, or underestimate the importance of one, in my opinion. A new outfit can transform your look for a moment and a good day can put a smile on your face for a few hours, but a good haircut transcends all of this. It can make you feel like you're comfortable in your own skin, but conversely a bad one can make you feel unlike yourself. You can wear an outfit that doesn't suit you and take it off, or try a new lipstick shade and write it off as an experiment, but a bad haircut violates your sense of self. 

I remember a friend in tears over a particularly bad cut (by a stylist clearly more interested in their own enjoyment of the experience than the effect they were leaving behind) and then revived, months later when the bob they'd given her had grown out, by finally feeling like herself again. On a less permanent note, I remember a girl who was on the Elle shoot I did who so hated the chic high ponytail they'd pulled her sleek, enviably perfect poker-straight hair back into that she asked the stylists to straighten it to get the kink out afterwards. Such is the power of a good, or bad, hairstyle or haircut; from a brief few hours of an ill-favoured style to the painful months of growing out a bad cut, you stop feeling like yourself. 

Luckily for me, thus far I've never had a truly bad haircut. Sure - as any schoolfriends who might be reading this will point out - I had the unfortunate experience of trying to grow out a pixie cut like this (albeit a less stylish one) at the tender age of 14, at the same time as having traintrack braces on both my top and bottom teeth. By all accounts, a disaster. But in hindsight, it wasn't the haircut, or the growing out, that was the sad part. It was the time after, when I had long, straight, thick but unflattering and lifeless hair because that's what girls just did at that age. Looking back over those photos shows a cut, or lack thereof, that did nothing for me. I didn't look like myself. When I've grown out my hair, twice since that first pixie cut at the age of 11, it's always been for other people. When my hair barely touches my collar, my ears are chilly in the cold and I get through a mountain of dry shampoo desperate to get between-wash volume, I never find myself longing for the warm security blanket of long hair or the ease of a ponytail. Because with short hair, I feel like me.

Psst - for any readers who do have short hair here are some of the products I swear by:

Herbal Essences Rose Dry Shampoo - the best I've tried (pro tip - avoid Aussie; it's not worth it). Not too cakey but malleable, sweet-smelling but not sickly, and a little goes a long way. Handy between washes or as a volumising product. Want a more general everyday volume-boosting dry shampoo?

Redken Dry Shampoo - this one comes in a small bottle that you shake out into your palm, so is quite hard to control the quantity of, but is a great texturising product. Slightly more sticky-feeling than Herbal Essences, so not ideal for between wash care, but good for a bit of volume and better for malleable style. Redken products are best when you want a little control which you control. Case in point...

Redken Moveability - my hair stylist (Will at Fordham Soho - highly, highly recommended) is obsessed with this, and uses it after every cut. Scoop out a pea-sized amount and attack your hair like you hate it. Work the product through thoroughly and get a pumped up version of your existing hair or tease gently to bring out certain sections. Particularly good for arranging your fringe or the front section of your hair with, if you have a cut like mine. 

Tigi Bed Head Sugar Spray - after they appear to have discontinued the amazing mousse I used to swear by, this is actually, quite possibly, better for volume. No-one told me you should apply sugar spray to wet hair; I've been doing it wrong for ages! But spritzed onto wet hair, this gives you amazing yet controllable volume, and a sweet sugary scent. If scent is your thing...

Fudge Urban Hair Sprays - I used to use their Matte Clay like it was going out of fashion; it had the look and effect of cement and used to give me the strange triangular volume effect I decided was a good idea at uni. These days, I've moved on to Fudge's range of hair sprays, quite simply because they hold like no other AND they smell delicious. Texture Blaster is like Malibu in a can!

Much better. Happy styling!

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