31 In Beauty/ Style

The Big Chop

Hair, eh?  You can’t live with it, you can’t live without it.  I’ve had long hair forever. Long hair has always felt like a security blanket to me, a curtain to shroud and cloak me… like my own self-grown blonde burka.  And whether I like it or not, having long blonde hair has always been a big part of my identity.  It is sort of a joke, really, because I am the least stereotypical blonde there is.  I think back to my career in finance… I had a boss that used to call me Pit Bull Barbie, because despite being blonde, I’m quite unfuckwithable.  In another country and another job many years later, a male colleague/friend and I were sitting in a meeting (with only men, except for me), and I asked what I knew to be an intelligent and valid question.  No one had an answer, and my friend chirped, “Listen, Barbie. Go back to filing your nails, let the men ask the hard questions, ok?”  Everyone burst out laughing, even me.  It was especially funny that he called me Barbie, because I’m so not, and everyone in the room knew that.  Long blonde hair on me always felt like a bait and switch; you might think you know what you’re getting, but what you actually get is something else entirely.   A distractionary tactic, you know, like those angler fish that draw small prey close with a fluttering lure in order eat them!  It is often an advantage in life to be underestimated, and long blonde hair has definitely provided me with a lot of being underestimated!

Anyway, a few weeks ago my hair decided to have a midlife crisis, and I had it chopped off.  Now, if you change your hair a lot, you’re probably thinking… big fat hairy deal, lady, you cut your hair! Who cares?! But after more than forty years of fuss-free long hair which I did very little to (except during the perming years, and we will not speak of those), having a big chop was daunting.   What if I looked like a conservative judgemental politician’s wife (which is easy territory to veer into with a bob)?  What if I looked really mumsy and boring?  Could I still stick it in a ponytail to go to the gym, and to get me through the growing out phase if it looked horrible?   Unlike my long hair, I wanted this shorter hairstyle to be a edgy, a LITTLE rock and roll, and not at all Tipper Gore.  I then set about doing my research.  The joy of being a person who overthinks absolutely everything is that you do extensive time-consuming due diligence on the most ridiculous shit, like haircuts.  Remember when Rosie Huntington Whitely recently went from her long perfect goddessy hair to her minxy choppy lob?  No?  I’ll remind you.

rosie-huntington-whiteley-vogue-26july13-rexPhoto: Vogue

Rosie-Huntington-Whiteley_glamour_7jul15_rex_b_426x639Photo: Glamour

When Rosie went from bombshell to modern, she entrusted her hair to the skilled hands of George Northwood.  He’s been cutting Alexa Chung’s hair for years, and does lots of other famous people.  Like the eyebrow tattooing scenario we discussed, if you’re doing something semi-permanent, you want to go to the expert, not just anyone… and George is THE bob dude. In fact, he has a bob bar where you choose the specific style of bob you want. There are even wigs of each bob in the salon for you to try!  I figured if Rosie, Alexa, and Gwyneth trust him, then surely he wouldn’t make a total dog’s breakfast out of my hair.  Since George is always swanning about on location with celebrities he’s hard to get hold of, but he has trained his stylists in his particular style of *effortless (*it requires a LOT of effort) bob.  I made an appointment with the head stylist, Roi, and took the plunge.  I didn’t want to go shorter gradually.  I didn’t want to give him any direction.  I didn’t want the responsibility of making any choices from the bob bar.  I just asked Roi to do whatever he honestly thought looked best on me, since he’s a well-trained expert. He was stunned that I was so calm having inches and inches cut off of my hair.  He decided on a just-above-the-collarbone length in front with the back angled slightly shorter.  He asked incredulously, “If I had suggested a short chin-length bob, would you have done THAT?”  I would have, but I’m glad he didn’t!

I’m still settling into this haircut.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep it this short, or whether I’ll grow it out again.  I can tell you that it takes a lot more effort than my wash and go messy long hair.  This ‘bendy bob’ business takes at least half an hour, whether it looks like it does or not.  I currently use a whole two styling products on my hair, which is two more than I used before.  The first one is Pureology Colour Fanatic treatment spray, which claims to have 21 benefits for hair.  I  like four of them:  it detangles my hair, lightly conditions it, provides some heat protection, and adds just a touch of volume.   The second product I have to use is Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray.  I’m pretty sure I’d have the dreaded Tipper-Gore-bob if this product didn’t give it some guts and texture.  I usually have to use curling tongs to get the bendy waves in my hair, so with that pain in the ass factor added to the two styling products, and I am discovering how effortful ‘effortless-looking’ hair is.  I cannot believe I am putting photos of myself on the same page as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, but heaven help me, here goes:
DSC_5146Pre-chop length

FullSizeRenderPost haircut phone selfie in my kitchen

DSC_7174Not enough waves

DSC_7682

What about you?  Have you made any drastic hair changes lately?  Has your hair had a midlife crisis before?

 

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Johanna
    December 14, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    I did a similar thing… though for medical reasons. Hair takes long to fall out from chemo if it’s shorter. So I cut my trademark, almost waist length, auburn hair to just above my shoulders. It was really shocking to begin with… but I got used to it. Of course now I sport wigs and occasionally my own, though now very very short hair. The freedom is actually quite lovely… though I understand sticking to one style when it’s actually your own hair! You really suit our new hair though!

    http://johannamontana.wordpress.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 14, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      It must have been quite a shock to make such a drastic change, Johanna. You look amazing, and so different, in the brunette and blonde wigs on your About Me page on your blog. I can’t decide which one I prefer! Congratulations on being given the all clear after your chemo; that is amazing. xx

  • Reply
    Vicky
    December 14, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    I love it! I think shorter hair looks a lot more fuller than very long hair. I did the big shop a year ago and never regreted it. I wish you all the best on your hair journey x

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 14, 2015 at 5:13 PM

      Thank you Vicky! Your hair looks FABULOUS on your blog; I don’t know what your before looked like, but your after is gorgeous! xx

  • Reply
    Suzy Turner
    December 14, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    I love it!! You look gorgeous. It really suits you a little shorter. I just had all my hair chopped off (a big change), opting for a really short pixie and I love it! It’s so easy 🙂
    Suzy x
    http://www.suzyturner.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 14, 2015 at 5:10 PM

      Thank you Suzy! I noticed your profile pic on Twitter had changed, but I didn’t see a blog post about it. It looks SUPER on you! xx

  • Reply
    Audrey Ward
    December 14, 2015 at 5:36 PM

    It looks fabulous. My daughters are 31 and 33 and both are attorneys. To be taken seriously especially by men in their profession both did the same as you. They look great and it takes less time to style. My Christmas gift to each of them is a professional hair dryer to even shorten the drying time. You will have fun and enjoy the shorter hair.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 14, 2015 at 8:20 PM

      Thanks Audrey! I think I have a lot to learn for styling tricks on shorter hair…I need to spend some time on YouTube to figure it all out! xx

  • Reply
    Abby
    December 14, 2015 at 5:50 PM

    What can I say: YOU LOOK HOT! Although I still have to get used to you sporting a shorter cut (I’m a very conservative person, you know – just to give you an idea, it took me years before I started wearing skinny jeans, after I saw that the whole world but me wearing them, and now I wouldn’t change them for anything). And you actually gave me an idea Lisa, I’ll start a new blog for Pit Bull Barbies called “unfuckwithable”, absolutely GENIUS! Loved the post! xx Abby

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 14, 2015 at 8:17 PM

      Thank you, Abby, lol! My husband STILL isn’t used to the shorter ‘do, so you’re in good company (actually, I’m still surprised nearly every morning when I first see myself). I was thisclose to naming this blog Pit Bull Barbie, but I thought it might take too much explaining. Go for it with unfuckwithable; I’m sure that domain name is free! 🙂 xx

      • Reply
        Abby
        December 15, 2015 at 4:59 PM

        The only problem with this kind of name for a blog is that it might generate interest form all the wrong places, like some less legitimate sites etc:) I wish I could go with Pit Pull Barbie, but then Mattel would knock at the door for royalties. But the idea of creating a blog for intimidating pit bull hotties is enticing. We would already have two to join the club:) xx

  • Reply
    Leanne@crestingthehill
    December 15, 2015 at 5:53 AM

    it looks great – even if someone named Roi (what’s with Roi?? and not Roy?)cut it! It probably cost the earth, but as you said, if you’re going to make a big change then do it properly. It’ll get rid of all the dry ends and feel bouncier – which are big pluses too x

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 15, 2015 at 7:24 AM

      Thanks so much, Leanne! I may go right back to my long security blanket, but change is good! xx

  • Reply
    Lana
    December 15, 2015 at 6:22 AM

    Oh, it’s absolutely gorgeous! I kind of use my long, blond hair as a shield of sorts too. This is the exact length I would love to go, if I get up the nerve! You look lovely.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 15, 2015 at 7:22 AM

      Thank you, Lana! I do miss my ‘shield’ though! xx

  • Reply
    michelle
    December 15, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    I’m still chuckling over the “unfuckablewith” did I spell that correctly?
    You look bloody A-Maze-ING woman! Do not grow it out! Your styling skills will speed up infinitely, trust me that half hour will be 5 mins in no time.
    As a hairdresser I’ve never kept the same style for very long & I always, always cut my own hair although I understand how you feel by listening to others say the same thing. Many women use their hair as a shield, security blanket or burka if you like, I imagine it must be quite liberating to come out from under it? Although you my friend, are no shrinking violet 😉
    Mx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 15, 2015 at 10:54 AM

      Ha! Thank you Michelle. It IS quite liberating to change my identity a little; I just have to get used to it. I was bored to death with my same-old same-old though, so I needed a change. xx

  • Reply
    Mithra Ballesteros
    December 15, 2015 at 1:02 PM

    You Big City Babe! It looks great! Worth every flippin’ cent. Hair is our most important accessory and as such, no amount of time or money spent in making it unfuckablewifh is too much, IMHO. (Thanks for the new vocabulary word. Now to get auto-correct on board with it…)

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 15, 2015 at 1:39 PM

      Oh, thank you Mithra! Yes, a large percentage of my adjectives don’t work well in auto-correct mode, lol! xx

  • Reply
    Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)
    December 16, 2015 at 2:48 AM

    I love the shorter cut on you! It looks fresh and #effortless- though I KNOW what it takes to look like that. Congrats on only having to use 2 products to achieve it. It really makes your eyes the focal point!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 16, 2015 at 8:05 AM

      Thanks so much, Stevie! xx

  • Reply
    Helene Cohen Bludman
    December 18, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    I love the new look. I loved the old look. You are just a beautiful woman, let’s face it!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 18, 2015 at 9:48 PM

      Oh wow, thank you Helene! That is SO kind of you. xx

  • Reply
    Beth @GrannyBeth3
    December 19, 2015 at 11:35 PM

    I love the new word “unfuckwithable”!!!! I understand the soul searching that must have come with such a big change, but it looks fabulous. I growing my grey hair long. For years its been on the shorter side of mid length. But grey heir can look so awesome long, as long was its well kept. It’s a big shift, I’m a wash and wear gal, but now I’m an every 8 weeks shape, blow dry with product every day woman. I like the look but not the effort.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 20, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      Thank you, Beth. I think your hair looks amazing long; I’ve just had a snoop on your blog. I really love it! I found long hair easier than this length, but maybe it is just a matter of learning the tricks of styling it. xx

  • Reply
    Anastasia Nicole
    January 6, 2016 at 1:01 AM

    I died when you described yourself as unfuckwithable! It’s my favorite adjective and how my coworkers describe me. LOL.

    I completely understand how hard it can be to let go of something that is such a defining part of who you are. Those things become totems that insulate us and help us communicate who we are and who we want to be to the world. I cut my hair all the time, I just tightened up my bangs a few days ago, but when I bleached my locks in 2014 I had a similar experience. Sadly, maintaining blonde hair was not only to do list so I dyed it black but I felt oddly empowered by the entire experience.

    BTW, your hair cut is everything!
    xx
    A

    • Reply
      Lisa
      January 6, 2016 at 8:33 AM

      No wonder we found each other, Anastasia! Two unfuckwithables.

      Thanks so much! xx

  • Reply
    IMAN
    January 8, 2016 at 3:50 AM

    First of all – love the bob on you! It really frames your face well and I love this “elegantly undone” look. You are sooo brave, just cutting my split ends is more of an uncomfortable moment than I’d like to admit. Haha, loved reading this post!

    IMAN | MANIGAZER

    • Reply
      Lisa
      January 8, 2016 at 8:28 AM

      Thanks so much, Iman! Funny how attached we get to our hair!! xx

  • Reply
    Isalondon
    December 1, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    I think this new cut really suits you, so modern, but I’m biased this is what I aim to look like. I cut my hair myself I actually enjoy doing it it’s like a ritual! Plus I hate small talk so going to the salon is like torture to me, I find kitchen sea salt or epsom salt mixed with a lot of water in a spray bottle helps as I hate curlers. Add a tiny bit of coconut oil to stop the dryness or the nuxe huile prodigieuse to style, but my hair is wavy thanks to the British humidity if it’s dry I make large braids-pleats on humid hair and dry my hair,it works !

    • Reply
      Lisa
      December 1, 2016 at 8:01 PM

      Thank you, Isabelle! It has grown out quite a lot, and I’m trying to decide whether to get it cut like this again, or do something a little longer. I’m off to look at hair on Pinterest! Thank you for your tips with salt water and braiding; I’m going to try those. xx

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