Have you ever had a depressing salon experience? The kind that makes you feel glummer with every snip, as the realisation dawns that this isn’t going the way you thought it would, despite your moodboard/detailed instructions/pointing. At the cash desk you stutter, too ashamed to say anything. You leave with your head hung low, hoping that the looks you sneak in shop windows won’t confirm what you know to be true: you’ve just had another bad haircut. And this one will take ages to grow out.
I’ve had a lot of bad hairdos. There was the time I got layers, which turned out to be just one short, thick layer that sat on top of my longer hair like a very strange wig. There was the time a not-concentrating stylist snipped my heavy fringe all the way around to my ears on one side, and then had to match it on the other, leaving me with brutal, if in retrospect highly amusing, Dumb and Dumber bangs that took years to grow out.
There was the time I asked for a slightly dirtier shade of blonde than the peroxide I had, and despite waving pictures of maidens with flowing corn-coloured hair, I ended up with locks of the darkest mahogany, that even my boyfriend couldn’t pretend looked good on me (all the Fairy Liquid in the world won’t get that out). In a similar scenario, a different stylist interpreted “honey blonde” (again, I had pictures) as twig-brown hair interspersed with bright orange stripes, Geri Halliwell style, but all over, and it was 2011. That one made me cry. OK, they all did.
I don’t *think* it’s me, really I don’t. I always have pictures, I always listen and ask questions – all the usual things. After reading an article, I started thinking about what I wear to appointments – apparently many stylists look you up and down and give you a hairdo based on who they think you are, despite what you say. (Is this true? I still don’t know if this is true).
A few years ago, I managed to find Hannah, my colourist of dreams. But the haircut, that’s a different story. I’ve been drifting from stylist to stylist, place to place, clamouring for recommendations from friends or indulging in deep internet-based research. I have agonised over hairdresser profiles, thinking I might go for it, only to discover their scarily edgy Instagram full of back-to-front bowl cuts and geometric wedges.
But this week, a friend recommended a salon I hadn’t previously considered (Paul Edmonds, in case you’re interested). And I think I have finally found The One – a hairdresser who *listened* to what I wanted, and gave it to me (sounds rude, I mean a good HAIRCUT). Jennie looked at my screenshots of Brigitte Bardot circa 1966, and not only did she not laugh, she asked lots of questions, and did the haircut in stages, checking all the way that I was happy with how it was going.
I bounced out of that salon feeling a bit like I was starring in a film of my own life and spent the rest of the day swooshing my head about enough to dislocate my neck. (Did I mention I am very, very cool?) When I washed my hair a few days later, I was astounded to find that it fell into place almost as well as the professional blow-dry. I mean, really! So yeah, I have a new hairdresser. And for the first time, in a long time, my hair is good.