There are two types of changes in this world — a hair change, and any other type of change besides that.
A hair change is by far the biggest change of the two, something I discovered first-hand when I put my head — and the curly, dirty-blonde strands attached to it — in the hands of a hairdresser recently.
After 15 years of my go-to (and somewhat boring) blonde highlights, it was time for something new. I reached out to hairdresser Anthony Nader, who runs the gorgeous RAW by Anthony Nader salon in Sydney’s Surry Hills, and offered myself up as a guinea pig.
“Give me the hot cut and colour for summer 2019!” I gamely suggested, imagining more highlights — blonde, of course — and maybe a long bob with soft curls. Same-same, but (a tiny bit) different from my standard, ‘safe’ style.
That was not what I got. What I got was a pixie cut. And the colour? Copper red.
I knew what I was getting myself into ahead of my appointment. It took Anthony no time to decide on his plan after seeing a pic of me and my lacklustre locks — I was an obvious candidate for what he called a “coppery Titian red.” In fact, it was a downright crime — his words not mine — that I’d never been this colour before.
So I rolled up to the salon feeling calm as I knew I was going to be taken care of by literally the best in the haircutting biz. Also — anything had to be better than the sad, scraggly mess that I was currently sporting.
We had a quick chat in which Anthony bandied around the names of short-haired celebs like Halsey, Michelle Williams and the OG pixie-cut pioneer, Audrey Hepburn. If my new ‘do was going to stack up to any of theirs, I’d be happy.
Anthony — who was at the time about to jet off to Paris for Fashion Week — got to work taking off the bulk of my hair before picking up a razor to shape the hairline around the sides of my head and the nape of my neck.
The razor, I learnt, helps create texture and give the edges a soft and raw feel — the salon isn’t called Raw for nothing Anthony quipped. It also helps the hair grow out nicely, apparently.
Next came the colour, which was actually two colours — a darker one applied to the roots and a lighter one applied to the lengths and ends — to add a sense of depth. I was told that my fiery red — not unlike the women depicted by 17th-century painter Titian — would eventually fade out to a peachy pink down the track.
A final wash and dry later and I was done. I returned to the office to gasps, cheers and a little applause.
One week later
It’s now been about a week and my new ‘do is “wearing in well” according to a colleague. I’ve since washed it a few times and let it air-dry — sorry Anthony, I couldn’t bear to use a hair dryer in this summer heat!
It’s surprisingly low maintenance — Anthony spritzed through a sea-salt spray for some texture on the day but I haven’t even been using much if any product. It’s as though it’s been cut in such a way that it doesn’t need much ‘doing,’ if that makes sense? Which is perfect for someone like me, who loves a lie-in in the morning.
All-in-all, I am loving my hair and what it’s done for me. It’s made me think about myself and the world around me differently. It’s forced me to be the centre of attention — something which the old me would avoid like the plague — and actually take compliments instead of awkwardly muttering ‘thanks’ before legging it. Now I look the person in the eye and say “thank you, it looks great doesn’t it?”
For these reasons, I recommend that everyone take the plunge and dramatically change their own locks. It doesn’t have to be red or a pixie cut but it should be bold and slightly out of your comfort zone. Just do it — after all, hair grows back.
Tips for a big hair change
- Be brave, but not bonkers — if you have a fancy corporate job a bright green Mohawk might not be suitable. Think about your life, your work, your hobbies before taking the plunge.
- Find a hairdresser you can trust and knows what they’re doing. I’m not saying you have to go to an uber exxy salon but you want to make sure the cut and colour (if you’re getting one) is right.
- Give yourself time to adjust to your new ‘do — you might need to shake up your makeup and wardrobe to match, like I did.
- Look after your locks — that might mean using a gentle daily shampoo and a colour-preserving product such as a cosmetic shampoo or a mousse once a week.
- It sounds silly but I’ll say it — have fun and enjoy your new look! Experiment with styling it different ways. It won’t ever look as good as it did the day you walked out of the salon but that’s okay.