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Beauty dilemma: Going for the chop


Library Image. Photo: Getty Images

Library Image. Photo: Getty Images

Library Image. Photo: Getty Images

Help ! Having survived the worst haircut of my life a few years ago I have been apprehensive about getting it cropped ever since. Three years on my hair is now well past my shoulders and, although I like the length, the same old styling and lack of volume is getting to be a bit much. I know there are people with worse problems in the world, but have you any tips on how to get what you want from your cut on the day?

It may well be true that there are bigger problems in the world but having been victim to the butcher's knife myself I can fully understand your reluctance now that you're thinking of getting back into the hot seat. For men, the difference between a good and bad haircut is a simple matter of three weeks in a hat, for us women, the difference is three weeks in therapy.

Since the time has come to move on, the best way forward may be to think of things a little more dispassionately and look at the good as well as the bad. Since a styling disaster is traumatic, we must also assume a styling triumph is a joy. Focus on the positive but before you decide to go full steam ahead it might be best to ease yourself in gently. According to Ann Hart, creative director at Wilde Salon, the best way to do this may be to forget the idea of a restyle altogether and head for a couple of blow drys until you're happy with the stylist and have gained a bit of confidence.

What you're looking for in your next stylist is that they take the time to listen before committing you to the chop, so as a way forward Ann's approach makes sense. Rather than fretting the big stuff, a blow dry doesn't cost the earth and will let you see how attentive your new stylist is toward your wishes. In terms of nerves, building a relationship before you head for the chair will almost certainly improve the end result.

Once you have gained a more positive experience it's time to start looking at that new style. Start with your face shape, see what works for your colouring and your hair type and look out for what styles you think will suit. Clippings, pictures and some celebrity stalking are great for some inspiration.

Once you've pinned down a trend never be afraid of marching into your next appointment armed with a mood-board and notes on exactly what you want. Clippings and months of trend watching will again only work if you communicate to your stylist and work through all the options before you commit. As everyone's hair is different there will always be a margin of movement so as much as it pays to communicate what you want, listening to what your stylist thinks about your potential new style will also help avoid disasters.

Finally, don't be afraid to give an account of your previous disaster to your new hairdresser. A decent stylist will almost certainly understand your reticence and as it's always the squeaky hinge that gets the oil, being upfront about your nervousness may well mean your stylist will be less inclined to take risks with your new style. Good luck!

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