Tips for Surviving a Major Hair Change

Tips for surviving a major hair changeThey say, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life,” but I don’t really buy into all that. A woman who cuts her hair probably got bored! I get "hair bored" all the time. With my most recent chop, it was a mix of boredom and necessity—all of my bleaching and dyeing earlier this year left my hair pretty damaged and begging for a major cut. I lost a lot of length, but it didn’t faze me much since I’ve been through this before as well as a few other random stages of pink hair, pixie cuts, and what-have-you. I haven't always been this chill about my hair; I once spent a sleepless night before a hair cut wondering if I was making the right decision or if I’d regret it instantly. And I'll still have a freak-out moment if I trim my fringe too short and end up with Bettie Page bangs! But hair cuts happen and sometimes major hair changes happen by choice or necessity, so here are a few tips if you’re getting ready to go under the scissors (or dye!) and are feeling nervous about the process.

Tips for surviving a major hair change-Wear something cute. This might seem like a bit of odd advice, but I think it’s helpful to go to your favorite hair salon wearing something cute when you’re going to come out with a very different look. (The blue floral dress I’m wearing is not by chance; it’s one of my favorite dresses that I always feel good in!) Cutting off a lot of hair can be a bit shocking, but if you’re wearing your favorite dress when you see your new look for the first time, it can soften the blow and help show you just how good that new cut can look once the shock wears off! Speaking of shock…

-Give it a week. Don’t write off a new hair cut or color for at least one week. I’ve had friends who try something new—like a fringe or shorter hair—but decide within 24 hours they can’t stand it and start pinning their hair back straight away until it’s back to their old style. To me this doesn’t make any sense. They never gave themselves a chance to adjust to the new look. It might take you a few days to get over the “wow that’s different” feeling to actually “see” what you look like. So give yourself time. Don’t pin or hide your new look for at least a week, look at in the mirror often and get used to it before you decide whether it’s right or wrong.

-Know what you want. Of course while it takes time to adjust to a new haircut, you should also have a very fixed idea of what you want if you’re going for a major change. Create a Pinterest board with the new style you want to try and try seeing the style from different angles (front, side, back, etc.) to get a very firm idea of what you’re going for. If you’re dyeing, do you know what shade you want—even if you decide to go blue, it could be dark, pastel, more aqua or ombre! Know what you want and bring loads of pictures and examples to your hair dresser to help you communicate the new style clearly.

-Be willing to go in stages. I had a hair stylist in the past who said she wouldn’t cut someone’s long hair into a short pixie cut in one sitting, but insisted they cut off the hair in two or three appointments. She had too many women crying in her chair over a drastic cut to do it again! I also went from long hair to a bob before committing to the pixie. It definitely helped me adjust to short hair to go for an in-between cut for about a month before my final chop. With dyeing, it can take a few visits as well, especially if you want to go for a bright, unnatural color. So don’t get discouraged if you book an appointment and find out not everything can be done in one day. This is also important to remember in reverse—once you commit to certain styles, it will take awhile to get back to what your hair was before, so know what you are getting into.

-Remember it's all temporary. If you take the plunge with a style and it ends up not being what you want, try not to worry too much because it's all temporary. I'm not a big risk-taker in life. A lot of decisions you can make in life can have permanent or at least lasting consequences (as a kid I was terrified of things ending up on my "permanent record" and was really worried as a senior when I got a detention that it would blemish this record), but hair? Hair isn't permanent. Bad cuts will grow out, as will dye which will also fade (usually quicker than you want it to). In a few months or a year, no one would even know you had blue hair or a shaved side cut.

Tips for surviving a major hair change2A big hair change isn't for everyone; I envy those who know their style or themselves well enough that they don't have to mess around. I think it'd be cool to have a signature style à la Anna Wintour, but for those of us who wonder "what if I had purple tips" then maybe these tips will help you make that plunge. Hair changes don’t have to be daunting, I mean they shouldn’t be daunting—it should be about having fun or trying something you’ve always wanted to try (like dyeing my hair an unnatural color as an adult because I never got permission to do it when I was a kid). After all, it’s just hair. These tricks always work for me if I start to second guess a hair decision, but I’d love to hear what works for you! Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits//Author and Photography: Rebecca Stice. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess Presets for Lightroom

  • Thanks for sharing Rebecca! And I think the new cut looks great. 🙂 I’m not a huge risk taker either but for some reason hair has always been an easy change. I HAVE had my share of bad haircuts though (including getting it cut pixie short in Kenya by a Kenyan), and a dear friend once told me ‘You know what hair does? It grows.’ Somehow knowing it won’t last forever has made even the ‘bad’ hair choices bearable. But honestly I don’t regret them either (the bad hair choices) because they were part of my journey and I learned something in the process. Cheers!

  • I would also say: “dress and make up according to the haircut you want”, especially when the hairdresser is not your usual one. The hairdresser listens to your explanations, but I think that he might also try to guess what you really expect by “decrypting” your actual look and style.
    So if you want a pin-up styled haircut, dress like a pin-up. If you want something more casual, wear something in the same spirit, etc.

  • Dressing in something cute is the best tip! Consider lipstick too. It can be a shock and make you feel “not yourself” when you look different all of a sudden, so pulling together a full outfit or look as a preemptive measure is super smart. (I learned this when trying on wedding dresses and getting wedding hair trials – make the rest of you fit the new element so you don’t feel out of place in your own skin/hair/outfit).

  • I love these tips – thank you! It also helps if you know and trust your stylist – that always makes my hair changes much more comfortable. Are you going to be writing posts about ways to style/change up a shorter bob? That would be super cool!

  • I totally agree about wearing something cute in the chair so you leave feeling awesome. It wasn’t difficult for me to do when I went pink, since I already own a ton of pink!

  • A new haircut feels great, amiright!? I cut over a half a meter off my hair (from butt-length to bob) recently and haven’t regretted it for a second. Looking for cute hair styling tips on pinterest totally helps with finding out how to style your new hair! Short hair ftw!

  • Oh thank you for this! I once cut my waist-long hair into a pixie – my hairdresser was crying 😀 My hair grew back way too quickly. Three years later I don’t know if I want to do it again or enjoy my long hair a little longer.
    And I still can’t gather a courage to dye my hair pink! I wanted it since high school – weren’t allowed to back then and now I’m afraid to ruin healthy hair for a couple weeks fun.
    But in the end you are right – it grows back and fades out. So I guess I’ll try it son 🙂

  • I am never afraid to change my hair, because I always have the idea that it will grow. If the haircut sucks that’s a pity, but not something permanent.
    I love the advice on the clothes, haha.

  • Thank you for sharing! I LOVE the cute outfit tip, I wore one today to my hair appointment and it helped! An experience when I was younger scarred me for a long time as far as drastically changing my hair is concerned. When I was quite young I got a haircut that was shorter than most girls at my school, and kind of grown-up looking. The next day, my boyfriend saw me, laughed in my face, and broke up with me right there in front of a laughing crowd of my peers… For many years after, even the smallest trim would bring existential crisis upon me and I would feel down for several days. He was clearly a creep and what he did to me was horrible, but it’s hard to see that as a 12 year old girl. Since then I’ve had cute short spiky hair, short bobs, long hair, purple, green, blue and pink hair. I think of that creep every now and then, and hope that it was just him being a 12 year old boy, and that he’s grown out of humiliating people for doing things they want to do. I flip my hair to his loss, cause I’m fabulous!

  • Thank you for sharing! I just recently went through a major hair change myself, but that was just with changing the color. It was still a huge step for me, the first time I’ve gone to something that isn’t a more natural color. I am really digging it though. I agree that a girl can change her hair without a major change in her life…. nothing in my life has changed…. I just wanted to try something new. 🙂

    Love, Jenn
    http://www.thediaryofadreamer91.blogspot.com

  • Love your new cut Rebecca!

    Also thank you so much for writing this right now, I am trying to decide what to do with my hair, and this post came at just the perfect time. 🙂