Considering a Major Haircut

hair cut

I sat in the chair and wrung my hands. This was it — after this there would be no going back. The hairdresser sensed my anxiety and asked me one last time, “Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?”

I took a deep breath. No, I wasn’t sure.

It took me two more failed attempts before I finally went back and took the plunge. My stylist cut nearly two feet off my hair, and after that it was the shortest it had ever been since I was a tiny baby. I looked at myself in the mirror. I didn’t recognize the person looking back at me, but I kind of liked the way she looked, anyway.

Cutting your hair, especially if you have had long hair for a long time, can be a traumatic experience. No matter how much you tell yourself that it’ll grow back, there’s still no getting around the fact that growing it back takes a lot of time, even years, and meanwhile if you feel you have made a mistake, you may have to suffer through a hairstyle that you neither like nor know what to do with.

The good news is, there’s not as much risk now as there was before the Internet. There are a number of online tools where you can upload a photo of yourself, and it will show you how you look with different hairstyles, or even different hair colors. You can try endless combinations, get advice from your friends, and play around until you find a look you are happy with.

Still, enjoying a photo of yourself with short hair is not quite the same as committing to the decision to cut it. After all, it’s not like you can hit the “undo” button and take it back, like you can online. Make sure that before you do cut your hair, you understand all the implications, and not just ones regarding appearance. For one thing, shorter hair can actually take more time to fix and style in the morning. Whereas your long hair might have looked okay if you got lazy one day and just left it hanging straight, your short or layered haircut may take a significant amount of effort every single day. Also, you may think that short hair will be cooler in the summer, but in reality, long hair is much easier to keep off your face and neck in hot weather, because you can just tie it back. Short hair that won’t fit in hair clips can end up clinging to your skin when you sweat, which is something to consider if you exercise regularly.

If you are considering a very extreme change in hair length, it may be a smart idea to do it in a series of smaller haircuts. It might be more expensive to proceed that way, but if you are worried about the final outcome, at least you will have a chance to stop after the first chop, or if you like the shorter length, then you can go back a week later and have some more taken off. It’s always nice to have options, and growing back six inches of hair takes a lot less time than growing back two feet of hair, if you decide after you cut it that it was a mistake.

Worst case scenario, if you do end up with a short haircut that you hate, modern hairstyling technology can get you out of a bind, providing that you’re willing to pay. Hair extensions are tremendously more natural-looking and easy to obtain than they were even ten years ago, so even if you go crazy and pull a Britney, a skilled extensions stylist can reconstruct your long hairstyle in a matter of a few hours, with real human hair. It’s not cheap (if you want to get it done right), but in an emergency it can certainly rescue you from a bad or even an embarrassing hair situation.

There are a lot of reasons why you might choose to cut your hair. You might be bored with your long hair, or maybe a short haircut would be more practical for your lifestyle. Whatever you decide, make sure you give it a reasonable amount of thought first, and definitely consult with your stylist — it is their job to know which cuts suit which faces, and getting some expert advice might make the difference between an extreme change you will hate, or a bold new look you will love.

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