Long and short of it is... it’s your choice when you want to cut it off

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - FASHION / BEAUTY -

My mum had her hair cut short. “I’m too old for this long hair,” she said when I asked her why. She was 32... When I started hair­dress­ing I re­mem­bered what my mum had said and asked a top stylist what age a woman should have her hair cut off at. She thought for a minute and said: “When her hair­dresser tells her to.” This was 1983.

More than 30 years later I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard the words “I think I’m ready to cut it off ”. There are many rea­sons, all reg­u­larly dis­cussed on day­time TV shows and in mag­a­zines, but in re­al­ity in most cases it comes down to one thing — choice.

When a woman chooses to cut her hair it is rarely spon­ta­neous. There will be a build up, look­ing at other women with shorter hair, notic­ing things that short haired woman wear — they will ex­am­ine face shapes, colour con­trast and be­hav­iour. Ev­ery as­pect of the pos­si­bil­i­ties, pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives will be con­sid­ered, and that’s be­fore she con­sults her stylist.

Ire­mem­berone client who on the day of her di­vorce cel­e­brated by hav­ing her hair cut, an­other had kept her hair long for re­li­gious be­liefs and then de­cided that God would love her with what­ever length her hair was and asked me to cut it like Sinead O’Con­nor’s. I didn’t, but she now has a beau­ti­ful shiny bob and still has God on her side.

I’ve had nu­mer­ous clients who have wanted their hair cut be­cause of years of colour­ing and sim­ply wanted to see what their nat­u­ral hair looks like — they rarely colour it again. And I’ve had one client who had her hair cut pe­ri­od­i­cally over two years with a view to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing as many cuts and colours as pos­si­ble — she also took on a dif­fer­ent per­sona when each new hair­cut hap­pened and set­tled on a boy­ish Tilda Swin­ton un­der­cut.

The rea­sons for hav­ing a life­long head of vo­lu­mi­nous shiny SUITS YOU: Cindy Craw­ford style hair cut off are many, but there are just as many rea­sons not to.

I re­mem­ber a con­sul­ta­tion I had with a new client and be­fore we dis­cussed her hair she told me out­right: “I’m 69 and I’m never hav­ing my hair cut, but I want you to tell me the hon­est truth on what is the right length for me, not a woman my age.” Her hair was a few inches too long and maybe a few shades darker than nec­es­sary but this lady knew what looked good on her and she was right.

I’m not al­ways an ad­vo­cate of what tra­di­tional hair­style suit­abil­ity would have us be­lieve. Clas­si­cally, a hair­cut or hair­style is all about face shape, head shape and hair type and though this of vi­tal im­por­tance I’m a firm be­liever in at­ti­tude, con­fi­dence and style.

These are time­less, age­less qual­i­ties that em­brace change but stay true to our­selves.

I had client re­cently who asked me to cut her fringe “shorter than what is ac­cept­able for a sane per­son” — she wears her hair in a pony­tail with a pixie fringe and red lip­stick, and she’s worn it like that since 1959. My mum grew her hair a few years ago. “I like to put it up from time to time,” she told me. I cut it even­tu­ally, a choppy lit­tle pixie crop.

“That’s bet­ter now,” she said. “That long hair put years on me.” ÷ Paul Stafford, 671 Lis­burn Road, Belfast, tel: 028 9066 2554

short cuts en­hance the looks of Tilda Swin­ton and (be­low) Michelle Wil­liams

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