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