Diary of a Chop: Paula Joye's long bob

It was time. Really, seriously, time.

My hair was beginning to look like a curtain and, if I’m honest, my last real haircut – one that qualifies as more than a trim – was in December 2006, when Westlife’s cover of Bette Midler’s ‘The Rose’ was the number one song.

It was time.

The road from long to short-ish is never smooth. I’ve bored people senseless with my list of pros and cons – “Should I? Shouldn’t I?”

Nobody has been more patient than the woman I entrusted to the job – the amazing Renya Xydis. She deserves an Oscar for feigning genuine interest every time I’ve raised the topic over the last seven years. (Look, even my sister has hung up on me.)

Renya is Australia’s uber stylist. She’s the woman behind Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Jackman and Miranda Kerr, and she’s regularly working with some of the biggest designers and magazines in the world. She’s also a mother of two, an incredible business woman – running three super successful salons – and one of the warmest, kindest women I know.

Renya understands hair has to work with your life and lifestyle. Her genius is creating a cut/colour/style that is modern but manageable – magic words for time-poor, impatient women like me.

There was to be no more talk. It was time…


I look at this picture now and I swear my shirt is saying: “1999 called and wants its style back”. I actually can’t look at this without cringing and yet it was taken only eight hours before the chop.

After looking at images of Lara Bingle windswept on the streets of NYC, we opted for a long bob. It's a cut that's shorter at the back and longer at the front, which would allow me to still pull it back (a must as a runner and a Mum) but still have a enough diversity to look like a true change.


The Process

I asked Renya for her top tips on making the decision to change your hair.

Colour: “When clients want to make a change I encourage them to play with their colour first – to see if that gets the quest for something different out of their system. Colour is quicker to change back if you decide that perhaps they didn’t want a change after all”.

Research: “When you’re sure, treat the project like a job and collect a bunch of references that you can work through with your stylist. Remember that you will never look like the person in the picture but the more visual cues you have for your stylist the better then end result will be. Pinterest is a fantastic resource – type in hairstyles and go crazy”.

Commit: “When you’re going short you need to be honest about your face shape. If you don’t have a long neck then maybe you can’t go as short as you might have liked. If your forehead is broad then you might need to chop in a fringe. You need to follow through with your wardrobe and make-up too. Go the whole way, not half way – it’s a big part of the fun”.

The After

This photo needs to come with emoticons of Beyonce dancing. Like this:

I can’t remember feeling happier with a haircut - lighter, brighter… suddenly I feel like an active member of 2014.


I am never going to wait this long to switch things up, ever again. There’s a distinct difference between knowing what suits you and being caught in a rut - and my hair had cemented me firmly in the latter.

Did I mention Renya is also the only woman I know who makes fairy floss-hued hair look chic and magical? Maybe that should be my next move...

What you need

This style of cut looks lovely when sleek – think Gwyneth – but I wanted a total change, so Renya added volume, crunch and texture to give me this tousled, lived-in finish.

Here’s how she did it.

1. Spritz back of crown and roots with sea salt spray. Wella Professional Sea Salt Spritz has great salon grunt. Don’t drench your hair – a mist is all you need.

2. Blow dry hair smooth. Don’t obsess because you’ll be using a wand. Focus on getting volume into the crown and roots.

3. Renya swears by the Cloud Nine Wand because it is goof-proof for at home curling and much easier than a tong. Starting about ten centimetres away from the part line, take random sections and curl them loosely. Renya also uses the tip of the wand to iron out the ends of uncurled sections to create a thatchy finish.

4. Spritz the entire head with a fine mist of salt spray and use your fingers (working from the back and underneath) to tousle the style into place.

This post originally appeared on The Joye and has been republished here with full permission.