beauty

The bad haircut that turned fabulous - with one clever step.

Just over a month ago, I moved interstate.

It meant farewelling friends, work, family, and most importantly, my hairdresser. Deb from Papillon Hair was my bestie, my confidente, and an absolute maestro with my locks. She got me. She got my cowlick. She just GOT IT.

Anyway, a new town called for a new hairdresser. I took the plunge and booked in with a local hairdresser for a cut and colour, and whilst they are an awesome salon, I wasn’t happy. My colour felt brassy, the cut was all wrong, and I just knew within a week that it wasn’t working.

My hair before. Regrowth, limp soccer-mum length, overall feeling very Charlize Theron in Monster. (Image: supplied)

But if there's one thing I know about hair, it's that sitting around and sulking ain't gonna put bounce in nobody's curls. So I hunted down Melbourne's blonde specialists, and prepared myself for a MOVIE MONTAGE MAKEOVER SCENE.

Enter Conrad Hair in Armadale.

This boutique salon on High Street got me from the moment I walked in and started whinging.

"It's too yellow," I moaned. "It's a soccer mum haircut."

A few sympathetic noises later, and I was in the hands of colourist Dehlia. She agreed that there were large chunks of brassiness throughout the strands, and it needed to be lifted all over with some crisp white foils.

Twenty minutes later, and I looked like this:

Here I am with approximately 3,849 foils in my hair. It felt oh-so-RIGHT. (Image: supplied)
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As she rinsed off my colour, I could already feel closer to the old me. Or the new me. Whatever, I felt BETTER.

With a quick wash using Original Minerals new (New! New! New!) Silver Blonde Shampoo - basically witchcraft in a bottle - and my brassy blonde was lifted into a creamy white colour. Mmm. Delicious.

As Dehlia gave my hair the tick of approval, I was passed over to Deb The Hairdresser 2.0, who gave me a pretty shocked look when I said it was time to "...chop it all off. All of it."

Mid cut. Can you see the panic in my face? (Image: supplied)

In just under three hours I had transformed from a washed-out mullet into Grace Kelly realness.

Before and after. (Image: supplied)
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Lucky for me, I managed to grab the dream team Dehlia'n'Deb for a few quick questions about blonde hair disasters.

Here's the 411 on blonde hair.

Why is my hair brassy?

Dehlia: There are a lot of factors that can turn blonde hair brassy. Anything from old pipes, different types of water, to forgetting to tone will make your hair feel yellow and brassy. If you are lifting a darker colour, it can be because it hasn't been lifted high enough.

Is a bad haircut or dye job the customers fault? Should you know what to ask for?

Dehlia: Not at all. The hairdresser is the professional and should ask the right questions. People's definition of colour and shape is always different - I had a woman come in, asking for an 'ashy blonde'. But her definition of ashy was actually really different from mine. We needed to sort that out before moving ahead.

Mamamia Out Loud: How to break up with your hairdresser. (Post continues after podcast)


If you hate your new hairdo, should you ride it out, or find someone to fix it straight away?

Dehlia: It depends on the situation. If too much damage has already been done to the hair, you don't want to mess with it any more. It can actually sometimes be too damaged to touch for at least a few weeks.

Is there anything you can do to fix your own hair?

Dehlia: You can seriously make things worse trying to do it yourself. I would recommend going back to the salon, especially if it's a dye problem. Just remember with a home dye job, what the box instructions say aren't always true - it's a total guessing game. Time, money, effort, outcome: go back to the salon.

What's the blonde trend for the summer ahead?

Dehlia: It's hard to step away from balayage blondes. It's low maintenance, low costs, and less damage on the hair.

Want to know how to get a bouncy blow-wave? The trick lies in 5 hairbrushes sitting in your hair at once.

So I went the big chop. Any hair types this kind of cut won't work for?

Deb: Anyone with super curly or super thick hair because it will sit out like a triangle. Fine hair like yours is perfect for this style, with a few layers to give it movement.

This is considered a low maintenance hairstyle. But in reality, what kind of unkeep does it need?

Deb: Lots of treatment, especially in summer when you're in the water and in the chlorine. Always make sure you rinse it after being in the pool, and keep up weekly protein treatments to protect the ends from splitting.

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I couldn't deal with my hair disaster and decided to chop it all off. What's your recommendation to people who come in: persevere, or start over?

Deb: Depends on the state of the hair - but generally you can always rescue hair. So, if you want to keep the length, there's almost always a way to do so. Don't start again, but sometimes you have to.

What's trends are we looking at for cuts this summer?

Deb: The Lara Bingle bob is hanging around - that nice length of collarbone grazing bob. Maybe not so much that really short chop she went for later down the track.

What are the benefits of going short for summer?

Deb: Imagine this - you jump out of the water, shake off your hair, and leave it. So easy for summer! No blow-drying needed.

Goodbye, soccer-mum hairdo. (Image: supplied)
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