beauty

The Chop: "I suddenly decided to cut my hair. I blame Taylor Swift."

The time had finally come for me to chop off my hair, and I was so excited.

I’d decided, rather spontaneously, to chop off the hair that I had grown and nurtured for so long. I blame Taylor Swift. I became obsessed with her tousled, side-swept long bob after seeing photos of her performing at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion, Boobies and Abs Show 2014.

There was just something about her – a don’t-care hotness and powerfulness that wasn’t there before, especially not when she was all wide-eyed and teenagery under clouds of golden curls.

The Chop: “I got Asher Keddie’s haircut.”

I had my hair cut and styled at LHD Organic Hair in Sydney, which is the hair salon of my dreams. Owned by the brilliant Rebecca Coffey, the salon feels like a secret, glamorous loft, with its hip décor and natural light. There’s a real down-to-earth atmosphere mixed with complete professionalism and hair whizz-bangery at LHD Organic Hair. So, you can understand why I trusted them completely with my major hair change.

My hair was cut and styled by Megan Weller, who is my hair-whisperer – that is to say, she’s my usual hairdresser, and she’s also a genius when it comes to hair, and anything, really. I mean, she told me these really interesting and cool facts about birds. Girl knows stuff, and she works magic on my hair.

I immediately loved my new haircut, from the moment that Megan grabbed my hair in one hand and just chopped off the ponytail. It was, quite literally, a scream – I screamed and then laughed when I saw my hair in her hand. My hair felt lighter, and I could see straight away that it looked a hell of a lot healthier. Having long, damaged hair was becoming boring, and it was time-consuming to maintain. There’s only so many times that you can stand over the sink, carefully combing out the knots, before you start questioning your life choices. I’m pumped to start 2015 with my fashion-forward, swingy hair.

The Chop: “A hairdresser fried my hair, so I had to cut it all off”

At the salon, Megan used a straightener to curl my hair, giving me a very cute, preppy and retro look. I think I looked like a Chinese version of Betty Draper, from Mad Men. Back home, I used a blow-dryer and brush to flatten out the curls, to create a more lived-in, rock ‘n’ roll look. I added Fudge Urban Sea Salt Spray for more texture, and L’Oreal Elnett Satin Spray (the one and only!) to boost the roots and set the style. And that’s when my inner Taylor was unleashed! You’ll see what I mean in the photo gallery.

For everyday styling, I’ve been sleeping with my hair in rag curls. In the morning, once the rags are out and the curls have dropped, I spray my hair with Elnett, strut down the street, and search for my very own Karlie Kloss. Every girl needs a hair twin BFF, right?

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Cherry

What do you do with your days?

Like most women, I’m super-busy and multi-triple-tasking, so I need to find that perfect hairstyle/lifestyle balance. I’m a busy mum to my sweet one-year-old daughter, and I also work from home, writing for The Glow. I dabble in lots of other creative things, like writing in my own blog, graphic design, photography, illustration and acting. I need a hairstyle that suits my creative nature, but is also easy to maintain and style.

How long has your hair been the way it is now?

My hair has been long for ten years, since I was in my early twenties. I’m not counting the two times it accidentally got chopped off by bad hairdressers. Those were the dark days of 2008 and 2013. My hair grows really fast, though – it only takes a year to grow back – so it’s almost like the bad haircuts never happened. Almost.

What made you decide to make a big change?

Boringly, I decided to cut off my hair for practicality reasons. I was in a lose-lose situation. If I wore my hair up, it gave me a headache, because my hair was so long and thick. I don’t know how Ariana Grande does it. If I wore it down, I looked like a witch, because from the mid-lengths down, it was very damaged. I’d DIY’d every colour trend there is – ombre, balayage, rainbow colours – and in between each trend, I’d dyed it back to black. My hair was trashed, and something had to be done.

Have you had any major life change lately?

Becoming a mother has completely changed my lifestyle. But I would just like to say: THIS IS NOT A MUM CUT. I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A MUM CUT. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Since mid-2013, my entire life changed. Halfway through my pregnancy with my daughter, I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. I was hospitalised, and I had to resign from my job so that I could rest, for the sake of my health and my baby’s. Last month, I had a kidney biopsy done so that I could be formally diagnosed. I found out that I have an auto-immune kidney disease called IgA nephropathy. A short explanation is that my kidneys don’t filter stuff properly, and I’m on medication to control my high blood pressure. I’ve had to alter my lifestyle in many ways, in an effort to slow the progression of the disease.

The Chop: another one gets the bob.

To be honest, I’m still processing what it means for me to have a chronic disease. Something that helps me deal with this news is doing stuff to my hair, and anything beauty-related – it helps me to feel like I’m in control of a tiny aspect of my body. It’s my hobby! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely shallow - my hair isn’t my medication or religion. Just so you know!

What sorts of things were you looking at to get inspiration for your hair transformation?

Apart from Taylor Swift, I was inspired by the writers and readers of The Glow. So many of you have the prettiest, breeziest bobs!

What images (if any) did you take to the hairdresser?

I had a whole bunch of photos of Taylor Swift in my iPhone, but the main photos that I showed Megan were actually of Lauren Conrad’s hair.

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Lauren Conrad's bob.

I think that Lauren’s straight hair is more similar to my hair type. Just ignore the fact that our hair is different colours, and that we are different ethnicities. I mean, the only Asian celebrities I could think of were Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh and Psy, and none of them have bobs.

Who is your hair-muse?

Taylor Swift, Alexa Chung, and the exiled queen of all beauty writers, Cat Marnell.

How did you describe what you wanted to the hairdresser?

I told Megan that I wanted a blunt, long bob (“lob”), that was above my shoulders, and that looked exactly like Taylor Swift’s hair, minus the side-swept fringe. Megan then spent time talking to me about the lob style, and showing me photos on the salon’s iPad. She said that a textured lob was what I actually wanted, as a blunt lob would look “very prim and proper”. I think Megan knows my style pretty well!

Cherry and her hairdresser, Megan.

Megan

How long did this transformation take?

"On average, a haircut with a blow-dry will take 45 minutes. With a restyle, it’d be about an hour." Megan also takes the time to educate her clients on how to best care for and style their hair.

What is it about this new style that’s exciting for you?

“It’s a new identity,” says Megan. Her favourite part of the whole cutting and styling experience is seeing her clients leave the salon full of confidence, “with their chin held high,” and thrilled with their new look. She’s noticed that when clients come into the salon, they can often be very self-critical, and Megan wants to change that. Megan does everything she can – cutting, styling and having a laugh – to make her clients feel like a million bucks.

What sort of inspiration did you have in mind while you were doing this client’s hair?

“Summerish, beachy, easy to work with on a lifestyle basis. Not too much time in the bathroom, more time outside living life.” Amen to that!

What did the transformation involve?

“Removing a lot of length. Using a textured baseline technique, which is point-cutting through the baseline.”

How many inches of hair did you cut off?

“Five inches, plus.”

Did you do anything else special we need to know about?

“With the styling and haircut, I personalise it to the individual. I always look at their features and I accentuate their good qualities, and I cover anything they’re insecure about,” says Megan. She recommends using a Duboa or Denmen brush, “basically so you can stretch the hair while you blow-dry it and not have a whole work-out for your arms”. Megan then used a hair straightener to give my hair its retro waves.

LHD Organic Hair is located in Chatswood, and have recently opened a second salon in Freshwater. Contact them on (02) 9413 4747 or [email protected] to book an appointment. FYI, Cherry Beale paid for her cut and style, and contacted LHD Organic Hair with this story idea. She is passionate about supporting small, local businesses.

Check out the rest of our The Chop series here.

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