Kristen Stewart may not be the best actor under the sun, but she does have a unique cool factor, which she knocked right out of the park when she revealed her bleached-blonde buzz cut. I mean.
My initial out-loud thought was, ‘I wish I could get away with doing that!’ to which my guru-hairstylist best friend Ashleigh responded, ‘Of course you can, I’ll do it for you’. I decided I wanted to shave off my thick, curly, medium-length dark-brown-all-my-life hair… and peroxide it. Decision made, now to convince my boyfriend, who took one look at the reference image and didn’t even object (#whattakeeper). And let me just state for the feminist record that his say wouldn’t have been the final decision-making factor, but it was a breath of fresh air nonetheless.
When you make a drastic snap decision that can’t be satisfied immediately, it’s worse than it is waiting for the next episode of Game of Thrones to come out. I had been box-dyeing my hair for years (I know, I know) to hide my way-too-early grey hairs, so I had to wait three months for the virgin hair to grow through so it wouldn’t go yellow (it did anyway). Worst wait ever. I began counting down the days to being a blonde. Finally, I would know what it is when they say ‘blondes have more fun’.
On D-day I thought I would be nervous, but I didn’t have the tell-tale signs of butterflies fluttering in my stomach. When I left for the salon, the undeniably cool Eastside Cartel in Harrington Street, I broke speed limits with excitement. And when I arrived, there was no beating around the bush: the first step of the six-and-a-half-hour process was chopping off all my hair.
We decided to rather cut my hair with scissors than shave, to give leeway should anything go wrong. Seated, cape on, Ashleigh handed me the scissors and instructed me to cut the first piece. It was at that moment that it all became real – it felt a little crazy. Especially once I was holding a thick 18cm-long chunk of my own hair in my hands.
Ashleigh then had fun cutting my hair into various styles representing the different decades – at one point I looked a lot like Kris Jenner, and then at a shorter stage, a replica of my father.
And then all my hair was on the floor. And it was A LOT. It looked like three poodles had just been shaved. It’s a pity I wasn’t able to donate my locks to cancer, but they weren’t quite long enough.
The next step of the process involved K Blonde Lightening Powder by Lamké bleach (mixed with Brazilian Bond Builder or B3 treatment). Bleach burns guys, wow. I wanted to bang my head against the wall. But I had no frame of reference having never dyed my hair before. But pain means effect, right? Similar to when you have hair lasered off your body: you endure it because that’s how you know it’s working. The price of beauty, hey?
And then I had a look at myself in the mirror… not only was my hair gone, but it was decidedly acid-yellow. I was warned to not freak out: yellow is to be expected. But I actually loved it (definitely a colour I will try soon). Initially I didn’t recognise myself but, strangely, I found I didn’t have to get used to it – I loved it immediately.
Ashleigh used Australian-based brand Evo in my hair. The products are of the best quality, and so gentle on your hair. A new Evo product to hit the market is Evo Fabuloso Pro Black. Ashleigh knew the theory behind the product, but hadn’t put it into practise. She used me as her guinea pig, turning my hair a light-mossy green. Although not the desired colour, it was beautiful – also a colour I aim to try in the near future. All the Fabuloso Pro dyes are free of chemicals, parabens, sulphates – basically all-the-bad-stuff free – and are semi-permanent, lasting up 16 washes. This allows you to play without compromising your hair’s quality.
So many of us are attached to our hair – it’s where we believe any beauty we may possess lies. I was the same. When I used to meet people for the first time, more often than not they would remark at my curly hair. I felt that my hair made me… well, me. It’s a refreshing feeling knowing I, not my hair, have control over how I look. When you take control over how you want to look, your self-confidence levels rise without you even trying.
Many of us aren’t happy with our bodies, or our clothes. Some of us aren’t even happy with our jobs or our relationships. But we have to take them all one step at a time to avoid being overwhelmed. Changing those takes time and a lot more effort than visiting the salon and coming out a stronger woman a few hours later because you made the choice to do it.
So many people said to me that I am brave. I didn’t really think it a brave thing to do. Shaving your hair off because of chemotherapy – that’s brave. I think what I did took more belief in myself than it did bravery. For an indecisive person, I had to believe in my decision.
The many different reactions I’ve got from people – from my dad telling me my eyebrows don’t match anymore to someone on Instagram I haven’t heard from or seen in 10 years telling me it reminds her of retro Annie Lennox – have been amazing to hear, and have further cemented my love for my new hair.
But perhaps the best thing about this change in hairstyle is the new wardrobe options it invites. For example – pink. I never used to wear the colour. For someone who absolutely adores fashion, I couldn’t get in on the biggest colour trend of the last couple of seasons – Millennial pink. But it’s what I am wearing right now. Even my go-to dark colours have a whole different look to them. I see my new hair as the ultimate accessory – and so should you.