Exactly three months ago today, I shaved my head. I’m still not totally sure why I did it, but it’s the best impulsive decision I’ve ever made.
Less than a month earlier I was dropped by my Acting agent, which needless to say, was pretty fucking devastating. In looking for the positives, (searching frantically, desperately, maniacally for anything resembling positivity) I realised that for the first time in three years, I had total freedom to do what I wanted with my appearance. For me, this was always going to result in a dramatic change in hairstyle.
I began, (seriously why did I do this?) by bleaching my hair, by myself, at home. 40 quid, singed ears, and quite a few tears of regret later, I was left with a toxic neon birds nest of matted hideousness. I quickly dyed over the yellow mess with a patchy dark brown, but the damage was already done. My once silky soft hair was now crispy, matted, and so porous it took hours to dry and style.
I have a theory that in her adult life, every woman develops a belief that she can do hair.
A friend of mine once arrived uncharacteristically late to work, and subsequently explained he’d been getting an emergency haircut, in an attempt to reverse what his wife had done to him the night before with clippers. Repairing the damage cost him 30 quid. It’s as though we all of a sudden decide that hairdressers train for three years, not because they need to, but just for the hell of it. They pay hundreds of pounds for their scissors, sure, but your miscellaneous kitchen drawer pair will do just as good a job. Oh you can French plait? Then you’re more than qualified to cut in a fringe.
I would try to warn you against trying this at home, but the warning would be futile. It’s like we have to do it once, or in my case multiple times, to realise what a farce it is. I cannot preach this loudly enough:
Your hairdresser is worth every penny you pay them.
A photographer I model for sometimes had said in passing, a while back, how much I would suit a shaved head. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but over the next few weeks and months, I couldn’t get the image out of my head. At the time though, it was impossible. I needed to a) look like my headshots and b) consult my agent about any major image alterations. (It was said awesome photographer who took my INSANE new headshots, thank you Rekha!).
A few days post bleaching disaster, I got to thinking about this again. I was sat on an aeroplane that was taking far too long to taxi. The ‘fasten your seatbelt’ signs had been on for a good 11 minutes but we were going nowhere. So I broke protocol, turned off airplane mode and messaged my hairdresser.
I have total faith (in all walks of life, but especially hair) in this man. If he didn’t think something was a good look for me, he just wouldn’t do it. So this response was the only encouragement I needed. As for worrying over having no hair, this was easy, Because the hair I had left anyway, was shit. Three months later, still no regrets!
I do have a few observations though…
Five MORE things that happen when you shave your head:
1) People are OBSESSED with telling you how difficult it will be to grow out this look. Yep, thank you for your stunning insight, Susan. I’m not actually planning on growing it out any time soon though. What would be the point in shaving my hair only to immediately grow it out again? I could just cut out the middle man and not shave it in the first place.
2) You suddenly find all the hair pins and bands that mysteriously vanished over the years, back when you had hair and really needed them.
3) You realise how fucking quickly hair grows. This is a weird one. It took me over a year to grow out a block fringe (after another fateful bout of over confident hairdressing) and yet with the buzz, I start looking like a dandelion puffball after a mere five weeks. I couldn’t even be mad at my friend when he said I looked like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. Because I did. I will never unsee this.
4) Strong earring game becomes a must.
5) You become the subject of both Nazi and holocaust victim jokes. Sometimes in the same sentence. Next level Taboo.
This haircut gave me hope.
I know exactly who just laughed then, and you can shuddup. I joke about it, but losing my agent and then ultimately leaving the agency itself was really difficult. It’s one of the worst things in the world to spend years of your life training and fighting for something, only to have it snatched back when you finally get there. I work full time as a waitress. And don’t get me wrong, it is AWESOME! I work in a super nice restaurant and my work friends are amazing- seriously I love you all dearly- but its not what my heart beats for. Graduating drama school was the fight of my life, and it used up every ounce of energy, stubbornness and will I had. It was everything. And now I’m unsigned and my last audition was nearly a month ago. I HATE wallowing. But at the time, I couldn’t seem to help myself. And nothing would snap me out of it. Until I shaved my head. I felt a new lease of life pulsing through my veins. I felt invincible. I felt as though there was nothing to hide behind any more, and that made me completely free. Ironically, in the three months since cutting my hair, I’ve had more auditions and roles than in the entire year I was with my agent.
I do get that if you want to change your life, you should change your life. But sometimes that can be in the form of a haircut. After all…