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Hi again, I’m Nicola and I thought I’d tell you about another makeover I did as some people seemed to enjoy my first account, Helen’s Haircut.

This is the story of Marie’s daughter Paula who had her makeover in last year. I had been doing Marie’s hair for about two years, she is in her late 30’s and the quiet type, she comes into the department store where I work every week as she does the alterations for one of the departments on ladies’ fashion. Her hair is cut in a simple layer cut, side parting about three inches all over, nothing exciting but just a typical easy to manage short style. Over the years I’d never met Paula as she didn’t come with her Mum into town as it was an hour’s train ride and Marie’s job meant she only had to do a once weekly round trip.

I did however know all about the family as all us hairdressers do! Paula was good at school, got six O levels and was a keen horse rider. The family lived on a farm out in the country and led quite a sheltered life as they only mixed with locals. It was after New Year when Marie first mentioned that Paula was driving her mad for a more modern haircut, she used to have it trimmed by a lady who was mobile, a couple of times a year at the same time as her cousin who lived nearby. I just said let me know when she wants to come in.

I never really gave it any more thought and about a fortnight later Marie came in the salon and asked for me. She normally just booked an appointment with whoever was on the reception desk. I came over and we both said Hi. “Nicola, I’d like to book an appointment for Paula, she’s driving us mad. She wants a new modern haircut, she is off school next week can I bring her in Thursday?” I said sure and asked what it was for. “She has lovely long hair which she is determined to have cut short. I’m against it as I love her hair as it is. I’d like you to talk to her and see what you think, please try to talk her out of it, it’s so lovely long.”

Well, asking me to keep long hair long, not much chance of that I thought! “No problem Marie, bring Paula in with you next week at noon, it’ll give me plenty of time to have a good consultation and I won’t have to rush.”

All week I wondered what this girl would look like, I hadn’t seen a photo of her at all and just couldn’t even get a mental picture of what she looked like, what her hair was like or even how much she wanted cut off.

At twelve on Thursday my wait was over, in they both came. I was pleasantly surprised as she was quite a pretty girl with long dark brown elbow length hair worn in a center parting, clipped back off her face. I then realised she wasn’t wearing any make up at all and was wearing a pair of jeans and a top. I also realised what was so different about Paula, it was her age, virtually all the seventeen-year-olds that came in the salon could pass for twenty, this girl was still a girl who was growing up in the country away from all the city peer pressure. She looked so natural by comparison. We all introduced ourselves and I wanted to make Paula feel comfortable as I could see she was nervous so I suggested we have an initial consultation without Marie listening to our chat. I had remembered Marie’s wish for Paula to keep her hair long. Mum went to have a coffee and I sat Paula down in the chair.

“So tell me what sort of style you fancy, Paula,” I asked as I unclipped her hair from its clips. It was typical teenage hair, never treated, full of split ends and in need of a good cut.

“I’m dying to have it cut short like this picture,” she said. I took one look and thought YESSS! It was a short layered tapered style, about 2″ to 3″ on top tapering down to about an inch into the neck and shaped round the ears with a fringe at mid forehead, a super easy-to-manage cut that is low maintenance, suited her oval face shape and would be a dream for me to cut off.

I asked Paula why she wanted to go so short and she said that she had wanted short hair for ages, her friends all were short and that she felt it would look good on her. I asked if she had thought about a bob, to which she replied that she just loved the cut in the picture. I spent a few minutes combing her hair down getting the feel of her features, all the time thinking that this will be great to cut off all short. I was getting so wet just thinking about the cut I just had to do it. I was still aware that Marie was keen for Paula to keep the length and it was now just a matter of getting Mum to agree to the crop. Paula chatted on for a while about going short and told me that Marie had agreed that if I felt she would suit short hair she would allow her to have it cut off. I thought this must be the only seventeen-year-old that needs Mum’s permission for a new haircut! We both agreed that the picture would be a suitable style for her and she assured me that she was comfortable having it all cut off in one visit. With that I asked Rosie to get Marie.

“Well, what’s your opinion Nicola?” asked Marie.

“Well I think Paula would look fabulous short but it is a very big step. I’ve suggested a bob, which Paula does not fancy as she wants the cut that is in the picture so it is really up to you to decide together.” Marie asked me what I would advise if it was my daughter, to which I replied that she would suit her hair in a bob or this short style which I did agree was very fashionable and easy to manage. This was as far as I could go to encourage Marie to allow Paula to go short. I said, “I’ll let you two chat together for a few minutes to decide.” I had to go to the loo to put my pad in as I knew I would be doing this makeover and I’d be so wet it was going to be wonderful.

A minute later Marie called me back and said that she was O. K. with Paula going short as she was satisfied she was certain. I asked Paula if she was sure also and she just grinned with glee. I hoped she would still be smiling in half an hour when all her hair was gone. I asked both if they wanted to keep any of the hair and Marie wanted a lock as a souvenir. I asked Rosie to gown Paula up, which she did, and I then explained to both of them that I would remove the bulk, then wash her hair and then style the cut in. I brushed Paula’s hair down for the last time and I asked her to stand up next to the chair as I was going to cut off the bulk with her stood up to allow the hair to fall directly to the floor. “Both sure?” I asked and Paula said yes, Marie nodded and with that I hand held her fringe section and cut it straight across her eyebrows. Next I walked round to her neck and sectioned the nape and cut it along her neck, over twelve inches of length just fell instantly to the floor. Marie gasped and turned away as I quickly just snipped off the remaining length. Now Paula was going to be short and I mean short!!. Next I asked Rosie to wash her in the backwash and a few minutes later she was in my station ready to be cut even shorter.

This was a simple tapered layer cut which was best started from the neck so I sectioned it off and started cutting, all the time watching Paula’s reaction as hair started to mound up on her lap. She wasn’t smiling as much now as the reality of having all her hair cut off very short started to set in. I used the usual confidence boosters like, “You are going to look great when I’ve done.” As I was busy cutting all her hair off nice and short round her ear I noticed a small tear in her eye. I never said anything as we all knew it was now too late. By the time I got round to sectioning her fringe, which was mid forehead on the model, I asked her if she would like me to leave the fringe a little longer. She said yes, this is how we stylists know that the client knows that they’ve made a mistake. Looking closely at Paula I now saw the cut did suit her, as I kept going round cutting more shape in I did like her with it short. The cut was now virtually finished and there was masses of hair which needed sweeping up. I called Rosie and asked her to sweep Paula’s hair up. “Save a lock for Marie and bin the rest,” I said.

I now spent some time explaining
to Paula how to blow her new cut and show her some ways of having a different look from one style, she was quiet and said thanks. I showed her her neck in the mirror and she could see where her once long hair was now nicely tapered into her neck short and quite wispy. She touched the length with her fingers and felt how short she was now. I knew she did not like it but I was confident in time she would. She looked so much more mature now, more womanly that I found her quite attractive, she had gone from a kid to a young sassy-looking woman who with some make-up would be very pretty, especially with her new short hairstyle.

I asked Marie what she thought and she seemed quite pleased with the result, she thought that Paula looked so different as she had always had long hair. I was so chuffed that her Mum liked it. She asked Paula what she thought and Paula said it was going to take some time to get used to it. Marie then told her that when she cut hers off when she was in her twenties it took her months to get used to it. I must say that the more I looked at her I thought I’d done a good job. It was a lovely easy-to-manage short cut which suited her but would take a while for Paula to get used to. I hoped her friends would like it as it is always difficult for girls when they have a major restyle if friends do not like the new look, especially when long hair has been all cut off. They both now put their coats on and as Rosie helped Paula who instinctively flicked her hair out of her jacket, sadly for Paula from now on no hair would be there. The sadness was clear on her face, never mind she would just have to get used to it.

A few weeks later Marie came in for her usual trim and was very pleased with Paula’s cut, she was slowly getting used to it and had got over the shock of being short. Luckily her friends liked it but she had decided to grow it a bit longer for summer.

Paula has now spent nine months growing her hair again, she is waiting for the length to be long enough so she can have a Kate Moss style bob which Marie says she wants me to do for her, let’s hope so!

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