Remember that time you let your mum’s hairdresser cut your hair and you had to pretend it didn’t look like a bad wig? Or that time you “trimmed” your fringe yourself? How about when you insisted your hairdresser cut you a super-short Lara Worthington bob without considering whether it would actually suit you, and it took weeks before you stopped resembling a mushroom?
We’ve all got a haircut horror story–or maybe you’ve just left the salon disappointed.
But that shouldn’t be the case: you should feel totally strut-down-the-street, can’t-stop-looking-in-the-mirror fabulous each and every time you go under the scissors. So in the interest of good hair everywhere, we teamed up with renowned Brisbane hairdresser Luke Reynolds to give us the magic formula of how to get the best haircut of your life, every time.
You need to ‘fess up about your hair’s history, as it could affect whatever you’re having done to your hair that day. For example, if you’ve had a Keratin treatment, your hair will appear straighter, but your natural wave will eventually come back and distort the cut.
You’ve also got to be straight up about your lifestyle and how much maintenance you’re prepared to put in (how often do you wash? Will you bother with product? Do you blow dry or air dry?) so they can cut a style that’s going to stay looking great, not just that day, but in a few weeks’ time too.
That all-one-length style you’ve rocked for the last ten years maybe isn’t doing you any favours anymore. Layers will soften your look as you get older, shape your hair to flatter your face, or bring you bang up to trend. And you know you know it: even if you’re growing your hair, you still need to trim it. “A trim every few months will make the hair appear longer because it will be thicker at the ends–not to mention, with less split ends, you’ll end up with longer hair in the long run,” reminds Luke.
Bring some inspo—then you and your stylist are clear on what you both have in your mind’s eye. Important: cover up the face in the photo—do you still like the hairstyle? Picture it with your hair type and your face shape. Use it as a starting point, but ask the stylist for their objective opinion, or what they think could be tweaked to get the best result for you.
While a good hairdresser will know what type of layers will suit you, it doesn’t hurt to be armed with a bit of knowledge. Short layers help take weight out where you need it, and can be choppy (blunt at the ends) or point cut for more subtlety. Blunt on the bottom, with piece-y layers to give a bit of texture will create low-maintenance movement and thickness; while classic, face-framing layers will give a timeless look that can be styled to perfection.
Textured layers add a lived-in look while removing weight; and long layers will enhance natural waves. You can also get just the ends thinned out if it’s super thick or blunt at the bottom; “sliced”, which tapers and elongates the hair; or even a subtle undercut to remove bulk from the back of your hair.
Looking for more of a statement than natural, I-woke-up-like-this locks? Trends for spring/summer ’17 are sitting at both ends of the spectrum: the messy, beachy, natural that’s been going strong for a few seasons, alongside bold, structured cuts.
They’re not for the faint-hearted (or the low-maintenance inclined), but these clean, smooth styles that are all about graphic simplicity are surprisingly more flattering than you think, and could be just the thing to give your look a new lease on life. “To stay on the right side of modern, keep it blunt and layer-free, although it can be texturised or thinned,” says Luke. “Just make sure you take the leap with an experienced stylist you trust!”
Looking after your hair once you’ve left the salon is key. Follow the rules: cover it when you’re in the sun; protect it from heat styling; follow the directions on the box. You really do need to use the right products for your particular cut, so listen to your stylist’s recommendations (they’re not just upselling you) and with hair products, you get what you pay for (sorry).
High-end brands like the uber-luxe Oribe cost more because the best (and most highly paid) chemists work in labs of best products—and, dammit, they’re good. Lush, well-maintained hair looks better, sits better, and is going to do your haircut justice.
Editor's note: this article is sponsored by Luke Reynolds Hairdressing. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. For more information on our editorial policy, please click here.
Image credit: Hayley Williamson