Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Unkindest Cuts of All: A Bad Hairdo Can Destroy You. Find a Stylist You Can Trust

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Unkindest Cuts of All: A Bad Hairdo Can Destroy You. Find a Stylist You Can Trust

Article excerpt

When I was 14, there was a girl in my class who decided to have a perm. It went disastrously wrong and, with the honest cruelty that only children can show, pupils from other classes came to have a peek, and left laughing. This was when I learned that a trip to the hairdresser can invigorate you, or it can totally destroy your life.

I once had a hairdresser (Christian, the bastard) who so hated me that he did exactly what I asked him not to. I knew what he was up to and, determined not to give him the satisfaction of success, I positively bubbled with appreciation at the huge flick he hairsprayed into place. Of course I never went back.

A hairdo is often the most permanent thing we have done to ourselves (well, it is, if tattoos and piercings aren't your thing). It can have quite a damaging psychological effect if it goes wrong. I've spent many hours sitting next to female colleagues (it's always women, sorry) crying about a haircut gone wrong. I've spent enough time myself standing in front of a mirror and trying to right a bad haircut. And I've continually looked at myself in the mirror/shop windows/the back of a spoon during the day, hoping it will have turned magically into something good and pretty, only to realise that it is every bit as bad as I remember.

This is why, as we get older, we play safe with a hairstyle we like. It's an even bigger minefield for men. At least, it is for those that still have hair post-35 (and I'm not being unkind: men do suffer from baldness more than women--it's due to the presence of a chemical, dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which builds up around the hair follicle, eventually killing it. …

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