hair thursday makeover 26

Meet Manda. She’s considering bangs.


Manda’s hair:

Naturally light ash brown with blonde highlights. Doesn’t want to dye her hair.
Healthy, thick and super straight
Wants long hair, is considering bangs but forehead has a tendency to get really oily
Likes ponytails
Is a sucker for cheap haircuts and wants to step it up

Manda would be a perfect candidate for the type of sideswept bangs shown in the photos below.


Since Manda has oily skin, I definitely would not recommend bluntly-cut or piecey bangs that hang forward on her forehead, but sideswept bangs that blend into the sides of her hair would give her a fresh look without the worry of “greasy-looking” hair.

Plus, sideswept bangs are a breeze to grow out. If Manda tires of the look, the bangs will look like face-framing layers as they grow (similar to the layers she already has). Might I mention how cute she would look with ponytail bangs?

Next up is Tracy:


Tracy’s hair:

Naturally medium brown and doesn’t want color
Straight, thick yet fine-textured and very oily
Open to different lengths
Uses a styling cream daily
Isn’t really happy with her stylist

Take a look at these options:


Tracy would really benefit from reducing the heaviness in her hair, as she is slightly approaching the dreaded triangle. A little more volume at her roots and crown would make the biggest difference in the overall shape of her hair. Both of these options would give Tracy’s hair so much more movement.

Option #1 is a simple, versatile style with layers around the front to add shape and keep the overall shape light and airy. I also think the collarbone length would complement Tracy’s features.

Option #2 is full of body and texture, thanks to the medium length layers cut throughout, as well as razored ends which eliminate any bulkiness. Also, she has some very minimal piecey bangs that easily could be blended into the hair.

What do you think?

Okay, let’s chat about stylists for a second.

I know all too well about dealing with mediocre stylists, having moved around several states in the past ten years.

Here’s the deal, if you aren’t happy with your stylist, DON’T GO BACK. Sure, they might wonder why you’ve disappeared, but who cares? This is your hair- the hair you have to look at every day of your life. You aren’t paying them to make your hair look decent, you are paying them to make you look and feel fantastic. When the time comes, you don’t need to “break up” with them, discuss the situation, etc. Just don’t make another appointment. End of Story.

Since moving to California, I’ve seen three stylists. The first was a recommendation (she sucked), the second was the result of tons of internet research (she sucked), and the third is my current stylist who I absolutely adore. How did I find her? I walked right up to a random stranger with amazing hair and asked who her stylist was. She gave me her number and that was that.

This is the best way to find a stylist. You see, talking about stylists on the internet is a tricky thing. Someone might think their stylist is the best ever, but their idea of a great stylist could be completely different than yours. (For instance, they might fully enjoy permed 80’s hair. You, however, might be interested in something less model-doing-the-splits-on-a-Jaguar in Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again video. Just an example.)

You need to see the merchandise for yourself, you know? Look around, check out hairstyles while running errands, having cocktails, eating out, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask! You aren’t going to offend anyone by paying them a great compliment, right? And if you love your stylist, carry some cards in your purse. When people ask about my hair, I just whip out her card. Easy as cheese.

Now, go forth and seek out great hair!

  1. bethany actually

    March 20, 2008 at 6:38 am

    I totally concur about asking people whose hair you love about their stylists. But sometimes it’s just luck of the draw. The best two stylists I’ve ever had have been from times I walked into a neighborhood salon and said, “I’m desperate for a trim. Any stylist will do!”

    You are a much braver soul than I, Bethany.

  2. jonniker

    March 20, 2008 at 6:46 am

    I haven’t seen a single person’s hair in Vermont that I like. Which kind of makes me an asshole, but there you have it. Ergo, I am stuck blindly pointing my finger into the phone book, like Russian roulette.

    It took me several months to find someone in Southern California…I figure that equals about 2 years of searching in Vermont? ;)

  3. Anna

    March 20, 2008 at 7:37 am

    I too suffer from the triangle effect. My hair is so thick that if it’s short, it’s bushy, and if it’s long at all, it looks like a triangle. Maybe I need to apply for a Hair Thursday…

  4. Loralee

    March 20, 2008 at 7:55 am

    If you have a great stylist I also recommend staying with them for as long as possible.

    I cheated on my long-time stylist and ended up looking like Steve Perry.

  5. Susan

    March 20, 2008 at 8:18 am

    I really love your blog. Thanks for the great advice!
    I have a question for you & your readers about changing stylists. What if you’re not sure if your stylist is good or not?
    I tend to be really loyal to stylists, and sometimes I feel like they get a little too lazy or wild with my hair as a result. My current stylist I have been going to for about five years and now my husband and good friends all go to her too. But recently I cut my hair shorter and changed the color -partially because of her advice. The last 2 haircuts have been a little weird and I leave feeling not very good about them. She’ll start talking a lot and I feel like she’s not paying attention to the hair cut, like she might if I was a new client. So I guess I’m feeling like it’s time for a new person, but I feel like it will be weird if I just stop going to her. Should I move on? Let her know why or ask for a new hair cut first? Why does this feel so much like a break-up!? Any advice whoorl world? Thanks!

  6. Spandrel Studios

    March 20, 2008 at 8:29 am

    My new hairstylist listens well, gives thoughtful suggestions, and takes charge when needed — and I found her by asking a stranger at a restaurant where she got her (similarly textured) hair cut. The woman was totally flattered — as was the stylist — and I got the best haircut I’ve had in 10 years!

  7. kat

    March 20, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Okay I love Manda’s hair already! But I understand the change thing.

    Re stylists – I love LOVE mine. She’s totally funky, has tattoos and wears all black but is the nicest stylist ever. And she totally does exactly what I want but stops me if what I want is a bad idea. She really takes the time to listen and isn’t overbearing which is what I think is really important in a stylist. She listens but doesn’t throw her ideas as right but makes suggestions.

  8. Beth

    March 20, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Oh, Stylist Love! I adore mine! i refer to J-D as my “hair architect.” He’s amazing. I’ve been going to him (almost exclusively) since 1992. I strayed briefly and REALLY regretted it.

    For those of you in Chicago, I highly recommend him. He’s with Dennis Bartolomei.

  9. eva

    March 20, 2008 at 10:54 am

    I just moved to Southern California, needed a haircut, randomly picked a place close to my work, and eh. It’s okay. You and I have similarly textured hair, and styling habits, so I wondered if you could tell me where you go. I know it’d be a bit of a drive for me, but worth it. If you don’t want to tell the whole internet, and never be able to get an appointment again, I understand. But maybe your stylist knows a stylist?

  10. Nothing But Bonfires

    March 20, 2008 at 11:37 am

    EXACTLY! When I moved to San Francisco, I approached ANYONE who had VAGUELY the same sort of hair as me — or hairstyle I wanted — and asked them where they went to get their hair cut. And, um, a little blushing going on here, but several people have actually come up to me on the street and asked ME. Of course, I practically program my stylist’s number into their cell phones for them, THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE HER, though with all these people I’m telling, it does make it a little harder to get an appointment sometimes…

  11. Kim

    March 20, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Ugh. Stylist misery. Yeah. I went to an upscale salon even (better chance of success, no? No.) to get the “perfect” hair, as recommended by you. Went in armed with picture, specific instructions, DETAILS! No way could someone screw it up. Or so I had so blindly assumed. Oh man. I came out looking BARELY different from when I went in but a whole lot more “poofy.” Which is exactly what I went in to get rid of. So lucky for me, he didn’t *change* it much – I still have enough hair to go try yet again. Hopefully I will have much better luck this time around and will do a little more “asking people” before I just blindly think I’ll get what I pay for.

    In my experience, upscale salons have just as many shitty stylists as cheaper alternatives. You’ve GOT to see a stylist’s work before you let them touch your hair!! Sorry, Miss Kim!

  12. Karen

    March 20, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    It took me about 8 years to find a stylist who wouldn’t poof my hair up too much like a suburban mom. I mean, I am a suburban mom, but I don’t want to advertise it, seriously ;)

    I just lucked out with my current stylist. I knew it would be good as when I first met her, she had the hairstyle I wanted. Perfect.

    Last cut , though, she blew it out poufville. Maybe I’ve been in the burbs so long now that it shines through my inner self.
    I had to flat-iron it once I got home.

  13. Allison

    March 20, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    I was a stylist hopper for years. I would ask people who they went to – not because I loved their hair, just because I knew I wanted to try different people – and went for a few months, or more. And then… it happened. A girl I went to college with had long hair and walked in one day with the *cutest* short hair evah. I asked her if she would care if I went to her stylist and got the exact same style. She was flattered, and didn’t care at all. Problem was? Her stylist was her sister-in-law who cut her hair in the kitchen. I didn’t care. I went to her kitchen, and I fell in love. (BTW, I paid $5 for that first, amazing cut. FIVE DOLLARS, people!)

    Johanna is amazing. She now has a “salon” in her house (it’s a little room with a sink and a stylist’s chair) and I have referred more people to her than any stylist I’ve ever had. I get compliments on my cuts, my color, all of it.

    It really does make ALL the difference!

  14. Jessica

    March 20, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Whoorl, I must thank you. I switched my shampoo and conditioner to Back to Basics (I am using the coconut mango super moisture one). My hair is responding by not freaking out in the NY humidity. My hair eats moisturizer and product like it’s candy. But it appears to be sated.

    Also, re. stylists, I have shopped around, but when I fly to OK to visit mom and pop, I get my hair done by a wonderful woman in Edmond. I specifically choose styles that will last for 6 months in between visits. I would see someone here, but frankly, I am largely unimpressed with both the prices and styles of NY ladies. So, I travel about 3000 miles to get my hair done.

  15. Janssen

    March 20, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    The idea of having my hair thinned (at the bottom or anywhere else on my head) is so mind-blowing to me. My hair is not anywhere near thick enough to do so. I can’t believe so many people have hair to spare.

    This post reminded me that I NEED to get my hair cut pronto.