Why is it that at the start of every new year I want a brand new hair style? A totally new cut, a completely new colour – something dramatically different. I look at my hair, the hair that has been perfectly serviceable for an entire twelve months, and – for reasons that are a mystery to me – decide that something radical has to be done. That I must emerge from the hair salon looking like a completely new person. For the rest of the year I am happy with general maintenance – having my roots touched up and a little trim to keep things neat and relevant – but in January I seem to long for change.
(Actually, I had the same sort of sudden craving for an extreme hair reform after both babies were born and, weirdly, after my Dad died last year. But that’s a whole other story.)
It’s a new year thing isn’t it? A fresh start, a clean slate, the chance to reinvent and cast off the old. I think I did have a touch of the New Year New Me lurgy when I started deliberating over my hair, early last week, but I also think that because I was making a dedicated journey to London to have a cut and colour, I felt as though I needed to make it count. To come out with something strikingly different and life-changingly new.
But it soon became apparent that a radical hair transformation was not on the menu for me at the Josh Wood Atelier. Thank God that Melanie (my colourist) and Kat (my stylist) are both very sensible and very experienced; they listened to what I wanted (hair that I didn’t have to style, roots that weren’t obvious when they started to show through) and vetoed any sort of dramatic overhaul.
In fact, what Melanie and Kat suggested I have done was the opposite of an overhaul – it’s what we’ve now decided to call a “no-verhaul”. Because you don’t always need to have something extreme done when you’re sick of your usual style – sometimes the slightest tweaks, if they’re clever ones, help you to fall in love with your hair all over again.
“It’s all about seasonal changes,” said Melanie when she was describing how she would adjust my colour. “You don’t always have to have a major life-changing colour – the new year temptation to be a new you might be fine for a week or two but think about it; is it going to be high maintenance?”
Kat was also a fan of the minor adjustment. “I’m just going to nibble the ends,” she said, which made me laugh because I envisaged her sitting on her stool, biting at my hair like a mouse. Apparently the secret to growing out your hair is to use plenty of intensive hair masks – keep the condition in fine form and you don’t need to cut off huge chunks of it every time you have a trim. (There’ll be a glut of hair mask reviews, then, for the next few months!)
So yes; my hair overhaul became a hair no-verhaul. But despite the changes being so diminutive, the overall effect was quite uplifting – and I didn’t have the settling-in period of an unfamiliar cut or a high maintenance colour.
… and after:
I suppose you could say that a no-verhaul is in fact the same thing as a routine hair maintenance visit but I’m not sure that it is; a no-verhaul (© A Model Recommends, 2019!) is a conscious decision to persevere with and improve upon what you already have, rather than trying to execute some sort of Oscar-winning personality-transplant manoeuvre. It’s when (I can legitimately decide on the definition of this, as the creator of – what will become in the future, I’m sure – a much-used, scholar-approved term) you have the intention of dramatically changing something but decide that less is more.
Now the very kind people at Josh Wood Atelier have offered one UK reader a complete Hair No-verhaul at the Holland Park salon including a cut with Kat, a colour with Melanie and a delicious lunch whilst it’s all going on. (The food at Josh Wood is amazing.)
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this incredible prize is leave a comment below before noon on Friday 18th January (if you’re reading via email you need to click through to the blog to be able to comment) and make sure that your email is in the form so that I can contact the winner. The lucky winner, chosen at random, will also get a personalised haircare regime to take home with them.
Please see here for the full T&Cs – and if you’re struggling to think of something to say in your comment then you can always copy and paste the below…
“Oh Ruth, oh wise one, you are so amazing and brilliant and your hair looks fabulous today – and what a smashing blouse you have on.”
Getting back to my hair, though; I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of my no-verhaul. Kat squared off the shape of my hair at the back to make the line more blunt and modern and added the tiniest bit more shape around the front. Mel added lowlights as close to my natural shade as possible and gave more of a balayage effect to move things away from the more generic look that a full head of highlights gives. She did some “sporadic foil placement” with blonde to keep things bright around the face, and something called a “dropped root”, which is when you take the darkness at the root down further into the hair so that regrowth isn’t visible.
Exactly what I want at the moment: low-maintenance hair that doesn’t need styling. Actually, the no-styling thing is precisely why I think I’m going to carry on growing it. I love shorter hair and I do admit that it possibly suits me better, but only when I style it. And there’s the rub, because I never style it. I’d say that I style it one tenth of the time, maybe even less. Really I just style it when I know I’m having my photo taken or I’m going on film – the rest of my days are spent with mid-length hair scraped back into a bun. At least if it’s longer it sort of forms its own style, with waves and kinks and what have you.
But watch this space – come June I’m sure I’ll be procrastinating about getting a blunt fringe cut in to “pep things up a bit” or toying with the idea of a jet black elfin crop.
The website for the Josh Wood Atelier is here – the team there very kindly maintain my hair cut and colour for free and I will be eternally grateful. They are all very good eggs.