I haven't been to the hairdresser for a year - and I love my new look

Fiona Golfar
·6 min read
Fiona Golfar Hair - Courtesy of Fiona Golfar
Fiona Golfar Hair - Courtesy of Fiona Golfar

I haven’t been to my hairdresser for a year. Not so much as a cut, blow-dry or even the merest sprinkle of colour has been anywhere near my hair since last February. You’d have thought that, like most of my other friends, I’d have spent the year dyeing bothersome roots and Googling “home haircuts” – but it turns out going grey is hereditary and I don’t have very much grey at all.

The only thing hair-related I have been doing is screen-grabbing pictures of hairstyles I like from the multitude of box sets I’ve been devouring. But hair-wise, I’ve been doing nothing. Nada. Niente.

This may be no big deal for some people, but for me it’s huge. I am a hair-o-holic. I love going to the hairdresser. I change my haircut and colour frequently. I was nine the first time I had my hair dyed. My angelic baby white curls had abandoned me, replaced by long, lank sludge and a first smattering of hormonal spots. It would be fair to say the only person more dismayed by these early signs of puberty than me was my mother. She called my hair my “crowning glory.” Or was it hers? It was never clear.

fiona golfar - Courtesy of Fiona Golfar
fiona golfar - Courtesy of Fiona Golfar

So I was duly marched into Wanda’s salon, a small hairdressers located in a tiny street off Kensington High Street. (I had been accompanying my mother there since I was five anyway. It was the late Sixties and I liked watching the hairdresser pile her glossy dark hair up on top of her head. The higher the hair, the closer to heaven was the mindset back then.)

For the 25 years I worked on a fashion magazine I was teased about my hair habit. (If there had been such a thing as a Find Fiona app it would take anyone looking for me straight to a John Frieda salon.) I sobbed on Nicola Clarke’s shoulder (well, actually it was into her bosom which was chair level) when I resigned from my job, sending the email from the salon. My salon “family” know my life and I know theirs and we care about each other.

And besides, keeping my hair the way I like it takes diligent maintenance – or so I thought. I have spent the past year living in Cornwall, where my bright white crop felt as incongruous as my oversized black Zara parka. (“London black”, a friend of mine called it and I haven’t worn it again since.) I decided that my hair was not going to be on the list of things I thought about in those early days while acclimatising to this new life back in March.

My roots are a dirty blonde with a tiny smattering of grey and I thought that in the gap between going out and seeing people and having to think about “presenting myself” it would be an interesting exercise to see what emerged. Letting my hair grow has been a bit like planting seeds in my garden. It reflected the need for patience and acceptance that I have needed to adapt to my new life. It has been a project punctuated by tiny milestones. The first time I could actually put it in a scrap of a ponytail, the first time I could see my real colour, the first time I could blow‑dry it. It was like having a calendar on my head. I could actually witness the passing of time as it grew.

fiona golfar - Courtesy of Fiona Golfar
fiona golfar - Courtesy of Fiona Golfar

To my own amazement I have loved just leaving my hair alone. It’s been almost as liberating as coming off social media. I have fun with my new longer locks. I have a Zoom call this afternoon, so this morning I gave myself a blow-dry, Another 20 minutes disposed of! My hair is now shoulder-length, Joel Goncalves’s cut has grown out really nicely into healthy shaggy layers. I’ve become proficient at rolling it around a brush and twisting it while keeping the roots flat to get the natural wave I want while drying it. (I’d rather learn to do that than learn to bake!)

I’m dark blonde, almost the same colour it was when I was taken to Wanda’s salon. Some days I plait it (my daughter tells me I’m too old to do that and while I sort of agree, who cares?).

I move the parting around, I try different styles, I twist it into low chignons, I peruse hair accessories online, I long to own one of Deborah Pagani’s long, sleek hairpins so I can sweep it into a French pleat in one swish. My husband really likes my hair longer – in fact, he prefers it and so do my children.

I think it represents a slightly more relaxed and natural me to them, and salon chats have been replaced by my friends on Zoom who tell me they like the new long! Who knows when I will next see my lovely team at the hairdressers. We keep in touch, but like so many things in this new life, I’m taking it one day at a time.

Top home hair tips, given to me from Joel Goncalves from Nicola Clarke at John Frieda

dyson john lewis ys park r+co cult beauty virtue session kit
dyson john lewis ys park r+co cult beauty virtue session kit

Airwrap, £399.99, Dyson at John Lewis; Dragon air brush, £24.17, YS Park at Dowa; Thickening Style Foam, £26, R+Co at Cult Beauty; Silk groom, £30.50, Kiehl’s; Full Shampoo, £36, Virtue at Look Fantastic; Pack of 24 curl clip pins, £17.50, Session Kit

  1. Invest in a Dyson Airwrap, It’s the best tool on the market for getting a natural wave and it’s idiot-proof. “I took Joel’s advice on this and its life- changing. So easy to use and the changeable heads are incredible, from round brush to tong, they heat up and you get a salon level finish.

  2. The best brushes are by YS Park. They have a built-in technology that holds the hair on the brush brilliantly.

  3. Once you have used the R&Co foam, finish your hair off with a spot of Khiel’s Silk Groom, it will give it a relaxed natural finish.

  4. The key to a good blow-dry is, once the hair is on the brush, twist the brush downwards into a half-turn forming little ropes and dry it while pulling your hair down. This keeps the roots flat and makes a natural wave.

  5. If you let your hair dry naturally, tucking it behind the ears creates a wave.

  6. Virtue labs shampoo. “I’ve been using this brand all year. My hair is thick and very fine and their Full Shampoo gives my hair a body and volume I love.”

  7. A brilliant online service that supplies excellent professional hairdressing essentials from hair grips, pins, and hair tools.

Are you loving your grown-out haircut? Tell us in the comments section below