A girl’s hair is her crowning glory, everyone knows that, Lady Gaga even wrote a song about it….
It’s amazing how in the age of the selfie, where image is everything, some hairdressers still think that their opinion outweighs that of their client. I’ve had my fair share of hair disasters, some self inflicted, more by qualified, professional and usually highly regarded hairdressers. How can this even happen? I know what I want, yet so many times I’ve left the salon with something completely different.
Now I’m well aware that there are limitations to what can be achieved in a salon sitting, I know that there’s no way a box dyed brunette is leaving the salon with an icy blonde ‘do, I’m savvy, I work in fashion and because of my countless hair disasters, I’m well aware of my own hair limitations. For example, I know that whilst I can achieve that cool grey blonde shade that you know me for, I’ll never be platinum. I also know that (probably because of the many hair traumas) my hair takes an eternity to grow. Where a regular person’s hair grows around .25 inch per month, I’m lucky to see an inch of hair growth in a year, it sucks but at least I’m self aware right?
I could regale you with tales of how a miscommunication in a salon a few years ago meant I was left with bleach foils on my hair for two and a half hours resulting in the hair coming out with the foils. Or how one salon weren’t happy with the lift in my hair under their supervision so they bleached in three times in one day, again, resulting in the hair literally being washed down the plughole at the basin. So. Many. Tales. Each one left me a blubbering wreck, angry because of what had happened, but also because I never once said anything. When you’re vulnerable, you tend to stay mute, but it’s also worth noting that despite my many very obvious in salon disasters, not once did I receive an apology for something that had happened to me, under the care of a professional, and I was expected to pay each time this happened (except for a few which were intended as blog posts I was too mortified to write).
Even when I was invited in to salons to have a dry style or blowdry, stylists would rake a brush through my naturally curly hair and the sound of it snapping and tearing would pop in my ears, it’s the kind of thing that makes you break out in a sweat and it has forever put me off letting ANYONE other than me blowdry my hair.
It took me a while after my last big hair disaster (and it really was a big one) to really trust another hairdresser. It took what feels like forever to get my hair back to any kind of state where I could begin to be on friendly terms with it again. After it started to resemble chewing gum when wet and string when dry, I reluctantly had it cut into a bob which didn’t suit my face shape at all, there was no thickness to the hair so it looked horrific but I pretended for my own sanity that it was ok. It really wasn’t. I took Viviscal, Hair, skin & Nails and all manner of supplements that promised healthy, thicker hair within three months – none of them delivered – I measured the root regrowth consistently and kept a sad person’s hair diary to see just how much my hair was growing and in fourteen months it had grown a paltry 7mm. Then all of a sudden in 2016, my hair suddenly began to grow – it was like it had woken from a slumber and was ready to get to work.
I started to notice the texture improving too, what had been thin and brittle was beginning to toughen up, my heart literally fluttered and I treated my burgeoning style with kid gloves, Kerastase masques and Fusio-doses. Where there had been embarrassment, there was now a glimmer of hope, and with that came a whole new raft of anxiety: What happens when I need to get my root regrowth covered? What do I do when it needs to be cut? What if it falls out? And that’s when I decided there was no more fucking about, I needed to find an atypical hairdresser, one who would listen to me and do as I asked, and one who knows what an inch is.
I visited countless salons and found that after telling them my woes and how cautious I was about venturing back into the world of hair possibilities, so many hairdressers would cast aside what I wanted for my locks and instead tell me what they thought should be done my hair. This ranged from cutting it all off into a pixie crop to reset the hair and start again with healthy growth, to cutting off four inches and dying it boring brown – at least I think that was the shade name….
That is until I found Paul Clayton at Collective Hair (The ‘Hair’ in Newcastle Hair & Beauty Clinic). That’s not strictly true actually, I didn’t “find’ him, we’ve been good friends for years and he’s shaken his head a few times at some of the things that have happened to my hair in the name of journalism. It was only after a chat in a bar that I decided to let Paul help and I gave him a rough ride after what I’d been through. See Voyeurs, this is something that’s way more important than we maybe give it credit for, finding a hairdresser who you can trust, who you know will tell you if what you want can’t be achieved instead of taking your money and doing it anyway. Paul is all of that and more, he knows I’m feisty, he also knows that when it comes to my hair I’m nervy and instead of showing me up or brushing over it, he makes sure that he, and only he, deals with every aspect of my hair appointment. He also knows that I haven’t quite reached the stage where I’ll let anyone blowdry my hair yet and instead of embarrassing me, he coats my hair in a mask and puts it in a top knot before I leave the salon with no questions asked.
Yes it sounds crazy, maybe even a little pathetic, after all it’s only hair right? Well it’s my hair and it’s taken a god damn age to get that extra inch so everything that happens to it now, happens on my terms. Paul and I schedule hair appointments months in advance because he knows I need to psyche myself up for anything that involves bleach and/or scissors and he’s down with it. He always uses L’Oreal Smartbond when he colours my hair in order to reduce the damage caused by bleaching, and he encourages me to leave as long as possible between appointments because he’s more invested in having me not freak out than anything else. He’s not about getting clients in as often as possible spending money, he’s more about giving you an experience that you’re completely satisfied with so that you keep coming back happy. He’s a client-centric hairdresser and one who has my trust. For anyone who knows me, that’s a massive thing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some of my horrific hair disasters, there’s way worse but these were the best ones I could lay my hands on. If you’d like to book a consultation with Paul Clayton at Collective Hairdressing, call 0191 222 1311