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When I was younger, I had zero fear when it came to my hair. I bleached the underside of it and rocked a scene mullet for a while. I box dyed it multiple times. My freshman year was bookended by friends of mine cutting my hair with office scissor in the common area of our dorm, chopping it with abandon. One drunken night, I let my roommate shave part of my head and had that for almost a year.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care about my hair, it was that I didn’t care what everyone else thought of my hair. And I think that’s where the issue started. When I decided to actually get my hair cut after college, it was a disaster. I looked like a suburban mom and I literally almost cried. It wasn’t a bad haircut in general, just a bad haircut on me.

The problem with getting a bad haircut is it sticks with you. It’s a lot like bad relationships, in that a lot of the times there’s nothing you can do but let time do its thing and move on. A bad haircut can rip your confidence to shreds and for me, it not only did that, but it put me into a style rut that made me feel like I was back to bring in middle school and only wearing black all the time because I didn’t feel comfortable in anything else. I hated the way my hair looked, especially as it was growing more and more. But I didn’t want to get it cut because then I risked getting another bad hair cut. It was an endless cycle.

To put it into perspective, I cut my hair fairly often before. But after this experience, I cut my hair maybe once every year and a half. And even then, whenever I did actually make the appointment (and actually go to it) I told the stylist that I just wanted a trim and not too much length off. I held onto my hair for dear life, even if I was really just hurting myself.

If it were possible to absolutely hate your own security blanket but were too terrified to get rid of it, that’s how I felt about my hair. I had grown so attached to the feeling of being let down with the way that it looked that I was scared of finally being happy with it. I rarely did anything to it when it was down and took to braiding it or doing half-up styles just to give it some life, because otherwise it was like a drab, brown curtain that hung down around my face and did nothing to help my already low self-esteem.

This is my "before" hair. Ugh.

This is my “before” hair. Ugh.

So when I came to The Gloss, I knew that I had to do something. I told my coworkers about my hair woes and it was a constant conversation about how I should just fucking go for it. It took me a while but I finally did and I couldn’t turn back after I hit the send button to set up the appointment.

Luckily for me, the people at Hairroin NYC are like my therapists and best friends all rolled into one. I let Alyssa Sholl, the stylist who’s hands I would be putting my hair (and probably life) into, know about my debacle and she listened intently. We scrolled through Pinterest to find the best possibly color inspiration and I told her what I was thinking. We played off each other really well and genuinely felt comfortable in a salon chair for the first time in about 5 years.

Though, when she picked up the scissors, my palms started sweating and I felt a chill go down my back. This was it and I couldn’t do anything, mostly because I was strapped down in a robe and cape and that would be pretty weird if I just bolted out of the salon (even thought I felt the urge to).

After about 20 minutes of dry cutting, Alyssa told me it was time for color. The funny thing is, even though I knew that the color was going to be the most noticeable and permanent change, I wasn’t nearly as nervous. I also enjoyed that by the end of the balayage process, I looked like a stack of TV dinners:


So onward went my journey (about 4 hours in total) and my nerves started to subside. I started to feel okay with getting my hair cut and was actually getting excited to see it. But she had barely even started cutting for the second time before I felt that familiar cold sweat. Paired with watching the hair fall at her feet and cutting the front pieces of my hair so that I couldn’t do anything but watch, I once again felt like I wanted to run.

But then, Alyssa began her finishing masterpiece. And after she blow dried it and put some amazing smelling products in it (and after I went home, slept on it, and then tried to emulate her amazing blow out), this is what came out:

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So, maybe it’s not a huge difference, but for me, it was like I was Ricky Bobby finally driving around in his car with that dang mountain lion.


I got my sea legs and I realized that especially with my old hair, I didn’t actually put effort into caring for it. Now, I have special shampoo and conditioner. I swore to only wash it once or twice a week and put heat protectant in it every time I style it.

It feels good to have me back, and I feel like I can maintain getting my haircut after this without feeling like I’m pulling my own teeth. For the first time, in a very long time, I feel fearless with my hair and that’s really what matters.