How to Know When It's Time for a Major Hair Change


When was the last time you switched things up?

Last month, I waved goodbye to more than 16 inches of luscious, blonde hair. My stylist, Megan, and I were both shaking with jitters as we met eyes in the mirror of her salon and said in unison, “are you ready?” We had colored and styled this mane for 3 long years together. Hell, I felt like I had created a BRAND around my long, blonde hair. I was afraid that if I cut it I would be losing a piece of what I worked so tirelessly to build. Consistency; cohesiveness; branding. Half of my comments on Instagram always tied back to my hair, and the messages in my inbox were flooded with questions about how I style it, who my colorist is, and what products I use to keep it long and healthy.

My hair was starting to feel like a safety blanket. I’m not exactly sure how to describe that feeling, but when I realized it, I knew I needed a change. For photo shoots, I found myself styling it the same way over and over again. During the work week, my go-to move was throwing it up in a messy bun (like a real messy bun - not those cute ones on Instagram) or worse even, hiding it all under a baseball cap.

In general, although the sweet comments about my hair were still flowing in, I was growing bored of it. I’ve always been one for grand gestures, so when Sam and I decided to transition our lives to Virginia this year, I wanted to mark the new chapter with a fresh do’ to match.

Once I made the appointment with my stylist (almost 2 months out), I started pinning (and saving images on Instagram) of shoulder-length bobs to make sure that I really wanted to make the change. I asked Sam, a few of my close friends, and family what they thought and mostly everyone agreed that I should try something new.

major hair change

It’s fascinating that we (hi, ME) are so neurotic about something as silly as strands of hair growing out of our scalps. Weird, right? And yet some of us spend hundreds of dollars and an endless amount of time doing research, finding the right colorist, watching hair tutorials, styling it, and testing out new products every month to achieve that celebrity-worthy mane. As silly as all of that may seem, our appearance matters to us. It gives us the confidence to walk into that interview for our dream job, or feel like the sexiest person in the restaurant on a first date. Although we may wish it were the opposite, oftentimes confidence cultivates from the outside, in.

Once I saw 16 inches of hair drop from my head, I immediately felt lighter. I was practically glowing with excitement. Megan hadn’t even colored or finished the cut and I already knew that it had been the right decision. In the end, I walked out of the salon like I was strutting down the runway for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

Hot tip: bring your favorite outfit (I wore a mini bodycon dress and heels) and a few makeup items for touch-ups to doll yourself up when leaving the salon. I met Sam at a restaurant afterwards for date night so he could see it for the first time while I was feeling super sexy.

Now, I know that not all drastic hair changes wind up quite so positive. I trust that we’ve all had at least one encounter that left us sobbing the whole way home from the salon. I’ve had… 4 of those. So, yeah, I get it. That’s why, this time around, I decided not to “wing” it. I gave myself plenty of time and space once I made the appointment to carefully consider the questions below.

drastic hair change

If you are considering a major hair change, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you find yourself styling your current hair the same way over and over again? Are you bored of it, or do you enjoy the routine?

  2. Are you constantly feeling less than confident when leaving the house?

  3. Are you doing this for the right reasons? (Or is this a result of a bad breakup from last night?)

  4. Have you been wanting to try a hair style for a long time, but have been putting it off because you’re not prioritizing yourself, or are afraid of change?

  5. Are you ready for the maintenance (cost and time) this new hair would require?

  6. Are you willing to learn how to style it daily without the help of your stylist?

Now, if you’re ready to make the leap, read on for my 4 tips!

My tips for making a major hair change:

  1. Find the right stylist for your style - search through hashtags on Instagram, ask your favorite local blogger(s), or your besties that always look so gorgeous after leaving the salon. Reach out to the stylist you want in advance to set an appointment; many of the best stylists/salons have waiting lists or tight schedules to get in.

  2. Prepare yourself for the investment/time required - if your ideal hair change is going from long, black hair to short, platinum blonde, you need to set realistic expectations so you aren’t left feeling disappointed. Do a few Google searches to find out what the typical cost of the service you are looking to get, and the timeline for a major change.

  3. Gather some inspiration - Pinterest and Instagram are your best friends for this type of research. You can also pop over to some of your favorite blogs where they might share more about their appointments in the chair. Narrow your inspiration down to 3 images that you LOVE to bring to your stylist so the vision is clear, but not overwhelming.

  4. Lastly, remind yourself: your hair WILL grow back, and it CAN be colored (to basically anything in the rainbow). Yay! This is great news. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t turn out like you had imagined. Be honest with your stylist in this situation and try to find a solution to fix it together. On the flip side, what if it turns out to be the hair you’ve always wanted? You could wind up so happy with it that you wish you had taken the chance sooner.

blonde balayage

Have you recently made a major hair change, or are you thinking about it now? Tag me in your new do’ on the gram, or comment on my latest post and tell me!

Want more beauty inspiration? Read The Lip Products I’m Obsessed With and 5 Skincare Rules I’m Living by this Year.

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xo Anna Elizabeth