We've all been there: you're sitting in the salon chair with a hairstylist standing over your shoulder. All of a sudden, a spur-of-the-moment idea hits you: "I'm going to chop off all my hair" or "What if I tried going blond?" Deciding to drastically change your hair can be an exciting, worthwhile endeavor — or you can walk out of the salon feeling like you've made a great mistake. Yes, it's just hair and it will grow back, but before opting for a huge haircut or color switch, you might want to think on the decision for longer than just the time it takes the stylist to finish washing your hair.
To help you determine if a huge hair change is right for you, we asked Drew Schaefering, master stylist and senior educator at Rob Peetoom Salon Williamsburg, the questions you should ask yourself ahead of time.
Question #1: Why Do I Want to Change My Hair?
There are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about trying a new hairstyle, including the timing and reason behind the change. "If we are desiring a change in order to make up for other areas of our lives and making our decision irrationally, it may be a regretful decision," Schaefering told POPSUGAR. "If our change is to solve a problem we are experiencing with our hair or to add some new flavor to our daily world, then it's likely that we will be more satisfied with the result."
A big hair transformation can also be extremely empowering, under the right circumstances. If you've recently switched jobs, moved to a new area, or gone through a breakup, a fresh haircut can be a powerful thing.
"Whether it is the result of a big life change or the cause of a big life change, undergoing a transformation can have a profound impact on how we feel about ourselves," said Schaefering. "Be clear on intentions when making big changes. We can have a tendency to be reactionary when we are emotional, which can lead to irrational decisions."
Question #2: Is This Style a Realistic Fit For Me?
You always want to determine if a new hairstyle will work for you, your hair type, and your daily beauty routine before doing anything drastic. "We can be easily swayed by images of perfectly cut and styled lengths, layers, and bangs — understandably," said Schaefering. "What we need to be aware of is the amount of time and energy that is needed to maintain and create these looks day to day, otherwise, we may be left with unfavorable results at home."
If you're someone who likes to air-dry your hair or roll out of bed with minimal styling to follow, a short cut with a perfectly done blowout may not be the best inspiration for your next haircut.
Question #3: What Kind of Upkeep Will This New Style Require?
Maintenance is another factor that's often overlooked, but it's one of the most important elements to consider. "A fresh new cut or color is a great way to perk up our look and give confidence in our step . . . until it starts to grow out or fade, and we lack the resources or desire to maintain the look."
To determine whether you can handle a high maintenance look, look to your lifestyle. How much time do you want to dedicate to styling it for the result you want? How often can you realistically make it to the salon for touch-ups? If you're unsure of the level of commitment of a particular look, just ask your stylist.
"Whether it is the result of a big life change or the cause of a big life change, undergoing a transformation can have a profound impact on how we feel about ourselves."
Question #4: Is This Extremely Out of Character For Me?
You know yourself best, so ask yourself: are you a risk-taker or a calculated decision-maker? Then, let that answer guide your decision. "If your hair is an accessory that you love changing often, then there is less of a risk in switching it up," said Schaefering. "For those of us that keep our image consistent and we lean on it as more than an accessory, it will have more of an effect on us if we don't love where it is down the line."
Bottom line: think on it before undergoing any dramatic hair changes. "If you are someone who has a hard time making decisions, then sit with your decision for a week before making a big change. If in a week, you still have a good feeling about your decision, then go for it," he said.