I don’t think there yet exists a saying ‘never rush into a drastic haircut’… but there should. Every time, and it happens alarmingly frequently, I feel that impulsive rebellious desire to do something crazy with my hair, I march into a hair salon and leave myself at the mercy of the reckless hairdresser who capitalises on my foolish willingness and defaces me. This time, inspired by the amazing newly adorned fringe being sported by one of Sassy’s bloggers, Jojo, I decided to put my potentially image-harming desires into trusted hands.
Nicole Burak is a relatively new addition to the stylish team at Paul Gerrard on Pottinger Street. She hails from Canada, is immaculately well-presented and most importantly, she gets not only what the customer wants but what actually suits them. Jojo had regaled me with stories of how, glass of wine in one hand, nervous anticipation in the other, Nicole had confidently assured Jojo that she would never cut her hair into a style that wouldn’t suit her…. and boy was she right. Jojo’s new fringe is so suited to her face and style, that it would be impossible to imagine her without it (although you can see photographic proof of before and after below!). Hence how I finally plucked up the courage to make an appointment with Nicole.
As I have recounted on Sassy before, I’m not well known for taking good care of my hair. As a result, it often has a lacklustre bedraggled look more befitting a nun than an (attempted!) stylish twentysomething.
I gave Nicole a relatively blank canvas with which to work. My demands? Richer, more full of life, less dull but nonetheless easy to manage. Her response? Keep the length, enhance the colour, add more layers but refrain from following my drastic instinct too far. At this point I questioned myself. This adventure had been inspired by Jojo’s hair-tastic transformation, didn’t I want a transformation of my own?! But Nicole, rather than going on a power trip with her scissors as some hairdressers might, assured me that within a few months, with Hong Kong’s famous humidity and heat setting in, the last thing I would want would be short hair that I couldn’t tie up out the way. Furthermore, my face was too small for a fringe and colour wise, the hazel in my eyes would positively shine when surrounded by sumptuous chocolate coloured locks. I stood corrected.
Together, we thus decided to mix things up by making my front layers shorter (but long enough that come spring, I could tie them out of the way), add more layers at the back, and apply an all-over rich, organic hair colour that wouldn’t require constant root work that, let’s face it, I would never manage to keep up.
Nicole then gave me a mini-masterclass in tricks I could do to make my hair look more presentable with as little effort as possible. Ideas included rough drying it before rolling it up as if it were on a roller and pinning it into place for a few minutes; sleeping with it in a twisted bun to add instant volume as soon as I woke; and curling it in summer months so that my sweaty ponytail would at least have texture and hide more sins.
Feeling confident in her vision and amazed at her understanding not only of me but of Hong Kong weather, I had hair dye painted all over my tresses whilst I sipped on complimentary tea. After 25 minutes seated under a heat source indulging myself in probably one of the world’s best selections of trashy magazines, I was led away to the sinks. In a review of a hair transformation you may expect the hair wash to be an irrelevant detail, but special mention must be made of the blissful five-minute head massage I received. Worth every penny of the haircut in itself!
Hair dyed and scissors expertly snipping away, I sat and watched Nicole work her magic. The colour? Rich, voluptuous and edible looking. The cut? Sophisticated, full of movement yet easy to manage. The client? More than satisfied and excited to show off my new look!
Unfortunately, upon leaving the salon, a downpour literally dampened my hopes of a glamorous makeover style reveal moment as my husband stepped in the door. My failure to find a cab and the resulting twenty-minute trudge home through the rain meant that I looked more like a wet dog than I would have hoped. But, true to Nicole’s easy-to-maintain promise, a quick burst of the hairdryer was all it took to restore some of the former glory to my hair.
As any girl knows, my dangerous impulse for drastic measures could have gone horribly and irreversibly wrong. Thank goodness I placed my desires in Nicole’s safe yet skilful hands. I’m still in the honeymoon period of my haircut and enjoying every minute. The true test will come a few weeks down the line when I start to morph back into my old lazy hair routines and the colour has started to fade. Regardless of how the next few weeks go, and even if my devilish streak is still craving an even more drastic look, I feel confident that Nicole is my hair hero and has led me to a stylish but also sensible and safe place, ready to battle all that Hong Kong’s impending summer may throw at me.
Cut and finish with a senior stylist $850. Full head tint $1,000
Paul Gerrard, 1& 2/F, Wah Hing House, 35 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong