The 5 Stages Of Haircut Grief

All long-haired girls who've cut their hair short have been there...
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Kate F.
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All long-haired girls who've cut their hair short have been there...

I finally did it. I sashayed into the cheapest Manhattan hair salon I could find (which was still WAY pricier than anything in my home state of Georgia) and chopped all my hair into an adorable little bob à la Rita Ora.

Here's the thing, though: it only felt "adorable" for about a day, aka as long as the stylist's blow-drying handiwork lasted. 

Stage 1: Denial

stages of haircut grief

I was used to tossing my boob-length hair into a loose top knot and waking up with flawless waves and volume every morning. The night of my bob, I did as I always did and fell asleep dreaming of the sexy texture I'd have in the a.m. Looking in the mirror at sunrise (or whenever I woke up), the voice inside my head said something like, No. No. This isn't real [horrified scream]. My hair was a poofy, dented mess, and I'd only allotted myself the usual five minutes of styling time before work. Solution: low ponytail...

Stage 2: Anger 

stages of haircut grief

Gatsby-era babe or Spice Girl? You decide!

...Or not. My ponytail was only an inch long and that just wouldn't do. To say that I was angry would be an understatement. In my rage, I huffed and puffed my way through high-maintenance styles I would have never taken time for just days before. I curled my hair into a style that reminded me of 1920s flappers (think Daisy Buchanan). I tried intricate pinned twists. I straightened my hair until it was as sleek as it could be. Did I feel better? A little, but I was still salty about spending so much time on my hair. 

Stage 3: Bargaining

stages of haircut grief

After that day, I often found myself thinking, If only I could go back and convince myself that my hair was perfect as is. I then began attempting my long hair favorites: big bows, ballerina buns, half-up styles, even French braids!

Stage 4: Depression

stages of haircut grief

Over it. 

stages of haircut grief

This look is good for…no one.

But fun bows on short hair made me look like a 5-year-old; half of my hair immediately fell out of the ballerina bun; I felt like my frumpy babysitter in a half-up ponytail; and my French braids had a teeny tiny tail. TRUST me, it looked weird. I slumped onto the ground, curled into a ball, and, ladies and gentleman, I cried.  

Stage 5: Acceptance

Eventually I picked myself up and got it together. I couldn't mourn the things I used to be able to do with my hair, I had to find fun new things. Or new old things, like a French twist, which I'd always wanted to try. I fixed the bedhead, bumps, and dents with a few pumps of hair oil, added texture with a salt spray, and swapped the bow for a headband. 

All in all, I learned a valuable lesson about optimism and experimentation and all that jazz. And you know what? I'm proud of myself for trying something new.

Have you ever cut your hair short and regretted it? Were there tears? Bows?