This Could Be Epic: Befores & Inspirations for the Team EHD Hair Transformations
I’m not risky with my hair and may never be. I like to try out a new duvet cover, or even a new living room rug and sofa and do so with little to zero anxiety, but “trying out” a new look on my head is not something I’m comfortable doing…that is, until today. I’m making a change, though admittedly not a huge one (keep reading) but the same cannot be said about some of the EHD team (because why not include the team on hair risks?). Some of them said, and I quote, that they “didn’t want to be able to recognize themselves in the mirror.” It’s happening TODAY (head to my Instagram stories to follow along), but I thought it’d be fun to walk through some of the styles we were all debating for ourselves before doing the big reveal next week.
Oh, sorry, first I need to torture you with my hair biography, written by me (though it’s so boring that it might as well have been written by my hair itself):
I’ve been long, natural blonde and wavy since birth. The biggest change I ever did, hair-wise was chop, bleach and get bangs a year ago and it was fun, it was, but had I known how much damage it was going to do, I may have reconsidered it. A lot of you warned me that it would be hard to recover from bleaching fine blonde hair, but I did it anyway and no regrets here, but no, my hair has not recovered. To be fair, though, my hair was in bad shape before I bleached it. I look at old photos and long for my full, middle-of-the-back head of hair. But in all fairness, my hair was already pretty fried when I processed it further last year, so it wasn’t really “my” hair. A secret fun fact about me is that I had AMAZING post-baby hair. My hair thrives while I was breastfeeding and all the photos of me with good long healthy hair was during that first year after having a baby. But if I can’t be a wetnurse then I need to find my way back to healthier hair.
See? That’s good hair, but that wasn’t my reality when I chopped it. It was in a much sadder place and it needed a change. So I went to this:
So here is the boring hair story: After the EXTREMELY LOVELY Kristen Ess gave me my new lewk last October, I knew that she couldn’t take me on as a consistent client because she is super busy with her product line and partnerships. Justin Anderson’s team at DP Hue reached out and I started going to him. I’m not just saying this; as someone who generally doesn’t love the ego and self-consumption of Los Angeles, this man gave me hope that you can be raised here and still be a good, grounded person. Sure, he is GREAT with hair color and his product (especially the apple cider vinegar wash) has been GREAT for my scalp, but the reason that I drove 45 minutes is because I love being around him (fun fact: he is a former Mormon and those of us former Mormons connect pretty quickly).
But the nearly hourlong commute was becoming a problem with my schedule, plus in LA, many colorists (Justin included) don’t cut your hair, so I was having to book an additional cut or, more on par with my busy attitude, just not getting my hair cut for months (thus looking unhealthy). He was busy so scheduling was hard and I just longed for the days of home salons (the ease, chill vibe and personal care of a neighbor just doing your hair).
So when I saw my friend Anne Sage post about The Harbor salon in Silver Lake, I thought I should try it out. I didn’t want to leave Justin, but my schedule was calling out for someone more local, who could also cut and give blow outs. I could tell from Anne’s Instagram that the design of the space was so cool, and I figured someone with a sense of design had to be good at hair, too, right (because of course, that’s how it works). But frankly, the most important factor to my lifestyle was location and convenience—it’s a pleasant 10 minutes away, with ample parking and a super mellow and lovely Silver Lake vibe. I wouldn’t have to fight traffic to go there and once there it just feels nice and friendly.
OH MY GOD SHOULD I JUST STOP TORTURING US NOW AND WRITE A TO-BE-UNPUBLISHED BOOK ABOUT MY HAIR WOES? This is so boring. But I have to tell you everything in order for you to properly understand why I’m about to do what I’m about to do.
Okay, we’re getting to the fun stuff, I promise… I went to meet with Shanda Wallace and fell in love with her and the salon. One of the best parts is that she has no ego and wants you to be happy, so I even came back after my first color session and she tweaked my color with glaze. Turns out that using the word “icy” means super cool (temperature-wise) which doesn’t look good on me despite how trendy it is. I loved her eagerness to help me get the hair I want and leave super happy and these days, in LA at least, good customer service is jarringly refreshing.
But now it’s time for round two (and for the team to also shake things up), and I’m debating some stuff. Shoulder-length blonde hair is not my jam. It looks boring and too “mom” on me; it’s neither a sexy short bob or a healthy blunt medium length cut. Two months ago, when I was sitting in her chair, we started talking about what we COULD do (which is where we are today), and we came down to two options: either go short-short (not pixie, but sexy bob) or get extensions. Here are the pros and cons:
SHORTER: Short hair is just cooler than long hair. It’s edgier and more modern. I have a theory that hair extensions and the Real Housewives have made long hair less cool because everyone can have them and what used to indicate youth (long hair) now can just look cheesy. Sure, my husband and most men I know prefer it, but it’s not as cool as a short bob (with bangs??).
Case and point:
HOWEVER, because of the damage I’ve done, my hair is pretty fuzzy and frizzy and in order to tame it, I have to heat style it EVERY SINGLE DAY which is going to further the damage/breakage. If I had my old hair it would be great, but it needs to be healthier in order to be short and look good.
EXTENSIONS: Obviously, the instant fix is to put in extensions until my hair grows out (and yes I’m taking supplements and using Olaplex). If you get good ones (mine are from Ahn Co Tran) it doesn’t do any damage. In a way, it lengthens your actual hair by pulling on it and kinda protects it, too (or so I’m told but I’m not convinced). We put them in and played with the length. The problem with hair extensions is that they are new and fresh and, for me, are a contrast with my fuzzy, frizzy hair, so styling it has been hard but overall I’m happier than when I had shoulder-length hair.
Are they kinda annoying? Yes. These are taped in and you can totally brush and wash your hair, but they are still fake hair taped to your real hair. Last week, I had to go to Minneapolis on a shoot and I didn’t have time to get them taken out, moved up, colored and cut (like 5 hours of time) so Shanda just took them out.
This is my hair as of last week:
Pardon the mug shot, this was literally taken at 6 am in Minneapolis by my hair and makeup person, BEFORE she started (obviously). I’m in my pajamas.
Current Hair Situation: Boring length, bad texture, kinda fried.
Biggest Hair Concerns/Notes for the Stylist: I want to “drop my root” which means to go darker un your under layers (like a low-light), which helps keep it healthier since you don’t have to dye it as often. Maybe I should go darker underneath in the back than I ever have before? The goal is to have a more blended extension look: shorter and more layers because my hair is so wavy. I want highlights around my face, but just to have more depth and texture.
Below is the color that I’m wanting. More natural, but with a lot of depth and contrast (but not crazy contrast).
Style Option #1 (and only): Deeper Roots, Blonder Ends, and Extensions. As far as the length, I don’t want to go crazy long and we’ll likely cut. I love the extensions more for fullness and looking healthier than for length. Do I sound desperate to look better and willing to do anything? Yes. We’ll see how it goes!! I’m going to need to spend the next year really taking care of my hair (vitamins, masks and supplements) to get it back to healthy.
ENOUGH OF ME. Four of my team members are up for a challenge. Not everyone wanted to try something new or to leave their stylists, so we have Sara, Ryann, Julie and Velinda all up for it. Let’s see what they have in mind…
Up first is Sara, EHD’s one-person photography department.
Current Hair Situation: My hair is a medium brown and slightly wavy. It’ll dry straighter if I brush it when it’s still wet (with a little bit of OGX Coconut Miracle Oil), or curlier if I leave it to dry untouched (with a little bit of Kristin Ess’ Leave-In Conditioner). It’s shoulder length right now, and totally virgin. I spend about 5-15 minutes styling in the mornings, depending on whether I’m just walking out the door, need to wash it, or want to curl it for a more “done” look. This morning, I tried to do “beach waves” with a straightener and realized that 1.) I don’t know how and 2.) Pretending I did while rushing to get ready for work was not the time to learn that I didn’t. It’s very hard to get a big straightener crimp out of hair.
Biggest Hair Concerns/Notes for the Stylist: My hair is pretty soft and thin, so anything I can do to make it seem fuller would be great. My face is also very round and some cuts I’ve had in the past have accentuated that in a very helmet-like way, so that would be great to avoid. I’m open to ideas from the stylist and very excited for a change. But I am shying away from a pixie or bangs. Cutting bangs the first time was great, cutting them the second time a few years later was a mistake, cutting them the third time (two years ago) was somewhere in the middle—some days they looked great, other days were a struggle. I’ve dyed my hair black, I’ve dyed it eggplant, I’ve bleached it all and dyed it lavender. I’ve had it as long as my waist, and cut it into a pixie twice. I’ve put it through a lot, but it keeps growing back…
Sara’s Style Considerations
Style Option #1: LIGHT, Short, Textured. I’ve never gone LIGHT in my life. I did self-bleach my hair once in college, but I promptly dyed it cotton candy purple so I didn’t get to see my bleached hair in the daylight. I’m very excited by the idea of light hair, but I also have some concerns. My skin has a lot of red tone to it, so will light hair make my skin look even pinker? Is there a way to go light while still letting my natural roots grow in so I don’t have to maintain the color religiously? And would a warmer honey tone or a cooler ash tone work better? If I’m being honest, I really just want to be able to use Kristin Ess’ Rose Gold Temporary Tint like all the other blondes in the world. There’s also a little hope that some bleach will give my thin, soft hair a little texture, even at the expense of its softness (though I do already use the Olaplex hair products, which bleached blondes swear by).
Style Option #2: A Serious Ombre. Are these still cool? Is this too 2015? I see this as being a way to try something dramatic, but also letting my roots creep in naturally which could be a more affordable way to maintain the color. I could see this working with a short textured cut like the cuts in option #1, or keeping my hair its current length but giving it some more texture with layers.
Style Option #3: Warm Copper/Pumpkin Spice Hair. COULD I PULL THIS OFF?! I don’t know. I’ve never tried anything in the realm of reds. Will this make my skin too pink? It’s a very different look, and I think it does fall in the category of “dramatic.” Lucy Hale is my hair icon. I love everything she does with her hair.
Julie, an EHD junior designer / project manager, is ready to commit to a new color and cut.
Current Hair Situation: I’ve been stuck in a hair rut for the past 10+ years. Every time I see my stylist, he’s already mixing my color as I walk in, “highlights and a trim again?” Yup, I’ll take one very safe hairstyle, please. When Emily told us about this potential partnership and the opportunity for a free cut and color, I was suddenly feeling very adventurous (well at least for my standards). My natural hair color is light brown with some warm tones. It is very fine, wavy and is prone to breakage. I am one of those people that have always wanted really long hair but it never seems to want to grow longer than mid-chest so the frustration is high and I am ready to chop it off somewhere between my shoulders and chin to start fresh. In the mornings, I’ll either let it dry naturally as you can see in these photos or just take a flat brush and blow dry it which takes about 10-15 mins. I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair, add a little Moroccan oil and I’m set.
Biggest Hair Concerns/Notes for the Stylist: I either want the stylist to make me a true blonde or brunette but since my skin tone is very fair, I think a dark brown would look nearly black on me. I have made that mistake before and by mistake, I mean that I dyed my hair (myself) dark brown all throughout high school and looking back, it is cringeworthy how dark it was. My hair is also pretty thin so although I love the look of a blunt cut, I think it needs some texture to give it life.
Julie’s Style Considerations
Style Option #1: Short and Blonde. I’ve always been hesitant to go fully blonde because of the maintenance it requires (I get my hair colored probably twice a year so that would be a big lifestyle change for myself and my wallet). Out of these two, I am more drawn to the coloring on the right with the blunt cut of the left.
Style Option #2: Brunette, Shorten, Bangs?! There have been two times in my life that I have had bangs, the first when I was four. I had no say in my hairstyle and not a care in the world of how my bangs were looking that day. Then I got bangs again before my freshman year of high school—the first two days were great but then they turned into a morning frustration of how to style them and I thought never again until…we were pinning inspiration photos and I came across the photo on the right, she is just working that hairstyle and making me want to go home right now and cut them myself. I think either of these warmer brunette coloring would work for my skin tone and I’m excited to see what you all think!
Next, let’s bring in one of our junior designers, Velinda.
Current Hair Situation: My “current” situation is the same as it’s been for nearly a decade; long, curls that are occasionally colored (by my sister) a bit darker than my natural chestnut brown (but not since last April). It’s very curly and I learned a bit too late in life that letting it air dry with a bit of product is better than blowing and brushing. (Insert childhood frizzy mullet photo here… Mom, if you’re reading, you HAVE curls. WHY did you force the hairbrush? Shame on you!) Currently, I spend 0-5 minutes styling because I usually roll out of bed and luck into a messy look that works…or it’s just a huge fail and I put it up and say “good enough.” Sometimes, I can salvage the morning’s frizzy rat’s nest with Alterna Caviar Dry Oil Mist. If having to get fancy, I’ll tweak my curls with a curling wand, which takes maybe 10-15 minutes. Straightening takes 30 minutes or more, which I’m willing to do, but not until some shape is restored. I get away with long stretches between haircuts because of the texture, so I apologize in advance to the lucky stylist that gets my tangled, dead-ended mess. Overall, I’m bored of the same style for the last several years and I’m open to ideas. But I’m not willing to go short. I tried in my early 20s and now tote a driver’s license that serves as a forever reminder of that time I instantly became an (uncool) 40-something soccer mom. Thing is, most long, curly hairstyles look all-the-same to me! So maybe a new color can help?
Biggest Hair Concerns/Notes for the Stylist: I’ve had past encounters with stylists that were inexperienced with such tight curls, resulting in a shorter-than-intended look once my hair dried post-cut and inevitably spiraled up several inches. My hair actually reaches my low back when wet or straightened. I also don’t want short layers that create a top-heavy or mushroomy look. I hope to have the option of straightening/styling for fun variations on this new do, but with the flexibility to be low-maintenance and cute when messy. Speaking of maintenance, I’d like to limit any color or other treatment to something affordable to maintain (i.e. not hideous if it’s growing out) because let’s face it, when I tell my stylist see you in three months, I’m a brazen liar!
Velinda’s Style Considerations
Style Option #1: Leave Length, No bangs, Go Dark. I think this is the sexier look, but not quite as much of a change. I’ve rocked the side part before (and have loved it). Going this dark would be fun and maybe there’s a slightly new shape to try. Less risk, but what’s not to love about locks like these? And maybe the pros can give me some styling tips/tricks for those times I don’t go bed-head messy/rock a top knot.
Style Option #2: Leave Length, Add Bangs, Richer Color. Bangs??? I’m sweating. I’m definitely open to something this different, but is this too ’80s? Is it too “cutesy” or trendy? Will it work for my face? I love the idea of having some wispy pieces hanging loose those times I pull my hair back and I think it’d be super cute straightened. But does it reeeeaaalllyyy work with curls? I had bangs as a kid, but the rest of the haircut was so bad, it’s hard to know if bangs were the culprit. This would be a big risk. Then again, if I hate it, I hear bangs are just super easy to grow out ( EYE ROLL/INSERT NERVOUS FACE).
EHD’s newest team member, Ryann, is ready for a BIG change.
Current Hair Situation: This is what we are working with: dark brown (with some natural highlights), mostly straight, pretty unruly, and THICK. I usually wash my hair in the morning, run through it with a brush, spray with Ouai wave spray, and hope for the best. I’ve never really done anything too drastic (never dyed my hair, never had a haircut I truly regretted) but this shoulder-length-haired gal is actually the new me. Up until a few weeks ago my hair was 18 inches longer and had been that way for years. One Friday I was complaining to my wonderful co-workers here at EHD that I was so over my long hair, and by Monday morning I had chopped it all off. And when I say I chopped it all off I mean I chopped it all off. By myself. In my bathroom. With no supervision. So I might be a little bit more daring than most, but honestly I chalk it up to general laziness and restlessness when it comes to my hair. I am definitely not attached to the $0 haircut I gave myself impulsively so of course I volunteered to go a little crazy for the sake of the blog. The bigger change the better. Make me a new woman.
Biggest Hair Concerns/Notes for the Stylist: Two things. #1 Check out that frizz. Yikes. I am hoping my mom doesn’t see this post because I will definitely get a text scolding me for not brushing my hair. The thing is, I did. And I do! I swear I do! But clearly I need something more powerful to tame those flyaways. I would love some spiritual guidance on how to achieve the glossy finish that I think we all deserve. #2 I won’t spend more than 5 minutes doing my hair. I love sleep way too much so if a cut requires me to get up earlier in the morning, it’s a no from me.
Ryann’s Style Considerations
Style Option #1: Short Bob, Bangs, Dark Color. This cut feels so classic and good and it’s kind of what I’ve always wanted in a haircut. It seems simple and not as big of a change, but I would go really dark if I went this route which would be fun. I know I am in desperate need of layers and I love a good set of bangs, but I’m also wondering if this style is way too safe? My heart is telling me yes.
Style Option #2: Short Bob, Bangs, Blonde. I’ve been wanting to go blonde for years. I’ve never dyed my hair, so the thought of suddenly being blonde is so exciting. My only worry is I won’t be able to achieve the color I want in one session and that might be disappointing for all of us. I want a transformation and instant gratification, ya know?
Style Option #3: Super Short Bob, Bangs, Darker Color. Ugh. This one. This cut is just dreamy. So chic, so cool, and so wonderfully feminine. I kind of think this style would actually make me a new woman (a woman that lives in the Italian countryside and runs her own winery a.k.a. my dream) but I’d be lying if I said I am not afraid I would look like a boy with a bowl cut. What do you think? Can I pull it off?!? Remember, I am #goingforit.
OKAY SO LET US HAVE IT! We’re heading to the salon today (do not miss the hair mania on Instagram today to see all the action) and drastic changes might happen when we all hit the chair. Will Velinda get bangs? Will Sara be an entirely new person who her cats (and BF) won’t recognize? Will I all of a sudden be a brunette with a dramatic Parisian-inspired cut? WHO KNOWS. But we want to hear from everyone what they think… it could sway us (and stay tuned next week for the final reveals…it’s going to be GOOD).