Getting the chop (Get it Magazine, August column)

 

Happy to be back and having a say – the Last Word to be precise – in Get it Magazine. This month, wisdom in a haircut. How? Read on to find out, and click the cover photo to read the digital edition of this lovely mag. –Sarah

Every few years as the seasons change I find myself casually eyeing photos of short hairstyles – cute bobs, messy beach crops and sexy layers. Infrequent browsing becomes more determined, and the excitement of a new do dawns.

I inevitably commit. Let’s cut this long boring hair. Yes!

I browsed, bookmarked, and was even clickbaited by InStyle UK when the magazine declared the look of the year is a “hot platinum blonde buzz cut”, as showcased at Paris’ Haute Couture Fashion Week in July by Katy Perry, Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss.

Those ladies are never wrong. We should all do this, right? There’s nothing like a rebellious visit to the salon where you announce to your gleeful stylist, ‘Let’s do this – I’m ready for a change and to let the world know I’m not afraid – you have my blessing to CUT!’

I showed up on time, gave the salon dog, Dolly, a hug, and then produced my efficient Pinterest board full of inspiration and examples. My stylist smiled and nodded. I felt confident.

Other blondies will understand the process – colour first, then toner, wash, condition; all the while gossiping, flicking through magazines and scrolling Instagram (trying not to pick out too many more photos that demonstrate how we might like to look at the end of this big event).

The scissors appeared and the chirpy apprentice primed her phone in order to Instagram my transformation. The examples I shared showed a choppy blonde look that fell a little above the shoulders. My hairdresser went to start at that length, but during a moment of miscommunication when I wasn’t entirely paying attention (I was actually filming Dolly for Facebook because I am a [crazy] dog-lover), a lot more hair came off than I expected.

The bob was chic and shapely. But oh, it was short.

Some of you reading this know me and you’ve likely heard me preach about how change is great – go for it, put yourself out there, quit the job you hate, fall in love, move overseas, go travelling, adopt a rescue dog, cut your hair off… all excellent ideas.

The crisis of identity that followed was kept secret, except from Cooper my long-suffering better half. He offered support. ‘You look ten years younger,’ he said. Bless him. ‘Yes’, I thought, because I haven’t had this cut since I was 15!

At this point all I could see was long hair – film, television, magazines, my own selfies. Long hair, everywhere.

This all happened right before we went on a holiday and in hindsight part of the problem for me was trying to style a brand new cut while using harsh hotel hair products. My hair wasn’t moving. I defiantly refused to be in photos. I didn’t look like me. I consider myself to be quite ‘low maintenance’, and was surprised by my reaction. I took to Google to try and make sense of it all. Psychology Today explained: “Because it is so visible, hair becomes a part of a person’s identity. It helps define the persona you aim to create… Hair can also influence the way you define yourself to yourself, as an extension of your identity”.

By the time I returned to my day job, I had started to master the look. I was even warming to the new me. My manager tentatively complimented the change, and followed with a story about how he’d once thought he was doing the right thing by acknowledging a colleague’s cut only to have her promptly burst into tears. #firstworldgirlproblems

Now I’m back though. The ‘brave’ one with the cute crop (and hair trend of 2017?); the blondie who does things most others won’t [are not crazy enough to] do. People seem to like it. I do now too. Did I lose my identity? Yes, for a bit. Was it worth venturing outside of my comfort zone? As I always say, definitely.

Read the August issue of Get it Magazine online

 

East London spa experience [review]

 

It’s summer in the city and a good opportunity to get out and discover more of our local neighbourhood. We were understandably excited to be invited to an east London spa experience, specifically, to the lovely Spa Experience Bethnal Green.

Our booking fell during the middle of the week, and at exactly the right time – the weather had been hot, work stressful and we were definitely in need of a little ‘me’ (or rather, ‘us’) time.

Cooper and I met at Bethnal Green tube station and wandered a few minutes up the road to the York Hall Leisure Centre which is a huge health, fitness and wellness oasis set admits the bustle of the big city.

You’d never expect for there to be a tranquil spa and baths in here, but happily, there is!

This east London spa experience offers members and guests not only a host of treatments for men and women, but extraordinary thermal bath therapies too, including Hammam, sauna, plunge pool, monsoon showers, ice fountain, hot rooms (Turkish baths) and hydrotherapy pool.

The substantial space means there’s something for all needs (relaxation, pain, detoxification, blood flow and respiration) – you’ll even find a chill-out space with fresh fruit and day beds.

Two of our very favourite skincare brands are put to good use at Spa Experience Bethnal Green – Elemis and Murad.

You can select from a wide range of repair and rejuvenation treatments here, and we had the chance to each try out one of the facials on offer.

Cooper recommends the Elemis high performance skin energiser facial, which makes use of the Elemis lime blossom range that works to balance and repair the skin.

This particular facial is ideal for men. The ingredients used maximise cell regeneration and boost circulation. You even get a scalp massage for deep relaxation [insert smiley face here].

I have sensitive skin so am often a bit apprehensive regarding trying new products. I have used and trust Elemis though, and chose to go for the skin sensitive soother which is perfect for changeable weather conditions (hello, London!), helps to reduce redness, restore texture and moisture levels.

I also enjoyed (fell asleep during) the relaxing scalp massage [insert another smiley face here].

Our expert therapists were Kemelia and Tara, and they shared with us that the secret to beautiful skin is to commit to a series of sessions that will tackle conditions that trouble you, like dry or red skin, acne and other issues brought on my exposure to extreme environments and stress.

This east London spa experience reminded us both of the importance of taking good care of the body, mind and spirit.

As busy working professionals we – like you, I’m sure – are put under a lot of pressure every day. Sometimes you don’t even realise how the body and skin is impacted.

If you’re over our way in east London, take time out to escape to Spa Experience Bethnal Green and talk to the team about the benefits they can add to your lifestyle.

Find out more: Spa Experience Bethnal Green

 

Do blondes have more fun? [review]

 

I had been growing my blonde locks for longer than I’d cared to realise.

As it turns out, the choice to chop it all off – for the first time in ten years – ended up an emotional one, and something I comically (for the most part) write about in the August 2017 issue of Get it Magazine (published soon).

My hair was happy to have a fresh cut and I’m liking it. The act of cutting it all off symbolised a fresh start. They’re often bittersweet, right?

Since I went back to my blonde bob of old though I’ve noticed this seems to be the summer trend, so I’ve decided to own it.

Best of blonde: luxe to less tried and tested

As it’s short, it’s imperative my hair looks blonde, fresh and fun. After all, why else go short and sweet?

These two brands got wind of my situation and wanted me to experience life as it should be for a brave blonde.

If you too are in the market for shampoo, conditioner and treatments for blonde hair, read on…

Joico

Joico’s new Blonde Life range cares for blonde hair which can tend towards feeling and looking dry and damaged in not too much time at all. These products also work to banish brassy tones, restore moisture and add shine – yummy!

The Brightening Masque is also part of the set – it’s a five minute moisture hit which revives blonde ends that are dehydrated and dry (sound familiar?).

Loved this range from the second I started using it. The promise is that hair is kept bright, smooth and shiny, as well as on-tone for up to eight weeks. Importantly, after using it my hair is easy to style and a nice colour. It’s obvious this is a quality range and I would absolutely buy it again.

Interestingly there’s no purple tones in these products – they are glossy and gold, yet they totally do the trick and maintain my colour.

– Blonde Life brightening shampoo 300ml, £15.50
– Blonde life brightening conditioner 300ml, £16.50
– Blonde life brightening masque 135ml, £17.45

More: joico-blondelife.com

Here’s my friend Jackie, and I, out and about; I could say blondes have more fun (especially after I just washed and styled my hair with these goodies), but I think she had a nice time at this masquerade party too!

 

Phil Smith

It’s difficult to tell what you’re going to get with products for blonde hair, and I can’t definitively say that all ‘cheaper’ brands aren’t as good as some of the more expensive brands. I’ve had experiences with products from all across the brand spectrum that have dried my hair out and left it feeling lifeless – literally. Not great!

This affordable range that’s exclusively available from Sainsbury’s however, has pleasantly surprised me.

Actually, I was using and loving the products before I even checked the price and expected it to be much higher.

Work ready…

The shampoo smells lovely, the treatment is violet-toned which is totally necessary for my hair which can tend towards gold; the products are vegan friendly too.

This is a lovely, gentle range of products that feel nice on the hair, offer brightness and softness and at a price that’s inexpensive for what you get.

Very happy to keep these products in my cupboard and on my shopping list.

– Bombshell blonde radiance shampoo 350ml, £3.50, Sainsbury’s
– Bombshell blonde radiance conditioner 250ml, £3.50, Sainsbury’s
– Bombshell blonde radiance intensive treatment 150ml, £3.50, Sainsbury’s

More: philsmithhair.com

So, do blondes have more fun? Yes, now I definitely am!