Photo: Claire Pepper

I used to be a haircut junkie – happy to spend hours in the chair at the Vidal Sassoon Academy being given crazy haircuts and colours every six weeks, says Harriet (Hat) Margolies. That morphed into a long standing (10-year plus) relationship with the first hairdresser I’d met who understood my hair and what made it look great. Who didn’t expect me to brush my curly hair (no thanks, too frizzy) and dry it (too fluffy); show me a volumising shampoo and I’ll run in the opposite direction. But times have changed – with one child and a job I could still trek across London to my trusted hair stylist, but by the time I was in my forties with two daughters, it was as much as I could manage to skulk to the local hairdresser and get my ‘bottle brush’ hair trimmed once a year.

The thing is – I have tricky hair – fine, wavy, frizzy and lots of it.  And a creative job, which means I have to meet people and impress them with my visual sense on a regular basis, but I don’t feel cool enough for trendy salons anymore.  And I have children who are rude about my hair when it looks shit.  When I looked in the mirror and saw Ross Noble staring back, it was the last straw. Something had to be done.

Photo: Ena Salon

When Alyson suggests accompanying her to Ena Salon for a haircut, I pretty much bite her hand off. The salon itself is relaxing and grown-up – no banging music, instead I’m offered good coffee and homemade biscuits. My stylist Gianna Poullou looks at my hair, listens to what I say about how I usually dry and style it (ie no hairdryer) and what’s frustrating me about it now (everything) and then after a lovely wash and head massage she cuts it. It’s a beautiful simple cut, designed to suit my hair and my low/no-maintenance regime and then she shows me how to style it myself. Turns out I’ve not been using enough product. What’s required is a two pence coin-sized amount per each side of the head – and to apply, gently scrunch the hair (I know, it’s not tacky and 1980s, it works) and then, LEAVE it alone. The products she uses are all from Davines, natural and with a light but very pleasing smell.

Haircut happiness. Photo: Claire Pepper

I leave the salon with a lovely wavy, shoulder length cut that makes the most of my natural hair texture. Even better, after a few days, when I wash and style it myself following Gianna’s instructions – it looks nearly as good as when I left the salon. After a few days, the curl drops into a more manageable wave. This haircut may not be as groundbreaking and edgy as some I‘ve had in the past but I can make it look good and it makes me feel good. I think I have found the holy grail of haircuts.

What to do with wavy hair in summer:

A good cut in summer helps the most. Gianna added a few shorter strands around my face that soften the look when my hair’s tied back. I tend to opt for a loose plait in summer – this means I can tie my hair up in the day and let it loose at night, when it’s cooler.

And here are some curly hair products I’ve tried:


Please note: affiliate links in this post may generate commission.

Hat was a guest of Ena Salon, 5 Great Queen Street, London WC2 (020 3 301 5451) or [email protected] Style note: wrap dress from a selection at Boden, sandals from Menage Modern Vintage. Hair & makeup by Louise Heywood. Louise does one-to-one makeup lessons in her south London studio for ‘women who like to keep it subtle’.

16 thoughts on “When it’s time to find a grownup not groundbreaking haircut

  1. Your hair is beautiful. Hard to believe you deal with frizz. I have been tempted for several months to try Davines’ products, but they are a bit pricey, and I wish I could get a sample size. I think the “smoother” ones temps me the most, as it promises to banish frizz. In this extreme Illinois heat and humidity, it will be tested! I will make a trip into Eataly (Chicago) where they sell it and make a day of it.
    Again, you look great! And I love that dress on you!

    1. Hi Jackie, the photos were taken a few days after the haircut and as Hat mentions – her curly hair tends to drop. Also, we did have a professional hair & makeup artist on the shoot to help shoosh things up a bit!

  2. Love the hair, easy hairstyle is something which I always aim for. I am growing out my colour it is a bit of an interesting colour . Dress looks marvellous on you. Well done You for taking the plunge.

  3. Your hair looks lovely, how I envy people with curls, and how wonderful to have a hairdresser who listens and advises. I have rarely found that gem. Had leave behind one once and have never really replaced her. I have the opposite. Poker straight and boring, and sadly getting thinner and with less body with age. Guess I need to start trawling the hairdressers in my neck of the woods. Beautiful dress, fabulous colour on you.

    1. Hi Kate, thanks for commenting. Hat used the Davines ‘Love Curl’ products, they’re included in the gallery at the end of the post.

  4. I decided I needed to divorce my longstanding very very expensive high end hairdresser when she told me never to grow out my grey as “ grey hair smells really bad, every hairdresser knows that”. She’s on maternity while I ponder that. They are so hard to replace though.

  5. Hairdressers become more important with every passing year (okay, I might always have been a bit hair-obsessive, but mine is curly and grows out, not down!) And I second the choice of Davine’s product range. But what matters most is the stylist. Find one who can cut like a dream but also has the eye to see the person as well as the cut, with the fashion sense to tweak elements regularly, so that it stays looking crisply modern but not outre… and treasure him or her.

  6. I agree with Linda, wish Davine did sample sizes – they’re expensive to try if not suitable. I have curly hair prone to frizz, and which also grows outwards. I can’t dry with a hairdryer, different products affect it big time – it all ends up being incredibly time consuming and I certainly can’t just “wash and go”. My hair is definitely better the day after washing, and in fact sometimes I now leave it an extra day, it’s better when it’s slightly dirty! It all means I have to work out when to wash it if I’m going somewhere – and if I go to bed with it even slightly damp it’s a nightmare! I’ve learned that conditioning is everything – I condition it but also use leave in conditioner, and every so often use a hair mask. My fave product is Aveda Be Curly enhancer, it lasts for ages and smells lovely. I envy people with straight simple styles, but I guess we all have to learn to make the best of what we have!

  7. Linda and Claire B. Davines does do sample sizes, they are available in the salon I use. But if you take the link from above post…and ‘Here are some curly products I have used’. That takes you to the post that Alyson did ‘Party Ready Grey Hair and how to achieve it’. From there the link for ‘Davines Love Curl Collection’. It was a wonderful link by Walmart (US only maybe) and I was able to purchase sample sizes of my favs for 1/2 the price of my salon. They are amazing products, you only need a small amount and so well worth the money. Great post Alyson, I am embracing my longer, grey hair and letting it be is so much easier during the summer months.

  8. As a person with curly hair I’m confused about this post. I would need a blow dry for my hair to look remotely like this.The products mentioned are supposed to enhance and define your curls and in the pictures Hat doesn’t even have wavy hair. She looks great but this would not be easy for me to maintain as it is basically straight.

  9. Ive let my hair go grey and then had a $10 Buzz cut which I then let grow into a pixie and then cut again. Lucky it suits me. Cheap and current and I wont see sixty àgain. I aim for interesting and arty.

  10. A good cut helps a lot in the summer, indeed. My hair is half grey and I dye it so shampoo should be for coloured hair. However, my biggest problem is not with the curly hair but with the dryness. Most women after 30s know what I am talking about. my daughter is 27 years old and she already has troubles with too dry hair. Probably, you know but there is a stem cell therapy that can help a lot with pigmentation and dry hair.

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