A Brush With Renewal
When Debbie Coulston lost her mother to cancer, the time she spent in her stylist's chair proved cathartic. "I went through a bit of a breakdown and decided chop my hair off from being down to the middle of my back to a high stack to my neck," recalls the diagnostic medical sonographer and mother of two.
Patrick Wellington of New York City's Wellington Hair Salon recommends a drastic hair change when faced with tough issues. "It helps to boost self confidence and the way we feel about ourselves."
When deciding on a new look, especially during an emotional time, be sure you can identify how you hope your hair will help you heal, encourages Devin Toth, stylist at Ted Gibson Salon in New York City. "Is it convenience? A feeling of renewal? Beauty? Change? What is it about your new style that's most important to you?"
"Emotionally, I felt like a new woman, rejuvenated and ready to start over again. I needed to make some changes in my life to pick myself up again," says Debbie.
A Job-Winning Look
When Sarah Caron decided to return to work post-baby, she sought a style that gave her a pulled-together look, "even if I didn't always feel that way." She went from long layers to a shoulder-length cut with side-swept bangs like Katie Holmes, and was instantly pleased with the result.
"I had been out on maternity leave for about four months, so no one knew what to expect when I returned. Everyone was surprised to see me looking so pulled together when I got back." The compliments she received were beyond valuable, especially when she felt thinly stretched due to all her responsibilities. "It was a fantastic pick-me-up."
According to Tony Freay, senior stylist at Salon Luba in Hackensack, NJ, a job-winning new look should require minimal product for mobility and shine. "It should be a polished, completed and professional look with very little maintenance for long hours at the office."
Lisa Camerlengo, a senior manager of online marketing programs with a global professional services firm in New York City, says that almost all of her major life events either kicked off with or resulted in a drastic hairstyle change.
"After my first 'real' breakup, I went from blonde to nearly Elvira dark. It was such a dramatic change, being blue-eyed and fair-skinned, that even some family members hardly recognized me," she recalls.
"I did it because that was a true growth moment in my life—I was a different person and I learned so much about myself during that time that it completely made sense to have that metamorphosis reflect on the outside as well."
When Sarah Robinson (right), a small business strategy coach also known as The Maverick Mom, emerged from a breakup years ago, she, too, sought a style that signified transformation. She did it by transforming from a brunette into a shimmery copper redhead.
"Someone told me that in the Japanese culture, when a woman breaks up with a man, one of the rituals is to cut her hair to symbolize a fresh start," Sarah explains. "When we want and need to feel like we've left an old life behind, a fabulous new do reminds us that we have every time we look in the mirror."