The Struggle Is Real

The 5 Stages of Grief After a Haircut

We're not shallow, you're shallow.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen August 23, 2016

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Image: Shutterstock

1. Denial

"I luuuurrrve it," you purr from the chair. "It's exactly what I had in mind." You ignore the tendrils that appear not to have been covered with the same dye as the rest of the strands—just a trick of the light! The stylist doesn't offer to spin you around to see her work, and you don't ask, because you don't need to, because it's great. Who would pay $300 for a haircut and color that's kinda/almost/sort-of-in-dim-light what you wanted? Not you. You made a Pinterest board, for crying out loud. You love it. You tip extra because that's how great it is. 

2. Anger

What could be confusing about the sentence "trim as little as possible because I'm trying to grow it out?" And yet here you are, looking at a fresh set of layers, measuring the inches cut off in months of your time wasted. Was she listening? Was she hungover? Why did she have to ask so many times what color highlights you were looking for? And then after all that, how did "warm caramel" turn into ashy bronde? Did she think your elaborate Pinterest-based presentation was a new one-woman show entitled Isn't Shay Mitchell's Hair Pretty? Everything is wrong and everyone is stupid.

3. Bargaining

Maybe after a couple shampoos the roots will fade and won't look so dark and out of place? Can you part your hair a different way so it won't look like your new $300 highlights are a month old? No? How about the other side? Just ignore the cowlick. Can you avoid taking photos in natural light or with flash for the next three months? Are hats big for fall?

4. Depression

You're going to be ugly forever and your lover is going to leave you because he has very firm, the Rachel-based opinions on layers. Also you have no money for Chipotle because you spent it all on highlights and accidentally letting someone chop off several inches of your hair. Go ahead and ugly-cry because that's the only crying option you've got in this godforsaken hairdo.

5. Acceptance

Two sleeps later, you wake up and realize the way the layers curve around your face is kinda nice—it's, um, actually a pretty good haircut. Luckily everyone is sick of hearing you talk about it, so no one has to know.

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