MY HAIR JOURNEY & CUTTING IT ALL OFF!

On 12 February 2013, I cut off 40cm off my hair to raise funds for cancer support organisations and to honour the memory of my Dad, who passed away from cancer on 12 February in 2004, and my Gran who passed away from cancer in 2003. Last week marked one year since I cut off my hair and one decade since my Dad passed away. Obviously, the latter milestone was the more important one. As I wrote about in this post, I don’t particularly believe that grief gets easier over time (you just get better at it) but there are things that help. One such thing is to celebrate the memory of your loved one by raising money in their name. Cutting my hair off was a way to do just that. I raised money for the Cancer Council WA and donated my hair to Beautiful Lengths, who used it to make wigs for ladies who’ve lost their hair during treatment.

I’m writing about cutting my hair off now to share some progress photos for the amazing people who donated to my cause. Also, to encourage those ladies who might be considering cutting off their hair and need some inspiration. And lastly because I’ve actually never shared a photo of me right after I cut my hair off! I was far too self-conscious and didn’t feel like ‘myself’ for the longest time. So here goes:

Before and after

Before and after. Wow that’s short.

Coincidentally, both of these photos were taken just after hair cuts (the left was taken after my last ‘long hair haircut’ in May 2013).

Before
The first photograph was taken at my cousin’s wedding in November 2013 and the second the evening before I cut off my hair (thanks, Danica for my photoshoot!)

I started toying with the idea of cutting off my hair mid-2013 and made the decision around October 2013 (locking it in by making a Facebook event!) So I didn’t cut my hair after  May 2013. Around the time these photos were taken, a lot of people were commenting on how long it was.

The chop

IMG_3365

My gorgeous friend Leah doing the cut (thanks Leah!) and the ponytail after it ceased to be attached to my head. I was aiming to cut of 30cm, but ended up having a lot more hair than expected, and so went for 40cm!

No tears during the actual cut, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit how often I cried in the first few days. I didn’t realise how much I had been using my hair as a ‘shield’.

I was shocked at how much my hair misbehaved for the first four weeks or so after the cut – maybe because it was so much lighter? Probably the hardest thing to come to terms with was the inability to tie up my hair without 500 bobby pins. I probably won’t ever wear my hair this short again for that reason alone.

After

The evening of the big cut.

The first few months, the slow changes in my hair length felt painful. Because I’ve always worn my hair super long, I never noticed the growth rate. It was just long and then, oh, it’s really long. I only really noticed a change when my hair hit my shoulders around June and then my collar bone around September. Since September, I feel like the growth pace has picked up (either that, or I’ve gotten more used to the shorter length and I’m not monitoring it so closely. It probably does help I can tie it up easily now – finally a high pony tail without bobby pins!)

1653453_10152270041494859_1071177374_nHair length progress on 12 February 2014 – one month and two haircuts after the big cut. (I was coerced into an impromptu cut by my aunty’s hairdresser when I went to see her once around June – she owns a salon – and I had a cut recently in Canberra.)
I bought my dress pre-loved and it’s from Portmans back when their garments were Made in Australia

I’ve been enjoying the length since around September when it hit my collarbone. I’m not sure where I’m going next in terms of style and whether to keep it this length – suggestions are welcome!

Cutting my hair was a great (though slightly emotional) experience. I’m not sure if I would have otherwise got the opportunity to experiment with so many different lengths in the past year. It’s not necessarily easier to maintain, but it’s so much easier to style! And it’s amazing how much less conditioner and drying time I need. Having a different length has also forced me to pay more attention to colour, parting, products and styling instruments – it’s been a steep learning curve, but one I’m grateful for! After all, I still had hair to experiment with.

Once again, thanks so much to all the generous donors who gave me so much support (financial and emotional!) in the lead-up to cutting my hair and on the day. If you’re considering cutting your hair, perhaps consider donating your ends? And feel free to ask me any questions about the donation and cutting process, or the aftermath! Good luck!

Yours Fairly,

Ashlee

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