Is it time for the Brexit hair cut? 

Is it time for the Brexit hair cut? 
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No one could deny the past year has been turbulent. Changes in the balance of power often spell changes in how we want to look – so if you add events here and in America to the mood of individualism in fashion, you have the perfect climate for some dramatic new hairstyles. Celebrity hairdresser George Northwood declares, ‘There has not been such a demand for “proper” haircuts since Vidal Sassoon’s reign of rebellious cuts in the ’60s.’

He should know. The hairdresser behind influencers such as Alexa Chung, Northwood recently ‘sharpened and shortened’ Alexandra Shulman – just in time for the announcement of her exit from Vogue. ‘It’s all about change now,’ he notes. ‘Bookings for haircuts have been growing steadily in the last 12 months as clients are asking for more strength and precision, especially since Brexit.’

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‘The last two seasons have been all about the haircut,’ agrees catwalk colourist Josh Wood. ‘At Chloé, each model was given a power cut that embodied her character. Such a bold statement gives every woman permission to express herself.’ Dramatic cuts, say hair’s big-hitters, are one of the smartest grooming investments a woman can make.

‘Ten years ago, simple trims were the salon appointment staples, which led us to launch blow-dry bars so women had a way of expressing change without going for the chop,’ explains Luke Hersheson, who lopped Victoria Beckham’s mane into a power bob last year. ‘Suddenly all that’s changed. Now, the majority of salon bookings are for restyle cuts, and the blow-dry bars cater for basic grooming. It’s flipped in a very short space of time.’

So what is the cut du jour? ‘A structured bob, deconstructed,’ suggests Hersheson. ‘Mixing sharp lines with textured styling gives assertiveness and independence, without the pampered look.’ Glossy, ‘done’ blow-dries feel dated – now women want a shorter, stronger shape. ‘The mid-length bob has evolved to look “obviously blunt”,’ says Northwood, ‘pushing layers out.’

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But the most empowering aspect of the power cut is that there’s no ‘one cut fits all’ approach. ‘Women in their 40s and 50s are confidently adapting Taylor Swift or Karlie Kloss’s deconstructed bob to suit them,’ says Hersheson. ‘Even five years ago, many women were concerned about looking “age-appropriate”, hence the rise of the “mum bob”. Now my clients are braver and less conformist. Each cut has a lawlessness about it, which is empowering.’

Thinking of having the chop? ‘Go for a consultation beforehand,’ suggests stylist Ben Cooke of Lockonego. ‘You can iron out the options and come up with a solid plan.’ Northwood says pictures work best: ‘In our salon, you choose the baseline, texture, length and fringe from photographs. This makes it a creative collaboration, rather than biting your lip and hoping for the best.’

If you’ve got short hair...

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Who’s got it?Theresa May, Nicola Sturgeon and Hillary Clinton swapped ‘mum bobs’ for shorter, chicer styles as their status grew. On the celeb circuit, Gemma Arterton and Kristen Wiig’s cropped cuts are perfect examples of the boyish approach. Luke Hersheson also lauds

What to ask for:The IMF’s Christine Lagarde’s classic but edgy crop: ‘It’s simple, chic and ageless. The secret is to keep some length on top to retain a certain femininity,’ explains Josh Wood. And don’t skip colour: ‘The shorter you go, the more colour you should consider. Not only does it add texture and interest, going lighter, brighter or richer softens the face.’

How to maintain it:Fend off flatness with a thickening product like Ouai Soft Mousse, £22, and make it last with Ouai Soft Hair Spray, £22.

If you’ve got medium-length hair

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Who’s got it? Victoria Beckham and Michelle Obama are beacons of the mid-length power cut. ‘Michelle’s bob is the perfect defined shape for now,’ says Luke Hersheson. ‘She goes from straight and sharp to soft and wavy. Versatility is key.’

What to ask for: George Northwood suggests asking for an extremely blunt baseline, which adds width and power to your cut, then chopping into the ends for an ever-so-slight jaggedy trim. ‘The aim is to create the perfect power shape,’ he says, ‘then undo it a little so you don’t look hard or old-fashioned.’

How to maintain it:Blow-dries are too ladies-who-lunch, so maintain your bob with an investment shampoo and conditioner like Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo, £16 and Conditioner, £20. Rough dry, then use a texturiser like Redken Wind Blown Dry Finishing Spray, £13. Or try John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray, £5.89.

If you’ve got long hair

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Who has it? Kate Middleton and Amal Clooney epitomise the long power cut. ‘Kate’s got long power hair nailed,’ says Northwood. ‘It’s immaculately polished and always on point.’

What to ask for: ‘Hair below the shoulder can look mumsy or dated if it’s too choppy,’ says Hersheson. ‘Ask for a graphic shape. Then add individuality with a fringe, or more textured styling.’ For Ben Cooke, it’s all about the exact length: ‘Your hair should be above your bustline for bounce and width.’

How to maintain it: ‘Book your next trim as you leave the salon so ends never get ratty,’ says Northwood. At home, invest in treatments. Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect, £2, zeros in on damaged spots for shine without heaviness. Up your game with weekly masks, too. Try Josh Wood Guardian of Colour Glossing Mask, £10. Using Ouai Hair Oil, £24, daily will keep dry ends neat and sleek.