Diary Of A Salon-Dependant: ep. 1

by Olivia Cox January 7

My name’s Olivia, and I’m salon-dependant. And for 2022, I’m going cold turkey.

Let me explain.

I’ll start at the beginning: my hair. Thick, un-ruly, coarse, unpredictable, frizz-prone…. I would run out of adjectives if I were to do the levels of fuck-with-ery that my hair presents to my daily life anything resembling justice. 

And it has always been like this. My twin and I had matching bouffants pretty much from birth, easily traced back to our father. Exhibits a thu c…

We tried everything growing up to lessen our manes, with increasing degrees of severity. Braiding came first, but the time constraints were frankly untenable (it took me circa 90 mins plus extra time to complete Laura’s head. I know this bcos we were watching England crash out of the 2004 Euros). Next were lotions and potions: specifically, Paul Mitchell Super Skinny serum and anything from Lee Stafford’s Poker Straight menu. Neither of which made any difference whatsoever. Mainly bcos they aren’t magic. 

Then came heated tools. Now. If you grew up in a more recent decade, a heated tool for you will be something like a ghd. Aka, something that works. Not so for ’80s babies, bcos our weapon au choix was a Babyliss steam iron.  Actually, thinking about it, I suspect that this may have been the only one on the market back then. Trouble was, it only really worked if your hair was already pretty smooth. On mine? About as effective as brushing. Aka, it did bugger all. 

Straighters gradually launched in varying degrees of greatness over the next few years, and Thursday evening straightening sessions became the norm in chez Cox. Altho, admittedly, this shifted from evening to afternoon once dad’s passive aggressive comments re the weekly smell of burning hair finally peaked and we switched to before he got home plus sufficient front-door-wafting time. Sorry, dad :s.

When ghd irons finally hit the market with all their promises of Ions and ceramics to minimise hair damage, it was like our prayers had been answered. Finally we had a response to the ‘burnt hair’ criticism: these were basically *good* for your hair. Disclaimer: they really weren’t.

Wide plates, temperature control, automatic shut offs (presumably dreamt up by a mum sick of the Friday night ritual phone call: “mum can you run upstairs and check I switched my straighteners off?”)… straighteners got increasingly sophisticated over the next decade or so.

But my attitude toward my hair did an abrupt u-turn when I joined the Army. Long, laborious wash days went out the window, and the kit list for Sandhurst suggested a ‘2-in-1’ shampoo and conditioner for speed in the communal showers. Both concepts were about as alarming as each other. But I left my hair tools at home, tootled off to officer training, and learnt to love a combination of extreme-hold lacquer and Kirby gribs to keep my mane secured in a bun at the nape of my neck.

Completely unrelated to the relentless pinging of kirbies everywhere I went, I finally left the military in 2012, and began writing beauty pages at Marie Claire. Cue second abrupt u-turn. The beauty cupboard at MC was just as glorious as you might imagine. Samples of everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Pre-launch, best sellers, things I didn’t even know existed… all there in one poorly organised room. 

Then one day, my director decided that the beauty desk (at that point four blondes) should write an article about all the different ways we care for our hair.

There was a shoot, I had my hair done, and good GOD I loved the experience. At Christmas, we were gifted gold cards to a high-end hair salon, and I made a rolling appointment once a week for my hair to be washed and blow-dried. My salon addiction had begun. 





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