My Prescription for Good Hair Was a Highlight Detox

Photo Credits: Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Contributor/ Getty Images | Image Used for Illustrative Purposes Only

I’m not a jealous person by any means, but if there is one thing I covet, it’s good hair. I’ve written about my lack of it ad nauseam because I can’t seem to get my crown and glory into a good place. I know it’s not a real-life problem, but it’s one I confess I’ve had since my elementary school days and I have the class pictures to prove it. But as a grown-up working in the beauty world where your appearance can sometimes be your calling card, I knew I needed a hair intervention

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I won’t go into the details of what a hard summer looks like, but many times when researching the latest space-agey George Jetson treatments or getting into the nitty-gritty with an expert about skin texture, the last thing I think about is how I look. When I do focus on my hair, it just never does what I want it to do. Getting a polished look is a conundrum for us hair challenged people, but it’s also become a professional liability to walk around with split ends. I’ve even had a coworker follow me out one day to politely remind me it was time to go to the salon. In another world, this gesture may have come off as some sort of hair bullying, but in my world, that little nudge was a lifesaver.

Enter hair designer Dustie Richardson at Paul Labrecque Salon Palm Beach. The first thing she did when examining my hair was tsk tsk my aversion to periodic haircuts, a character flaw I’m well aware of. She then asked me the all-important question: “What do you want your hair to look like?” This was new for me, as I’m used to walking in and telling my stylist exactly what shade of blond highlights I want. I never thought about the bigger picture. “I just want it to look healthy,” I said. “I want people to look at me and trust me when I’m telling them what to put on their face or which treatments work the best.” 

I wanted “beauty editor hair” and Dustie was ready with two professional recommendations that would normally send me flying out of the chair. “Let’s lay off the blond highlights, add some warmth for dimension and let’s cut a substantial amount off to help restore your hair.”A shorter length? More cuts? No more blond highlights? I didn’t like what I was hearing, but this was a lesson in trust and patience. At that moment I realized I trusted two things: 1) I shouldn’t be in charge of my hair anymore and 2) I had to let go of what I thought would make me look best. 

So Dustie did her magic and she worked quickly. I was in and out of the salon faster than my usual head full of highlights took. I didn’t even flinch when what felt like four inches of my hair fell on the salon floor and it honestly felt like a release of bad hair juju. Dustie used the balayage technique to apply the lowlights to warm up my yellowy tone. This was a shift from my past highlights done with foils and was a huge help in getting my new color and old color to blend in more seamlessly without any lines of demarcation. The cut, the super-trendy and just long enough lob was just what I needed and I’ve never felt chicer in my life. I don’t have to curl it as much to get the look I want and a little textured wave is really all I need to have that touchable, enviable kind of hair I've always wanted.

I’m four weeks post-hair-op and I have to say I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my hair in my life. The biggest takeaway for me is about letting go. When I interview beauty experts, I wouldn’t dream of telling them what needle to use or which brush will help glide a cream blush on better. When it comes to hair, I don’t have to be a pro, I just have to hire one.