Belfast Telegraph

Hair today... and still hair tomorrow

Styles have come and gone down the years but more and more local celebs are now deciding that if it ain't broke, don't fix it, as Kerry McKittrick discovers

For many of us our hair is our calling card, our defining characteristic. Indeed, it's often the first feature used by others to describe us - "The girl with the long, blonde hair", or "Her with the dark pixie crop".

It's one of the easiest things we can change about ourselves, too, as a quick cut and colour can drastically alter our appearance - but that doesn't mean we have to.

Recently, heiress and campaigner Jemima Khan tweeted a childhood image of herself complete with the tawny-brown locks and straight fringe she still sports today. She added the tagline "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

The often-photographed Ms Khan has never strayed far from her trademark tresses and obviously intends to keep them for years to come.

Over the decades many hairstyles have come and gone but some have endured - the Beehive, the 'Rachel' (from Jennifer Aniston's character in Friends), the Farrah Fawcett flick and the perm have all had their day, but the bob, the crop and long tresses are classic cuts that have been popular throughout the decades. A recent study by beauty products website found that in the UK women tend to change their hairstyle on average 36 times throughout their lives, with some even going for a new look every six months.

About half of women prefer shoulder-length hair, with a quarter opting for the chin-length bob and 22% choosing long hair.

Not all of us chop and change, though, as some of us pick a particular cut as we enter adulthood and stay with it.

Jemima isn't the only one to stick with what she knows best, either, as plenty of celebrities have decided on a style that suits them.

Keira Knightley has been known to change her hair for film roles but more often than not she returns to her usual style of bangs framing her face. Jerry Hall and Julia Roberts are megastars who rarely veer away from their tumbling curls and since she grew out the Rachel cut, Jennifer Aniston has sported simple, straight locks.

We spoke to three local celebrities about their enduring hairstyles and why they have chosen to stick with it.

‘It is the one thing that I like about myself’

Emma-Louise Johnston (36) is a presenter and broadcaster. She lives in Maghera with her husband, Jonathan Crawford, and their children, Emily (3) and JJ (1). She says:

I had long, long hair all the way through my teens; then when I was 19 I went to hairdresser Paul Stafford. Paul chopped it all off and it’s been more or less the same since then.

I’ve got a chin-length shaggy cut and I’ve had the same cut for the last 18 years. One of the things I love about it is that I can wear it in lots of different ways. I can put it up or half up, having it straight or tousled or kicked-out. The cut is the same but I can style it whatever way I want.

I think it’s the most flattering cut for me — it’s been a bit longer at times but for no other reason than I maybe haven’t had the chance to get my hair cut. I’m not comfortable with a shorter cut and I don’t feel that longer hair flatters me or my face. I need the body of a medium-length cut.

I admire people who change their hair all time but I’m not one of them. I still go to Paul Stafford and he has suggested I change my cut, but I never do. I wouldn’t change my hair colour either, I’m always blonde.

My hair is the one thing I like about myself. Other times I might be having a dodgy face day or be unhappy with my figure, but I like my hair and have done all my life. I’m confident with it and it takes me two minutes to do — just blast it with the hairdryer when I get out of the shower and I'm done.”

‘I chopped it all off once but I hated it’

Brenda Shankey (43), runs Jason Shankey Male Grooming with her husband Jason. They live in Belfast with their children Lauren (13), and Will (11). She says:

I have dark hair down to my waist and I wear it either curly or straight. It’s always been long and brown but this is the longest it’s ever been.

I find long hair so easy to manage. I either dry it straight or put it in a ponytail and then I’m done.

I’ve cut it once — when I was pregnant with Will I chopped it all off. It was short round the back, longer round the ears with an asymmetrical fringe. It was very trendy but it must have been the hormones that made me do it because I hated it and thought it made me look like a boy.

I grew it out again as soon as I could. That was more than 10 years ago and I’ve had the same style ever since.

I think it’s fine to keep the same hairstyle for years but it does depend on the hairstyle and it also depends on how well they look after it. Everything looks well when it’s maintained properly but even a simple, long hairstyle looks unkempt.

Hair always needs regular trimming and a bit of help with styling and product, no matter what style or length it is.

There are a lot of people out there who have timeless, classic hairstyles that go with everything and that suit the shape of their face.

Of course, there is the excitement and fun of having a new hairstyle, it’s like having a new outfit that lasts six to eight weeks. It’s all up to your own personal choice. For me, though, I’m sticking with my hair the way it is.”

‘People always notice it on television’

Sports journalist and presenter Denise Watson (43) lives in Holywood with her husband, David Scott, and their daughters Samantha (10) and Beth (6). She says:

My hair is short with a long-ish fringe at the front. I liken it to Frankie from pop group The Saturdays. It’s mostly for handiness reasons but I’m happy with the way my hair looks now. I’ve had this style for 20 years and before that I had the works.

The sixth form photo of me is with gingery-blonde Sun-In hair and a big perm.

It was shocking and quite heavy too — when I grow my hair it goes out and not down because of the curls. That’s another reason I keep it short now.

It was after my school photo that I decided to get it cut short, when I was about 18.

I’ve cut my hair shorter in the past and regretted it, but this is the style that suits me best. I still can’t manage it, though.

I go to the hairdressers for a blow-dry and straighten as I just can’t maintain the wavyness of it, particularly when I train all the time.

My hair is something I’m very aware of because people notice it on television and when the weather is bad it’s the first thing to go.”

And meet the queen of the crops...

Celebrities who regularly change their hair include...

  • Pink — the singer might be known for having a short crop, but it has been just about every colour under the sun. Never one to shy away from making a statement, she has even gone for styles such as a funky, multi-coloured mohican
  •  Victoria Beckham — there was a time that Posh Spice was known for her sleek bob, but over the years Mrs Beckham has had everything from a peroxide pixie crop to luscious brown hair extensions and everything in between
  • Beyonce — the Crazy In Love singer isn’t afraid to experiment with her hair — although the perm she sported might have been a step too far. She favours blonde highlights, but has been seen with sleek bobs and long waves
  • Jessie J — The Voice judge and singer showed she wasn’t scared of changing her hair when she shaved it all off for charity a couple of years ago. She often sports different colours and styles

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