Belfast Telegraph

What she’s really saying with that new hairstyle ...

After X Factor star Janet Devlin made waves when she dyed her locks, Laura McGarrity asked three well-known |women about the lengths they have gone to for great hair

When Janet Devlin went from ethereal blonde waif to fiery red-head courtesy of the X Factor, the makeover sparked huge debate — and controversy. Which was, of course, the point.

After all, many of today’s stars change their hairstyle as often as their dress, knowing that it is a surefire way of garnering a few more headlines. Witness Lady Gaga and Rihanna, two celebs who make regular trips back to the dye bottle.

Victoria Beckham has worn her hair cropped, long, bobbed, brunette and blonde. Just recently Kylie went from blonde to dark brown, with many onlookers saying this aged her.

And then there are the trends so many of us have tried — the Eighties’ bubble perm; Jennifer Aniston’s ‘Rachel’ in the Nineties; the bang-up-to-date glossy, wavy locks of Kate Middleton.

Little wonder, then, that many ladies go through endless hairstyles in their lifetime. Or that, given the fact they often opt for a change of look once a relationship ends or before starting a new job, their hair becomes a kind of pictorial reference point to all the key events in their lives.

Unfortunately, the ‘impulse do’ doesn’t always result in a look we love ... Here, we speak to three well-known women about their changing hairstyles — and whether they look back with fond memories ... or cringe with embarrassment.

Mousey to red, then came her blonde ambition

Tracey Hall, (44) is director of The Style Academy Model Agency, and lives in Belfast. She says:

My hair is naturally mousey brown and wavy, and when I was growing up I can remember all my friends and I used to dream of having blonde hair. I wouldn’t say that I’ve had lots of different hairstyles but I definitely change my look at least once every 10 years.

Tracey's curly hair

This is when I had my spiral perm in the Eighties. My best friend had asked me to be his hair model for a hairdressing competition in Glasgow. This is my natural colour and 236 rollers went into giving me my first spiral perm. When the final look was revealed I nearly cried — I looked like Shirley Temple. Of course, this was the start of the perm craze and when I showed my model agent she told me I would never get a job again because my hair was ridiculous. Still, the permed look eventually caught on and I kept mine for about three years. I was constantly back-combing my roots, because my hair grew through so straight.

Tracey's Red Hair

I had my hair dyed red in the Nineties because I'd just opened my model agency so I suppose it was a way to make a statement that I was my own boss. I had two blonde streaks down the sides of my face and when Geri Halliwell went for the same style I was so annoyed because everyone thought I copied her, but I really had them first. I had red hair for about eight years and when Rihanna dyed her hair red recently I thought about dying it back, but blondes definitely have more fun.

Tracey's glamour hair

In 2002 I did a glamour photo shoot for the Belfast Telegraph and the artistic director for Toni & Guy came to do my hair. I was sick of the bright red colour so they went for a total restyle. When they suggested dying it blonde I was reluctant because I had tried blonde before and I had always thought it was a bit harsh on me. After seven hours of stripping the red from my hair and re-colouring it, they gave me a choppy, layered cut and mixed in blonde, cream, caramel and chocolate tones. I really loved the shape and how warm the colours were and I have had variations of the style ever since.

Tracey's hair now

This is the way I have had my hair for nearly 10 years. I've had variations of the style ever since getting my hair restyled by Toni & Guy. I go a bit darker in the winter and then blonder in the summer. I'm very lucky because I don't have any greys, although saying that my hair is dyed to death so I probably wouldn't really know. I like my hair, it's still fashionable and it suits me so I won't be changing it any time soon — well, maybe just subtle changes.

Tracey's perfect hair

This photo of me was taken a few weeks ago when I won Celebrity Come Dancing for Children In Need, I loved it. I have three sets of hair extensions in to give me more volume and an extra long fishtail plait. This is my dream hairstyle. This was a big event for me, it was filmed in front of 800 people for the BBC, but I was also dancing in memory of my friend Gurty who died in June. It was special as his mum and brother were in the audience which made it all more emotional. The trophy was for him.

‘My number seven all over had to go’

Dawn Purvis (45) is an independent consultant and former MLA. She lives in Belfast with sons, Ernest (20) and Lee (21). She says:

I get my hair cut every six weeks but I don't really change it drastically. I have either had my hair very short or shoulder-length. My hair is very dark and I started getting grey hair early, so I've been dyeing my hair since I was in my 20s and I normally use wash in-wash out toners as well to bring out my natural highlights.

Dawn's short hair

This was in 1980 when I was 15 and I was going for the boyish look. My hair was really short and with a middle shade. Believe it or not, but this was fashionable then and all my friends had the same cut.

I also had no eyebrows because my sister had plucked them off so it wasn't a good look.

Dawn's wedding hair

This was my wedding day when I was 22 and my hair is completely different here. I grew my hair for two years and got it permed as well.

I think it looked good but that's only because I had it done by a hairdresser that day. In truth, I hated this hairstyle — it drove me mad, going from having short hair to long permed hair was just too much work. I have never been good at blowdrying my hair and with a perm, I had to curl it with tongs as well. It just ended up being a mess, plus I always had burns on my hands and ears from the tongs.

Dawn's first election hair

This was in 1996 when I was 29-years-old and standing for election for the first time with the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP). I went back to short hair when I was 24-years-old, just after my son was born. I needed something more manageable, so I used to get a number seven with men's shears all over. Looking at the photo now, it is just awful and too severe.

Dawn's hair now

I started growing my hair in 2008, because I was so bored with short hair. My hairdresser advised me to do so because she was sick of giving me a number seven back and sides. Now my hair is the longest it’s ever been.

Now that it’s grown to this length, I’m surprised how curly it is, something I never knew before because having it short meant it didn't have a chance to curl. I just wash it and leave it to dry naturally and it is wavy.

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Katrina through the years

Katrina Doran (37) is director of beauty and fashion website Sugahfix.com. She lives in Belfast with husband Peter Forester. She says:

When I was really young my hair was very fair and very straight. Then it gradually got darker until it was a dull blonde colour. In my late teens I started to dye my hair. I worked as marketing director for the hairdresser Paul Stafford for seven years and that's when I became really experimental with my hair. I have probably had every cut, colour and shape. I go to the hairdresser’s every eight weeks and even if I don't want a drastic change Paul always suggests little tweaks.

Katrina's Irish dancing hair

This is when I was about nine or 10-years-old. I loved my hair curly because it was usually so straight. Judges liked a dancer’s hair to be curly and when my mum put it in rollers the curls would last about an hour before falling out. She then actually started perming my hair from when I was four years old to make it curly. Now dancers wear wigs, and it would have been a lot easier if I’d had a wig back then. In this photo my hair is just starting to turn dark.

Katrina's hair at graduation

This is the hairstyle I had all the way through university. On my student budget I just used to buy cheap hair dyes and use them all over. It was very bad for my hair but it was low maintenance.

Katrina’s dark bob

As I said, my first job after university was marketing director for Paul Stafford and this is the first haircut he gave me. I remember him telling me my blonde hair was awful, then cutting off my ponytail and setting it on my lap. The new look was very dark and very short, but I loved it. This was around the time Gwyneth Paltrow had got her hair cut very short, so it was very trendy.

Katrina's purple hair

Of all the hairstyles I’ve had, this is my favourite. My hair is very fine so it's very shiny. The dark purpley-red made it look so glossy and because I am so pale it looked quite dramatic. I remember people used to follow me around shops and then eventually ask where I got my hair done. I was still working for Paul Stafford at the time so he was always experimenting on me.

Katrina’s hair now

I have had my hair this shape and colour, or similar to this since I was 29. At its longest it would have been down to my shoulders. My hair is so straight and fine and this style works really well for it. It is very low maintenance so I just have to blow dry it and I am ready. I think I will always have a bob and a fringe, it suits my face and is what I like.

Katrina Wedding hair

For my wedding I wanted something simple, I had a heavier fringe and flicked out layers. I think you get to a point when you are comfortable with yourself, your clothes and hairstyle. I didn't want anything too fussy for my big day, just something that suited me and that I was comfortable with.

Hair lines ...

  • Women on average will get their hair cut or coloured twice a year between the ages of 13 and 65 — 104 times in a lifetime.
  • The average woman will dye their hair three different colours throughout her lifetime.
  • 38% of women get their hair cut or coloured to make them feel more confident.
  • 16% of women opt for a hairstyle to mark a milestone birthday.
  • Almost a third of women change styles or dye their hair following a relationship break-up.
  • Long hair with a fringe is the most popular hairstyle, with 69% adopting this look at some point in their lives.

... and new head starts

  • Janet Devlin went from her natural strawberry blonde colour to vibrant red when she was restyled for the live shows of X Factor earlier this year.
  • When Emma Watson finished filming Harry Potter she got her hair cut in a pixie style to mark a new stage in her life in saying goodbye to Hermione.
  • Michelle Williams went from having shoulder-length hair to a short pixie-cut and is said to have kept it that length since 2008 in memory of her late boyfriend Heath Ledger.
  • Natalie Portman famously shaved her head for the film V For Vendetta in 2006.
  • Lady Gaga’s platinum blonde hair has gone through a transformation this year having been dyed yellow, blue, green, pink and even half of it black.

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