Claire Aviles before her haircut

Let me start by saying that I love change. For a lot of people, cutting off anything more than two inches of hair is a huge decision, but for me, two inches is nothing. I love my hair, but I have never been too attached to it.

In fact, the first time I met stylist John Hebert, I had decided to cut off eleven inches of my hair for Locks of Love. I was John's first Locks of Love client, so he had no idea what to expect. I think he was a little surprised when I didn’t burst into tears as he cut off the first of three 11-inch ponytails!

After over a year with my long, curly hair — probably the longest period of time that I had gone without a big cut — I decided it was time for a change. I called John and scheduled an appointment, eager to try something completely different.

Before the Haircut

Typically, when I get a haircut, I leave my hair long with lots of layers to enhance my curls. Most of the time, I love it — it's super easy to maintain and style. I would simply wash and condition my hair, add a styling gel or crème and let my curls air-dry. It's the perfect, no-hassle routine.

But after almost three months of Texas heat and pool chlorine, my curls needed some major TLC. My hair was dry and very fragile. I wasn’t even wearing it loose anymore — it was so hot that I had resorted to a messy chignon to keep it off my neck.

I decided that a simple, two-inch trim wasn’t going to be enough. I was ready for a drastic change, both for myself and for the health of my hair.

The Haircut

John Hebert grew up on the gulf coast of Texas. He raised cattle for a living and served in the army before moving to Austin and becoming a stylist. He has now been a stylist for twenty years and about 30 percent of his clients have curly hair. He can be found at Vitali Salon on West 6th Street. John is down-to-earth, friendly and pays great attention to detail, especially when it comes to his clients.

My favorite thing about John is that while he is great at listening to what his clients want, he also isn’t afraid to give feedback. I knew he would be honest with me about what would or wouldn’t work for my hair.

During our consultation, it was immediately clear that John had done his research — after reading a few of my NaturallyCurly articles, he was already familiar with my basic hair care regimen. As he looked at my hair, I talked to him about the products I was using, showed him pictures of styles that I liked and talked to him about my expectations for the cut. I left the salon feeling confident that I was in good hands.

But when it came time for the cut two days later, I was a more nervous than I expected to be. I even sent John a last-minute email, telling him that I wanted my hair to be long enough for a ponytail. “You threw me off with that email,” John said when I arrived at the salon. “Just trust me — it’s going to be great. And it will be short enough that you won’t even need to put it in a ponytail!”

John started with a dry cut. He decided to experiment with a new method — to give my hair some shape and to leave my shorter, face-framing layers in tact, he held my hair back at an angle and cut off the first five or six inches.

After the initial chop, he washed and conditioned my hair using Bumble and bumble products. Then it was back to the chair, where John essentially started sculpting my hair. He gave me lots of short layers and left my hair a bit longer in the front.

I had my hair rinsed and conditioned again before John applied Bumble and bumble Styling Creme, my favorite product of the afternoon, then left me to sit under the hooded dryer. Then he finished with another dry cut, trimming a few more pieces and perfecting the look.

After the Cut

I absolutely love my hair; it looks even better than I hoped it would! It’s young, light and so easy. I have definitely made a few changes to my routine, but John kept his promise and gave me a style that's still simple to maintain.

My wash process is the same, aside from the fact that I use less of each product! I still love Elucence Volume Clarifying Shampoo and Moisture Balancing Conditioner, but lately I have been using Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo and Aloeba Daily Conditioner. The Jessicurl products are great for my fine curls.

If I wash my hair at night, I will quickly rinse it with cold water when I wake up. Then I apply my styling product. I’m careful to not comb through my curls too much as this disturbs my natural curl pattern. When I'm not using Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution, I like DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam. It gives my curls great definition and retention. Then I just scrunch and go on with my morning routine. By the time I get to work, my hair has finished air-drying and my curls look great!

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking of making a drastic change to your hair, I encourage you to take the leap! Find a stylist that you feel comfortable with and remember to listen to their ideas — they are the professionals, and they can really help to enhance your look. If you're lucky enough to live in Austin, check out John Hebert. You'll have a great experience and a fabulous new 'do!  One of the most important things about getting a new cut is to "own" your new look. People around you will automatically love your new haircut if they see your confidence.