Juliet had just sat down at her couch when her phone rang. She let out a frustrated sigh, put down her bowl of pasta, paused the episode she had just begun and begrudgingly went to retrieve the buzzing phone. She glanced at the screen and saw the name Kurt H. Kurt was an agent for Elite, one of the leading model agencies in the country. They had worked together countless times with Kurt consistently sending his models to her for haircuts and booking her as the stylist at many events. She hadn’t heard from him in a couple months however and picked up the phone, interested to see what he had to say.
“Hello?” she said as she pushed the phone to the side of her face.
“Juliet, sorry this is all a bit hectic but is there any chance you can squeeze in a client of mine tomorrow?”
“Ummm” Juliet ran one of the most exclusive salons in London, almost every day she was booked out fully. “Lemme check real quick”.
She quickly opened her calendar app and scanned her appointments. There was a 45 minute window, but it was normally when she would take lunch. It would be her only break in her 8 hour working day.
“Hmmm I don’t think I’m gonna have time unfortunately Kurt.”
“Can you maybe stay late tomorrow or start earlier? Like this is really important and honestly you’re the only stylist I really trust for this.”
“Hmm, look I really can’t do a colour, is it just a cut?” she bit her lip, she liked Kurt and was proud how desperate he wanted her services.
“Yes just cut. Trust me I think you would really enjoy this. Listen, this girl has an absolute mane, like seriously the most hair you’ve ever seen. We’ve been toying with the idea of chopping it for a while just to like switch up her look. And she has this big shoot in two days, I spoke with the people from that and they loved the idea and literally just an hour ago I convinced her to go for it.”
Juliet couldn’t deny that this was quite a tempting offer.
“What’s her name?”
“And what sorta cut are you thinking then?” she asked.
“One sec I’ll send a pic”
Her phone buzzed and she opened the attached picture. It showed a black girl with short curls, no more than an inch or so at the longest which was the crown, and a closely cropped back and side.
“Damn, so really short. And she has curls?”
“Oh yeah” Kurt replied. “She has beautiful hair she’s mixed, got a white mom and black dad. It’s gonna be a lot of hair to cut off.”
Juliet had heard enough.
“I’ll skip lunch, send her at 1:30”
Juliet arrived at her salon 15 minutes before her first appointment at 9:30. The salon was already hustling and bustling, with the other stylists busy working on clients. It was located right in central London, perched the corner of two busy roads. When you entered the salon there was a large reception, with sofas and a front desk. Behind the desk there were 2 staircases, one leading up and one leading down. There were not completely seperate levels, as it was only 6 steps to the top or bottom floor, with the reception level sitting in between. The bottom floor was where the 5 washing basins were located, along with a utility closet and client and staff bathrooms. On the upper floor, there were 8 hair stations. 4 located on each side of the room. In front of each chair was a floor to ceiling mirror, with cabinets to each side of the mirror.
Juliet had opened just over 8 years ago now and boasted some of the most acclaimed clientele in London. She had a team of 11 full time stylists including herself, alongside 8 apprentices.
“Here’s your coffee Ms Leroy” Heather the receptionist said as Juliet walked towards the stairs.
“Ah thank you love” she said gratefully before taking a sip of the latte.
Her first client was 37 year old Jennifer. A rich socialite who was having her shoulder length blonde hair trimmed and layers added.
Next was 51 year old Kerry, a successful real estate tycoon, who had her short graying pixie cropped another 2 inches shorter.
Then was 34 year old Richard, a finance worker from a nearby bank. As Juliet was trimming away the last of his black hairs she remembered he was her last client before Lora. Checking her watch she realised she was actually slightly ahead of schedule. Thankful to have spare time in her busy day she ordered another coffee and sunk into one of the salon chairs. At 1:20 she turned her chair to face down into the reception keen to see when Lora arrived.
She couldn’t deny that she was excited. Ever since she started as a hair stylist she had always found giving short haircuts to be the most exciting, especially when her clients had long hair to begin with.
5 minutes later she saw the door be pushed open by a young light skin girl. It had to be Lora, Juliet realised. She couldn’t yet see her hair as it was pulled back behind her. She sat up in her seat to get a better view. She watched as she walked to the front desk and spoke to Heather. Lora turned to remove her jacket and it was at that moment Juliet got a glimpse of her hair. Pulled back into a ponytail her hair was a mass of beautiful curls. Dark brown in colour, it was a mix of curls and waves, probably most similar to a 2c or 3a texture. And it was long, even pulled into a ponytail the longest parts reached to the small of her back. Juliet let out a whistle, it truly was a whole lot of hair. She pictured the image she had been sent, trying to picture all that hair being cropped away.
She snapped out of her daydream as she saw Heather point up the stairs. Juliet busied herself as Lora mounted the stairs. Juliet turned to face her and gave a warm smile. She was young, no older than 20 or 21, and wore flared jeans and a cropped light green t-shirt.
“How are you Lora?” Juliet extended her hand. “I’m Juliet, welcome”
“Hi” she replied politely, with a firm handshake. “I’m doing good thanks.” She was a good 3 or 4 inches taller than Juliet. Proper model height Juliet thought to herself.
“Glad to hear” Juliet said as she turned the black chair to face Lora. She gestured for her to sit. “Please take a seat, is there something you would like to drink?”
As Lora lowered herself into the chair, Juliet had an up close look at the mane streaming down her back.
“Um just some still water would be great thank you” she replied.
“Of course” Juliet quickly motioned to an assistant who then hurried away.
“So where did you come from today then love?” Juliet asked as she cocked her head slightly and placed her hands on the back of the chair.
“Marylebone, so not too far of a trip”
“Ah lovely, I do love Marylebone, I had an apartment there once actually.”
“Yeah a real nice area” she nodded in reply.
“And so I’ve heard you have a big shoot tomorrow is that right?”
“Yes, yes that’s correct. Bright and early I have to be there half 7 in the morning.”
“Gosh I could never.” Juliet said shaking her head. Her vision dropped to the mass of curls draped down her back. “But first we got to deal with this hair right?”
Lora took a deep breath.
“Yes we do,” she said.
“So Kurt was telling me we’re cutting it all off is that right?” she couldn’t help but break eye contact to take in the hair again.
Another deep breath from Lora.
“Yep. It’s uh… it’s all coming off.”
The assistant silently handed Lora a glass of water.
“Very exciting,” Juliet said with a smile. “Can I ask what made you decide to go for it?”
“Umm, well honestly this has like always been my look you know. Ever since I was little. So yeah Kurt had sorta suggested it a while ago but I wasn’t really ready then, but I know he spoke to the guys from the shoot tomorrow and they loved it and I was just sorta like ‘Okay let’s do it’”
“Well I think it’s a great idea too, it’ll definitely bring out your face I’m sure of that.”
“Thank you” Lora said with a slight smile.
“Do you mind if I take this ponytail out?” Juliet asked.
“No of course not”
Juliet reached over and pulled the hair through the elastic. She pulled it back so it streamed down the back of the chair in its full glory. Juliet still couldn’t quite wrap her head around how much hair this girl had. She guessed if Lora was standing it would reach her waist.
Juliet pulled out her phone and opened the picture Kurt sent.
“This is what Kurt sent me” she handed her the phone. “Just wanna make sure this is also what you’re expecting too?”
Lora only glanced at the phone for a second, perhaps not wanting to dwell on just how short it was.
She nodded. “Yep, yep”
“Okay so let me run through what’s gonna happen then because we don’t have a massive amount of time unfortunately.”
“Ok sure” Lora said intently.
“Because there is just so much weight to remove to begin with I’m gonna use my clippers and we can get rid of most of the hair. Then I’ll take it down to the shape just with the scissors. And then according to the photo like the bottom inch or 2 at the back and sides I’ll use my clipper on. A number 3, so that’s ⅜ of an inch.” Juliet barely held her fingers apart to demonstrate.
Lora silently nodded.
“Must be quite scary?” Juliet said feeling a tad bad for the girl. Who knew how long it would take for her hair to reach this length again.
“Yeah, I just don’t wanna look weird or something.” she shifted in her seat as she said that.
“Oh no dear that is the last thing you need to worry about.” She said sincerely. “This is gonna be really sexy I can tell”.
With an eye on the time Juliet opened the cupboard next to the mirror and pulled out a few hair clips.
“Let’s get started then shall we?” she announced, not waiting for a reply as she gathered up her hair. She twisted it atop her head, clipping it in place. Juliet then pulled out a grey cape. She moved behind Lora, draping it across her body and securing it at the neck. She released her hair and it swooshed against the nylon of the cape.
She then pulled a comb from the drawer. Using the comb she began to section away the top of her hair.
“Since there’s so much hair this is just gonna make it easier” she explained as she worked.
Once the section was completed, she clipped the hair up, letting the rest of it hang down her shoulders and back.
“Did you tell your friends that you’re doing this?” she asked as she fastened the clips properly.
“Uhh yeah most of them, I only decided last night so didn’t have time to tell everyone”
“And are they excited?” Juliet asked as she looked at her through the mirror.
“Yeah, I think so, most of them can’t believe I’m actually cutting it all off. Like it’s something I’ve talked about for a while, I guess they never thought I’d go through with it.”
“Ah I see, I see”
“I’ve actually only had my hair cut like 3 times in my life.”
“Wow” she looked at the almost 2 feet of curls, noting how long it must’ve taken for them to grow so long. “Well you might not need one for a while after this” she added slightly cruelly. Lora had a slightly grim look on her face.
Juliet again opened a drawer. Sitting there was a pair of Panasonic ER GP80 clippers. She had just ordered ones for each station, and she loved how sleek and modern they looked. She didn’t have the opportunity to use it often, except for men, so was looking forward to the upcoming cropping.
She picked them up and turned to face Lora. She gave a nervous smile, fully aware these would be used on her in just a moment.
“Alright, so I’m not going to put this against your skin, just going to use them to remove the majority of your hair.” Juliet moved her spare hand to the right side of her head, pulling back some of the hair, demonstrating what she would do.
Lora nodded slowly, nervously licking her lips.
“Alright alright” she replied.
“Shall we get started then?” Juliet asked carefully.
“Yep let’s do it” she said bravely after taking a deep shaky breath.
Juliet flicked the clippers on, the low humming noise ringing out. She placed her left hand on top of Lora’s head, tilting it ever so slightly to the left. She then grabbed a small section just by the temple area.
“Here we go,” she announced. Lora had her eyes squeezed shut.
She pulled the section out from the head and pushed the clippers into the hair just under where her hand was, only a few inches from the scalp. The clippers drone changed as it bit into the thick curls. After just a couple seconds Juliet was suddenly holding the hair, it no longer attached to Lora’s head. She let it drop and the soft curls fell in almost slow motion to the ground.
“Oh my god” Lora said softly, turning her head to see what had just occurred. The hair was only just long enough to partially cover the ears, when 10 seconds previous it had tumbled to belly button length.
Juliet took the next section of hair from directly behind her ear. Lora slightly flinched as clippers were pressed into the hair just by her ear. Juliet let the hair slide down the cape, coiling onto the floor next to the other strands.
“Chin down please darl” Juliet said as she placed a hand on her head and gently pushed it forwards.
She then took another handful of hair, this time at her nape. The clippers bit into the thick mass of hair and after just a few seconds another clump of hair slowly fell to the floor. Already there was an abundance of hair scattered around the chair.
Juliet took another section from the nape, quickly sending it to the floor as well. Now she was at her left side, and gathered all the remaining hair with her hand. This handful was the biggest so far but the clippers still had no problem chewing through the curls. Juliet couldn’t deny she was enjoying this opportunity and this time she held up the fistful of curls for Lora to see before letting them slip from her grip, slowly cascading to the ground. It was a strange sight, there was still a massive amount of hair clipped to the top of her head, with the hair on her sides and back a choppy pixie length.
“Now that was a ton of hair” Juliet announced as she gestured towards the ground. Lora tentatively looked at the ground. She bit her lip as she saw her curls lying limp across the floor. Juliet flicked the clippers off and placed them back in the drawer. Lora freed her hand from under the cape and touched the sides of her head.
“Feels a bit different?” Juliet said with a grin.
“Yeah wow” she said as her fingers went over the cropped sides. “Never thought I’d be able to feel my head like that”
“Without so much hair in the way?”
“Yeah exactly, exactly.”
Juliet was now holding a spray bottle and she began dousing her sides and back.
“Did you tell your parents you were cutting all your hair off?” she inquired as she continued with the spray bottle.
“Yeah I uh… called my mum last night” she nodded. “She was pretty shocked that I was actually going to go through it. I mean I’ve always been that long haired girl you know, and with sorta hair it takes a while to grow out like this.”
“Right, right” Juliet said as she then pulled out a pair of silver scissors. “So now I’m going to just properly put some shape into this alright” she announced.
“Yep, sure” Lora replied.
Juliet took a section of her hair between her fingers around her temple area. Her hand was set squarely against her skin.
3 inches of wet curls fell to Lora’s caped shoulder.
“Well I gotta say I think this is all very brave of you dear” Juliet said wholeheartedly as she snipped away another section from between her fingers.
“Thank you” Lora replied.
The conversation died down for a bit as Juliet made her way around Lora’s head, cutting the hair so they were only an inch or two in length. When she reached the left ear the whole section was now a uniform length, the hair just long enough to form a single curl.
Juliet picked up the clippers again this time attaching the #3 guard.
“Alright gonna use this again, just to take down the sides, making them look sharp.”
Lora nodded as the clippers were flicked on again. Juliet placed her left hand atop her head before placing the clippers at her hairline. A soft clump of hair slid down the cape, reducing the length to a mere stubble. She gently folded Lora’s ear removing the tiny curls as she went. When she reached the nape she ran the clippers slightly higher, about 3 inches from the hairline. When she reached Lora’s left side, she replaced the guard for a #2 guard and used that to make the edges even sharper.
Juliet returned the clippers back to the drawer and replaced them with a straight razor. Gently tipping Lora’s head forward she then ran the razor against the edge of her hairline on her nape, removing any small hairs that remained.
“Feel that” Juliet instructed as she rubbed her shaven nape. Lora pulled her hand out from under the cape.
“Woahhh” she said as she ran her fingers over the prickly hair.
“Nice right?” Juliet said warmly.
Lora turned her head side to side, surveying herself in the mirror as she felt her hair.
“Yeah” she replied.
Juliet then reached for the hair clipped atop her head. Pulling away the clip, the remaining hair cascaded down, covering the cropped under section.
“There’s still so much hair isn’t there” Juliet said playfully as she ruffled the remaining curls.
“Yeah, you almost can’t see the short bit underneath” Lora nodded in agreement.
“Well not for long love” Juliet said cheekily as she took her scissors and spray bottle from the drawer.
She began dousing the remaining hair and combing it down. After all the top section now hung around her body Juliet moved in with the scissors. She took a first section at Lora’s right temple and pulled it out from her head. Juliet could see Lora’s eyes follow the scissors as she brought them towards the strands. With a quick two snips the scissors slid through the section. Juliet casually tossed the hair onto the cape, and it glided down into Lora’s lap. It was at least a foot and a half of damp hair.
Without much of a pause Juliet took another section to the left of the previous one. Her scissors easily sliced through the hair. Juliet playfully jangled the section around before dropping it in her lap.
Lora watched silently, her face starting to show signs of distress.
“What do you think your mum’s reactions gonna be” Juliet asked as she took another section this time at the back of her head.
“She might cry” Lora said with a slight smile.
Juliet snipped away another section, this time letting it slide down to the floor, joining the curls from earlier.
“You’ll look like a whole new person without all this hair” Juliet remarked. “Really nothing to hide behind anymore you know”. She knew she was definitely only increasing Lora’s nerves but she just couldn’t .
“Yeah” Lora said rather meekly.
Juliet snipped away another section at the back before moving to Lora’s left side. She pulled up half of the remaining hair and cut through it mercilessly, tossing it to the floor was a gentle slapping noise.
“The last of your long hair” Juliet said as she gathered the remaining hair. The scissors made light work of the hair and Juliet held it up for Lora to see.
“There we go love” she said as she gently placed the hair onto Lora’s lap.
Lora surveyed her remaining hair while slowly nodding, taking in what was left of her former mane of curls. Her eyes looked as if they were beginning to water.
“Let’s finish this up shall we?” Juliet said squeezing her shoulders.
The top section was still about 4 or 5 inches long and Juliet began bringing the length down. She took the first section between her fingers, snipping away all but an inch of the curls. The section tumbled down the cape, hitting the floor. Juliet moved swiftly, cropping away the remaining hair. Clumps rained down the cape, some all the way to the floor, others getting stuck in the cape or rolling into her lap. She expertly blended in the top section with the bottom section, using her scissors to make the transition seamless. As she perfected the cut, tiny clippings of hair covered the cape. Juliet finally took a step back, surveyed her work before putting back her scissors for good. It was unbelievable how much of a transformation had just occurred. From a mass of curls streaming down her back to the shortest of crops. Her hair was now tight to her head, the edges shaved down, tapering into more length on the sides and top.
Juliet unclipped the cape and pulled it off Lora. Hair from the cape flopped to the ground.
“All done” Juliet announced proudly.
Lora looked slightly dismayed as she surveyed herself in the mirror. Her hands went over her head and Juliet could see the shock on her face as she felt how little hair she had left.
“I look like a whole different person” Lora said. Juliet had to agree, you would hardly recognise her from only just 30 minutes previously.
“Well I think your hair was definitely the thing people noticed first you know,” Juliet said as she worked her hands through the curls atop her head. “Now this beautiful face of yours has its time to shine”
Lora nodded with a small smile at the compliment.
“Gonna take some getting used to,” she said shakily.
“It will, that’s true,” Juliet said nodding in agreement. “I think it’s really stunning on you I must say”
“Thanks” she replied.
Juliet walked to a corner and returned with a broom. She used this to sweep up masses of curls laying on the floor.
“Now look at this” Juliet said as she pushed all the hair into a mountain.
Lora’s mouth dropped open.
“To think this was all on your head just a little while ago” Juliet said as she lifted up a handful of the soft curls.
“Yeah wow” Lora said softly.
Juliet swept the hair away into the corner. Lora rose from the chair, still with a look of shock as she took in her new look.
Lora thanked Juliet and Juliet accompanied her down the stairs as she made her way out of the salon. Juliet wished her luck with the shoot and the two said their goodbyes.
Juliet checked her watch, she only had 10 minutes for lunch until her next client was here.
She wasn’t thinking about that however. Her mind was still racing, remembering how much hair she had sent to the floor. That was a hell of an opportunity she said to herself in disbelief.
Before and after inspo: