Makeup & Beauty

The Really Bad Cut

February 2015

This is my favorite haircut I have ever gotten. It’s a shot from exactly a year ago, when Karmela (my stylist at John Sahag, who I found after reading about the salon in an Allure Magazine way back when I was in high school) and I decided to chop off my increasingly straggly post-partum locks into a bob. And I’ve been a bob girl ever since.

Except then I got The Really Bad Cut. I remember when I moved out to California, my mom saying “Oh you’ll just have to come back to New York when you need a haircut so Karmela can do it,” because apparently my mother is under the impression that I have transformed into an heiress, or perhaps just a very wealthy socialite of the Hilton genus. (“…Shall I take the private plane, mama? Or must I fly first class with the plebeians again?”)

So instead of making little cross-country jaunts for trims, I did what actual people who are not movie stars do, and went to a random place near my house. The girl who gave me the cut was so sweet, and had beautiful hair herself, but I knew almost immediately upon departing the salon that the next few months were going to be a little rough in the hairstyling department. My chic little bob had been transformed into a vaguely Kate Gosselin-ish too-short-in-the-back and weirdly choppy…thing. Sort of a non-cut. Definitely not my cut. (I didn’t post too many pics in which my hair wasn’t pulled up or back or covered by a hat, but you can kinda see what I’m talking about here.)

Many months later, it’s still in the growing-out stage (uggggggg), but I decided that on this trip I’d go over to Karmela to see if she could do something. Anything. Because for real: a bad haircut makes you feel bad, and there was just nothing I could do with this one. Up, down, curly, straight: nothing worked, and it made me feel dumpy and un-put-together and a little bummed out. Hair has that power, you know – to make you feel ten years younger, all floaty and gorgeous…or to make you feel like total crap.

I felt like the latter; now I feel much, much closer to the former.

Wavy blonde bob on Jordan Reid

I’m baaaack!

All of us have been the victim of a truly terrible haircut at one point or another, so I asked Karmela how to handle one, short of sitting around for five months feeling like there’s nothing you can do with your hair while you wait for it to grow out (which is what I did).

In essence, what she said is that most “bad cuts” are actually just bad layering, and that there’s really no reason to wait to get one fixed – you just need to find a stylist talented enough to fix the layers (which, in my experience, unfortunately does often involve spending more money on a cut than you might at the random place down the block). The dry-cut method that John Sahag uses (where they wash, blow-dry, and flat-iron your hair prior to even touching it with a pair of scissors) creates layers that look more like glass than like steps, so you can’t tell where they start and end – and so as it grows out it just grows out into a different (but equally pretty) look.

I seriously feel like a brand-new person. (THANK YOU MY FRIEND.)


  • Evelyn Zak

    I totally get this! I have a stylist in NJ who nailed a cut for me over 15 years ago – Christopher Pluck. For several years I traveled from VA after I moved until I found someone here. And now she’s gone! Many, many years ago I had my hair cut at the Sahag salon and they do stellar work. Some people truly don’t understand! Traveling from VA to NJ isn’t cross country, but it is a wild indulgence that I may have to resume.

  • allison

    Why does the salon straight iron your hair before cutting it? That sounds odd.

    • jordanreid

      i think it’s a technique that sahag invented – basically it lets them be very precise with their cuts, because they’ve made the entire head of hair a uniform texture. i don’t know much about it other than that, but i’ve been getting dry cuts from them for years and years and have had great results.

  • Ohh that is a good cut…I love the big beachy waves! I’ve been thinking about lobbing my hair off for a while now but I’m kinda terrified! If I had Karmela as my stylist I think I’d pull the plug though! Gorgeous look!

    • jordanreid

      hahaha do it! it feels so great to cut it all off, honestly (although i do miss my big messy bun every once in awhile).

  • Valerie Moore

    I would LOVE to see a photo of the back of your hair, as it seems that was where the majority of the problem was. Really curious to see exactly what Karmela did with it.

    • jordanreid

      ok, i’ll take one!

  • antheapena

    That really suits you. Sexy. choppy layers, stylish & not mum-jeans at all! A friend from the Bay Area recommends Louise @ in the city in case you’re still looking.

  • If you need a San Jose salon, check out Umbrella salon downtown. Even though SJ may seem a little sketch, the people at Umbrella are very talented (particularly at coloring, but I’ve never colored my hair, I just went there for cuts). If you go on a Friday you can walk down to the farmers market, then get coffee at B2 afterwards in San Pedro Square. Boom!

    • jordanreid

      Thanks, Haley!!

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