WELLNESS
07/02/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Can A Haircut Change Your Life?

Liz Jones, a writer for the Daily Mail has a lengthy missive on her mid-life decision to chop her hair. And while this may not seem that drastic, it is important to note that the last time Jones had a haircut was when, as a five-year-old, she decided she needed a fringe.

I quite liked the fringe because it hid my forehead, and the bob because it swung in front of my face, concealing my rather flat, uninteresting profile, and so I decided I needed an even more impenetrable first line of defense.

As I got older, my hair grew with me, a heavy, often greasy, invariably split-ended curtain behind which I could hide. I have never used my long hair to flirt with, coquettishly, to plait, or to put up in elaborate 'dos'.

By the time she turned 12, her hair went long past her back and is became her "trademark, [her] USP. [She] was always 'the girl with the long hair'."

And Jones' hair began to hinder her - she couldn't go to swim class at school because her hair "wouldn't fit in a floral rubber hat, and [she] wasn't allowed to drip in the next class." And, believe it or not, she would miss her stop on the bus because "the person next to [her] was inadvertently sitting on [her] hair, and [she was too timid to ask them to move."

Still eschewing haircuts, Jones allowed a "beautiful Japanese girl called Ingrid [at Molton Brown] with long, black, straight hair that shone like a mirror to trim just one centimetre from her unruly ends," but no haircuts.

Her life began to revolve around her hair.

Because it was so long, it picked up a lot of dirt, so I washed it every day, which meant I would spend £30 a week on conditioner (I have tried every brand known to womankind, graduating from Wella to Aveda, through Kiehl's, Shu Uemura, Philip B and Frederic Fekkai, until finally alighting on the organic products by Louise Galvin for thick, coloured, damaged hair, which make me smell like a meadow) and take hours trying to detangle and dry it.

(Perhaps she should have read this popular HuffPost piece, "The Case For Not Washing Your Hair.")

And still, she kept her long hair. It began to affect her fashion-sense. Jones explains, "Having long hair affected the way I dressed, too. Not wanting to look too floaty or girly, I adopted a uniform of Helmut Lang trouser suits teamed with severe white shirts (never blouses)."

Even her husband hated her hair.

He never found it remotely sexy; in fact, he found it the opposite.

He was always complaining that it got wound around his fingers, and inveigled its way into his mouth, making him gag, and felt 'like horse's hair'. He said my hair made my face 'too long'; that my image was that of 'an old hag'.

It took her divorce from said husband, a boredom with herself, and the realization that "waist-length tresses" over the age of 50 were "a little ridiculous" to spur on her follicle-trimming frenzy.

So, for the first time in my life, I put my trust in a man. And, also, for the first time in my life, a man didn't let me down.

Seven hours later (yes, seven. He took it all very slowly and carefully, although he wouldn't let me keep the hair that was piling up on the floor to stuff a cushion; he told me this would be creepy and would definitely put any potential suitors off), a new me began to emerge.

For the first time ever, you could see my face, and my neck, and my back. I still refused to look at myself in the mirror, but I did let him show me the back of my head, which looked lovely, all swingy instead of lank, like the creature that climbs up out of the well in the Japanese horror movie The Ring.

And so she found herself a changed woman.

I took my new hair out on Saturday night, to an open air concert at a stately home, and for the first time ever felt confident enough to wear a short, sexy dress: a black, clingy Azzedine Alaia.

Because I felt like a different person - not the one who never got a single date in high school, not the one whose husband cheated on her - I acted differently, too, chatting to people when normally I would have been too shy.

Have you ever had a life-changing haircut? Do you think Jones' cut was long overdue? You can read the whole story here and then share your thoughts with us in the comments below.