Introducing The Hair Enquiry, our deep dive into the rituals, routines and habits behind some of the most enviable hair to ever grace Instagram. We see it as our public duty to ask the questions others are too shy to, so we’ve set ourselves on the mission to probe our exceptionally haired subjects and uncover exactly what they do that makes their great hair so great, right down to the very last product. This week, we spoke to L.A.-based makeup artist and podcaster Harriet Hadfield.
If anyone dares to try telling me the bob has had its day, I'll simply thrust a picture of Harriet Hadfield (@harrymakesitup) under their foolish, foolish nose. There's quite simply no greater proof that a chin-grazing, blunt-cut, perfectly dishevelled bob isn't only still relevant, but it's probably one of the coolest haircuts of our time.
I guess it does help that this one is found on the head of one of the trendiest Brits to ever reside in L.A. A makeup artist by trade (don't get me started on her skills in that department), Hadfield also runs a mega beauty blog, Harry Makes It Up, as well as co-hosting the Full Coverage beauty podcast. Below, she reveals every little thing she does to her hair, from the product that brings out that dreamy texture to her dependency on a self-administered fringe trim.
On her hair journey
"I definitely think my relationship with my hair has severely improved with age because I accept it rather than fight it. As a kid, I had very, very thick hair, and I didn't like it. All my friends had thin hair, and they could just leave it, whereas mine turned into a big mushroom. It did that sort of triangular thing, which now I like, weirdly. I was a child of the '90s when straighteners first came out and everyone had really straight hair, and it took ages to get mine that way. As soon as it was slightly warm or wet, it would just turn into this big mushroom.
But over the years, I've come to accept and embrace my natural texture."
On the big chop
"I'd been growing my hair for a while, and I liked it long. It was easy, but I was bored. I was on a shoot with a hair [stylist] friend, and we were tucking my hair into my jumper to see how it would look, and we both said, 'Hmm, I think it would look good.'
"Curiosity just gets the better of me sometimes. I thought about it for three weeks, and all my hair friends in the industry were like, 'Oh, but you've got such lovely, long healthy hair.' It's weird—the more people that asked me if I was sure, the more I wanted to do it. Yes, I might have hated it, but the best thing about makeup is that you can take it off, and the best thing about hair is that it grows back.
"I got my friend Ashley Lynn Hall, who is an amazing hairstylist, to cut it for me. And I instantly loved it. I even wrote a blog post about the psychology of our hair as the whole experience fascinated me, from deciding to have it done to having it done and then also the feeling of elation afterwards because I knew there was a risk I wouldn't like it.
"It just made me want to play, to try out different lipsticks. It's made me look at makeup in a different way too. Naturally, like any job work becomes work, and I just became very much in the momentum of making other people feel good about their makeup, and I think I had forgotten to experiment with myself a little too. Having the short haircut really brought that back for me."
On the pros and cons of a fringe
"I did have to adapt my makeup when I got a fringe, but for the better. I had gone from having no fringe (or bangs, as they say here in L.A.) to having one, and straight away I thought, Oh, brilliant, on a rushed day, I no longer have to do my brows if I don’t have time. That was quite fun. But the heat is one thing I'm still getting used to with my hair. When it suddenly gets really hot, there's that uncomfortable feeling of having something wet on my face, so I'm still getting to terms with that, but it's definitely worth it."
On hair washing
"I'm really minimal when washing my hair. I find my scalp gets aggravated really easily by lots of drugstore shampoos. I've gotten on well with Kérastase products, although they can be pretty expensive, but the one I'm using at the minute that has worked by far the best is Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo (£24). It has changed my hair."
"I wash my hair every other day and can use this shampoo every time, whereas a lot of flaky-hair shampoos say you should only use them once a week. This one has really been a game changer for me. If I ever use conditioner, I only use it on the ends, as I find it aggravates my scalp. It's really sensitive to products."
"The only thing I style is my fringe. I get out of the shower and towel-dry a little bit. I find with fringes that depending on how much you want them to stay put, you generally have to work pretty quickly with them. Sometimes I let my fringe dry naturally, but I never know what I'm going to get, so usually, I blow-dry my fringe, drying in one direction and then in the other. I tend to blow-dry it until it's half dry because I like to keep a bit of texture in my fringe. Otherwise, you get that kind of annoying hair where one bit looks perfect, and everything else is different."
"Then I use the Ouai Wave Spray (£22), which I'm obsessed with, and I just put that through the ends of the rest of my hair and leave it to dry naturally. I never brush it. It would just make my hair like Monica on Friends in that episode with all the humidity. I prefer to have a bit of definition to the texture of my hair."
"I've experimented with hair oils, but only through the ends. When you're looking at really high-end hair products, they can start to smell a bit medical, but I'd rather my hair smelt good still. I like Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil (£26). It's great for when I'm going on holiday because I'll just pack that one thing and can use it on my legs and then put a little through the ends of my hair."
"I tend to wear my hair down, but I like being able to do the half-topknot thing. I like that with big earrings, it's a nice way to change it up. I guess that's one of the biggest misconceptions about short hair—that you can't do anything with it. I get if you have like a pixie crop, you're pretty limited. But with my hair, there's a fair bit I can do. Partings change everything. If I put my hair in a side parting and I make it a bit sleeker, it can look a lot dressier very quickly. If I'm running, I have to pin my fringe back with a mass of kirby grips resembling something of a '90s teenager."
On hair maintenance
"To keep it this shape, I get it trimmed every six to eight weeks, although I have gone 10 weeks before. But I just like to keep it this shape. I have cut my fringe myself a few times, much to Ashley's dismay. Everyone has that happy level of fringe, just touching your eyebrows or just past it, and keeping it there is so time-consuming, so sometimes I just do it myself. The results are 50-50, though."
On hair idols
"If I could have anyone's hair for one day only? I'd throw a curveball and have Marie Antoinette's hair. But I'd want the dress and everything."
Follow Harriet on Instagram: @harrymakesitup.
Been eyeing up someone's great hair for a while now? Wish there was a way to find out every last thing they do to it? DM @byrdiebeauty.uk, and I'll do the digging for you.