Take it from me.
After a life-changing year plus (of which no one needs a recap), we could all benefit from a fresh coat of paint and a healthy dose of change. The modern-day Roaring Twenties are upon us, and as we emerge from various levels of isolation and into society where people are vaxxed, waxed, and ready to dust off those good ol’ social skills that were shelved amidst a global pandemic, a fresh cut can provide a surge of newfound confidence to commence a new chapter that couldn’t come fast enough.
Like many, my hair grew borderline out-of-control from March 2020 onward. With salons closed and the will to go the extra mile with potions, treatments, and deep conditioning masks dwindling by the second, my curls had seen better days. A year into quarantine, even committing to routine wash days felt like a struggle—but washing your hair becomes worlds easier if you’re willing to shed some real inches (which tends to mean an inner transformation in the process).
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I kept seeing all of these gorgeous blunt bobs on curly girls all over Instagram and thought, “Who better to shape the overgrown situation on my head than the experts at The Mona Cut?” For the unfamiliar, Mona Baltazar is the woman behind next-level sculptural curly bobs you’ve probably spotted at one point or another, and the owner of her namesake salon. She's been on my following list for years, and up until now, I’d admired her craft from afar, not yet ready to take the plunge with her avant garde creations that would no-doubt infuse me with a much-needed dose of exuberance.
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It’s a tale as old as time. Going through a breakup? Get a haircut. Got a new job? Get a haircut. Lived through a global pandemic and a historic civil rights movement? You get the idea. In my mind, it was now or never, because what better time to leave the girls shaking with a bold new look that screams “new me?”
When I stepped foot in the salon, I was immediately greeted by Mona herself (clad in tattoos and rocking a ridiculously cool bob, naturally) and stylist Steven Serrato, who was ready to work his magic. When I showed him just how short I wanted to go (right below my ears, which would mean taking off around six inches total), his eyes lit up with excitement. I wasn’t about to waste my precious time with such curl masters by treading lightly with a measly trim. How was I going to step into this light new phase without a fresh, fun, bouncy curly bob to match?
After brushing my hair out, Serrato got to chopping. He didn’t waste any time shaving those inches right off—but it was the meticulous sculpting that had me hypnotized: It’s clear that stylists at Mona’s salon consider their legendary cuts an art form, letting each individual texture lead the way in all its natural splendor. It was amazing how my hair seemed to take flight as soon as some weight was lifted. As he snipped, Serrato told me how boxy shags reigned supreme as of late, and his love for super-tight textures’ ability to take unconventional shapes like squares and triangles.
Next, we headed for the sink for a wash and condition, where Serrato showed me his current favorite products for styling: Sebastian’s Twisted Curl Styling Cream and Styling Foam. He mused over all of the unique curl patterns and hairdos that come in and out of the salon daily (some of them visible at the handful of sinks and chairs in the small salon). Just like the haircuts, the vibe in the space was light, fun, and authentic.
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When it comes to care, the curly bob cut is just as cool as it is easy to maintain. Aside from the aforementioned products, Serrato swears by quarterly trims. “I am a big believer that curly hair should be getting maintenance (even if you’re trying to grow it), every four months," he says. “Every four months you’re going to start noticing that your wash days become longer, then, when you start to get the dry ends, they break off, and then you can never get to the length you want. Once you hit that fifth month, you start to lose your shape, you feel like you’re struggling—then you’re using more products.”
Sebastian Twisted Curl Styling Cream$19Sebastian
Sebastian Twisted Curl Lifter Styling Foam$13Walmart
A hair switch-up is a tried-and-true solution for escaping a funk, and I definitely left some pandemic-induced weirdness behind with the dead ends. When you chop major inches off, an inner weight lifts as well, and the relief you feel on the inside emanates in the form of confident optimism, and maybe a touch of mysterious allure. My spirit felt lighter not only thanks to the blunt bob (which I highly recommend trying at least once in your life), but also because of Mona and her team’s welcoming, free-spirited attitude and expert experimentation. Whether you’re looking for a major change or some minor tweaks from real-life curl whisperers, seek out talented stylists who approach curls with passion, confidence, and enthusiasm. If you happen to be in NYC, the artists at The Mona Cut have you covered—and don’t be afraid to take the plunge with an above-shoulder moment. Because if not now, when?
Shop my favorites for caring for a fresh summer cut, below.
Playa Healing Hair Masque$38Playa
Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser$20Bread Beauty Supply
Pattern Curl Gel$25Ulta
Ouidad Botanical Boost Curl Energizing & Refreshing Spray$20Amazon
Erin Parker is a beauty and style writer in New York. Follow her on Instagram @erinhaveadream.
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Condé Nast