A Very Big Haircut (and a Donation to Charity)

by | Aug 21, 2020 | COVID-19, Johannesburg | 20 comments

I’ve had long hair — well past my shoulders — for virtually my entire adult life. I’ve always thought my hair is one of my best features, so why not have as much of it as possible? I’m also just not a big fan of haircuts, for some reason. I put it off for as long as I can and when I do finally get a haircut, it’s rarely more than a trim.

Heather with long hair
This photo, shot just before lockdown started, shows what my hair looked like up until two days ago: Long, and not much else. (Photo: Nina Neubauer)

This week, as the lockdown eased, I suddenly decided it was time for a change. It had been nearly two years (yes, you read that right) since I’d had a haircut, and I was ready for more than a trim. I decided to go big or go home.

I sent a message to Robbie, a hair stylist I’d never met before. My friend Michelle recommended him.

Heather to Robbie: “My hair is super long and I think I want to chop off a significant portion of it ????”

Robbie to Heather: “How would tomorrow at 2 suit you?”

I took a deep breath and typed yes.

The next day, Robbie pulled up in front of my gate promptly at 2. (He does pandemic house calls.) He sat me on a stool in the middle of my lounge, and got right to work.

I wanted to donate my hair to CANSA, one of South Africa’s best-known cancer charities. So Robbie had to chop off at least 25 centimeters (about 10 inches) to make a proper donation. I handed Robbie a ruler and an elastic band. Twenty seconds later, he was holding my ratty ponytail in his hand.

Robbie holding my hair
Robbie and my hair. He had to cut off a few extra centimeters because the ends were so badly damaged. The ponytail was still lighter than my natural color, left over from a few years ago when I dyed it red.

The big chop wasn’t as scary as I expected. I felt good about it. Robbie set to work on layering, snipping and chatting away.

He was nearly finished when he exclaimed, “Wait, we forgot the bangs!”

Before we started I had mentioned — kind of vaguely — to Robbie that I was considering getting bangs. (That’s a fringe, for the South Africans among you. Don’t ask me why Americans call it bangs.) I really wasn’t sure though. Bangs are a big change and they take a long time to grow out. I hadn’t had bangs for at least 25 years. I was secretly hoping Robbie would forget.

But then I reminded myself: Go big or go home. It’s a global pandemic, baby. I closed my eyes and gave Robbie the green light.

OMG I’m totally getting bangs. (Photo: Michelle Schenck)
Heather with bangs
Bangs, baby! (Photo: Michelle Schenck)
Heather seeing her new hair
The big reveal. (Photo: Michelle Schenck)

Looking at myself in the mirror for the first time was disorienting — it felt like looking at a different person. But I was happy. Two days later, I still am. I definitely needed this.

Heather's new haircut selfie
I think I’m going to start wearing glasses and lipstick more often — they seem to suit the haircut.
Heather with her camera
Camera selfie, two days post-cut. I’m loving it more and more.

The next day, I popped my hair into a ziploc bag and drove it over to the CANSA offices in Bedforview. I was in and out of the office in two minutes. Donating was a super easy process and I’m happy my ratty ponytail might help a cancer survivor who needs it. If you’d like to donate your hair, all the information you need is on the CANSA website.

If you’d like to schedule a haircut or color with Robbie — which I highly recommend as he is delightful — contact him at 078-018-2915. Please tell him I sent you. If you google him, search for “Robert Isworthy”.

Pandemic makeovers are the new black. Hop on board.

Heather's new haircut


  1. Justin

    Your new hair style looks stunning!! ????

  2. AutumnAshbough

    You DO look like a different person! Especially with the glasses. Still a good-looking person, too. 🙂

    • 2summers

      Thanks! I’d really like to wear my glasses more often but they sure are a pain with a mask on.

  3. Catrina

    Oh wow, Heather, what a make-over! You look very different indeed!
    The fringes are a great idea.
    I haven’t been to the hairdresser’s since March 2019…. maybe time for me, too! 😉

    • 2summers

      Oh wow, I thought I was the only one who put off haircuts for years instead of months 🙂 Go big or go home, girl!

  4. Nancy McDaniel

    WOW, YOU LOOK SO GREAT. Very glam. And I LOVE that you donated your hair – that is the best part. Well done! (I like bangs too! I haven’t seen my forehead in years!)

    • 2summers

      Aw, thanks so much Nancy!

  5. Lani

    It’s funny, in Thailand, bangs (or fringe) are not very popular. I’m known for my bangs here, as in if someone forgets my name and wants to say who I am, they’ll make a gesture across the forehead. 😛 So anyway, yesterday when I was at the grocers I remarked to the cashier that we had the same haircut and she said we were both beautiful. It was funny because we are similar in age too.

    And Heather, I had no idea you wore glasses! I have them as well. But I only wear glasses at home. Do you wear them out? I suppose not because it gets in the way of taking photos?

    Anyway, so glad you cut off all that hair! Nothing like a fresh healthy head of hair, so much weight is taken off, and seeing yourself in a new light. <3 It's a great new change!

    • 2summers

      Yay for bangs! I love yours too. Yeah, I used to wear my glasses much more often but gradually switched over to contacts when I moved to Africa and started taking pictures (and just generally being outside more). I really like the glasses I have now and want to wear them more often, but now there is the added obstacle of wearing a mask, which makes the glasses fog up.

      • Lani

        The BF has the same issue, but if you fold the mask so that it’s under your nose but covers your nostrils, it can work. Although you might not like that look 😛

        I’m blind as a bat so my glasses are thick, even with modern tech, but I want to get glasses that I feel like wearing out. I like mine now, they’re very cat-eye fashionable but I’m still self-conscious!

  6. eremophila

    Looks fabulous, congratulations on taking the plunge!
    I had long hair for many years, then a few years ago I took the plunge and had inches removed. As it occurred, my first thought was freedom! Felt so good. Then when I took up van life I bought clippers and went even shorter, and I love the simplicity of it. No more bad hair days????

    • 2summers

      I totally know what you mean. It’s a pleasure not having to deal with tangles.

  7. primo

    Fab haircut & suits you! And Robbie could do with a haircut too! Why oh why do so many (male?) hairdressers look that they too could use a proper makeover? My OH is balding but I – as any self-respecting gay man would – insist that he keep it seriously short, i.e. closely shaved, rather than clinging on to every single strand of hair, however long.

    • 2summers

      Hahaha, well Robbie’s hairstyle is his business. I hadn’t had a haircut in two years so I guess I can’t judge ???? Anyway thanks!


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