THIS is a situation I’ve been in many times before – nervously show-ing my hairdresser a screenshot of a celebrity haircut I’m pining after, hoping they can do it some sort of justice.
I’ve had many successful hair transformations, au cours des années.
But I’ve also taken in photos of The Saturdays singer Frankie Sandford, Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding and Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston – and come out with everything from Boris Johnson’s barmy barnet to X Factor twins Jedward’s mad mohawk look.
Today I’ve put my trust in a salon I’ve attended many times before — Beauty and the Beach in my Hertfordshire home town of Hemel Hempstead — but my request is a little unusual.
“Can I have a Diane bob,” I ask my hairdresser Daniella Hollyoke, showing her a photo of a young Diana, sporting a chin-length bob, blow-dried and feathered to perfection.
I grip arms of chair
The Eighties bouffant hairstyle has even gone viral — with one TikTok user, Netherlands native Rose Nora Anna, notching up a mighty 13.2million likes for videos showing her royal transformation.
My crimper Dan tells me: “We’ve definitely seen a surge in demand for a Diana-inspired shaggy bob.”
It’s seen as a game-changer for emerging out of lockdown because, after months of long, limp tresses, this look is fresh, voluminous and shows off your cheekbones.
As I sit back into the chair for my consultation with Dani, her words “bowl-cut mullet” ring in my ears. I’ve been growing my hair since the beginning of the first lockdown in March last year – this is all in the name of journalism and I’ve never been scared of a daring do in the past — but am I making a huge mistake here?
I grip the arms of the salon chair a little tighter. Dani then tells me: “The fringe is so thick it starts from the crown of the head.”
couronner? Hmm, apt for Diana, but maybe less so for me.
Fringes are set to be a huge trend this summer, so I cross my fingers that I’m one step ahead of the game and it suits me.
Dare I say it, maybe I’ll look like a princess. And if not, hair grows, à droite?
“Go for it,” I tell Dani, before nervously closing my eyes until she’s finished snipping — a straight line across the back of my neck, a blunt fringe from the crown, and lots and lots of layers which Dani assures me are key to the look.
Post-cut but pre-blow-dry I’m less Diana and more Lego head.
Dani tells me the layers will open up my face and that, after blow-drying and using heated curlers, the layers will create volume.
A lot of blow-drying
The salon is buzzing with Lady Di stories, and the older stylists recall a flurry of women coming in for “a Lady Di” back in the Eighties and Nineties.
À un moment donné, stylist Kim steps in as the only member of staff to have the muscle memory for the backcomb.
Armed with hairspray and a round brush she works on coiffing my bouffant.
Seeing the final look in the mirror, I can’t complain. It’s exactly what I asked for — a voluminous, bouncy do just like Di’s. Pour une seconde, il est 1985.
But I realise my hair type might not be cut out for the upkeep of this look. It turns out my hair is thick and heavy and requires A LOT of blow-drying to maintain the desired volume.
It is set with a whole can of hairspray, and Dani suggests adding salt spray if I want some texture without quite so much bounce.
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This is definitely not a low-maintenance look. Much like the late Princess herself, there is far more to this style than meets the eye and every layer needs managing.
Without a professional personal hairdresser on hand, and as a busy working mum, I’m not sure I’ll quite manage the blow-dry workload so I mentally prepare myself for a few months of half up, half down.
Diana looked divine but the end result for me is BBC presenter Claire Balding meets Call The Midwife — I’m not entirely convinced. Approach this trend with caution.