It is a truth universally acknowledged that at some point in a young person’s life they will take scissors to their own hair at an ungodly hour of the morning.

Whether you decide to shave it all off, give yourself a trim, or – and this is the most dangerous of all self-inflicted haircuts – cut your own fringe, the temptation to experiment at the beginning of lockdown was too great for many to resist. With the promise of not seeing another living soul for three months, it seemed the perfect excuse to experiment with your look. A new week in lockdown, a new me (or something like that).

I, myself, fell down the rabbit hole of DIY haircuts a little over a month ago. My relationship with my hair has always been a complicated one. It normally entails me going to the hairdressers with a vision of what I want to look like and leaving with a polite smile… and then I bawl my eyes out the second I get home.

I’ve pretty much tried everything: I’ve had pixie cuts, bobs and dyed my hair with a “semi-permanent” hair-dye in December which really should have washed out by now. I’ve always believed that my inability to consistently stick to one hairstyle is indicative of my unresolved identity crisis; if there’s one thing that’s great for questioning who you are and what the point of your existence is, it’s a government-enforced lockdown.

I dove headfirst into these uncertain times™ content with my hair. I had just got the hang of the whole “below shoulder length” situation after many months, had my favourite hairstyles pegged and had figured out what styles looked good and which ones made me look like the world’s frizz had been dumped onto my head.

But naturally, faced with the prospect of not seeing my friends for at least three months, I initiated ‘Operation Redefine Myself 2.0’; getting a fringe before starting in October had obviously had no effect on switching things up. I figured that three months was just enough time to transform myself into one of those trendy/artsy Pinterest girls with short tousled hair, high-waisted trousers and the cutest accessories.

And yet I remained cautious… I was no stranger into rushing into hair-related decisions and then regretting all my life choices for the next few days. Having resolved to let the idea stew for a few weeks, I then enlisted the help of my mum and our trusty pair of hair scissors. “Too chicken to tackle cutting your hair yourself?”, you say. Of course not. Only I’ve already had catastrophic proof, inflicted both on myself and on others, of the fact that I cannot cut hair in a straight line to save my life.

Besides, having my mum as a hairdresser meant that I could put all the blame on her if it turned out awful, instead of accepting that it was all my stupid idea in the first place. I sense some of you, or all two of you, are probably sitting on the edge of your seat in trepidation. Oh, dear. How bad is it? How many hours did you spend crying this time, Sophie? Never fear, I’m happy to say that it turned out amazingly and that I’ve never been more satisfied with a haircut.

But what does this mean for us now? Now that lockdown measures are being slowly but surely lifted, and finally, finally, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, does this mean the rest of you should wait until your regular salon or barbers reopens? As I see it, absolutely not! These unprecedented times™ come once in a lifetime, and now is the chance to make horrible mistakes and memories that you can share generations down the line. Sure, waiting for a professional to tackle your hair is probably the safer option but where’s the fun in that?

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from attacking my hair with scissors time and time again, it’s that our hair is not what makes us who we are – our hair doesn’t hold the power to suddenly transform us into this completely new person. So, if you want to have a stab at zhuzh-ing up your hair, go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? Who knows, your haircut-gone-wrong could be the next avant-garde hairstyle in the making…

Sophie Benbelaid

When she's not drowning in the workload from her French and Russian degree, Sophie enjoys reading, yoga, ballet and writing. You can usually find her staying up all night in the throes of an existential crisis or in your nearest bookshop. She has previously been a Cultures JE and a weekly book columnist for the Blue. In true 'the student becomes the master' form, she is now SE for Columns.