Retro: When hair styles were truly a cut above rest

Hairdressing Competition'The Sheffield and District Gentlemen's Hair Styling Academy Competition took place in the St. Augustine's Hall tonight - 25th March 1963
Hairdressing Competition'The Sheffield and District Gentlemen's Hair Styling Academy Competition took place in the St. Augustine's Hall tonight - 25th March 1963
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“Going anywhere nice on your holidays?”

“See the match last night?”

Hairdresser Adele Vedovate (left) of Doncaster'1987

Hairdresser Adele Vedovate (left) of Doncaster'1987

“Something for the weekend sir?”

All stock phrases associated with a trip to the hairdressers, salon, barber, call it what you will, set to a backdrop of the sounds of snipping scissors, hairdryers and more often than not, a badly tuned radio churning out a mix of the current chart and adverts for local car dealers.

For some, half hour of awkward chit-chat and a necessary chore, for others, a full-on bells and whistles social occasion with a chance to grab a cuppa and catch up on all the latest gossip from the neighbourhood.

Going for a haircut these days can be very different from how it used to be.

Hairdresser'Hair Dryers'1974

Hairdresser'Hair Dryers'1974

In the good old days, you’d rock up without appointment, join a queue of other men sitting awkwardly on a mish-mash of uncomfortable plastic chairs and then spend a fair chunk of time idly browsing through dog-eared and well-out-of-date copies of magazines with titles such as What Caravan?, Practical Motorboating and House Renovation Monthly.

For the women, it was pretty similar. The number of styles available was limited and rollers and blue rinses were very much in abundance.

Nowadays, no longer do you sit down and discuss your needs with a hairdresser or barber – you are assigned a style technician. There’s every chance you might be handed a glass of wine while you wait and rather than local radio DJs dispensing inane chit-chat, you’ll be subjected to whale music radiating from the nearest iPod.

The walls are likely to be plastered with pictures of a dazzling array of styles – everything from razor sharp all-offs, sculpted eyebrows and outlandish patterns.

Fehmida Meralis at work on the head of Greg Furze, at Castle College hairdressing department, Sheffield. Oct 18 1990.

Fehmida Meralis at work on the head of Greg Furze, at Castle College hairdressing department, Sheffield. Oct 18 1990.

Want your hair like One Direction’s Harry Styles? Absolutely no problem. But it will probably cost you £40 rather than the handful of loose change you used to hand over.

And you’ll probably exit the salon with a bag full of ‘grooming products’ each offering delights such as extra hold, long-lasting shine and that all-important ‘just got out of bed look’ which you know full well has been almost an hour in the making with every single follicle tweaked in front of the mirror.

Mind, the tatty magazines still remain. And there’s every chance you can still find a copy of Woodwork Weekly from 1975 if you look hard enough.

These evocative images from The Star archive show trimmers down the decades. The worst thing that will happen to most of us is coming out with a style which, years later, you just know you’ll regret.

Leon Taylor shows off his Olympic silver medal at the Cutting Room, Grenoside,  with l/r: hairdressers Donna Roebuck, Andrea Marshall, Claire Brothwell and Dorothy Matthewson. 7 September 2004

Leon Taylor shows off his Olympic silver medal at the Cutting Room, Grenoside, with l/r: hairdressers Donna Roebuck, Andrea Marshall, Claire Brothwell and Dorothy Matthewson. 7 September 2004

Beatle mop tops which were all the rage in the 60s don’t date well on fading wedding photographs and neither do feather cuts sported by the glam rock fraternity during the early 1970s.

And then, the decade that style forgot – the eighties. A time when deely-boppers, leg warmers and Choose Life T-shirts ruled the world.

And a time when hair was big. Very big.

Just like the shoulder pads that generally accompanied the masses of hair being sprouted up and down the land.

Back-combing, poodle perms, mullets – you name it, women (and men) sported some truly naff haircuts during the time the likes of The Human League, Culture Club and A Flock Of Seagulls were making ridiculous barnets de rigeur.

Of course, the current vogue for beards (for men, natch) will fade away and all we will have are cringeworthy memories, captured on our mobile phones that we’ll be able to chuckle heartily over in the pub.

PAUL BUTLER RETIRES   Paul Butler outside his Gent's Hairdresser shop at Ranmoor. ' 19 March   2007

PAUL BUTLER RETIRES Paul Butler outside his Gent's Hairdresser shop at Ranmoor. ' 19 March 2007

Or ask for when the trend rolls around again.

namesnw'Ann Parkin outside her hairdressing shop at Abbeydale Road.

namesnw'Ann Parkin outside her hairdressing shop at Abbeydale Road.