4 Philly Mag Staffers Reveal Their Major Hair Transformations (Plus Where They Got Them!)

Call it the summer of makeovers (and your pre-fall hair inspiration!).


Our fearless four. | Photo by Lauren McGrath.

Lately, I’ve noticed something around the halls here at Philly Mag. Staffers — lots of them — made some huge hair changes over the summer. Women with long, long hair suddenly went short, and most did it with little to no fanfare: one day, shoulder- or waist-grazing locks; the next, bobs, lobs and bangs. Four staffers, though, stand out for the biggest, boldest changes this season, and (spoiler) each of them look fantastic. Check out their before-and-afters below, find out where they went, and get inspired to change up your ‘do for fall. After all, as one newly shorn staffer said, “It’s just hair!” 

Chelsea Edgar, Research Editor


Chelsea before and after. | Images via Chelsea Edgar and Lauren McGrath.

What’d ya do? “I chopped off (and donated!) about 11 inches of hair, and the stylist added a few soft, subtle layers to give it shape. She also used a razor on the ends to add texture, which was kind of terrifying at first, but now I’m a convert.”

Where’d ya go?  “I had the first big chop in January  with Kelly P. at Mirror & Mantel at 22nd and Sansom (a BOP winner!). In May, I got an even shorter version of the cut with L.B. at the same salon.”

Why’d ya do it? “My hair had been long for years, and I was starting to feel this weird disconnect from it — like it no longer telegraphed the person I’d become on the inside. Plus, my mom has been telling me for years that I look better with short hair, and I seem to be entering the phase of life in which I’m no longer embarrassed to admit that she’s (occasionally) right.”

Do you like it? “Hell. Yes.”

Marina Lamanna, Custom Media Assistant Editor


Marina before and after. | Images via Marina Lamanna and Lauren McGrath.

What’d ya do? “I went from long hair with minimal layers to a chin-length, curly bob. In total, I probably had eight inches hacked off.”

Where’d ya go? “I went to Adolf Biecker Studio (psst: another BOP pick!) in University City, where I made an appointment with Gretchen, a scissor-wielding wizard.”

Why’d ya do it? “I had been mulling over the idea for most of winter because my thick hair can get unruly. I think seeing how effortlessly cool Chelsea looked after she chopped her locks [see above], and battling this summer’s god-awful humidity made me finally take the plunge and schedule an appointment. After talking about it incessantly and making a secret Pinterest board (this and this were the final inspiration pics), I knew that if I didn’t cut it, I’d look like a weenie.”

Do you like it? “It was easily the best hair decision I’ve ever made. It’s surprisingly versatile (I oscillate between Living Proof’s Curl Defining Cream and Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Infusion Spray) and I no longer have to allot five hours for my hair to air dry or douse it in dry shampoo to preserve painstaking blowouts. Summer is usually hair hell for me (but no longer!), so I’m excited to see how it behaves during winter.”

Rachel Chernaskey, Copy Editor


Rachel before and after. | Images via Rachel Chernaskey and Lauren McGrath.

What’d ya do? “I cut off around 10 inches.”

Where’d ya go? “I went to Lords & Ladies in Douglassville and saw Samantha.”

Why’d ya do it? “I did it because I wanted to try out bangs (I had them already, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to recut them) and I cut the length because I just hadn’t done anything different with my hair except for trims in years and years. And I also wanted my hair to be more manageable for a while, what with it being so hot in the summer and all.”

Do you like it? “I think it’s okay. I like the bangs, but what I gained in manageability from chopping 10 inches, I lost in the fact that I now have to style my bangs or I look like I have a bowl-cut. I think I prefer one or the other — longer hair with bangs, or shorter hair with no bangs.”


Claudia Gavin, Assistant Photo Editor

claudia real

Claudia before and after. | Images via Claudia Gavin and Lauren McGrath.

What’d ya do? “We brought my hair up about one-and-a-half inches at its longest and really razored the pieces around my face, as well as my top layers. The most noticeable difference is my bangs, which are now full and straight-across (which is something I haven’t done since I was in second grade).” 

Where’d ya go? Richard Nicholas Hair Studio at 1716 Sansom Street. I saw Kelsey, who is not only a dear friend but absolutely amazing behind the chair. She’s not afraid to tell me what will work for my hair type and what won’t. She’s really good about walking you through what she’s doing while she’s snipping and why she’s doing it.”

Why’d ya do it? “CHANGE! I have had the same hair style (or some iteration of it) since eighth grade: sideswept bangs, subtle angle toward my face, the rest just plain ol’ long. My hair is naturally curly so when I don’t blow it dry, the curls end up driving me crazy and I throw it up in a boring bun. I’ve been seeing the long shag style for a little while now and totally fell in love with the wispy, piece-y, boho look. I also knew if I didn’t feel like styling my hair and wanted to put it up, I’d have these cool bangs for a little extra interest.”

Do you like it? “I do! I would have done it sooner but I didn’t have enough confidence to pull it off. What I tend to forget is that it’s just hair. If I don’t like it, it’ll grow. Also, that’s why bobby pins exist.”