My Worst Look Part One

Mullets, poodle perms and a satchel called Hamlet, The SHB team reveal the components of their all-time looks from hell.

Julia Raeside, Writer
To call this a “look” is to credit 17 year old me with some aesthetic intent when it came to my face. I had none, apart from the occasional foray into spot coverage which always ended with my entire face caked in No.7 concealer in Arctic Tundra. Luckily, I was a half-baked goth so the ghost face was appropriate. I spent most of my sixth form trying to dress like Wayne Hussey from The Mission: paisley shirts black jeans and always Doc Marten 8-holes on which I’d painted red and yellow daisies. Because Wayne Hussey did. As for my face, something “happened” to my eyebrows around this time and, even though they never went the full Kahlo and joined up, they certainly tried. You can tell just by looking at me that I’m a virgin with HAMLET painted on my school bag in the exact font copied from the RSC poster. I was in love with Mark Rylance and Shakespeare, in that order, and saw him play Hamlet 20 times, saving every penny I earned for the cheapest standing tickets. I had no money left for Rimmel. It was shortly after this that i went through a plucking phase and ended up with an angry hyphen above each eye. No photographic evidence exists, but just imagine a surprised virgin and you’re pretty much there. I’ve since made friends with my eyebrows and now can’t believe how little credit I gave them back then for properly framing my face.


Debra Brock, The Boss

brock worst look

They say you should learn from experience. But they don’t say from whose experience you should learn, so have this important life lesson on me. Never, ever, move to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language particularly brilliantly and have a beauty or hair treatment that involves strong chemicals. Take it from me, it’s unlikely to end well.

In the early nineties, my boyfriend and I arrived in Paris, armed with our rusty French O Level language skills (O Levels is what GCSEs were called in the olden days, kids). And about a month after we landed, when I’d worked out how to get bread and buy a Metro ticket, it was time to top up my perm (I repeat, it was the nineties). I picked a hairdresser and arrived on a Saturday afternoon. They washed my hair. And left me. Forty minutes later, the older woman in the next chair, who also had a cricked neck from hanging over a basin for some time, had the temerity to ask the hairdresser when he was actually going to do her hair. He turned round in what my son would describe as full rage mode. “FORTY MINUTES!” he bellowed. “FORTY MINUTES IS ALL YOU’VE BEEN WAITING. IT’S SATURDAY! IF TIMINGS WERE IMPORTANT YOU’D HAVE COME IN THE WEEK WITH THE OTHER OLD PEOPLE. EVERYTHING IS LATE ON A SATURDAY, EVERYONE KNOWS THIS! WHY WOULD YOU COME ON A SATURDAY?”  He then pointed at me and demanded to know why I was there. Terrified, I replied that I was there for a perm. He practically dragged me to a chair, yanked my hair into curlers, ignored my pidgin French explanation of how I just wanted a bit of body, nothing too tight, just a little oomph you know, and stalked off after having squirted perm lotion all over my scalp.

Two hours later I skulked out of the salon with a full Kevin Keegan chemically crisped to the point of breaking. I went back to the apartment, washed and heavily conditioned it five times in desperation and on Monday recruited the most sympa woman in the office to teach me essential French hairdressing vocab, something that I should have done to start with. And I never had any problems with a French hairdresser again, until the day we got married…


Natalie Meehan, Writer


When I was 19 my friend cut her hair off and dyed it platinum white. She looked utterly incredible, all cheekbones and leather trousers and a buttery halo sat atop her head. So obviously I tried it out for myself, but failed miserably. I don’t know if I just didn’t know about toner or what, but my hair stayed Stabilo Boss yellow for months until I gave up and dyed over it.

To try and distract from the disaster playing out on my head, I went for the ‘chuck all the make-up ever made ever and I mean EVER on my face’ approach – not too many photos of this time are available THANK GOD, but here’s a nice example.

Behold, the orange blusher. The sperm-brow. The purple eyeshadow as liner. The glitter, because what distracts more from a sweetcorn-yellow up-do than glitter? The worst bit? The smug look into the camera that says ‘bitch, I KNOW I look good.’



Lauren Oakey, Beauty Assistant

lauren worst look
I love those apps where you can upload a photo of yourself and put a different virtual wig on it to see what you’d look like with cropped platinum blonde, poker straight raven black or long, Kate Bush in the 70s, the colour of a chocolate labrador hair, but I’ve never had the balls to find out in real life in case the hair colour I actually like never grew back. When I was a mardy 18 year old student I would sit in my rented cave-like bedroom full of way too much mahogany furniture, wearing monochrome striped tights and watching back-to-back Siouxsie and the Banshees videos like a shit goth, I decided that I would look AWESOME with a massive head of jet black hair. But thankfully, a tiny, quite concerned voice in my head screamed “NO NO”, and I instead I stirred up some dye into an unsuitable bowl and dipped the ends in, painting halfway up my past shoulder length red hair with an old make up brush with wild abandon. When washed off and dried, my housemate checked the back view and described it as “a jagged mountain range”. This silly practice went on for months; getting the bowl out, haphardazdly shoving in ends of hair, sometimes drunk, then often leaving it wet as I grabbed my stuff and headed out to a club, looking like the front of a Frosties packet. Grrrrr.


Michael Hogan, Writer



When I turned 14, I decided it was time. No more short back-and-sides bowl cuts at Wilfred Stiff’s barbers, where my dad went. From now on, I’d spend my paper round wages on a dead trendy ‘do at Flair Hair Salon, where my mum went.

But what to ask for? I was read-every-word obsessed with Smash Hits magazine, which reported that David Sylvian, lead singer of Japan, had been voted “the most beautiful man in the world”. The most beautiful man in Felixstowe, Suffolk would do me nicely. So I snipped out a picture of Sylvian’s sculpted New Romantic coiffure and handed it to the stylist with trembling teenage fingers. To her credit, she didn’t laugh.

An hour later, I walked home self-consciously, trying not to let the wind buffet my sprayed, swept barnet. As soon as I stepped through the front door, my dad glanced up over his newspaper and greeted me with a withering, “Alright, Lady Di?”

The magic was ruined. I realised with a thud that I would never be the most beautiful man in Felixstowe, let alone the world. I dashed up to my bedroom and read Smash Hits in a sulk.


Part Two of My Worst Look is here

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