Bride Goes Without Haircut For Years Until Wedding Sparks Major Makeover

Everyone wants to look and feel beautiful on her wedding day, which is why one Florida woman went to a local salon to help her achieve just that. But when she met with the stylists, they were astounded with what she gave them to work with!

The woman had over two feet of hair that she was holding onto for deep-seated emotional reasons that the stylists couldn’t believe. After an all-night makeover, the woman was overwhelmed with her own transformation. But it was just what she needed to take on the world.

Her hair used to be well-kept, so what happened?

The Bride-To-Be Knew It Was Time To Make A Change

hollys hair long and different colors

Holly Garrido of northwestern Florida was thrilled when her boyfriend, Vashon Ridgeway, popped the question. The bride-to-be was excited to tie the knot in fall of 2017, but before she made her way down the aisle, she decided to make some major changes.

What better way to make a change in one’s life than with a fabulous makeover? Holly knew she wanted to make a change, but little did she know she was about to undergo a huge transformation. She had to find a salon with the perfect hairstylists who could help with this.

But her hair wasn’t always 2-feet long

Her Hair Used To Be A Priority…Then A Job Got In The Way

hollys hair dark brown before it went out of control

Holly spent her days working her job as a gate guard at a local plantation. Despite how many people she encountered daily while managing the traffic that came in and out of the plantation, Holly knew that her priority was not to be giving those people a fashion show.

Her hair took the hardest blow as a result of the job that she’d worked so hard at for several years. While this photo from her Twitter account shows her brown hair looking perfectly fine and managed, it wasn’t long before it got put on the back burner.

Her Hair Got The Better Of Her

side view of hollys hair before the cut

While working her job as the plantation gate guard, Holly let her hair consume her. It wasn’t long before her hair had grown to over two-feet long! Luckily, Holly had found someone who loved her regardless of her untended locks.

Still, Holly not only wanted to look good for her bridegroom on their big day, but she likely wanted to look great in all the wedding photos that would cement the day in history for years to come. This is why she decided to seek the professional services of the Avantgarde Aveda Salon in Destin, Florida.

Next, only one salon would take on the all-night task of cutting her hair

The Task At Hand

avantgarde salon and spa where holly got her hair cut
Avantgarde Salon Spa/Facebook

Holly showed up at Avantgarde Salon with hair that was down to her waist. Worse yet, her roots were seriously grown out, leaving the bottom-blonde-half of her hair to grow increasingly damaged. The stylists at Avantgarde knew right away they had a huge task on their hands.

Luckily, two of Avantgarde’s talented hairdressers were up for the challenge. They wanted to help Holly bring a new vision to her hair so that she could be the most stunning bride her family had ever seen. What they would do next was a huge step for Holly.

Sara Wanted To Give Holly What She Needed

Avantgarde Salon Spa/Facebook

A young stylist and colorist by the name of Sara Pestella took Holly’s overgrown mane to task. Sara sat down with Holly to get a sense of what the bride-to-be wanted out of this transformation.

It was clear that Holly wanted to be a blonde again, which is why Sara’s skills were all the more necessary in this endeavor. Upon chatting with Holly, it was clear to Sara that the gate guard had truly let her mane get out of hand. But she also discovered that there was a real emotional attachment to her hair that made Holly apprehensive.

The stylist was shocked to find out why Holly let her hair grow so long

The Real Reason For Holly’s Hair

photo of holly and her fiance posing together when holly had brown hair

After speaking with Holly about her hair goals, Sara found out the real reason why the bride-to-be had decided to let her hair grow to the state that it was in. “She always felt like she needed to keep her hair long because of what her dad said: that a woman must have long hair or she wouldn’t be pretty without it,” Sara told Modern Salon.

“We disagreed,” Sara said. It’s safe to say that many would agree with the salon’s sentiment. It’s heartbreaking that Holly had been so affected by what her dad said. Luckily, her new fiance encouraged her to cut it and step out of her comfort zone.

Holly was nervous when the time came for the initial chop as you’ll see coming up…

Sara And Her Team Knew What They Had To Do

holly and stylists laughing before the first snip

Many of us grow emotional attachments to the physical aspects of our appearances. After all, it is what helps us as humans feel confident in our own skin. Unfortunately for Holly, she was too afraid to do anything with her hair because of what her father had previously told her.

She was pressured to continue growing her hair – despite the color damage and split ends that overcame her – for fear of not being beautiful. Sara knew that Holly didn’t deserve to feel that way, so she and the team at Avantgarde took her hair to the next level.

The first cut was the hardest…

The Big Snip

stylist cuts first piece of hollys hair

Before Sara could enact her coloring genius onto Holly’s locks, she enlisted the help of fellow Avantgarde stylist Jeremy Hartfield. Hartfield was actually the one responsible for making the most drastic change to Holly’s ‘do and that was chopping off the two-foot-long excess of her hair.

It was as simple as tying the hair together and snipping it off. Once he did the deed, the other stylists squealed with excitement as Holly laughed along nervously. Certainly, it was a lot to let go of in the moment, both physically and emotionally.

The Haircut Was First

holly shocked to see the first cut of her hair

After making the initial chop, Jeremy continued to cut Holly’s hair to new lengths. He gave her a haircut that would completely transform the way Holly looked and felt about herself. The chop was necessary before Sara was put to the task so that they wouldn’t be cutting off any of the new color that she gave Holly.

Though she was nervous about what was happening on her head, Holly was confident that her stylists would give her a look she would love. Little did any of them know that the endeavor would literally take all night!

It wasn’t long before Holly let the salon do as they please…

It Was An All-Night Process


After chopping off Holly’s dried-out yellow blonde and giving her a much-needed hair cut, it was time for Sara to work her colorist magic on Holly’s fresh locks. Sara gave Holly a vibrant, golden blonde. They decided to give the look depth and dimension by reviving her natural brown at the roots.

By the end of it all, they realized it took seven hours. “I started at 7 p.m. and finished at 2 a.m. No kidding this transformation was indeed overnight,” Sara told Modern Salon. But they were only halfway to their big reveal.

The Actual Coloring Took Technique


To transform Holly’s hair into the beautiful blonde that she left the salon with, Sara used all Aveda color. Aveda hair dyes are plant-based and 97% natural. Of course, hair dyes that actually work well can’t be completely natural, since you can’t achieve the full effect without a bit of chemical reaction.

Sara’s coloring process included the painstaking steps of painting individual sections, waiting for them to dry, and rinsing out the remaining color. She had to figure a way to add some highlights since “due to existing red it was not quite perfect,” she told Modern Salon.

Holly Went For A Complete Makeover


Since she was already there for a complete hair transformation, Holly went ahead and let the salon have at it with her entire appearance. Her wedding may not have been for another several months, but they indeed gave her tips on how to style herself on the big day.

Because of this, they decided to makeover Holly with makeup as well. But since Jeremy and Sara had already worked so hard on Holly’s hair, they enlisted the makeup expertise of fellow stylist Amanda Maus. Amanda knew just the right tips and tricks to make Holly’s face wedding-ready.

Holly’s transformation was worthy of awards as you’ll see coming up…

A Bold Look Made Her Eyes Pop


When it came to giving Holly a bold new look through makeup, Amanda decided to go with a bold eye and an understated lip. The light pink gloss that Amanda used certainly gave notice to the subtle sexy curvature of Holly’s mouth.

But the biggest impact was seen in the eye makeup that Amanda concocted. A bold smokey eye, highlighted on the inside with shimmery silver shadow, was all that was needed to give Holly’s beautiful blue-green eyes that extra pop. It wasn’t long before Holly was gaining back the confidence that was buried deep inside her.

They Gave Her So Much More Than A Makeover

view of hollys new hair from the side

One of the primary reasons that Holly’s hair achieved the state that it was in was due to low low-maintenance approach that she took with it. Hearing this probably made all the employees at Avantgarde Salon cringe.

They knew that after all their hard work, they didn’t want Holly to let the same thing happen again. Miraculously, the owners of the salon decided to do her a solid. “Thanks to our amazing owners Deke and Joseph she gets to maintain her look for a whole year, free of charge!” Sara told Modern Salon.

Award-Winning Hair


Holly’s transformation was so astounding, the salon decided to submit her makeover as their entry into a competition to be named the best salon along the Emerald Coast. Hosted by the Emerald Coast Magazine, the EC Top Salon event gathers the best Florida salons to raise money for various charities.

Avantgarde went up against 13 other salons and their models to showcase their hairstyling talents. Of course, everyone at Avantgarde knew they wanted to work with Holly for this competition, knowing what an amazing transformation she had undergone with their help.

It Was Holly’s Moment To Shine


While Holly had already had her amazing hair transformation done at the salon, she did have to get a little help when it came to showcasing Avantgarde’s work during the competition. Because she would have to do so while walking a runway, the Top Salon competition organizers provided all the salons’ models with some incredible perks.

The salons’ models – Holly included – came from all walks of life. They were given free teeth whitening, clothes, and jewelry to help look and feel their best as they walked the runway. There was even a model coach to help them with their strut.

Holly Strutted Her Way To Victory

holly walking down runway showing off her new complete look

Holly looked fabulous strutting down the runway. That, combined with the incredible story behind her transformation, helped Avantgarde win the EC Top Salon competition in 2017! Everyone at Avantgarde was thrilled, but they were especially proud of Holly whose new look helped her break out of her shell.

“To see these transformations, having seen them before and after, they became new, confident women. The winner (Holly Garrido) was very timid. We worked with her. She had a strut in her step and she had confidence. She just blossomed,” said one of the sponsors of the event.

She Also Helped Give Back


Avantgarde chose Others of Destin Inc. as their benefiting charity from the event. Others of Destin empowers underserved members of the community with the help of churches, businesses, and government entities. Avantgarde helped fundraise over $30,000 for Others of Destin.

Of course, they couldn’t have done it without Holly, who they knew they wanted to showcase after winning the competition previously. “We are always wanting to be better, our best. It’s a true collaboration for us. We always form a team of stylists to give us the best possible outcome,” said owner Joseph Rogers.

Transformation Shot Of The Year

photo of holly before and after side by side

After winning the EC Top Salon 2017 competition with Holly’s unforgettable transformation, Avantgarde decided to one-up themselves again and enter a new competition. They decided to enter Holly’s transformative ‘do into Behind The Chair’s annual #ONESHOT Hair Awards, the biggest hair award show in the world.

Out of more than 200,000 submissions, Holly’s photos were selected as one of the #HOTSHOT Award winners! Holly’s was selected as the Transformation Shot of the Year. Sara, who did most of the groundbreaking work, accepted the award on the salon’s behalf saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Beautiful In Her Own Skin

holly smiling with her new haircut

We can only imagine how fabulous Holly Garrido must have felt walking out of the salon after getting her makeover. Everyone at Avantgarde was there to show Holly that she was beautiful regardless of how long her hair was and they gave her a stellar haircut to prove it!

As evidenced by all of Holly’s “after” photos and agreeing to strut the runway for the EC Top Salon competition, her makeover had done wonders for her confidence. Holly felt beautiful not only at her wedding but in everyday life. “Holly feels beautiful in her own skin,” Sara told Modern Salon.