After 10 episodes, dozens of hairstyles and countless hissy fits and bad dye jobs, it’s finally here: the finale of Shear Genius. I must say, when I signed on to recap this season, I was thinking of last season’s winner, Anthony and his dreamy accent. Sadly, this season has been thin on eye candy. Maybe I should check out the contestant profiles first next time. I guess if I was a gay man or a lesbian, I’d be okay, but considering that the only half-way attractive straight man on the show was Matthew of the super beard wife, it was slim pickins for drool-worthy material this time.

This season’s final three are Nicole, Dee and Charlie. Jaclyn welcomes all three of them to the salon. There’s only one challenge left and they need to show the judges everything they’ve got. Charlie vows not to shoot blanks. I snicker like a 14 year old.

For the final week, Charlie’s work is on the Allure Wall ‘O Hair. Rene tells the final three that they should be proud, but reminds them that this isn’t over yet. Before they begin work on the next challenge, the stylists will have the opportunity to meet with Linda Wells, the Founding Editor in Chief of Allure. Jaclyn advises them to keep Linda’s advice in mind as they go into the final challenge.

Nicole meets with Linda Wells first. Linda takes a look at Nicole’s book and notes that her strength is a precision cut. Nicole agrees and says her favorite cut is the bob: it’s a perfect cut, she says. Nicole admits her weakness is styling hair. Um….that might be a problem, hon. Linda Wells tells Nicole that the next step is learning how to style hair. She urges Nicole to copy looks she sees in magazines in order to improve her styling skills.

Charlie tells Linda Wells that his strengths are high fashion, polished styles, but admits he’s weak when he loses inspiration. He admits he sometimes has a chip on his shoulder. He mentions the dog challenge as one time when he definitely lost inspiration. With his creativity on the line, Charlie knows he has to work hard and suck it up

Linda Wells thinks Dee’s portfolio needs to show more variety. Dee admits that, while she’s strong on cuts and color, she needs to work on her up ‘do. Linda thinks Dee’s cuts are beautiful. When Linda asks Dee to describe her signature look, she talks about funky colors and edgy cuts. Linda advises Dee not to overdo it with the long front pieces when styling the models.

Back in the salon, the stylists meet with Rene Fris again. For this challenge, they will need to use their imaginations, he explains. They must tell the story of one woman ‘s life through her hairstyles. They will have to create four different styles for four ages: 18, 35, 45 and 60. They will cut, color and style the hair of four clients in 3 hours. Tonight, they will be given the inspiration for their work. Each stylist chooses a scissor box, each of which contains a lock of hair in the hair color they will be working with for the challenge. Charlie draws blonde, Nicole brunette and Dee red.

Okay seriously, what’s the deal with these Nexxus commercials with Roy Teeluck? In what universe are great curls a way to impress my date? If my hair style impresses my date, I fear we have one too many things in common. You know, the last time that happened, it was my prom date and he fixed my hair in the car. He’s now an antiques dealer in Santa Monica, so you do the math there.

Back at the house, Nicole, Dee and Charlie celebrate their final three-ness. Nicole is excited about getting to work with brunettes and says she has a pretty good story in mind. Charlie is equally excited about drawing the blonde card. He thinks he’s worked hard to carve out an identity for himself. Dee has ideas about red too and has a character in her head. She can’t wait to see her models so she can deliver than vision.

All talk about the opportunities winning the show will afford them. Dee says being that close to winning the money is amazing: she grew up in poverty with a single mom. The opportunity to support her mother is why she’s there. Nicole didn’t think she would make it to the final three. She says she would save the money after giving something back to her parents. Charlie says he would pay off his bills and then get his boyfriend a nose job. Ah, now that’s true love. He then admits to us that he’s so excited about making the final three: he just wants to get drunk and buy designer clothes.

The big day is finally here: it’s time for the final challenge. Rene Fris hi-hi’s them to the salon and tells them that, for this challenge, they will have to use their imaginations to tell the story of one woman. They will have to create styles for that woman at ages 18, 30, 45 and 60. Out come the clients: each stylist will have four clients.

Rene asks the stylists tell the story they’ve come up with. Dee talks about a girl who is a natural redhead with a passion for music. At 18, she moves to New York City and works hard, getting her big break at 30. She becomes a successful producer and is divorced with children at 45. At age 60, she’s known as Mama Red and hates being called “Grandma.”

Charlie’s story focuses on a child star, who at 18 wants to be a serious actress. She wins her first Oscar at 30 and then, at age 45, stars in a Hitchcockian suspense film. At age 60, she directs her first film. Nicole’s story is that of an average woman who grows up without money. At 18, she’s a cheerleader who then meets and marries the love of her life. By 30, she’s raising a family. At age 45, she has more money and has attained some success. She looks back on her life and is proud at age 60.

It’s time for the stylists to turn their visions into reality. The first step is choosing clothing. There are several styles available for each model. Each stylists meets with their respective models to make their selections. Nicole admits she’s feeling a bit clouded and isn’t sure how she’s going to go. Charlie admits is will be lots of work dealing with four different personalities. He vows to go into the challenge with as much energy as he can. All of Dee’s models seem happy with her choices. She says she will work fast and work with the texture of each woman’s hair. The one hitch? Two of her models don’t want her to cut their hair. Are you kidding me? Honestly, why do these women agree to be on the show if they don’t want their hair cut?

The time for the challenge begins and the stylists all seem to be starting with color. This is tricky since they’re working on all four clients at the same time. Rene Fris walks the salon, overseeing the stylists’ work. He stops at Dee’s station first, where she explains that the texture of the four ladies’ hair will be the difference. She spends quite a bit of time trying to convince one of her clients to cut at least 2 inches off her hair. She’s finally successful, but it’s a battle.

Nicole is mortified to learn that one of her clients has dyed her hair black multiple times: she thought the color was natural. Dee’s 60 year old worries about her roots, but Dee tries to calm her: the style she’s got planned will hide those roots. Rene Fris repeatedly voices his concern over Nicole’s time management. He has good reason because she spends way too much time trying to dry her 30 year old client’s over processed hair.

After some nagging from Rene, Dee finally decides to dye her 60 year old client’s hair. There is less than an hour to go in the challenge, Dee cringes. Nicole watches the clock and vows not to let her perfectionism get in the way of her finishing the challenge. Meanwhile, Charlie is putting his 18 year old client’s hair up like she’s in a 1930’s noir flick. He vows to scream if any of the judges tell him he made any of the ladies look matronly. Get ready to plug your ears, folks. With 15 minutes to go, Dee wonders if she’ll have time to finish her work and with 5 minutes to go, no one is near finished.

The judges for this final challenge are Kim Vo, Linda Wells and celebrity hair stylist Sally Hershberger, of the uber-shag. You might remember Sally from the first season of the show. She could be the love child of Joan Jett and Leather Tuscadero.

Once all of the clients walk the runway, the judges ask to hear each stylist’s story and we have to hear them AGAIN. Dee goes first and, after she’s done, Sally Hershberger says the story made the cuts make sense. Linda Wells compliments Dee on the variety of styles and Jaclyn loves Mama Red. Charlie then tells his story. Kim Vo likes the color story, but wishes he had some rice and beans to put in the hair burrito Charlie put on the 18 year old’s head. Charlie explains that it’s inspired by Gwen Stefani…..and Taco Bell. Linda says the styles are all beautiful technically, but the models look old. Nicole tells her story last. Jaclyn compliments her and then asks if the story is about someone she knows. Nicole tearfully admits the story is her mom’s. Her mom means a lot to her and she was happy to have a personal story to tell in this challenge. Linda Wells notes that the 60 year old cut isn’t finished and Nicole agrees. Sally Hershberger compliments Nicole: she’s really talented for only being 24.

Before she dismisses the stylists so the judges can deliberate, Jaclyn compliments each of them. She says Dee’s signature cut is modern and fresh. Charlie’s work always takes her to a different time and place. Nicole always gives them lovely, sexy hair that’s very wearable.

The judges first discuss Dee’s work. Jaclyn loved the story Dee came up with for her clients. Linda Wells notes the variety of styles that Dee created. Kim Vo notes that reds are hard to do and Dee did a good job. Linda thinks the youngest style was particularly good and Kim Vo points out that Dee showed more than just the one style they’ve been seeing from Dee.

Kim Vo compliments Charlie’s work with hair color and says he did have a good story. Jaclyn thinks Charlie does a great job with retro iconic hair styles. Linda Wells agrees: Charlie does a perfect chignon. In fact, she thinks all of his styling work was great. Sally Hershberger thinks all four of Charlie’s clients look old. Kim Vo expresses his hatred for the “hair burrito” worn by the youngest of Charlie’s models. Jaclyn tries to find the silver lining there, noting that there were no pins visible in that hairdo.

Nicole’s 18 year old style had lots of shine, notes Kim Vo. He also points out that the 60 year old haircut was not strong enough. Sally Hershberger agrees, but notes that Nicole owned up to her mistakes. Kim thinks Nicole really pushed herself in this challenge.

The judges agree they’ve reached a decision and call the stylists back in. Jaclyn gives the big “incredible journey” speech and compliments the final three on how far they’ve come in the competition. She wishes they could all win, but there’s only room for one shear genius. They each created four distinct looks tonight. Jaclyn compliments Nicole on her hard work in the competition and then lowers the boom: Nicole is not the winner. Nicole thanks everyone and says it’s been an honor to be there. She gives a shout out to all of the other stylists who doubted her because of her lack of experience. Nicole thanks everyone and congratulates Dee and Charlie.

Dee and Charlie are the final two, but there’s only one winner. Jaclyn then congratulates Dee: her work was shear genius. Confetti falls from the ceiling as Dee squeals and jumps up and down. Charlie claps politely and smiles with dead eyes. As the season closes, Dee thanks the judges and dedicates the win to her mother, who always believed in her.

PM me if you know where to buy Charlie’s brown t-shirt from the beginning of this episode. It's the only thing from this episode - including the hairstyles - that I'd want to wear!