Friday, December 11, 2015

Hate making small talk with your hair stylist? Take a seat in the 'quiet chair'

The hairdresser’s chair is a special place. A place that fixes dreams and transformations – for as long as the spray holds, anyway – so it can feel jarring when, into this idyll, the hairdresser leans with the words: “Have you got any holidays planned?”

“If you have to ask that, you’ve kind of lost the conversation,” says Scott Miller who owns the Bauhaus salons in Cardiff – which is why Miller has just launched a “quiet chair” facility. As of last weekend, his clients can request the quiet chair at the time of booking, or click the quiet symbol on the website, and enjoy a haircut free of small talk. There is no limit to the number of quiet chairs. If every chair is booked as quiet, Bauhaus will be a very quiet salon. Even the music can be turned down at each cutting station.

The idea came up at a research and development meeting. “We were thinking of nice things to have in the salon,” Miller says. “Coming to get your hair done could be the best thing that happens to you that day. We get clients for an hour. There could be complete chaos outside. We wanted to make sure we were giving the ultimate experience.” For the hardcore silent salon-goer, Bauhaus has “a private room upstairs. We can offer a totally silent, quiet experience, one on one,” Miller says.

That sounds more uncomfortable than having to share holiday plans, but Miller says some people are very shy, and Bauhaus has “quite a few celebrity clients. They don’t want to be seen with lots of tint and foils on their hair.”

Miller, 48, has been in the hair business since he was 15, and was formerly an art director at Vidal Sassoon. He can gauge within a minute whether or not a client is a talker. So in his years of experience, which ice-breakers has he found most successful? “Are you going out for a special occasion? Is it your birthday?” he says. “If it’s a new client, we put on their notes: ‘This client was going out …’, then next time they come back, you can ask them about it. It’s about knowing your clients,” he says. He calls it “secret service”.

Hairdressers, he believes, are “an A to Z of cool places to go”. I tell Miller that I enjoy my chats with my Italian hairdresser, who has good intelligence on local restaurants. “Food and Italy,” Miller says. “That’s what we would be talking about.” There’s a pause. “So whereabouts in Italy are you from?” he asks. He says he has friends outside Milan. When he visits, they go walking in the Alps.

Then we hang up, and I feel as if I’ve had my hair done.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

When a Hair Mask Is Totally Worth Your Time

Before you get all worked up about adding another to-do to your beauty routine, think about it: You style your hair every day (or nearly every day, minus the occasional sweaty post-Spin bun), yet you rarely give your conditioner enough time to really soak into your hair, let alone remember to spray on heat protector before scorching it with a 400-degree heat tool. And you don't think twice about bumping up your highlights appointment. Just like skin, hair needs regular maintenance to look healthy. "It's very important to me that all of my clients do a deep conditioning treatment once a week," says Lona Vigi, a Nexxus celebrity stylist based in Los Angeles. "And if their hair is more damaged, I  say a couple of times a week." Even if you're all I don't need to waste my time—my hair is so healthy, Vigi disagrees: "No matter what, you need to replenish," she adds. "Your hair is going to be smoother, it's going to rebuild, it's going to look healthier."

Here, five ways to get the most out of your hair mask:

Apply it pre-workout

Because lets face it, what's a girl supposed to do in the shower for 10 minutes while the hair mask soaks in? Vigi suggests slightly dampening your pony, then comb through the treatment, braid it and wrap it in a bun. Then head to your sweat session and rinse post-workout. "As you work out, your body heat allows it to penetrate more," she says.

Use it  before shampoo if your hair is really damaged

"If hair is extremely dry and damaged from excessive bleaching or chemical processes," says Vigi, "I'll coat dry hair evenly with a treatment before I shampoo, so there is a slight shield that protects the ends, which are usually especially damaged."

Always use a comb to apply it

Even though, yes, your fingers make a rake shape, it's not the same as actually combing it through your hair. "A comb guarantees that the ingredients are coating every strand—not just the top layer," says Vigi.

Do it before a big event

Although the panic of "I have crazy breakage all over and I want my hair to look killer" sets in on the day of (a wedding, date, you name it), that's exactly when you don't want to get all beauty do-gooder. "If you want to wear a fancy style that has shape and needs to stay in place, I wouldn't recommend doing a hair mask day-of. It could make your hair too soft and it won't hold the style as well," explains Vigi, who recommends applying a mask one to three days prior to get the shiny, stellar hair effect.

Look for strengthening proteins

Natural oils (such as babassu, argan, and shea) are great for hair (they provide much needed hydration and often have a small molecular weight that can penetrate the hair shaft), but sometimes hair needs more than moisture. Enter: proteins, the building blocks of hair, which can degrade from abuse. Look for a mask that will help replenish lost protein inside of your hair to help strengthen it from the inside out. "Protein is a key component of both hair and skin," says Vigi, who suggests Nexxus Therappe Humectress Replenishing Masque. "If you use it regularly, it is going to help your hair look better."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Fix These Mistakes When Curling Your Hair

Curling wands are one of my fave hair inventions. I love how simple they are to use and you can create so many different looks.

Getting your curls to look fabulous and last isn’t always that simple. Here are some tips to help you get perfect curls or waves every time you style your hair.


There are some simple mistakes that are so common when curling your hair. I’ve made them all at some point too but you learn from experience.


As a basic rule, it’s more flattering to curl your hair away from your face.

Of course there are exceptions, such as when you’re creating finger waves or a vintage set. Overall, if you want to create a more modern look, then curling your hair away from your hair is more flattering.

Curling away from your face is the easiest way to remember what you’re doing and to create a softer look too.


The trick to longer lasting curls is to let them cool so they set. If you have trouble getting a curl to stay in your hair, then this could be your problem.

To really set your curls, use pins or flat pin curl clips to hold each curl in shape as it cools. At least keep your hands off your hair until it’s all cooled down. It’s only once your curls are cool, that they have the stability and structure to hold so you can finish styling your hair.


Now you’ve let your hair cool but that’s not the final step. You need to shake out those curls out.

Use your fingers to rake through your curls to loosen them up. You can also use a brush to turn those ringlet curls into perfect, natural-looking waves. That’s where a good brush comes in to play. I love my Mason Pearson for this job. (If you’re in Australia, get yours here.)

If I see you out with your curls all still in sausage-shaped ringlets, I will have to run my fingers through them to break them up.

So tell me, have you been making these simple mistakes when curling your hair? What’s your biggest struggle when curling your hair?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The face (and hairstyle) that’s turning heads on the Paris catwalk

Paris fashion week is in full swing, with one face emerging to define the spring/summer of 2016. Lineisy Montero, the 19-year-old model from the Dominican Republic, has walked in all the most significant shows this season, from Balmain to Balenciaga. She is being hailed as an example that the catwalk, which is traditionally dominated by thin, blonde white models, is finally embracing diversity.
Montero has featured in more than 50 shows since mid-September, and is instantly recognisable for her short afro. While she can be seen as part of a wider rise of black faces on the catwalk – ranging from Binx Walton and Joan Smalls to Malaika Firth and Jourdan Dunn – it is this hairstyle, in contrast to the longer tresses of these other models, that sets her apart. In March, Montero’s debut on the Prada catwalk – her first runway show – saw a social media storm, and brought the afro, so associated with 1970s Black Panthers and civil rights activists such as Angela Davis, back into the fashion conversation. There are now several other models with afros, including Karly Loyce. Montero, however, remains the poster girl for natural afro hair in fashion, with her popularity this Paris fashion week a case in point.

In August, she covered Teen Vogue with the quote “I just like being me.” It is this sense of authenticity that has caught fashion’s attention. “Black hair is considered to be quite hard to work with if not relaxed,” says Marie Claire’s senior style editor Des Lewis. “Last season, we saw hairstylists embracing the beauty of natural afro hair and not changing their hairstyle to suit the show hair. Instead, they’re now ‘keeping it real.’”

Elle UK’s acting content director Kenya Hunt believes this shows fashion representing wider society more. “We’re just living in a time where we’re finally starting to see media reflect its audience in a meaningful, non-tokenistic way,” she says. “I was in New York last week and walked past a news stand that had black women on the covers of seven different magazines. I’ve never seen that before.” Katy Moseley, a spokeswoman for Montero’s agency Next, believes the model represents this change. “Her universal appeal is refreshing,” she says, “bringing diversity into the mainstay of the show season and campaigns of the future.”

This increase in diversity goes beyond skin tone. Fashion this season has moved on from the so-called “cookie cutter” model, where each girl out on the catwalk looks like the one before, to embracing individuality. This can be seen in the success this season of shaven-headed models Ruth Bell and Kris Gottschalk and pint-sized actress Zo√ę Kravitz walking in the Balenciaga show alongside models, and Beth Ditto walking for Marc Jacobs in New York. Lewis credits social media, an anything goes platform, for playing a part in this. Hunt hopes it is an actual shift, rather than a fad. “It’s not just about promoting diversity of race or skin tone, but really showing the full breadth of womanhood – we’re seeing this with models ranging in not just race, but size and age,” she says. “Fashion loves a rotating trend but I’m hopeful that this change we’re seeing is more than that.”

We may still be some distance from a situation where diversity is a given rather than an exception on the catwalks. Major shows like Christian Dior still only featured one black girl, and Montero’s afro has been covered up at shows including Balmain, where her hair was styled in the ponytail that all of the models wore. “Each season there will be one or two non-white girls that break through but there is still a long way to go before it is a level playing field,” says Lewis. “I look forward to the day when a model’s skin colour is invisible because it becomes the norm.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

High Concept Hair, on Call

A firefighter turned globe-trotting editorial hairstylist, the New York–based Marcos Diaz brings a delicate, high-concept finesse to the runway (Diaz is a frequent Guido Palau collaborator) and red carpet alike. “Diaz reps a black book’s worth of New York girls-about-town—from gallery owner Dasha Zhukova and editor Giovanna Battaglia to DJ Mia Moretti—for major events,” says Beauty Director Catherine Piercy.