Chuck out the rule book, says star stylist Luke Hersheon. These days, anything goes – as long as it looks fabulous. From sleek to sexy, here’s how to have a good hair day, every day…
IT’S TIME TO SMASH THE RULES
Some long-held hair beliefs are totally irrelevant for the way we live now. Personal style is so much more important than rigid edicts about how you should look. Here are the ones to ignore…
Women over 40 shouldn’t wear their hair long
Try telling that to Julianne Moore and Julia Roberts, both of whom are in their 50s and look incredible with long hair. Age shouldn’t define you. The length of your hair has everything to do with your style and nothing to do with the year you were born. An 18- or an 80-year-old should be able to have the same haircut and rock the same vibe. You may just need to adapt how you style it.
You should dye grey hair
No one should feel obliged to do this unless you want to. Grey hair can do wonderful things for your skin tone and make you stand out from the crowd. If you feel like embracing your greys, go for it, and more power to you!
Blondes should never have dark brows
Darker brows can look great with blonde hair. Blonde brows can sometimes get a little lost among other facial features and introducing a darker shade to them (whether with a semi-permanent tint or make-up) can bring focus and definition to the eye area. As well as this, slightly darker brows with blonde hair can be a style statement – just look at Cara Delevingne.
You should grow a fringe to hide your wrinkles
Lines and wrinkles are nothing to be ashamed of. Although you can hide them if you want. If you do want to address your lines, your money might be better spent in the pursuit of great skincare.
Dark roots are a no-no
Never heard of balayage? Modern techniques such as this colour the hair roots dark and
the ends lighter to emulate natural regrowth, in which the roots are always half a shade or so darker than the rest of the hair. Re-creating this with colour lends more credibility to
Short hair is for tomboys
It’s time to challenge gender stereotypes. Nowadays women (and men) are defying such outmoded ideas as long hair being feminine and short hair boyish. Choose a length that you like and feel happy with.
You can’t have everything
Yes you can! Or at least you can give it a go. Although there’s still a school of thought that tells women that a particular haircut or colour is out of bounds because it won’t suit them, I like to take a more flexible approach. I consider how things can be adapted to suit the client’s needs. You may have to consider the downside or constraints of doing something, but there’s no reason why you can’t set your sights on a look.
You must cut your hair every six weeks
We’re not in the 1980s any more and women don’t tend to have those super-structured, high-maintenance styles that need regular pruning. Unless you have short hair or a specific length that you wish to maintain, you don’t have to make frequent trips to the hairdresser’s. Thanks to colour techniques such as balayage and clever ways of cutting hair, you can actually have some fun with the growing-out process.
COLOUR FIRST, CUT LATER?
It is traditional for a salon to colour hair before cutting it, but at Hershesons we do it the other way around. It makes much more sense for the colourist to see the final cut in place so that they can paint around it and highlight the most important bits.
HOW TO PERFECT THE DIY BLOW-DRY
You don’t have to be a pro to be able to blow-dry your hair and make it look great. Just follow these simple steps…
Protect: Before you lay a finger on your hair, treat it to a heat-defence product.
Rough-dry: When your hair is wet it’s very vulnerable to damage and a brush is about
as damaging as it gets, so rough-dry it with your hands first. This technique can also shorten your styling time by about half. Use a hairdryer on a low heat and speed setting until your hair is 95 per cent dry. After this you can use a brush to begin shaping it properly.
To brush… It’s essential to choose the right one for the job. If you’re creating a style with lots of volume, use one with a round barrel. Section by section, wrap your hair around the barrel and blast with your hairdryer in a downwards direction (the nozzle should be parallel to the brush). Turn off your hairdryer and allow your hair to cool slightly around the bristles
before releasing it from the brush.
We each have around 100,000 hairs on our head and lose about 50 to 100 strands a day. Typically, natural blondes have the most, around 140,000, brunettes around 108,000 and redheads – who have the thickest hair strands – 90,000 or so.
Air-conditioning can be drying, which is a nightmare for static hair, and brushing will only make it worse and create frizz. Instead, use a light hairspray such as Elnett to tame it. This can be layered on as needed because it remains soft.
… Or not to brush I don’t actually use brushes much these days. I find it better to rough-dry hair then use tongs or irons to do the styling. You can even do some of the styling by using your hands during the rough-drying process. To soften a cowlick, for example, use your fingers like a comb to pull your hair taut while it is still wet. You can reduce the appearance of frizz by using the same technique; keep the hair taut and the airflow from your hairdryer pointed downwards in the direction that you want your hair to fall.
Create volume: There is a formula for volume, and it’s very simple: wherever you point the airflow from your dryer is where you will create body and lift. Get the nozzle of your dryer close to the roots – if that’s where you want to see volume – and pull your hair from side to side in opposite directions to lift it away from your scalp.
Polish it up: For your hair to look shiny, you must encourage its cuticles (the protective outer layer of the hair shaft) to lie flat. To promote this, make sure that your hairdryer is fitted with a nozzle to concentrate the air in one place and keep the airflow skimming downwards along the hair shaft. Freshly washed hair tends to be quite soft and fluffy and not so easy to style, which is why you hear hairdressers talking about ‘day two’ hair. If your hair is drying on the fluffy side, just add another drop of styling cream, about the size of a 2p piece, rub it into your hands and scrunch it into your hair. It will give some guts to the strands and take down some of the fluff.
For curly girls: It’s time to bring the diffuser out of the 80s. This appliance is brilliant for quickly drying curly hair and adding definition and bounce because it allows air to circulate around the shafts. There was a time when hairdryers typically came with a diffuser attachment; that’s not always the case now, but just go to the website for the company that made yours and order the diffuser separately. Or try the fabric diffuser by YS Park, which can be attached to any hairdryer. Hold your dryer with the diffuser facing upwards and pool your hair (do not allow the diffuser to actually touch your scalp) – one section at a time – into the bowl of the diffuser. Handle your hair gently – so as not to disturb your curl pattern – and leave your hair in the diffuser for as long as it takes to dry completely.
Have patience: If you’re feeling lazy or in a hurry it may be tempting to stop styling your hair before it’s fully dry but, if you’re prone to frizz, be warned: any remaining moisture will bring it on and puff up your hair at the slightest provocation, undoing all your hard work.
Finishing flourishes: Once your hair is completely dry, give it a final blast of cold air from your hairdryer to lock the cuticles in position and ramp up the shine. Keep the airflow travelling down the hair shaft so that it doesn’t frizz at the last hurdle. My wife has a brilliant technique when it comes to finishing her hair. She rough-dries it, flicks it back and forth a couple of times, then flings it forward over her head so that it’s all falling in the same direction. Then she ties it up into a loose bun and leaves it alone for a bit to set before letting it down. And the result is amazing. I’m not one for hair looking too manicured, and this finishing technique is a great antidote to this. It has a kind of Parisian vibe: very easy and nonchalant.
WHAT MAKES HAIR SEXY?
Sexy hair doesn’t necessarily mean long hair – I hate that assumption. Think Linda Evangelista in the late 80s, Demi Moore in Ghost, Winona Ryder in the 90s – all short-haired, all undeniably sexy. That’s not to say long hair can’t also be incredibly alluring – hello Kate and Gisele. For a quick sexy hair fix there’s a lot to be said for changing your parting. Moving it a centimetre or so to one side can transform you from serious to
flirtatious in a moment.
Remember: sexy hair is touchable hair. You want the person you desire to fantasise about running their fingers through it – not so easy when it looks as though it could withstand an earthquake. Ease up on the hairspray – sexy hair never looks contrived.
ICONIC SCREEN STEALERS
So many films have delivered incredible hair moments. Here are some of Luke’s favourites.
In Empire Records, 1995. Her long, undone hair chimes with the decade’s laidback grunge look.
In Bonnie and Clyde, 1967. How to ace the bob and beret look.
In Sliding Doors, 1998. Famous for showcasing her perfect gamine crop.
In Dirty Dancing, 1987. Her untamed curls stand out against all the super-groomed hairdos in this 1960s-set movie.
In The Birds, 1963. One of director Alfred Hitchcock’s favourite icy blondes, her locks dazzle in this iconic thriller.
In Pretty Woman, 1990. Below the famous blonde wig, her magnificent mane of curls is out of this world.
This is an edited extract from Great Hair Days & How to Have Them by Luke Hersheson, which will be published by Ebury Press on Thursday, price £20. To order a copy for the special price of £16 before 16 September, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.