How to make the best out of your hair – Part One

I have originally intended to write only one post on hair products, hair issues, and basically how to make the best out of your hair.  After a quick survey on twitter, I’ve been bombarded by hair problems that made me realise that I’d have to do more than one post (in fear of boring you to death by squeezing it all into one!)  So without further ado, here’s part one.

BACK TO BASICS – HOW TO WASH YOUR HAIR

(You could stop giggling now, you’d be surprised at how many people still don’t do it right!)

Step 1 – Wet hair (I’m cringing because it’s so obvious!!)  The water temperature should not be too hot.  ALWAYS try to use a shower head, you’ll struggle to get your hair squeaky clean washing your hair in a bath.  (Bad hair day cause  #1!)

Step 2 – Pour a SMALL amount (50p size for medium length) of shampoo in to your palm, work it through your hands like a moisturiser, then apply it EVENLY through your hair and scalp, using your fingers to work it through in circular motions.

Step 3 – Rinse, and repeat step 2.  This is important – the first shampoo gets the dirt out, the second wash makes the shampoo’s active ingredients work.  You’ll also notice that if you use small amounts twice, you’ll do better than using one big blob.

Step 4 – Rinse, and TOWEL DRY your hair by blotting – not rubbing – with a towel.  This step is often left out, but you’ll notice the difference, as the conditioner will now be less diluted when applies.

Step 5 – Work a small amount (£1 size for medium length hair) of conditioner through your hands, and apply it to the midlengths and ends ONLY.  Your scalp produces its own oils, what I normally suggest to clients is to apply conditioner on the ‘ponytail’ part of the hair.  You might see a massive change in flat hair if you do it this way!  You could also gently run a comb through your hair, as the conditioner will make it easier to comb.  Try to leave it on for a few minutes.  This would also be the time you would use a hair mask/treatment once a week, or as suggested by your stylist.

Step 6 – Rinse out thoroughly, until you feel that squeaky clean feeling.  Try to do the final rinse with cooler water for extra shine.  Then towel dry again by blotting your hair with a towel.  For longer hair, try gently squeezing the hair with the towel.  I flinch whenever I see people vigorously rubbing their hair!  Your hair is at its most vulnerable when it’s wet, and rubbing it is just going to damage it.

It sounds like a lot of effort, but soon it will become second nature.  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences after trying this!

Now I need your input.  Feel free to comment on topics you’d like me to blog about.  I’m planning to cover common problems, styling tips, product suggestions, but it’s great to hear what people really struggle with!

Simple smoky eye tutorial using 2 shadows and 3 brushes!

After a quick survey on twitter and facebook, it seems like there’s still a need for quick make-up tutorials. So here’s chapter 1!  I’d love to get feedback on this, and also requests on looks you’d like me to create.

I wanted to keep the first one simple, so I started out with a soft smoky eye.  This could obviously be altered to suit your taste, in terms of colour, etc, but here goes!

  • (Not shown)  Start off by using a primer on your eyelid to make the eyeshadows last.  I’ve used Mac’s Painterly Paint pot, a soft pinky beige shade.
  • Apply your chosen eyeshadow (I’ve used MAC Copperplate) with a flat eyeshadow brush, pushing it on to the eyelid up to the crease, focusing on the outer two-thirds of your lid.
  • Then comes the fun bit – blending.  With a soft fluffy brush, use a wiper-motion to blend the top of that line of eyeshadow on your crease into your browbone.  The trick is to not go over the eyeshadow itself on the lid, you just want to soften any hard line.  Don’t press it too hard, you need quite a light touch.
  • Very important: open your eyes and look straight-on in a mirror.  For this look, you must be able to see a little bit of the smoke above your crease with your eye open.  Switch between your flat brush to pack more colour, and alternate with the fluffy brush to blend it in.   Carry on with this until you’ve reached the desired depth of colour. The higher you go, the more dramatic the effect.
  • Line your upper lid with a black shadow (MAC Carbon) with a small angled brush, keeping the intensity of colour at the lash root, flicking the brush upwards to soften the line.  Keep the line thicker on the outer corner to not close the eye up too much.
  • Softly line the lower lid (again,focusing on the outer corner to keep the look ‘open’) with eyeshadow left over on the flat brush, curl your lashes, add mascara, and just like that, you have your smoky eye!

You could then continue by adding shimmer on top, or lining the inner rim of your eye with a black eyeliner pencil for drama.

Have fun with the look, experiment with different eyeshadow finishes and colours.

Would love to hear your feedback!!

Short hair styling tips for brides

I’ve had so many requests for ideas on how to style short hair for weddings, and as I’ve recently cut my hair again, thought that it might be a good idea for a post.

If you’re not a long-haired girl, and never will be, don’t be tempted in growing your hair because it’s ‘expected’ of a bride to have long hair.  With a bit of product, and a few tools, there’s no need to feel that there’s nothing you could do with short hair!  I know there’s not a lot of inspirational pictures for short-haired brides in wedding magazines and the like, so hopefully this could help some cropped beauties!

Eliza Cummings via Fashion Gone Rogue

For the bolder bride, why not try a quiff?  After using mousse for hold and volume (try Redken’s Guts 10), lift the roots with a round brush.  Use a curling iron to add more movement if your hair needs it, make sure the sides and back lies flat.  Set the look with hairspray or a strong hold gel, depending on your hair.

 

Scarlett Johansson via Fashion Gone Rogue

For a more subtle, sleeker look, use a soft blowdry gel like Redken’s Velvet Gelatine in damp hair, blowdry with a paddle brush, keeping the sides and back sleek, and manipulate the fringe to the side.  Set with a light hairspray.

 

Agyness Deyn

For a bit of a tousled look, roughdry your hair using your fingers only.  Again, use straighteners to add movement if your hair is super straight, then use the magically wonderful POWDER.PUFF by Kevin Murphy on your roots for a gritty volume that will last all day – perfect for fine hair!  Just ruffle your roots when you need extra volume, et voilà!

 

Charlize Theron

If you have slightly longer hair, try glamorous waves.  My personal preference would be more worn-in and tousled than Charlize’s. For a great video to show you how you can create this, click HERE.

 

Color.Bug, via refinery29.com

I know the dip-dye effect will probably be on it’s way out at some point, but why not have fun with your hair on the day?  Even if it’s just for the reception?  Another Kevin Murphy product, COLOR.BUG is perfect for this, just make sure you cover your dress before you apply, and it’s not advisable for high necklines.  It looks fabulous on all hair colours, and washes out immediately.

Hope this have inspired some of you, feel free to ask me for any hair/make-up related advice on twitter!

The White Queen – Behind the scenes hair and make-up

We’ve had so many wonderful comments on Kirsty Mitchell’s White Queen pictures in Wonderland, and I thought I’d share some of the behind the scenes pictures of the hair and make-up.

Please click HERE for more pictures, and a description on how everything else was made.

The Queen’s hair and make-up was heavily based on Elizabeth 1, the look had to be very sculpted, regal, and intricate to echo the rest of her outfit (made by the photographer herself!)

Here was the main make-up influence:  

The hair took many days of playing around to figure out what would work best, the texture had to be intricate, but after having a go at plaiting, the hair just didn’t seem right.  I remembered doing a basket weave on hair years ago, and after a whole afternoon of work, here are the results: (pardon the picture quality!)

Hair detail

Mock-up of hair

The hairpieces had to be positioned onto model Ashley’s head on the day, after I made small pincurls in her fringe.  You could also see the base of the make-up here:

I then built up the make-up with deeper colours and added more contrast to keep the look dramatic.  Ashley has the most amazing icy blue eyes, and they just popped against the white liner (MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in Pure White) and deeper, earthier shading (MAC Eyeshadow in Copperplate).  She is quite fair, but I wanted to make her skin paler by mixing white body paint into a light foundation.

The hair had to look quite frosted, and I remember using a LOT of white hairspray to get the texture and colour right.  I used a lot of padding to bulk out the hairpieces as her hair was quite short, then wedged the crown in the middle.

It was an amazing experience creating this look, especially since it has been so much work to get everything ready for the shoot (the costume and props took months to create!)  The pressure was most definitely on for the hair and make-up to be spot-on.

New year, new hair? Things to consider when changing your look.

As some of you might know, I started my career in hairdressing, working as a stylist and colourist for seven years.  And, as a self-confessed chameleon (you name it, I’ve probably had it!) I’m pretty used to change!  (Long to short, girly to mohawk, black to blonde, and then blue, pink, yellow (!), undercuts, mini-fringes…)

(cue dodgy picture circa 2003, I’m the startled-bird-looking one on the right)

So you’ve decided to go for it and spruce things up a bit.  Now here’s what you do:

  • Go to someone you can trust.  When in doubt, have a blowdry/trim with them first, if you’ve never been the stylist before.  COMMUNICATION is almost more important than the cut or colour itself, if this is lost on either side, this will not turn out pretty.
  • He/she might be the lead colourist/stylist of XYZ salon, but if they’re going be intimidating, they might do something you will regret.  Listen to them (they are the professionals, still) but don’t allow yourself to be bullied into anything.  If they say a fringe will bring out your eyes, let them know if you hate having hair in your face, for instance.
  • So you’ve got your tattered picture of Rock Star/Screen Starlet in your purse.  No, you don’t look like her, but you want HER HAIR. But you don’t have her hair, or anything like it.  Be realistic.
  • Having said that, bring pictures.  References of your dream look on different people will narrow things down for the stylist (who knew there’s a million versions of chestnut brown?) I’ve had it happen so many times where a client might say bright red, but mean auburn/ginger/bordeaux/fire engine/strawberry.  Pictures make a stylist’s life so much easier, but it’s also easier to suggest an alternative if they know it’s not going to work.
  • Your lifestyle is of crucial importance.  How much time are you willing to spend on your hair every morning, and will your new style accommodate for lazy days too?  Let them show you how to style your hair on a daily basis, but also how to style it for a night out.
  • On that note, also take into consideration how often you would need to recolour your hair.  There are small tricks your colourist might suggest to make the regrowth seem less obvious.  Also keep in mind that sometimes it might take up to 6 months for you to reach your target shade.  Be open to that!!
  • Use the right products!!!  I can not stress this enough!  If you consider that hair consists mainly of keratin and other proteins, and colouring your hair will remove some the protein, you need to get that back in your hair!!  It all depends on the service you have, but my favourite hair saviour has to be Redken’s Extreme Range
  • When you come for your colour appointment, wear clothes that make you feel good and represent your style, but try to keep the colours neutral.  Black is a good option.  Same goes with make-up, try not to use too many colours. Say for instance you’re used to wearing gold on your eyes, and you go for an ash blonde colour, the colours will clash if you look in the mirror.  Same goes for cool make-up/warm hair colours.  Your stylist should suggest colours that will work in the future, and what colours to avoid.  Lighter hair sometimes mean you could get away with less make-up, while darker hair might need a heavier hand in terms of colour.  Everyone’s different, though.
  • Be open-minded.  Face it, your hair WILL look different when you walk out.  My personal rule is give your eyes three days to get used to it before you form an opinion.  Every time you walk past your reflection, you might be a bit startled, but prepare yourself for it.  People are sometimes ruthless, and especially those who aren’t used to change themselves, might be a bit shocked, or tell you they don’t like it.  Don’t let that affect you, YOU need to like it.
  • If you’re still a bit apprehensive, do it in BABY STEPS.  Have a couple of slices put through in your dream colour, get used to it that way.  Or instead of chopping it all off, have a longer version of what you want instead.  Sometimes clients come back to me after a week, and say they’re ready to do the change!
  • Remember this:  hair grows.  Although this shouldn’t be the reason why you’re doing it in the first place, after a few months, you could change it again!

I hope that this might help some of you! Feel free to add any personal experience in the comments, fire away with the questions.

Kirsty Mitchell – Virtuoso, Friend

Over two and a half years ago I’ve met someone who would become one of the most important people in my life.  Sitting in Kirsty Mitchell’s living room, she showed me the most beautiful bonkers moodboard and had even crazier ideas popping out of her mouth. I knew I’ve found a creative soulmate, and Wonderland was born. We truly are neighbours in lala-land.

This lady has been through so much in her life, being really ill herself and then having to lose her mother, who was her best friend.  She decided that she would do a series in tribute to the memory of her mother.  (Please read the wonderful interview at My Modern Metropolis, as well as her About section on her website for more about her background)

Working with her has really opened my eyes, and believe that all the fluffy ideas in my head could become reality.  Every time she comes up with a new idea with a spark in her eyes (‘I’m thinking of a teeny tiny girl sitting on top of a giant cake with colours bursting everywhere’ was one of the milder ones) I would have a silent giggle, because I knew that it would be a lot of work, but we WILL pull it off in the end.

Along with her long-suffering (new!) husband and a couple of close friends, we do pretty much everything ourselves.  Making props, painting trees (with not-toxic water-soluble paint, I might add!), getting up at the crack of dawn to help model Katie on to her stilts in the woods, her mixing batches of paint for the perfect colour, the list goes on and on!  Kirsty is the mastermind behind it all, and her background in costume and fashion design ensures that there’s always a way to make the seemingly impossible, possible.  Add to that her sheer determination, and her visions magically become reality.

I love this girl to bits, and I could not believe the response that Wonderland got (published globally, both online and in print), I’m so privileged and proud to be a part of it.  This has changed my life, my self-belief, my drive, and I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store!  She just quit her job as a full-time fashion designer for a well-known fashion brand, and this year there’ll be much more time to finish the series, promote it, and a lot of other exciting things…

The reason I chose today to write about Kirsty and Wonderland is that after ten months of not publishing ANYTHING, today will see the launch of new pictures.  Head over to her BLOG  for the story behind the new pictures, behind the scenes pictures and more.

Signing off with a few behind the scenes pictures of the Wonderland series, feel free to pop over to her Facebook page for more!

(Georgie likes to help)