Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Wedding hair

Courtesy of Nyumba

Michael Charalambous is a wedding hair expert having styled many a bride including Tatiana Blatnik, who married Prince Nikolaos of Greece last summer.

Michael was described in a recent article “Big day hair” in The Sunday Times’s Style as “one of those rare hairdressers who, when he takes you on as a client really studies you.” And, yes he does. I would go further and say he is one of the rare hairdressers who can actually cut hair. In my eyes he is the God of Hair.

There is one sure way to know whether your hairdresser is any good. When you wash your hair yourself can you style it?

It is all too easy to disguise a bad cut with a professional blow-dry. I have been going to Michael for years now and have never had a bad haircut. I always get compliments from other hairdressers. So, I asked him what he would do with Kate Middleton’s hair for the big day.

“I would give her soft honey and amber low lights, mostly scattered on the whole perimeter of the front sides and nape area. The style I would choose would be a loose, soft feminine wavy pulled-back low chignon with the tiara and veil placed across the ears and on top of her head,” he says.  

Michael also recommends using L'OrĂ©al Elnett Satin (from £1.99) as this hairspray, loved by so many hairdressers, leaves the hair looking light, shiny and totally natural.

For brides-to-be, Michael has the following tips:

1.   Wash your hair the day before as it will be easier to work with. If you do decide to wash it on the dayuse a moisturising shampoo and conditioner then spray with Bumble and bumble’s Tonic Lotion (£15)

2.    Colour, highlights and relaxers should be done three to seven days before the wedding day, so the roots aren’t showing when photographs are taken with professional lighting. After your hair has been finally blow-dried, don’t put face cream or moisturised oils around the hairline

3.    Make sure if you do decide to wear your hair up that you have tried it out before the big day, so you can get used to wearing grips, pins, hair pieces and accessories. Sometimes, brides feel uncomfortable with all the extra things on the hair

Michael’s advice on styles to suit different face shapes:

1     Small face/oval shape can have width. Suits a low chignon, not over backcombed and high on the top

2     Round face/short or average neck can wear hair up to 7.6cm (3in) high to create the illusion of a more angular face and cheekbones

3     Square face can, usually, soften the head shape and face by having a pronounced over-directed diagonal parting and a side-swept fringe. Asymmetric chignons look impressive

4     Heart-shaped faces should opt for a more pointed cone-shaped head top with a small tiara and a forward-sitting veil

By Daralyn Danns

Monday, 11 April 2011

Top hair blunders and how to avoid them

After attending several blow-drying classes and asking my hairdresser how to hold the brush when styling my hair, after much practice I can style my own hair. So, I am going to pass on some tips and tricks that I have learnt over the years.
Never brush your hair when it is wet. Surprisingly, this happens even in top salons. Always use a wide-tooth hand-cut comb – as opposed to a moulded comb which tends to have sharper teeth – to detangle your hair. 

Use a hairdryer correctly. Hair guru, Philip Kingsley says: “All hair drying depends on the care taken when using the blow-dryer and the brush, irrespective of what implements are used. Whether or not the hair is dried faster or slower makes no difference – the hair has to be dried anyway. Theoretically, a slower dryer would give more control at the end of the drying process, which is the most crucial part because drying hair from wet to damp does not present any potential damage. It is the drying from damp to dry when a few extra seconds can make a lot of difference and a
blow-dryer on already dried hair will draw out the natural moisture content of the hair cells.  

“A nozzle on the end only concentrates the hot hair, so again, be very careful – it should really be off.”

Always use a product to help protect the hair against heat damage. Start with a small amount and distribute it evenly throughout the hair. Use too much and you will weigh down your hair. You can always add more.

Marilyn Sherlock, chairman of the Institute of Trichologists, points out that it is hard to generalise about hair as there is such a diversity of hair types. Her advice is   always to have a strand test if you are going to a salon for any type of chemical treatment such as colouring and straightening. If you are dying your hair at home, read the instructions first.

By Daralyn Danns

Monday, 4 April 2011

What your best friend won’t tell you!

Why is it when you change your hair dramatically, as in the case of Alicia whom I met the other day, friends always say: “Wow, you look amazing! You should have done it long ago?”
“Not one of them suggested I should go shorter or change the colour,” she bemoaned. “It was only because I changed my hairdresser that I got a new look.”

Friends get used to seeing you the way you are. Often they won’t 
tell you because they think they may upset you.
If you can’t rely on your best friend to make sure you are looking up to date, how do you keep reinventing yourself?

In your 20s, experiment with colour and styles. You can carry off more looks.

As you go through your 30s, your skin tone changes and the first greys start to appear. Blondes can blend lowlights and highlights. Brunettes can use semi-permanent colours, but you will have to be careful of build-up as you can end up with hair darker than your natural colour which will leave you looking washed out.

In your 40s, the golden rule is to go lighter as dark hair can emphasis every line and wrinkle in your face. If you are blonde, you may need to go slightly darker. The right hue should bring out the colour of your eyes.

The texture of your hair changes over time, especially as you go grey. If you have long hair and it is not thick and glossy, it’s time to go shorter.

Find a good hairdresser. Mine is Michael Charalambus, at Nyumba. He is wonderful. He has taken me from having one-length long hair to a short layered bob and is always tweaking the style. It’s time to move on if yours keeps doing the same style or doesn’t keep reviewing your colour each time you go – and that doesn’t mean adding more highlights until you are a completely different colour.
Reading about somebody in the press doesn’t necessarily mean they are good. It may be that the hairdresser has a good PR and they are easy to get quotes from.

The best way of finding a hairdresser is to see somebody who has well cut or coloured hair and ask them where they go. – even stop somebody in the street. There are plenty of great salons on the high street such as Rush Hair who have good stylists.

It’s not where you go, it’s who you go to!

By Daralyn Danns

Which conditioner?

Colouring and over use of heated appliances certainly have taken their toll on my tresses so using a good conditioner is vital.

Hair conditioners improve the look and feel of the hair. They contain ingredients such as silicones that add shine and moisture to the hair, proteins that bind and coat the hair and emollients such as fatty acids and fatty alcohols which cover the hair to protect and seal in moisture.

Use a conditioner that is right for your hair type as formulations differ. The amount you should use varies depending on your hair type and its length. Overdo it your hair will be greasy; if you don't apply enough your hair may be hard to manage. If you have an oily scalp, condition the ends and mid-lengths only. If you have dry or flyaway hair use a leave-in conditioner. Check the fragrance before you buy it as the smell can linger. The more expensive conditioners usually have a nicer perfume.

Deep conditioners are the most effective method of conditioning hair as they have concentrated levels of conditioning ingredients such as panthenol. They work well on hair that is extremely dry. Use once a week. When my hair is extremely dry, I use them instead of a conditioner. A word of caution: if you have coloured red or dark hair, some masks can make the hair dull and lift colour. Hot oil treatments may also remove colour. 

A tip I learnt from my hairdresser, Michael Charalambous is to use almond or olive oil. This works particularly well if you have thick hair which is really parched. Apply to mid-lengths only and leave overnight. Use a plastic cap to cover your hair or put a towel on your pillow.

Remember that hair is dead once it leaves the scalp so products can only provide a temporary fix. 

By Daralyn Danns

Which shampoo?

At the chemist, supermarket and at the salon, there are shelves stacked with bottles of shampoo all trying to tempt you to part with your money.

It’s all too easy to be seduced by the packaging, fragrance and advertising. That picture of a girl with healthy, shiny hair and the hint that mine could be the same is persuasive, but I know that the picture has probably been taken in light which shines directly on to the hair.

So how do you choose? Shampoos are basically cleansers. They are a mix of detergent (e.g. ammonium lauryl sulphate, sodium lauryl sulphate) and water to which other ingredients such as foaming agents ( e.g. cocamide), conditioning additives such as panthenol, thickeners, preservatives, an acidic component (to maintain the correct pH level) and fragrance are added.

Reading a label can be difficult.  As a guideline: the greater the amount of the ingredient in the product, the higher up the label it appears. It’s the first few that really make a difference to the product’s formulation. There is a misconception that the more lather the shampoo contains, the better it is. It actually doesn't contribute to the cleaning process.

For best results use the right product for your hair type. A shampoo for greasy hair contains more detergent than one for dry hair and so will be harsher.

According to the dermatologists and trichologists that I have worked with, shampoos do not build up on hair or work differently over time. Hair should always be rinsed well. As hair is dead, a shampoo or conditioner can only help your hair to look and feel better temporarily.

How often you should you wash your hair depends on your hair type. If you have greasy hair you might want to wash it frequently using a gentle shampoo.

As a lot of the same ingredients are found in products in all price ranges it’s worth trying a few until you find one you particularly like.

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 1 April 2011

How to find a great colourist

The relationship between a girl and her colourist is one of the most important she can have. After all, you are putting your crowning glory in their hands and as we all know, the right colour makes you look and feel great, the wrong colour can drain you as well as age you.

Adding colour to your hair is one of the quickest ways to change your looks. So, it is essential to choose a good colourist. Before you let anybody near your hair have a consultation and a patch test for allergies. Ask your hairdresser - or a friend who has well-coloured hair - to recommend a colourist. You need somebody who specialises in colour not a general stylist.

Take in a picture of what you actually want and discuss it. Make sure that your idea of a colour is the same as theirs. Look at your colourist’s hair, make-up (if it’s a woman) and sense of dress.You can get an idea of how much they understand colour.

Talk about maintenance. Ask how long you can expect the treatment to last before having to have it redone. Generally, dark, rich shades last the longest. Red tones fade the quickest.

Hair is made up of three colours: red, yellow and blue. Brunettes have more red and yellow than blondes. As brown hair has more warmth, extra care needs to be taken when lightening it. Blondes should not go to brassy.

Go to a colourist who gets your skin tone and eye colour. If you have warm tones in your skin, golden shades will suit you. If you have cool skin tones, go for ash tones. Avoid red tones if you have a lot of pink in your skin. There are always exceptions to every rule. You may need a neutral shade. The professional will see that.

Remember, tweaking your hair slightly may mean you have to change your make-up. A more drastic change may mean having to rework your wardrobe as well.

Each time you see your colourist tell them what you like and don’t like about your hair. They should review your colour every appointment.

To keep your hair looking good use a deep conditioner once a week. My favourite is Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (£25.50, which magically seems to make hair silky soft. Limit your use of heated appliances as they will dry your hair out and always wear a hat in the sun.

By Daralyn Danns