Reverse Wash & Care: What's It All About?

January 28, 2016

TRESemmé recently launched the first mass-market reverse wash & care range, Beauty-Full Volume, meaning that this approach is soon to be a topic of heated discussion. Like co-washing and no-poo approaches, reverse care joins a movement of new ideas that aim to revolutionise our haircare routines from the ground up.

Despite this claiming to be the "first" range, this isn't a new idea. Speaking to Refinery 29 last year, Nina Dimachki,artistic director for Kérastase, advocated this method for a number of hair types, including highlighted, tangle-prone, thick or coarse. For this, Kérastase developed their Résistance Thérapiste range, with a pre-treatment and then a balm-in-shampoo cleanser.

Ojon, whose co-wash product, Rare Blend Cleansing Conditioner, has been on my shelf for a long time now, also offer a treatment that is so rich it comes with a recommendation to wash out using shampoo. This, however, is still best followed with a regular rinse-out conditioner after washing. It's called Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment Plus, and is specially formulated to strengthen chemically damaged hair.


SUMMER COLOUR TRENDS - Platinum, Split-Dye, Hair Contouring and Candy Hues

June 3, 2015

With brighter days upon us once again, you're probably thinking of getting some ombré/balayage treatment to brighten up your locks and get you on trend.

If that is the case, stop what you're doing and install Instagram, because you seem to have missed the news somehow - that trend is now on its way out.

Here's what's kicking it off the table...

It all started a couple of months ago when platinum became an overnight must-have after Kim Kardashian and Jared Leto both revealed lightened locks at the same time. Kim, after bleaching her hair three times all in the name of a photoshoot, retrned to brunette merely a week later, and then Jared went green to play the Joker in 2016's Suicide Squad. (See my blog post on the season's must have colour and cut here).

Kim K's Vogue Brasil shoot
However, Lady Gaga - who shot to fame with blonde as her die-hard signature hair colour - this week returned to her iconic shade and Instagrammed the whole process as some kind of modern-day bleaching tutorial. And so, blonde returns to the fore once again.

"No filter. The method we used was to take me from a black Demi-Permanent to a very translucent sparkly white blond. Although it was painful at times on the scalp, I like to avoid using any barriers with bleach so it's as reflective and translucent as possible while still healthy. Advil and pound a few Pinot, but rinse immediately if the scalp is burning too much not worth it to get blisters. You can always reapply bleach... better to be patient! My hair still feels very soft!" - @ladygaga

Next up, a colour revolution that isn't new, but certainly hasn't shown potential as a widepread trend before. It's called "split-dye" or, more simply, "half and half hair". Or, to put it in a more modern contect, #splitdye and #halfandhalfhair.

This one is a bottom-up trend, led by real people rather than celebrities, all thanks to the newest pillar of society that is social media. Pop these hashtags into Instagram and you're met with a plethora of half-and-half colour jobs that seem to be catching on like wildfire. The idea (quite simply) is to dye one side of your hair one colour and the other side a different colour. I love a good grassroots style statement and this is just that.

Both of the above are claiming to end ombré, but if you're not really into making a huge statement with your hair colour, and the notion of ombré's death is making you want to buy a mourning veil, fear not. There's also a super-natural takeover happening in the form of micro-highlights and hair contouring.

What? And what?

Hair contouring chart by Charles Worthington.

Okay, by now you'll probably have attempted to follow one of the many YouTube tutorials on the cheekbone-defining makeup that is contouring. This is, despite the Kardashian-Minaj approach of all-out chiseling, supposed to be a subtle, undetectable definition of your natural features. Hair contouring is no different - it uses colour to create highlights and shadows that in their own way attempt to enhance or play down certain features of your overall look. It can create the effect of more volume in your hair, bring out your cheekbones and even make your eye colour more vibrant.

Dreamy hair contouring finish from our Percy Street salon - we're obsessed with this look... - @cwhairlondon

Micro highlights can, for example, placed around the front of your hair to brighten up the face but without being obviously there, and also make scary roots a thing of the past. You will need a very experienced colourist to be able to understand these things, though, so don't skimp on it. Spend some time figuring out what you'd like and have a good, focused consultation. (Seek out Marc Trinder at Charles Worthington's Percy Street salon for the cream of the crop).

Finally, another trend that is grabbing celebrities and Instagrammers alike - candy colours. Pink, purple, green, blue, peach... it isn't just one, it's any of the above. Celebs have been feeding the paparazzi with unexpected colour reveals for years now (see my previous post on this for reference), but it's always temporary and constantly changing. Recently, Kesha chose to go acid green, Jourdan Dunn plumped for purple at Coachella, and Madonna, Natasha Bedingfield and Kaley Cuoco all headed for various shades of pink.

"The Madonna of the Pinks" #riseandshineNYC #BitchimMadonna #madonna @madonna @andylecompte @andylecomptesalon#boomboomroom #regram #majormooncolor#andylecompte#nycdiaries - @majormoonn

If you're wanting to give this a try, just do it. The idea is that you're not making a commitment - you're keeping people on their toes. My current favourite range of semi-permanent colours are by Bleach London, who have a moderate range based on more fashion-forward pastel looks. Plus, with amazing names like 'Washed Up Mermaid', 'Sea Punk' and 'Awkward Peach', you feel a kind of affinity to your "signature" look (which has the potential to last all of a fortnight before you're drawn to the next one).

Of course, you can combine these - try split-dye with platinum blonde once side and dusty pink the other and you will quite simply be rocking three trends at once. Just give others a chance, fashionista! ;)

For more info, here's a massive bunch of links for you to get click-happy with:

Gaga's bleaching "tutorial":

Madonna's pink reveal:

More info on hair contouring...

...and Marc Trinder's page at Charles Worthington:

Some inspiration on split-dye ideas:

Get your hands on Bleach London goodies:

Choosing and Using Hair Products - Made Simpler with Infographics

April 19, 2015

One of my aims with both hairdressing and writing this blog has always been to simplify dealing with hair to its end user (that's you, by the way). So when I came across these infographics I was delighted to see how starightforward they make approaching products, which can be confusing at the best of times and downright overwhelming at the worst.

Unfortunately, the X-Y graph*, which looks at product choice, is aimed at men; and the product usage guide** is aimed at women. I might actually develop my own more comprehensive, non-binary appraoch at some point, but these are still pretty great for the time being.


*Please don't use rubber cement, shoe polish or motor oil in your hair.
**This guide uses some American coins as a guide, the following are rough British equivalents:

Quarter - 10p
Dime - 5p
Nickel - 20p


RED CARPET REPORT: The MTV Movie Awards 2015

April 14, 2015

This years MTV Movie Awards red carpet was a plethora of eclectic style that did not disappoint. Here's a rundown of my favourite moments...

Hailee Steinfeld and Maia Mitchell keep it simple

There once was a time when the slightest sniff of an awards invite would have celebs heating up their curling tongs and reaching for the extra-hold lacquer. But the 2010s have lightly ushered in a return to simplicity, and these ladies embody that simplicity perfectly.

Interestingly, both have opted for centre partings (a trend rife on this red carpet), with a natural texture that falls somewhere between straight and waved. The emphasis here is on perfection - as simple at it looks, the right techniques and products should be employed to ensure your strands are in top condition and stay in place. Add in a smoky eye, flawless skin and nude lip and you're set.

Hailee Steinfeld

Maia Mitchell

Jessie J's 70s vibe

I had a bit of an 'upon closer inspection' moment with this one. At first, I thought Jessie's hair was passable but not remarkable, and that her slouchy, sparkly suit and round sunnies seemed a little incongruous, but then I saw the little braids at the front, then everything kind of clicked and it all seemed rather Woodstock and, well, fabulous.

Another centre parting here - we haven't seen it so popular since the 90s! But it's updated; the above observation just go to show that the little details make all the difference. Word of advice; don't pair these mini braids with the current 90's revival or you'll look too referential. Try it with eveningwear instead.

Cara Delevingne looking flawless

I must find out who did Cara's hair for this even and congratulate them, because this is just immaculate.

Despite being a hybrid of finger wave and ponytail and meticulously placed, it doesn't look contrived. And despite being paired with a high neckline (courtesy of a fabulous Reem Acra choice), it doesn't look dated and matronly. Nope, Cara makes pretty much anything look cool and youthful. And yet she took this as another opportunity to tell people she's "not a model"? Please.

Willow Shields looking classic

I'm giving this a mention because her hair is so beautiful. It's a classic, and Lana del Rey did it better, but it's got super shine and looks super soft. It's pretty much the embodiment of every hair product advertisement ever made, but in real life. It is a little trite for a red carpet look, especially with the red lip, but brownie points for at least nailing it.

Bai Ling's towering topknot

The award for general insanity goes to... Bai Ling, whose gravity-defying hair was actually played down by her dragon/breastplate combination. Or, as I like to see it, an outfit that permits more interesting hair. This does mean that the reverse is pretty much true, though - don't attempt to mimic this on a trip down to Lidl in your day-off jersey two piece. It won't work.

And finally, my undying love for Kelly Osbourne

Every single time this girl hits the red carpet I'm slayed by her taste. This time is no different. Her hair has gone into full-on hawk territory, this time knotted up with black and white stitching. With that signature colour and the level of versatility she seems to manage, I have nothing but respect, envy and a teeny bit of obsession with her style. She's wearing McQueen, too. #preach


The Truth Behind the Plucking Alopecia "Cure"

April 12, 2015

This week a study was published by the University of Southern California that prompted the tabloids to claim that plucking hair from sparse, balding heads could promote regrowth from dormant follicles. "At last, a cure for baldness!" the Daily Mail cried, amidst a myriad of other sources. But these claims in the headlines are unsubstantiated, says the NHS. Here's how it all breaks down...

The study was carried out on mice, not humans. Scientists carried out a 'plucking' procedure on various sized areas of skin and in varying densities. So, for example, they plucked 200 hairs equally spaced over an area 3mm in diameter and the same amount over a 5mm diameter. They found that over a larger area a lot more new hairs regrew, but that it had to be in a concentration of at least roughly 20% to see any new growth at all.

However, mice have a much higher follicle density than that of the human head, with human hair being less than 10 times the density of mouse hair. Furthermore, the study made absolutely no implications for human use whatsoever.

In simple terms, this study never said that it was a cure for human baldness. And it couldn't, since there is no one type of baldness. In a study last year, a successful treatment for alopecia areata was discovered that was unlikely to have implications for androgenetic alopecia.

There may be, however, implications based on the reason for this phenomenon, namely quorum sensing. Quorum sensing is a communication method used by bacteria to enable them to determine how many of said bacteria are present in a local population, and is particularly used in the coordination of gene expression. In this study, it would have been utilised to determine the activity of hair stem cells. The above image shows that the plucking of hairs induces death of the hair-building cells, or keratinocytes, which in turn triggers an immune response that provokes all the follicles in the region to enter the anagen (growing) stage. In the 5mm diameter area this forced hair growth even further away from the plucked area.

See the highly misleading Daily Mail article here, and the much more informative NHS write-up here.


"They Should Bottle That Stuff and Sell It"

April 3, 2015

...and then they did.

I'm sure you've heard it. You've probably said it.

You buy an at-home hair dye, apply it, watch the TV for a bit as it develops, before staining your bath, applying the complimentary after-conditioner for a few minutes and then rinsing. You eagerly dry it off, run your irons over your locks and then stroke your hair in wonder at the silky smooth feeling it's left.

"Why don't they bottle this stuff and sell it?" you wonder.

I'd like to side step for a moment and venture a guess that some of you have also had a stern telling-off from your hairdresser for using these dye kits. The trouble is, we don't really know them as well as we do professional colour. I haven't touched a permanent off-the-shelf colour for years now, and I try to advise others not to, either. In fact, if your excuse is that conditioner, you have no excuses left.

Because they actually did bottle the stuff.

I came across these in Boots the other day whilst looking for Bleach London's direct dyes. (They're gorgeous, by the way, and totally allowed).

These are the exact conditioners included in Garnier Olia and John Frieda Precision Foam hair colour kits:

Now, allow me some snobbery here. I've looked over the ingredients and the John Frieda one is somewhat more advanced, containing palm and rice oils rich in fatty acids and triglycerides, which help to make the hair smoother and stronger by penetrating inside the hair rather than just sitting on the surface like some silicones do. The Garnier one doesn't contain any added benefits like this and, as such, is cheaper. It won't do any harm to your hair, but at £4.99 for almost three times as much in the tube, the John Frieda option is better value for money all round.

Find the products at Boots, linked below.

John Frieda Precision Foam Colour Intense After-Colour Conditioner
£4.99, 150ml

Garnier Olia After-Colour Care Conditioner
£1.99, 54ml


Coloured Hair Should Be Allowed In Schools

March 21, 2015

Since I began blogging, the topics I've chosen to cover have a tendency to follow my somewhat liberal principles. It's still to do with hair, (this being the very nature of my blog), but I like to explore ideas like avant garde style and grassroots inspiration and if topical issues do arise, suffice to say I'm not afraid to show opinions and, (perhaps on occasion), bias. With that in mind, my blog turns two years old today, and although I do have a couple of pieces of research on the back burner, I have an issue to explore that has been niggling for a while.

A particular kind of story comes to my attention on average about once per month, and the following three incidences are from March alone. At West County High School, Missouri, high school junior Savannah Keesee was suspended from school because she had dyed her hair 'bright orange', despite the fact that the colour she chose was named 'auburn'. In Huddersfield, 13-year-old King James's School pupil Alana Harrison was put into isolation for dyeing her hair an 'unnatural' colour (also red). And at Henry Whipple Primary School in Nottingham, more than 20 primary school children were sent home because they had put in red hairspray for Comic Relief.

Alana Harrisson was placed in isolation for this 'unnatural' colour.

This isn't about red hair; that's simply down to coincidence. It's about the judgement passed by schools and their teachers on the choice to have hair colour at all. Of course, the reasons given by teachers and headteachers are all based on a similar mantra: "rules are rules". But why are these rules in place? What possible effect can hair colour really have on a child's ability to learn? When does the need for authority match or even surpass the need for teaching?

King James's head teacher Robert Lamb said that the rule on hair colour - "unnatural colours are not allowed" - is in place to ensure that nothing "detracts children from what they are there for, which is to acheive their potential". In my mind this raises the question of how much a hair colour even can detract from somebody achieveing their potential. I've had every hair colour you can imagine and I don't think it has ever held me back. And in fact, on the occasions that my hair colour was challenged, I felt both victimised and held back from expressing myself. My potential as a person includes the potential to take pride in my image and my individuality.

Pupils at Henry Whipple Primary School were sent home
after spraying their hair red for Comic Relief.

The above cases also come with more-or-less a similar defence from those in authority. Henry Whipple head teacher Cari Burgess said, "Since I became head teacher we have not allowed children to come in coloured hairspray", with Lamb echoing, "our rules on this are very clear hand have not changed in the time I have been the [head teacher], which is over 12 years". And in the case of West County High, school superintendent Stacy Stevens said their rule had been "in place for decades". What does this mean? It means that decades of change in the way we look at personal image are going unrecognised by archaic rulebooks.

All well and good if that's the intention of the school system - but when the current government came into power back in 2010, a Schools White Paper was published entitled The Importance of Teaching. In it, then Education Secretary Michael Gove worte a foreword saying, "it is only through reforming education that we can allow every child the chance to take their full and equal share in citizenship, shaping their own destiny, and becoming masters of their own fate ...[education] allows us to become authors of our own life stories".

Savannah Keesee was told by teachers that her
"orange" hair was unacceptable.

Surely the style or colour of our hair, like piercings or tattoos, should be just as much a part of our life stories as the things we know or the job we do. Yes, there are many employers who see things differently, but school is not employment. Of course it can teach us the skills, knowledge and responsibilities we will utilise in the workplace, but it plays a compulsory and therefore vital part in our personal development, and regulating something like hair colour is ultimately going to do more harm than good. Telling a classful of primary school children that spraying their hair red for charity is not allowed is bound to have some deeper impact on what those children see as right and wrong.

The public agrees. In polls posted on both of the UK news stories, readers came out decidedly against the schools' decisions. The Metro asked of the Henry Whipple case, "was the school right to send the children home?" A resounding 86% said "no", believing that the children were doing no harm. The Mirror asked "should dyed red hair be allowed in schools?", and two thirds agreed it should.

The problem with looking to the DfE for a perspective on whether this should be allowed in schools is that it's largely irrelevant. One of the priorities of the Tory/Lib Dem cabinet is to grant schools with more 'autonomy', which I think is simply passing the buck. Sure, schools are more able to react organiclly to their students and communities, but on the flip side it's easier for them to push at the boundaries of acceptable policies without government intervention. It also means that they're able to fine tune school cultures to please PTA members and governers. Put simply, if you're operating in a very conservative community whose main priorities are to cultivate the rich side of the rich-poor divide, the simplest way to ensure longevity of that situation is to instill your values in the next generation through the school system. (I told you this would be opinionated).

But times are changing, and the tension felt between progressive liberals and conservatives is weakening. Education is investing more than ever in vocational studies that prepare people for creative industries. Alternative and even avant garde style is on the rise from the streets right up to mainstream entertainment. We are becoming more diverse, more colourful and more open-minded. If the education system continues to stifle this evolving culture, all it will serve to do is cause oppression and, in turn, rebellion. If the classroom were instead a safe place to explore your sense of identity without fear of being chastised or ridiculed, this would help to strengthen character, give more confidence and promote tolerance and free thinking. None of these are bad things; indeed, many are vital for the workplace, especially in entrepreneurship.

So yes, my blog is about hair. But the reason I do hair is that it allows people to make choices about how they want to represent themselves. If you are asked to describe somebody who isn't in the room, chances are you start with their hair. It has become something we think about in a very personal way; and so to enforce rules on the way our hair looks is an encroachment on our personal choice.

I will always speak out against that.



NEW Surf Infusion from Bumble and Bumble

March 20, 2015

Ask a panel of hair product addicts what salt spray they use to achieve beachy waves and at least one (if not most) will say Bumble and bumble, whose Surf Spray is a cult wonder-product that has inspired imitations since its launch in 2001. A shampoo and conditioner came into the fray over a decade later but Bb didn't stop there...

The surf spray itself lends a just-from-the-sea, dried-on-the-sand quality to the hair, which gives it a kind of crunchy, tangly feeling. Not by any means, does it feel wrong, but it has never won the hearts of those with hair that is already dry, dull or frizzy because it tends to emphasise the things those people hate the most.

So what do you do if one of your most legendary products isn't filling market need? Well, you make a verison that does...

Introducing Surf Infusion, a salt spray infused with the latest popular ingredient - oil. Namely coconut, mango seed, passion fruit and palm oils, which endow softening and conditioning properties to the product, leaving the hair with a sheen as well as the tousled texture the original Surf spray has become famed for.

As if that wasn't enough, further nourishment comes from coconut fruit and algae extracts and, to top it off, it also contains UV filters protect the hair from the sun.

So if you've kept within a ten mile radius of salt sprays because, "my hair is just too dry already", I'm happy to say that sentence must no longer hold you back.

UPDATE: Since writing this blog post I've now tried the new spray out and it gets my 100% endorsement. It's an incredible summer product, feels fresh but fashionable and is totally on trend. I highly recommend it!

FYI: this is perfect for the latest hot celebrity 'do - the lob. ;)

Find Bumble and bumble Surf Infusion online at or at your local stockist.


NEON CIRCUS by Voltage Noir

March 11, 2015

I recently collaborated on a couple of shoots promoting up-and-coming brand Voltage Noir. I generally did some minimal hair housekeeping and some makeup as well as lending some expertise from photoshoot experience, but it was a pleasure to work alongside some amazing fresh talent. Have a look at the images below and find out more about Voltage Noir after the jump.

For information and enquiries, direct your mail at


A-Z Of A Generation by i-D Online

March 10, 2015

In this new video directed by Willy Vanderperre, hairstylist Anthony Turner looks at the diversity of London's up-and-coming style from fabulous freaks across the realms of goth, drag and beatniks.

Not only is this an insight into the amazing grassroots style of my favourite city, but it features yours truly and a few of my close friends too. Check out the video and description below.

(I'm 'V', by the way!)

Which way to the party? Directed by Willy Vanderperre, i-D’s latest alphabet soup mixes together the mullets, dreadlocks, Mohawks and cornrows that aren’t suitable for the faint-hearted. Whether it’s full of secrets or kiss-curled to perfection, hair stylist Anthony Turner conjures up the looks that ensure you won’t have a bad hair day for at least the next 26 days. In answer to your question… It’s business in the front, party in the back!


Celebs Usher In a New Era

March 9, 2015

In the past week celebrities have decided to literally buck the trends we've all grown accustomed to achieving for the past decade. In short; long hair is out.

As a hairstylist, the number of times I've had a client or model whose hair needed to be coiffed into big, bouncy, shiny waves is practically uncountable. It got to a point in many a stylist's head that this was just accepted as the norm. Kim Kardashian and Cheryl Cole-Tweedy-Fernandez-Versini-Jones-Bloggs [sic] were die-hard reference points for this style and magazines, bloggers and product manufacturers alike have made fame and fortune from allowing people to recreate it on themselves, (think Liverpudlian lasses shopping in their velcro rollers and you get the gist).

So what's new on the scene? The lob, ladies and gentlemen, has come of age.

'Lob', a portmanteau of 'long bob', is a shoulder-skimming length that fits in with fashion's current comforts. Words like 'easy', 'undone' and 'casual' have been bigger buzzwords in the past few seasons than we've seen in decades. But alongside this, personality is crucial. Your image, even if it's easy, is never underthought. In fact, you should have a clear idea in mind. Even beachy hair, that's designed to look like you been in the sea and dried off on the sand, comes with a barrage of products to allow you to get the look the right way.

The lob is no different. It's a casual look, but it should have direction. Kim debuted her chopped length a day before the Oscars, ensuring that those who missed it got an eyeful through the lenses of the paparazzi. A couple of days later it was lifted to a pale blonde in a move that divided opinions down the middle. Cheryl's is a little short to be classed as a lob, but journalists immediately started drawing up comparisons to the 90's 'Rachel', which certainly grew out to shoulder-length at the peak of its popularity.

If girls taking the plunge wasn't enough, Jared Leto - pioneer of the 'mun' (another portmanteau; "man bun") - also scrapped long tresses in favour of a more Fight Club-era slick-back, complete with a clean-shaven face. Whether Leto was really an inspiration point for the uprising of hairy Shoreditch hipsters is up for debate, but if he does have any sway it's a look I'd glady see the back of, personally.

Then, within days, Kim went even lighter and took their colour to silver and Leto had his bleached up as well. This presents us with another trend; that of an entirely bleached barnet. This comes and goes all the time in guises, but blonde has kind of been on the back burner for a while, and this could see it being brought to the forefront as the must-have hue once again. However, don't rush out and get it just yet - the last time blondes were popular it was all about subtle undertones of copper, rose, teal or purple. It's still likely to be a highly bespoke option, but hang around to see what the top colourists do first.

Whether you like change or not, these are three gossip-page celebs whose image is a talking point, and these kinds of seismic shifts in the world of trends will inevitably affect change on the streets. It's a bold prediction, but a pretty solid one.

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February 20, 2015
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RED CARPET REPORT: The Grammy Awards 2015

February 10, 2015

Compiling this one really took it out of me! There was no shortage of notable 'dos at this years Grammys. Join me on the red carpet for the highs, the lows and the plain bizarre.

Everybody's talking about... Iggy Azalea's statement braids

As a hairstylist, I can assure you that this takes some skill and patience. I love it! It has certainly garnered the most attention of the Grammys hair parade. (Well, almost. There's one ostentatious duo that certainly took the poll position, which you'll see shortly). Iggy is definitely no wallflower* so I'm glad she opted for something this striking. Highest seal of approval!

*(see Twitter fight with Papa Johns that actually made more news than her hair).

Rita Ora looked FLAWLESS

Seriously, though. That colour and cut is happening so much that you don't even notice how laid back and simple the style is. I firmly believe that if you're going to do 'easy' hair then you have to have the perfect foundations to work on, and that's exactly what Rita has. Also, dress: flawless. Makeup: flawless. 100% classy.

Kim Kardashian keeps on trying to break the Internet

There's always the nudity, but with a fanbase like hers, simply a haircut is enough to send girls into a frenzy. She had it chopped into this lob a couple of days prior to the awards, and I for one am glad if it curbs the relentless requests for long, blow-dried waves that give you all of the arm-ache (hairdressers - who's with me?) Not only is the length gone, but the super-silkiness is too, replaced by an easy, voluminous texture, created by Michael Silva using Bumble and bumble's Surf Spray (source).

Kelly and Katy continued to rep pastel purple

Kelly Osbourne

Katy Perry

Kelly O has had this hue for a long time now, and once again she brings versatility to the table with an elegant bombshell look, twinned with a super chic Cristian Siriano frock. Kelly is one of my favourite red carpet ladies for her hair experiments and she never lets me down. Perry also rocked the lavender hue in a sparkly Zuhair Murad gown and stunning smoky eyes. I'm one to think that she makes more misses than hits on a day to day basis, but a hit this definitely is.

Ciara and Nicki Minaj kinda matched


Nicki Minaj

Both wore black and both wore their hair slicked back at the front whilst left to hang loose at the back. Ciara's was a bolder take on the look, quite reminiscent of the dual texture trend that first showed itself in a big way back in 2013 (see my blog post here). That's a two-year trickle down from runway to red carpet, which is slower than usual but definitely noteworthy. Minaj, meanwhile, opted for something a little more relaxed - which is something that can probably only be said for her hair.

Some of the couture runway looks maifested... sort of


Keltie Knight

When I posted a blog predicting the red carpet season's hair the other day, (it's here), there were a couple of looks I only half expected to see. One was the veils that appeared at Chanel and Giambattista Valli. Now Madge isn't actually wearing a veil, per se; it's a hair with a lace veil attached. It's also part of a Givenchy bolero look that, along with Dolce & Gabbana, forms one of the more striking trends of the SS15 season. The other was The Insider presenter Keltie Knight's multiple-banded ponytail, a look seen - though in a much more rigid and severe way - at Armani Privé. This is definitely one of spring's more relatable trends, and I'm hoping I see it more in the street.

Sia and Maddie Ziegler did... this:

This is the aforementioned duo that stole Iggy Azalea's headlines. Now let me just say that as an avant garde fan and on a purely aesthetic level I freaking LOVE this. It's weird, it's provocative and it's downright attention grabbing. But this isn't an editorial shoot for i-D. This is a red carpet, and weird, provocative and attention grabbing is amplified a whole lot more when you're surrounded with shiny blow-dries and dazzling gowns. Maddie Ziegler, dancer in Sia's Chandelier video, joined her for a performance of the song in which Sia kept her back to the audience and Kristen Wiig was invited. I'm sure you saw it. And if you didn't, I'm sure you'll Google it. These white wigs are slightly reminiscent of the sculpted hair at Rick Owens' SS13 RTW show, but much, much more. (I still approve, ya know).

Other ladies who looked fabulous in a simpler way

Lady Gaga didn't have even a sniff of the usual avant garde about her tonight as she arrived to perform with current collaborator Tony Bennett. But that didn't stop her looking fierce and flawless and no less my favourite girl. (Oh, bias...) Gaga chose to go with one of her many lace-fronts, this one a perfect platinum in a classy, sleek wave.

Taylor Swift looked as beautiful as ever, but really has been lacking in the hair department for the last couple of red carpet blogs I've had her in, whereas she used to come tops. That said, this is still perfectly polished and very flattering, just a little too simple. (The Elie Saab gown though - oh, my!)

Gwen Stefani with a fabulous quiff/pleat style that flatters her face no end. It's no secret that Ms Stefani knows how to rock her style, own it and still completely win, though. She's a total natural.

And finally, Jessie J's hair is seriously growing in! I still completely adored her shaved, bleached look for Comic Relief (a whole TWO years ago), but she really knows how to grow it out. This raven-toned, perfectly slick androgynous look is actually extremely flattering on her. I must make comment on the makeup too, for it is perfect. That crimson lip = divine.

Wait, when I said "finally", I mean the good ones...

There were, inevitably, one or two hair flops going on. Namely:

Kat Bennett


Kat Bennet's look is the reversal of a common predicament. Quite often bad hair is a good idea, badly executed. Hers is a well-executed, unflattering yawn-fest of an idea. It's just too polished. The bun is just sat on top of her smooth head like a little perfect wrap of nothingness. It has no character. If it did have a teensy bit of character, a little texture or a braid or something, I'd simply have found it too unremarkable to mention. But it's so boring it's actually bad.

Rihanna, on the other hand, had an even piddlier bun and it was badly executed. I don't even know what to say about those random strays that are just sticking out. It's boring, but it's also a mess. And I'm utterly disappointed because Rihanna never goes wrong with her hair. She's been subjected to this, sure... but RiRi, you OK'd this. Shame on you.



February 9, 2015

Despite the rather more conspicuous Grammys happening across the pond, this years BAFTA Awards remained a glitzy and star-studded event. Here's a run-down of the hair trends we saw on the red carpet...

The outcome as predicted - side-swept glamour!

If you missed my red carpet season predictions (see it here), easily the most obvious trend for the season across the couture runways and the red carpet is an easy asymmetry, achieved by pushing back thew hair on one side:

Amy Adams

Charlotte Riley

Hayley Atwell

Keira Knightley

In all honesty this is a red carpet staple. It's flattering on most people and easy to do. Add those waves for a touch of glam and you're onto a surefire win. But that just makes it all too simple. My favourite here was Amy Adams, who usually turns up with an elegant bun or victory roll, taking a youthful turn with perfectly polished, super straight hair.

Speaking of waves, though...

Julianne Moore

Reese Witherspoon

Two ladies who also played it on the safer side were Julianne Moore and Reese Witherspoon. That said, I do really like both. Reese plumped for a very current soft relaxed texture, which is wearable both day and night and makes being on trend a breeze. Julianne Moore, on the other hand, had the perfect, not-a-hair-out-of-place blow wave that has become so associated with events such as this. It's predictable, but it's bound to work.

Stop press! Classic styles a-coming in...

If there's any way to balance out the predictability of waves in abundance, it's with a perfectly-coiffed timeless classic:

Holliday Grainger

Lea Seydoux

Holliday Grainger turned up with a classic and perfectly prim marcel wave, paired with flawlessly natural makeup, delicate jewellery and a pretty white dress, giving a subtle yet determined level of sophistication. But it was Lea Seydoux who stole the carpet for me, with her blonde tresses side parted and tucked under and the ends, exposing the one ear to form a look that hits all the sweet spots without being even slightly contrived. Add to this a sunny yellow gown and the absolute perfect shade of red lipstick and you have an A+ in red carpet style.

Finally, 'Hit, Miss & Maybe', HedRock style...

The remaining looks have their own stand out character for one reason or another...


Natalie Dormer

You could be forgiven for thinking that Natalie Dormer looks like a blonde Wilma Flintstone here, (yep, you cannot unsee it). Fortunately Wilma had taste, and although this doesn't quite hit the spot for me that Lea Seydoux's does, I love that Natalie offers up some versatility. The past couple of times I've blogged her red carpet looks, she's opted for the aforementioned uniform waves. Let's not forget that last year she had one side of her hair clippered down to the skin for the last installment of The Hunger Games, though. So it's good to see something a little more swept-up and creative now that hair is growing back in.


Rosamund Pike

Oh dear. It's not the worst hair I've ever seen, not by a wide margin, but Rosamund, is that... dented? This doesn't quite fit the 'easy texture' bill, nor does it look tidied up enough to be 'classic waves'. It just falls flat. And it's imbalanced. The hair on the dented side - note the shadow at about jaw level - has blunt, sticky-out ends, while the other side curls up to above jaw level. Now, I'm a fan of asymmetry, but this just looks unfinished. And it's a shame, because everything else about her looks great.


Anne Marie Duff

I really don't know where I'm landing on this. You could say it's whimsical ringlets offering a nymph-like quality. Or you could say she looks like a poodle that's overdue a visit to the groomers. I think I'm leaning toward the former, but suffice to say it's a risky look, especially with that sheer white lacy bodice and the milkmaid braid. We are not at a woodland wedding. The jury is out...



February 6, 2015

Awards season is upon us (okay, I missed the Golden Globes ...oops... moving on). For the first time this year, I've decided to have a crack at making some red carpet hair predictions. Ahead of the BAFTAs and Grammys on Sunday, the couture runways have barely cooled down and celebs are tracking down their frocks as we speak. But will their hair go hand in hand with their gowns? Here are the most likely things to appear at the ceremonies...

1. Side-swept

Atelier Versace

Elie Saab

Jean Paul Gaultier

By far and away the simplest to pull off, side-swept tresses look youthful and flattering and compliment almost any dress. Whether it's the sexy smoulder of Versace or the more demure bridal innocence of Jean Paul Gaultier (at least in a couple of looks, it is a JPG show, after all), I think this will be seen at least once in every event. And with Elie Saab gowns guaranteed to make an appearance, it'll be interesting to see if the wearer goes for the full look.

2. Romantic


This only featured at Valentino, but it's pretty much a red carpet staple. The look at the show was following a somewhat Shakespeare-cum-Dante inspiration interlaced with bold artistic motifs. The trick with a look like this at the awards is it needs to play off against the dress well. Pair this with a sleek Versace number and it's going to clash. I'd pip somebody like Zooey Deschanel or Sarah Hyland to carry it off first.

3. "Business in the front, party in the back"

Bouchra Jarrar

Christian Dior

Armani Privé

No, I'm not talking about mullets! I'm talking about these seemingly plain, slick and tidy 'dos that are actually more than they seem. Actually, the look at Bouchra Jarrar was pulled into very simple ballerina buns (no image available), but the surprises lay in Armani and Dior, where much more interesting things took place:

Armani Privé

Christian Dior

At Armani, the hair was painted with gel using a tint brush, then tied into a series of bands giving it an almost Lara Croft quality (If Lara had thrown on an expensive gown and strutted a runway). My favourite, though, was at Dior, where the hair was looped back on itself around a ring, and a faux ponytail attached, basically disconnecting the ponytail entirely. It's pretty easy to pull off such a simple look around the face and leave the creativity to the back, so I'm intrigued to see what variations will pop up.

4. Veiled


Giambattista Valli

This is pretty unlikely to translate to red carpet, but since it happened at two shows, it's not impossible. At Giambattista Valli, the veils were pretty bold with wide bands and polka dots, and a simple ponytail was all that was needed. The more pared-back netting at Chanel, though, allowed a more interesting super-relaxed braid to add character - not that it was needed. I can't imagine many celebs being so bold as to try this, but Gaga will be at the Grammys, so there's at least one possible candidate.

5. Wispy and undone

Maison Margiela

This was one of the less avant-garde approaches at the exciting re-entry of Galliano into the fashion arena, and the look is much more fashion editorial than red carpet, but disshevelled texture has been popular for a couple of years now and the helmet hair created by Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck at the Giles AW14 show could easily have been a precursor to this, so the trend might well be on some minds. (see here).


NEW Bumble and Bumble Blow Dry Balms

February 3, 2015

Bumble and bumble are extending their blow dry portfolio with two new products that continue from their Straight Blow Dry product: All-Style and Repair balms.

Straight Blow Dry is something of a misleading name. It works alongside it's own Straight Shampoo and Conditioner, but all three are more about smoothing than straightening - the reason they carry the 'straight' title is because they make the job ten times easier for those who do straighten their curly, kinky or frizz-prone hair.

Let's have a look at the two new additions...

All-style Blow Dry might be my favourite idea. This one is designed to prolong the length of your blow-dry because it contains oil-absorbing powders that help to combat your style falling flat, making it perfect for oil-prone scalps and fine, limp hair. It still does everything that the other balms do - namely, add smoothness and shine and help to get shape and volume into your style, but with the added benefit of not having to style your hair as often. The reason I like the idea so much is that, as some of you will probably know, I'm an advocate of infrequent washing. Co-washers and no-poo fans will find it useful to their normal routine, but it's also a great product for weaning everyday washers off frequent shampooing and breaking down their routine.

Repair Blow Dry pretty much does what it says on the tin (or tube). It combines the benefits of a styling balm with the reparative qualities of a treatment. Great for dry and damaged hair, it helps to seal down split ends and strengthen the hair to prevent it from breaking. It also has built in heat protection to prevent further damage from hairdryers, irons and tongs.

All of these products are available now from Bumble salons, Boots and


Hair In The Campaigns: Marc Cain SS15

February 3, 2015

I only really do a few of these each season. It's kind of spurred by that excitement in the February/September issues of seeing sparkling new campaigns, and I'll see some hairstyle that peaks my interest. Last season it was Lindsey Wixson's auburn crop. This season, it's a freshman HITC appearance for Marc Cain.

Cain is a name I've seen around in the monthlies and certainly has international appeal, but shows in Berlin rather than one of the four fashion capitals and doesn't get written up by or so I've been unable to find comprehensive images of the runway looks or any real reviews. However, we can take these campaign images on face value: 'light', 'clean', 'summery', 'easy' and 'polished' are adjectives that spring to mind.

So perhaps with the sophistication and simplicity of the clothes, the hairstylist was instructed to be a little adventurous. The aesthetic here certainly isn't overwrought; in fact, it marries quite nicely.

The lengths of the from the crown have been given a super on-trend texturised volume, most likely using a dry texture spray or salt spray to give it that mattified, softened appearance. Then, conversely, the fringe is disconnected, lacquered and moulded into a somewhat haphazard finger-wave with a deep side parting.

I've never seen this done before, and honestly I'm loving it, although I don't really know how it will translate to wearable whilst retaining it's uniqueness. What I will say, however, is that Bumble and bumble are soon releasing a new Surf Spray that gives the texture without mattifying, which could be an interesting hybrid product for a look like this. You'll know when I do ;)


Q&A: Swimming After Bleaching Hair

February 1, 2015

Every now and then a friend will inbox me asking a question about haircare, and usually it's a question that will be quite common. This is the first time I've posted a Q&A here on the blog but will continue to do so from now on when a question comes through that I find relevant and useful.

Q:  If I were to dye my hair blonde, how long should I wait before I go into a swimming pool? I don't want it to go green! This is a question with several implications, so let's break it down. Firstly, the length of time is really a minor factor. It's best to avoid it for a couple of days or until your first wash because of creeping oxidation, but we'll come to that in a moment, Before that, let's deal with why pool water can turn your hair green. You'll probably assume that it's chlorine that does that, but it's not. This is probably a false assumption based on the reasoning that chlorine gas is green, (itself named from the Greek khlōros, which refers to a pale yellow-green), but in actual fact it's copper ions in the water that get into your hair and take on the green hint when they are oxidised, (think of an old copper coin or the Statue of Liberty for examples of this). Creeping oxidation, as mentioned before, is when the oxidising agent used with bleach or dye, hydrogen peroxide, is not completely neutralised or rinsed out of the hair following a chemical process, although it's rare for this to last very long. However, if this does happen, it acts like a catalyst for the oxidation of the copper ions, causing your hair to turn slightly green. This is only really noticeable in blonde hair where there are fewer deep pigments to hide it, although it can cause red shades to look duller, or brown shades to look khaki. Additionally, the porosity of bleached hair allows residues such as metal ions from water to be trapped in the hair much more easily. So, what is the best way to prevent this? Well, the only answer I can give as a foolproof method is, of course, to wear a swimming cap. I can imagine you're grimacing. Yeah, they're not flattering and feel like they're trying to squeeze your brains out, but they keep the water off your hair and are the most effective way. The next best option - and I've been advising clients for years now to do this - is to use a leave-in conditioner before going in the water, which will help to seal the hair and keep it protected. But honestly, not just any product will do this. Mostly because as soon as you get your hair wet, the product dilutes and almost completely rinses out. But using one with the right ingredients can help a lot, so here are the three main things to look out for: 
A sequestering agent A what? Okay, a sequestering (or chelating) agent is a chemical that binds metal ions and renders them unreactive. They have been added to haircare products for years now - especially ones designed to prevent colour fade - to deal with the metal ions found in ordinary domestic water. The main family in question is EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), and the most common is Disodium EDTA. This is the easiest way to combat discolouration in treated water. 
Penetrative oils 
Your hair contains natural lipids but bleaching or over-processing can strip these and they tend to be lacking in porous hair, leaving the hair shaft gappy and susceptible to gathering residues and impurities. Replacing these lipids with oils can help to prevent other nasties from getting in but not all oils can penetrate into the hair in this way. Triglycerides are the best for doing this, which can be a pure active ingredient (such as capric or caprylic triglycerides), or as part of a pure oil such as coconut or sunflower oil. 
Hydrolysed proteins Hydrolysed proteins, especially keratin, have been making their way into more and more products as time goes on. The clinical proof that these have any real reparative effect on the hair is inconsistent, but there is reason to believe that with continued use they have at least a mild restructuring effect on hair. Aside from keratin, others to look out for are wheat, silk and soy. It goes without saying that a careful blend of penetrative lipids and proteins are the best way to attempt to strengthen damaged and porous hair. With all of this considered, I have dug up a product that I believe has the right balance of all of these things and would be an effective barrier to copper discolouration...
Ah yes, my trusty love of Sebastian! Potion 9 contains a blend of oils - olive, safflower, jojoba, babassu, rice and sesame oils - that will work together to both penetrate and coat the hair, plus hydrolysed wheat, soy and silk, and both Disodium EDTA and Tetrasoduim EDTA. These aside, the product is famed for being an effective nourishing and conditioning leave-in with added styling capabilities, so it's actually a great addition to your haircare arsenal, even outside of the swimming pool. Hopefully this will help you swimmers who have those burning questions about going blonde! Read more and find out where to get your hands on Sebastian goodies here:


Reviewed: Scalp Exfoliators

October 16, 2014

This idea came to me recently when I got my hair clippered and noticed my scalp felt excessively flaky and oily. Being an infrequent washer (once a week) for a while now, my scalp doesn't produce oils or shed dead skin cells very rapidly, but if it does decide to go a little haywire, it's not like I notice immediately, because I'm just waiting for my next wash day.

So I thought that, for occasions like this, an exfoliant would be a good idea to just give it that extra cleanse when needed. I knew very clearly that I didn't want an exfoliating shampoo (of which there are a few around) because when I do wash, I like something that looks after my cool blonde colour. So I managed to track down a couple of actual purpose-built exfoliators. I tried them out, and here's the scoop on them...

Keihl's Deep Micro Exfoliating Scalp Treatment

Size/Price: £20 for 100ml (20p/ml)

Exfoliating agents: Apricot seed and Argan shell powders

Scent: Menthol, Rosemary and Thyme

Method: Massage into scalp and leave for five minutes before shampooing.

Experience: The abrasive materials in this certainly feel as though they're dong something and the menthol content is really soothing. I love the scent, too. My scalp felt clearer afterwards, if not a little tight. Overall, though, I'd certainly recommend it.

Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask

Size/Price: £6 for 20ml (30p/ml) or £16 for 75ml (21p/ml)

Exfoliating agents: Betaine Salicylate & Zinc PCA*

Scent: Aloe

Method: Apply in front-to-back partings 3cm apart, massage in and leave for 10-20 minutes before shampooing.

Experience: The abrasive components of this one are much finer, which makes t feel as though it's doing less. However on removal my scalp felt much smoother, probably owing to the purifying qualities of the chemical exfoliants.

*(according to an email received from Philip Kingsley HQ, these two are the exfoliating ingredients. On further research, it's hard to determine the active effect of betaine salicylate. Zinc pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) apparently lowers the level of sebum production).

Verdict: I personally prefer the Philip Kingsley product, although I must say the Keihl's option is both better value for money per ml and contains fewer chemicals and fewer ingredients overall, making it a more suitable option for those of you who are fans of more choices. You can also feel the Keihl's one working harder. The merits of Philip Kingsley are it's clinical background. Kingsley himself is a trichologist and the products are borne out of clinics, making them somewhat the authority on scalp condtions and treatments.

So, is a scalp exfoliator for you?

I would suggest 'yes' to anybody who suffers from a slightly dry or irritable scalp, but not to those who wash on a daily basis. Abrasive materials will stimulate sebum production, so if you have a greasy scalp, (often caused by over-washing or seborrhea), it might serve to make things worse. It's also advisable to exfoliate your scalp no more than once per week (just like the skin on your face) to avoid causing your scalp to become greasy. If you do want to avoid this completely, the safe option is the Philip Kingsley product, which is more likely to keep this under control.


Hairdryers in the EU Could See Their Power Capped by 30%

August 30, 2014

An article published by the Daily Telegraph this week highlighted a European Commission report that potentially aims to cap the power that hairdryers can utilise.

Findings by environmental research body Oeko-Institut studied 46 hairdryer models and found that the power can range from 960W to 2100W (an average of 1,937W). When calculated against an average use time of 12 minutes, this concluded an estimated energy consumption of 78 kWh in a year. To put that into perspective, it's the equivalent of 546 hours of TV or putting your phone on to charge for one hour over 20,000 times.

The report then goes on to say that the "improvement potential" for power saving is 30%. The speculation that high-power hairdryers could be restricted comes from a previous move made on vacuum cleaners which takes effect this week, banning manufacture or import on models that have motors exceeding 1,600W.

Speaking to the Telegraph, former National Hairdressers' Federation president Mark Coray raised concerns over the warning, saying that not only are high-power hairdyers quicker and more efficient, but the reduced drying time means a lower risk of repetitive strain injury. Coray uses a 2,100W model in his salon, and I'm going to hazard a guess that this model is similar to, if not the same as, my own...

left: ghd air™ - a 2100W model
right: the new ghd aura™ - only 1,600W

My current hairdryer is the ghd air™ and I love it. The heat and speed of the airflow means that not only are my blow-dries quiker, but the hair takes shape much more quickly and lasts longer, and this in turn means there's less over-working, static or damage. Put simply, it's designed to give a brilliant blow-dry, and very quickly. For all these reasons, that makes the prospect of lowering the power of high-performance hairdryers a scary one.

However, the new ghd aura™, realeased only a few months ago, claims to utilise a more concentrated, and more comfortable, stream of air and yet it's lighter and quieter, making it an even better hairdryer, and at just 1,600W. That's 500W lower than the previous model.

Another interesting point is that if you take the 2,300W maximum from this research and reduce it by 30%, you land at 1,610W - meaning that one of the market's most advanced and up-to-date products falls within the potential cap.

So really, this is a question of how fast innovative technology can keep up with eco-conscious production.

At this stage, though, nothing is finalised. According to the EC's energy spokesperson, Marlene Holzner, this report is just in draft stage and hairdryers might not even make the final list of products that end up being capped, which may include smartphones, wifi routers, kettles and patio heaters. Speaking to the Telegraph, “it’s a big question mark if we go to regulate hairdryers at all. It’s a study we have asked consultants to do. In the final report they will reduce 30 products to 20. In January 2015 we will look at these recommendations then select from this list what to regulate and how.”


EC Report:

RED CARPET REPORT: The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards

August 27, 2014

The glitz, the glamour... this years Emmys red carpet was a wonderfully sparkling affair with wonderful, well-coiffed hair!

Here's my top 10 favourites, (in no particular order).

Kelly Osbourne's mohawk

This girl seriously knows how to give us variety. Over the past few times I've blogged her red carpet looks, the only thing that seems to stay constant is that signature lilac hue. This time she flaunted a freshly-shorn mohawk and the fairly recent 'stories' tattoo. This was fabulously femmed-up in a flirtatious Honor gown, dangly earrings and fluttery lashes. Win, win, win!

Allison Janney with longer locks

I'm not saying that this was particularly amazing a hairstyle in itself, but I've never seen Allison with hair this length and it's so flattering on her. The Nicholas Jebran gown could quite easily have looked dowdy had she gone for a more classic look, but the beachy wave makes her look years younger. I totally approve.

Sarah Hyland's top bun

Sarah made it into my top ten for her braid at the Golden Globes back in January, and this time around she's gone for a staple bun ring. It's not bowling anybody over, but there's an effort there and I like that she makes that effort. Everything about her look here seems very well polished, but still a little casual. It's a good balance.

Halle Berry's playful texture

It's not easy to be creative with a short haircut - you can slick it, you can give it some smooth volume, or you can make the excellent choice Halle has made here and wear your sexy, dusty pink Elie Saab with some youthful texture and pulled forward into the face.The daring high slit and rock-chic hairstyle completely offset the elegance of this gowns muted colour and flowing train, and it looks perfect.

Debra Messing looking totally classy

I adore Debra's hair most of the time, (it's that colour - it slays me), but this classic wave worn entirely over one shoulder is on another level. That dress, classic black but still modern in style. the classic smokey eye. Classic, classic, classic and she looks a million dollars. Well, she probably is...

Hayden Panettiere looking almost... bridal?

It's true, or at least it would be were it not for that plunging neckline! This hairstyle is a popular bridal 'do, and with Hayden's maternal body this could easily have come off somewhat 'shotgun wedding'. I do think there's a level of taste here, and her hair does look gorgeous - but I'm still not sure it would have been my first choice.

Julianne Hough rocking windswept!

I loooove this! I love that she has on a slightly-edgy DSquared2 dress, an elegant beaded necklace and then this casual windswept hair to bring all that white back down to a less formal level. The likelihood is her hair is laquered to death but that's what it takes to look this photo-ready and it seriously paid off.

Taryn Manning looking like Daisy Buchanan

Marcel wave? Check. Art deco-inspired, glistening, slinky gold dress? Check. Taryn Manning channels the roaring 20s and does so to perfection. The only thing is, perhaps it's a little too dress-up. She could have made this more youthful by diffusing the curls (it is also making her head look slightly pointed at the top). But it's an 'A' for the concept!

Claire Danes' pretty up-do

Bringing the red carpet A-game is Claire Danes, who had a play-it-safe mixture of elegantly-pinned up-do and Givenchy haute couture. Luckily, in dazzling bright vermillion with a sheer lace back and fiery lipstick to match, it looks far from safe. Basically, there's no way this could have failed!

Zooey Deschanel's bouncy curls

In a world where 'beachy', 'dirty' and 'undone' are the buzzwords in up-to-date hairstyling, it's so refreshing for somebody to do full, bouncy, shiny curls like this. Wearing this alongside a girly-pink Oscar de la Renta and a impossibly happy smile gives Zooey a playful, cheery misdemeanour. I always like it when she parts her hair as well. I adore the fringe, but It's great to see some variety. And she made her red carpet debut with boyfriend Jacob Pechenik - no wonder she looks so pleased!

And finally - the biggest trend going!

Top (l-r): Julia Roberts, Michelle Dockery, Gwen Stefani, Heidi Klum
Bottom (l-r): Natalie Dormer, Christina Hendricks, Sofia Vergara, Taissa Farmiga

Centre-partings made a comeback to the runway a couple of seasons ago and they were were everywhere at this event! The 90s revival may have only lasted a heartbeat, but this particular trend shows no signs of disappearing any time soon. Gran your pintail combs and make it precision perfect. Everything from that point down is up to you!


RED CARPET REPORT: The MTV Video Music Awards 2014

August 26, 2014

I'm just going to come out and say this up front: the red carpet for this years VMAs was predominantly a parade for predictable and unimaginative hairstyles. There was way too much of the 'loose-curls-stroke-glamorous-undone-wave'. Usually music industry awards shows tend to bring the fun, but I was left a little unenthused. So much so that I'm going to do one of my quick 'Top 5' edits for this show and save the deep discussion for the much-more interesting Emmys.

Thankfully, there were a few saving graces. Kinda.

#5: Beyonce reps the cliché

If anybody can do the aforementioned red carpet waves to perfection, you can bet it'll be Beyonce. But then this is a lady who never gets her style too far from flawless. Well done Bey, you crept into my top five by doing the obvious but doing it well.

#4: Taylor Swift's beachy lob

The "lob" (portmanteau: ''long bob') is an 'easy' haircut that's usually presented in a smooth, free-flowing way. Now, Taylor's hair when straight is shoulder-length and wouldn't qualify as a lob, but with more bounce like these beachy curls, it's about the right length, and it'a great way to perk up your look. She usually comes in the top two, maybe three, at red carpet events, but this falls a little short unfortunately. The pretty face really helps.

#3: Kesha and her rainbow hues

This isn't really that new - Kesha actually did this colour two weeks ago - but she probably did it in preparation for the show, so we'll count it. Honestly, I love this. Usually I hate rainbow hair because it looks tacky, but this is really well put together and looks quite classy. Which (let's be honest) is quite an achievement in itself for Kesha.

#2: Gwen Stefani and her relentless advocacy of pin-up hair

This isn't even that well done. But she was seriously the only person to even go there, and for that, I must give her credit. Sure, this is Gwen beating the dead horse that is her victory rolls, but she's doing it an a magenta two-piece couture number with matching lipstick and she looks so happy that she still pulls it off, even if it is a little sloppy. Maybe she ran out of time. She's Gwen Stefani. Let's not question her.

#1: Kelly Rowland actually doing something creative.

Whilst Beyonce barely scrapes the bottom of the mentionable 'dos, former co-Child (and with child) Kelly Rowland pips the rest to the post for having a braid. Just a braid, really. It had character, and that's what I liked. She's positively beaming (possibly due to pregnancy hormones), and see all know what confidence does for your look. Unfortunately, Beyonce took the only award Kelly was nominated for. So I hereby present Ms Rowland with the HedRock Award for 'Not The Dullest Hair on the Red Carpet'. Congrats, girl.


Shampoo Could Soon Be a Thing of the Past

August 22, 2014

I have long been telling my clients that they should cut down on shampooing. I wash my hair once a week, and I think twice, maybe three times is the most anybody should be doing it. And I'm not the only one. Two news articles were emailed to me on the same day last week - one concerning a well-established industry professional, the other a beauty blogger, both of whom advocate not only cutting down on shampoo, but stopping use altogether.

Why is this happening? Well, let me start with my own reasoning. One of the biggest complaints I get as a professional is scalp issues - either flaky or greasy. One thing that is guaranteed to make these worse, or even cause them, is over-shampooing or using a shampoo that's too aggressive. The natural oil produced in the skin - sebum - is designed to lubricate/condition the hair and to keep the scalp from drying. When you strip your scalp bare of this sebum, your body reacts in one of two ways - either it can't keep up with you, resulting in dry, flaky skin; or the sebaceous glands work twice as hard to replace the sebum you've removed. The latter causes you to wash more often, perhaps every day, resulting in a cycle that you can't break. Over-shampooing stresses the ends of your hair, too, drying it out and contributing to split ends and a dull, straggly appearance.

It all sounds like a bit of a predicament, doesn't it? So, I hear you ask; what are the solutions?

When I cut down my shampooing routine to once a week, I invested in a genius product by Bumble & bumble:

Sunday shampoo is designed for once-a-week use. Now, I might contradict myself slightly here, but this is a deep-cleansing shampoo that uses strong detergents. It's the kind of thing that, if you used every day, would definitely result in the problems I listed above. But, once per week, it just removes excess products, sebum and pollutants that have built up in the good number of days since you last washed. Additionally, because your scalp is being cleansed so infrequently, your body gets used to the routine and produces sebum at a slower rate. So you don't need to wash every day.

Here's where the story takes an interesting turn, though. Bumble & bumble was started by Michael Gordon, who has since sold it off to Estée Lauder. Gordon is one of the advocates I mentioned above, who is attempting to put a stop to shampoo altogether. His new product, Purely Perfect, has been described as an 'anti-shampoo' that also makes conditioner 'obsolete'. I first heard about it in an article in the June issue of Vogue, which introduced Gordon's product and stacked it up against a wave of others (below) that are really kick-starting a huge trend in haircare.

(l-r) Kérastase Chroma Sensitive Cleansing Balm, Wen Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner,
Tibolli Bubble-Free Shampoo

The trick to products like this is that they contain very little or no foaming surfactants at all. Ingredients you see on nearly every shampoo are things like Sodium Laureth (or Lauryl) Sulfate, or the lesser-used Ammonium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate. The Kérastase product says it has less than a quarter concentration of this and the other claim none at all. Instead, they use a good mixture of natural ingredients and Aloe Leaf Extract is used in almost all of them.

Buzzwords like 'sulfate-free' and 'paraben-free' have been seen as hair product benefits for a while now, and natural and organic haircare is certainly on the rise. But what happens if, say, you ditch hair products altogether?

That's right - no styling products, no shampoo, and not even this new wave of detergent-less cleansers.

That's what beauty blogger Lucy AitkenRead did for two years. She completely gave up hair products, including shampoo. Now, whilst most of you are probably cringing at the thought of going that long without washing your hair, Lucy is so committed to the cause that she wrote a book about it:

Happy Hair: The Definitive Guide to Giving Up Shampoo takes the reader through Lucy's decision to take up the 'no poo' method and guides you through the process to having - ultimately - healthier, happier and more natural hair. She admits it hasn't been easy, telling the Telegraph, "Once we were painting my house and I got paint in my hair and told my husband I was going upstairs to use his shampoo. He talked me down, because he knew I’d be disappointed afterwards if I did it".

Of course, going completely cold-turkey is going to have it's downfalls, and Lucy admits that you must go through a terribly greasy, even smelly stage before your hair starts to clean itself. And that's true of cleansers, too. Tony Kelley at says that even though most people notice great results from Purely Perfect instantly, some people can take a couple of weeks to get used to it. And I too have told people that, when they break down their washing routine, they will have to fight the urge to wash that second or third day when they feel a bit gross and dirty.

Despite that, this trend is certainly on the rise, and with so much money being invested into products that prevent you from washing so often, it could well be that Michael Gordon is right when he says:

"I honestly think in five years people are going to go, ‘Oh God, remember when we used to wash our hair with shampoo?’"

Find out more about the products listed in this article:

Purely Perfect:
Bumble & bumble:
Wen (at Sephora US):

Lucy AitkenRead's blog, Lulastic


Potential Cure for Alopecia Areata is Investigated

August 22, 2014

News came through this week of three human trial subjects suffering alopecia areata who grew back a full head of hair within five months. It has certainly flared up a lot of excitement, and these three people are reportedly very happy with the results. But how has this happened, and does it mean that we could kiss goodbye to baldness for good?

Believe me when I say the investigation into this one has been a real challenge. Biochemistry doesn't come naturally to most people, myself included, so I'll try to make this as simplified as I can whilst still giving you all the information.

First off, let's whet our appetites with the human trial results published by the researchers:


Yep, it's pretty remarkable. Now on to all the 'smallprint'.

I'm going to start by throwing out a few truths so as not to make anybody overly-hopeful about this. First, alopecia areata is distingushed from the much-more common androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness) that sets in with age and is characterised by a thinning crown and receding hairline. You know the type. Put simple, nobody has cured that. Also, it differs from alopecia universalis/alopecia totalis (baldness over the entire body), although this form is more closely related to what these studies cover. Alopecia areata (referred to as AA hereafter), for those that don't know, is a condition where scalp hair falls out in patches. I'll go into more detail about the causes in a moment.

Second, there is no specifically-created drug available here, just a pre-existing one that isn't diagnosed for alopecia. It does have a couple of very important drawbacks, and the clinical trials are still going on as we speak - some subjects have yet to see results.

With that out of the way, let's do some science.

What causes Alopecia Areata?

The researchers heading this study, Raphael Clynes,MD,PhD and Angela Christiano,PhD, discovered that the cells responsible for the production of hair protein, keratin, were sending out false 'danger signals' in AA sufferers.

The image above shows a super, super close-up of the hair bulb. there is one of these beauties for every single hair on your head. (Yeah, when people say the human body is amazing, they aren't kidding). The part we are concerned with is the epithelial sheath - that's the second and third on the list in figures (c) and (d). This is where each hair is made. Cells called trichocytes make proteins that link and coil and stick together, eventually forming one single hair.

Now, all cells in the human body are capable of sending signals to one another. If you catch a virus, that virus will attack certain cells in your body and then those cells will make chemicals that release into the bloodstream and are then picked up by white blood cells, the body's natural disease-fighting army. White blood cells are formally called T-cells (or T-lymphocytes).

What happens in AA sufferers is that the cells in the epithelial sheath think that they're under attack when they're not, forcing T-cells to invade and disable them.

How do we stop this from happening?

A relatively recent FDA-approved drug called Ruxolitinib, which is used to treat a type of bone marrow cancer, uses a mechanism called a JAK inhibitor. Ruxolitinib is sold in the USA under the brand name Jakafi.

When a T-cell receives the danger signal, a kind of 'on/off' switch is activated inside the cell. The enzyme that carries this out is called a Janus kinase (JAK) - it's how the cell knows that it needs to jump into action. Ruxolitinib essentially disarms this switch. So, when the cells in the hair follicle send out the false danger signal, this drug stops the T-cells from reacting to it, and the hair follicle cells aren't attacked.

And this is how we got three AA sufferers to grow back a full head of hair. Fascinating, right?

Drawbacks - there are a few.

This is an ongoing study. Most of the success was found in mice before the human trials. The three that have been published are the first three of a dozen. The next three hadn't recovered any of their hair at the time the research was published. This is just something we will have to wait and see. It is worth noting, though, that most drugs don't have a 100% success rate.

Next, there is a major contra-indication to a drug that inhibits your white blood cells. The researchers mention that all of the test subjects are young and healthy, and suggest that this is the best condition for the drug to be used. It can lead to low blood counts and infections, as you're tampering with the body's immune system. Its certainly not a good idea for people with immune deficiencies to use a drug like this. There are, however, implications for the drug to be administered topically (i.e. applied to the skin rather than take orally), which could localise the T-cell reaction.

And lastly, this is not cheap. Jakafi costs $8,753 per month, amounting to $35,000 - 40,000 for the time suggested to recover a full head of hair, or in excess of $100,000 in a year. That's a staggering price. Researchers are suggesting that doctors could prescribe this to AA sufferers at their own discretion, if the patients have no concerning health issues that could be affected by it, but it would not be covered by insurance under the drugs intended purposes.

Let's not get too bogged down by 'ifs' and 'buts', though. The fact is, the results are certainly impressive and this is definitely breakthrough research. Clynes and Christiano are continuing the studies, and when asked about the implications for the more common male-pattern baldness, Christiano said she was looking into the question. So watch this space for more info.

If you're a science boffin, find all the nitty-gritty here:

And find a full FAQ and a few questions put to the researchers here:


Would You Have Your Hair Burned For $200?

August 9, 2014

Every couple of years, something comes on to the hairdressing scene and just doesn't go away. A few years back it was the Brazilian Keratin Treatment, sometimes referred to as the semi-permanent blow-dry. Then we had ombré, which somehow mutated into several forms that claim to be different, including dip-dye, balayage and flamboyage.

And the lastest one comes, once again, from Brazil, although it'll take more than intrigue to book yourself an appointment. Called velaterapia (literally 'candle therapy'), the process involves taking a naked flame to twisted sections of the hair, with the aim of removing and cauterising split ends in the process.

A couple of weeks back, Victorias Secret model Barbara Fialho told that she gets the treatment whenever she returns to hometown Sao Paolo, but apparently also frequents Brazilian salon Maria Bonita in NYC.

The process is as follows:

  • First, the hair is twisted into sections and the flame run up and down the midlengths several times. Not the eds, though, because they are too fine and would instantly just bur to nothing.
  • This both 'cauterises' the split ends and the heat opens the cuticle and softens the hair, allowing a conditioning treatment to sink in better.
  • The hair is then wet and the treatment is applied, and developed under heat for 10 minutes.
  • The treatment is rinsed off and the hair is blow-dried.

Before rinsing. What you  can see are the burned split ends and bits of candle wax that have fallen onto the hair.

An example of the effect velaterapia can have on hair condition.

That is actually all there is to it.

This treatment at Maria Bonita will set you back $150-200, though. It's a lot to pay to have somebody attack you with fire, but it is getting increasingly popular with even American women and may just be the next must-have treatment that you'll be the last of your friends to get.


Hair In The Campaigns: Bimba y Lola AW14

August 7, 2014

Well, I must admit I've never heard of Bimba y Lola until this season. So really, this is mostly about the visual...

Okay, so it's pretty much completely about the visual. I had to include this in my HITC series this season because there is a whole lotta hair going on there! This pelo largo, along with the makeup, came from the talented hands of successful Spanish stylist Pablo Iglesias.

If it seems a little weird and creepy, that's because this season's offerings from the brand are based on a kind of gothic fantasy, incorporating witchcraft, unicorns and the Middle Ages into an already quirky and whimsical brand aesthetic. So its spooky, but the kind of tongue-in-cheek spooky you get with brands like DSquared2 or Moschino.

The most interesting thing here is that the clothing doesn't take centre-stage at all. Bimba y Lola seem to be selling the fantasy itself. Thankfully, with a fantasy of this nature, it just might work.


Focused-Ion Beam Technology Could Be the Non-Dye Answer to Permanent Hair Colour

August 1, 2014

Ever wondered if you could permanently change your hair colour with just the sweep of a flat iron? Well, probably not, but new researched published this week by Prof. Zeyd Leseman et al. at the University of New Mexico suggests that one day you may be able to do just that.

The paper, entitled 'Nano-Patterning of Diffraction Gratings on Human Hair for Cosmetic Purposes', is the result of experimentation with Focused-Ion Beam (FIB) technology to etch the hair surface into a diffraction grating, allowing certain wavelengths from incident light to scatter and the hair surface to reflect any colours from the visible spectrum.

Confused? Let's break it down...

What is a diffraction grating?

More often than not, the colours you see around you are the result of molecules called chromphores. These molecules are able to absorb certain wavelengths from the light source you see by (known as incident light), reflecting back only the wavelengths your eyes interpret as its colour. So, the chromophores in paint on a red car will absorb most of the orange, yellow, green, blue and violet wavelengths and reflect mostly red ones back. This is how modern hair dye works. We trap molecules in the hair that are made up of chromophores that reflect the colour we want the hair to be.

But not all colour is the result of these molecules:

Yep - the tail feathers of a peacock and the wings of butterflies are actually not the colours they look. They aren't the result of pigmentation and chomophores. No, these molecules are instead called schemochromes. Rather than absorbing and reflecting  wavelengths, schemochromes make up collagen strugtures that diffuse and refract light in such a way that we see the colours we do. This is called structural coloration - think of the glass prism experiment you did in school, and you're along the right lines. This light scattering is the reason that the above creatures have more of a shiny, iridescent look, and why we see them as so beautiful.

A diffraction grating is simply a type of structure that does the same thing. Tiny grooves in the grating are able to interfere with the very light waves that pass through it, showing either the entire spectrum, or just the parts we want to see. Human hair keratin is actually colourless, and each hair is made up of a kind of keratin tube containing the naturally coloured pigment melanin, (which also determines our skin colour). In this study, that transparent outer layer (known as the cuticle) is used to form a natural diffraction grating on the hair surface.

How is this done?

Remember that Focused-Ion Beam (FIB) mentioned earlier? That's our method. Using a device to fire cationic Gallium (Ga+) ions at the hair surface, these tiny diffraction gratings were very precisely 'drawn' onto the cuticle, following two patterns, an Archimedian Spiral (a), and a Hyperbola (b).

(a) Archimedian Spiral diffraction grating

(b) Hyperbola diffraction grating

The original image used to create these pattern were 4096px wide, and yet resulted in the above patterns measuring roughly 0.1mm across. That makes each of these pixels only 24.4 nanometers apart. It's more precise than you can possibly visualise. Using x and y coordinates along with a 'dwell time' (how long the Ga+ ion beam stays in position on one pixel), complex 3D nano-patterns were created on the hair surface.

What do the results look like?

Like this:

The two reflections on the top hair strand to the left are the Archimedian Spiral pattern and the reflections on the bottom strand are the Hyperbola pattern.

Please, don't feel underwhelmed. It may look a little gritty and insignificant, but what you're seeing there are unadultered closeups of human hair with just 0.1mm patches of this diffraction grating - and those patches are gloriously iridescent. It's similar to the film you see on the bottom of a compact disc.

Great! When do I get to do this?

Hold on to your colourist for a little longer. This research proves that it can be done. They still haven't coated an entire human hair - let alone a full head of them - with these patterns yet; nor have they honed a way of giving really specific colour. At the moment, you go to your stylist and look through a book containing dozens of shades. Here we have the possibility of many, many more, but none of the patterns they require.

The flat-iron idea is also conjecture at this stage. It's one way these scientists are suggesting turning this into a more commercially-adaptable technique. That equipment is not yet a reality.

So, will it ever happen?

Well, we just don't know yet. It's certainly a huge breakthrough in potential. But if you're looking for a ray of hope, I'll give you a little one. This was funded by Procter & Gamble in 2011. That's the company that makes a thousand and one of your household products and, more importantly, Wella Professionals in-salon colour. Earlier this year, Wella released an innovative new colour system called Innosence, which ingeniously altered the normal precursor molecule that causes allergic reactions by placing a kind of molecular 'cap' on the part of the molecule responsible. That is not directly related to this, but it does show that if any company is going to be interested in cashing in on the future of hair colouring, this is the one.

So I would definitely keep your eyes peeled.

For more info in this research and to hear Prof. Leseman talk about the discoveries, visit the University of New Mexico webpage on it here:


10 BuzzFeed Posts About Hair You Should Read Right Now

July 26, 2014

Okay, you don't have to do it RIGHT this minute, but you're already here, right? So you might as well.

These videos and articles range from funny to useful to simply quite interesting - but mostly funny. We all love a good BuzzFeed list, and if you're here on the HedRock blog, my guess is you love hair, too. So here's the definitive top 10 BuzzFeed hair lists, (in no particular order).

1. 17 Things You Don’t Say To A Woman With Short Hair

Newsflash: short hair can be stunning on a lady. You don't have to point that out and justify the decision she made quite happily of her own accord.

2. 21 Problems Only People With Long Hair Understand

A video, mostly about getting your hair caught in stuff. Like, everything.
(This one's for the boys and the girls).

3. 27 Impossibly Pretty Reasons To Go Gray This Summer

Because these hues are GORGEOUS. But do be careful, it's a very difficult colour to achieve unless you're already blonde or at least very light brown. Prepare to get hair envy!

4. 7 Beautiful Portraits Of White Women Styled With “Black Hair”

A fairly fascinating social experiment by photographer Endia Beal inspired by a rumour that all the white males in her office longed to touch the only Afro-Caribbean woman's hair.

5. The Truth Behind 9 Common Hair Myths

An interesting video that's almost completely 100% true. The thing is, even though none of the myths called into question are done so inaccurately, they don't go into enough detail about why.

6. 13 Genius Hairstyles That Will Last Two Whole Days

There's a lot of repetition in this list - basically, on day two you're going to end up with a wave or curl of some kind. But the day one looks are simple and pretty effective - no washing required!

7. 17 Reasons To Thank God Your Hair Isn’t In The ’80s

Glamour shots, perms and celebrity throwbacks - 80's hair in all of its glory! Just don't try to revive it...

8. 6 Amazingly Simple Hairstyles That Every Lazy Girl Needs To Know

A video showcasing some very quick and very effective looks, for both Caucasian/European hair and African/Caribbean hair!

9. The 30 Stages Of Having A Traumatic Hair Experience

Not for the faint-hearted! This one slowly walks you through the process of the salon disaster. 

10. 17 Ways To Never Have A Bad Hair Day Again

Another DIY-style video which includes more of the same quick styles, but added tricks for your tools!

(all sourced from BuzzFeed Style)


Hair In The Campaigns: Bottega Veneta AW14

July 13, 2014

I've been both itching and hesitant to post this all at the same time. One one hand, I have absolutely no idea who did this hair or the story behind it. On the other hand, it speaks for itself so much that the story can wait - for now.

The AW14 Bottega Veneta campaign features a bewigged Edie Campbell donning a geometric precision cut. Those last three words - I'll say them again; geometric precision cut - probably describe Tomas Maier's collection this season better than most.

Unlike the whimsical, romantic draping and muted palette of SS14 ,and the dreamlike forest scene the campaign was set in, the creative director took the aesthetic to a much cleaner, understated silhouette that let geometric "puzzle"-inspired patterns and bold colours take the forefront.

I can only imagine that the hairstyle commissioned to do this was given instructions to have it thematically represent the clothing as closely as possible.

Bottega Veneta do put up videos every season outlining their collaborations on

If I find any more info on this, I'll let you know!


Behind The Cover: Victoria Beckham's Vogue Shoot

July 11, 2014

August's cover star for British Vogue is the one and only Victoria Beckham, in an shoot encompassing an unusually less-than-pristine setting for the lady, messing around in a garden and looking more laidback and playful that we're used to. But it works.

Last week, hairstylist Tina Outen spoke to about her behind-the-scenes experience with Victoria, working with a crème de la crème creative team comprising of Vogue Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers; powerhouse international makeup artist, Pat McGrath; and Patrick Demarchelier, one of the most coveted photographers in the fashion industry.

According to Outen, the chic, unexaggerated up-do we see on the cover and in the photos below was created in under one minute. "It was just a matter of putting it up, pinning it and playing around with it to make it look right for her face," she said of the look.

To create the hair's texture, Outen utilised a technique we're very fond of in the hairdressing world - creating imperfection from perfection. On this occasion, that involved a super-immaculate blow-dry that was given a more lived-in finish by disturbing the hair a little using a mixture of olive oil cream and water. The hair was then mostly left to do it's own thing, with the odd tweak to suit Beckham's face and the overall look.

Read the full article on



Donnie Morissette In addition to all things hair-related, this blog now covers more about makeup, skincare, fashion and events - all the things I love and spend my time doing!


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