2 weeks ago

10 Things You Need to Know About Your Hair Now

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We asked hair expert Michael Douglas (@MDLondon), stylist to Davina McCall and Clairol ambassador, for his advice on grey hair, box dyes and fringe benefits …

1 You can have decent hair at home 

“I’ve always been a great ambassador of home solutions as that’s largely the area I’ve worked in. And it’s interesting how many people are just desperate to do their hair. As soon as lockdown happened, everyone went crazy – it was not what I was expecting. I get roughly 400 messages a day on Instagram from people who are desperate to do their roots, colour their grey, lighten their hair. A lot of people feel a bit ashamed about their vanity, saying ‘I know I shouldn’t care so much about my roots, given the current circumstances’ – but I don’t think you should be ashamed just to want to look nice. Of all the things you have got in your control, giving yourself a bit of TLC is a totally honourable thing to do, so you shouldn’t feel guilty.

It feels like the value of the hairdressing service has really been recognised. And then people are trapped between it being such a valuable service and also the contradiction of needing to do it yourselfI know the products in the supermarkets really well and I know what works and what doesn’t, so it’s been great to be able to help people. Some you can’t help – people with highlights, for instance – it’s a difficult area and they are the people who are making the biggest mistakes. If you’ve got highlighted or, say, five shades of lift on your own hair, forget it and sit tight. good hairdresser will know how to correct those mistakes, but you’re better to avoid messing with your highlights.

2 Box dyes aren’t bad 

If you have grey roots, Clairol Nice N Easy is quick and easy to use – just do a skin test firstPeople are often surprised how good it is; it’s been perpetuated by hairdressers for years that these colours are bad – because they want to draw people to the salon – but that’s not actually true. The box dyes are fine, it’s just when people use them incorrectly that can cause problems.

3 Find the right shade  

One of the key things that a hairdresser offers is getting the right colour. Walk into supermarket and there’s 200 boxes of colour – terrifying. The other problem is the application – the most important bit. I ask people on Instagram to send me a quick pic of their hairline, roots and parting and from that I can normally work out what shade you are. Clairol have 54 natural-looking shades – nothing that’s going to go bright orange, green or yellow! Even if you just step just outside the boundaries of your own colour, its no big dealUse the shade guides. Check your natural colour by looking not at the top of your head, but underneath, and just try and get a decent match on your natural colour. Lots of people have this idea that suddenly your hair is going to go green and fall out if you use box dye; we’ve really been told this lie, but it’s not the case. But a product is only as good as the hair it’s on. If your hair is knackered and damaged, or bleached, the product is not going to work properly – its designed to be used on healthy hair. 

4 Consider growing out your grey

It’s a good opportunity to give your hair a rest, there’s no question about thatIf you feel you want to grow out your grey, absolutely, do it. It’s a great thing to do. Tbridge the gap, a semi-permanent is quite good; Clairol do Natural Instincts, which will last about 28 shampoos – I’ve recommended this to a few people. Go for the lighter shades – they do a 7, an 8 and now a 9 – and those shades will have a translucent effect on the grey so it will have blend between your roots and your ends, and that will give you another inch of growth by the time it grows out. So every two months you could just put one of them on, so you’re not left with a big line of grey hair. Also the root touchup sprays are good – they’re temporary but they work surprisingly well. You don’t need to get an exact match – just a dusting will cover the line – so go easy or heavier depending on how much coverage you need.

5 Enhancing white hair 

Purple shampoos are the best way to keep grey and white hair brightor toners – Bleach London  do a nice white toner which has some violet in it. They go on top of white hair as well as bleached hair, so if hair feels yellowy, go for the ice white toner. They are very safe to use – thereno ammonia or peroxide, just pigment going on to the hair – and you could do that once a week or fortnight. 

6 A better home blowdry 

Not all home styling tools have to cost a fortune. I’ve been using Revamp tools (www.revamphair.com) – theyre like a budget GHD and have got loads of really good tools on their website that are well pricedIve been using the big barrel hot brush to do a dry blowdry [the Progloss Perfect Finish Styling Brush, £49.99stg]. I do a podcast with Davina McCall and got her to try it – she couldn’t believe how good it wasIts good for taming frizzI think its exactly what the consumer has been missing – other heated tools can be a bit out of people’s price range. And Kent brushes are my favourite brushes – they do a really good selectionI use the 16,17, and 18 size mix of bristle and nylon for getting really good blowdry out of the hair. 

7 Food for thought 

People worry what they’re doing to their hair will have lasting effects, but actually its more about what you consume. While I tend to be cynical about supplements, a good friend takes collagenputs it in tea and drinks, and she swears it’s doing amazing things for her hair and body. For me, its about a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet, everything in moderation. Hair and nails are the first things to suffer if your body is struggling in some way.

8 On trend  

Its really tricky to have emerging trends at the moment – you can’t rely on London Fashion Week for a bedrock of ideas. The amount of stuff people are watching on TV and Netflix has got to have an effect, and people are drawing influences from there. Theres Daisy Edgar-Jones fringe in Normal People of course. And ironically the Tiger King too  people will wear that hair in a slightly ironic way, but then a bleached mullet worn for fun could take off! Balayage or ombre has been an emerging trend that keeps getting bigger. Ive had lots of messages asking how to turn highlights into a balayageWhile ideally people with highlights should do nothingactually you could quite easily turn it into a balayage just by putting a nice brunette colour semipermanent through the roots and the mid-lengths and then fading it out, keeping your blonde ends. If youre desperate to do something different, try that.  

9 Fringe benefits

I prep a lot of actors for movies and so on, and one of the things you often do for an actress who’s older but pretending she’s at school is a very short fringe to make her look younger. But after Normal People aired, lots of people messaged me saying they wanted that fringe. Just one decision the hair and make-up people make to create the illusion of something can turn into a trend. To do your own fringefind the length you want to cut to, and then lift the hair up and cut it away from the head. That way you put some layering into the fringe so it’s softer and the margin for error gets reduced considerably.

10 How to cut at home 

If trimming your hair, do it when your hair is dry – hair does different things when wet. Use sharp scissors – it sounds obvious, but blunt scissors are a recipe for making a mess. Hair should be tangle-free, use a gloss spray to detangle if necessaryKeep your posture straight, comb hair down and just try and cut as straight as possible – or cut upwards if you dont want it too blunt. Anything more adventurous than this is a danger zone. Remember less is more – your hair grows roughly a centimetre a month so don’t cut any more than 3cm off. 

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