Work an ultra-luxe hair cocktail
The dream hair is what’s known as ‘liquid’ hair – and I have my own blend that I use on everybody, whatever their hair type; it elevates the look of your hair and gives a beautifully luxe texture. I always start with a mix of Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother and No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum, and this goes underneath everything I do on everyone I style. Usually, I use a ratio of 2:1, but, depending on the hair type, you can scale each one up or down – so, on finer hair with more oily roots, I’d use less of the No. 9. For me, this is the base for creating really luxurious hair.
Perfect a volume-boosting blowout
Most people work on lifting the hair at the roots when blow-drying, but a much better way is to blow-dry the hair flat, but in the opposite direction to the way it falls. After applying the Olaplex No. 6 and No. 9 mix, use a thickening spray on the roots, then (concentrating on the ‘halo’ of hair that runs from the crown and from ear to ear at the front), brush the hair up flat against the head; then, using a flat paddle brush to pull it tight (and create a bit of tension from the root), blow-dry it, working section by section. When you flip the hair back down, you’ll be left with that great lift and volume. And if you want to tease the roots for a bit more lift, don’t tease the hair on the parting, but work about two fingers’ width down either side, teasing the roots and adding dry shampoo for texture (I use Olaplex Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo). This way, you’ll end up with the volume, but still have a smooth parting and glossy hair.
Style the ends like a pro
I use a curling tong with a spring arm so I can catch the ends of the hair and either bend them out, bend them under or straighten them. The heat closes the cuticle and gives a finish and gloss to the ends, rather than leaving them looking raggedy and dull.
Get to know your hair
Everyone is inspired by the hair they see online and on the red carpet, but you need to understand your hair type and the steps to follow to get the look and finish you want. If you have fine hair, you can rough-dry it before styling; but to get that same finish for Lily James’s hair, for instance, I have to begin with dripping-wet hair. Whatever your hair type, make sure your first step is to use the right shampoo and conditioner – this is key to nailing any look.
Find the angles to flatter your face
If you are wearing your hair pulled back tight to the head, steer away from wearing it too low – you need to follow the natural lines of the jawline or cheekbones, and secure the bun or ponytail at the same angle, to lift and open the face. If you do wear your ponytail low at the nape of your neck, then make sure it’s soft and loose. If you like to tong your hair rather than doing it randomly, tuck your hair behind your ears for 15 minutes first, as this gives the hair a natural curve that acts as an enhanced guide on where you should start creating those bends. If you start wrapping the hair around the tong from the starting point of that natural curve, it creates a lovely C-shape around the eye and cheekbone.
Get that high-shine, red-carpet finish
I have a simple technique that I use to get a glossy, elevated look: using a flat iron on a low heat, I work it through the hair so the heat closes the cuticles, which gives a great finish. I use it on almost all textures, as it doesn’t flatten or iron the hair, but locks in great shine. It’s always about elevating – even when I did Olivia Wilde’s ’90s grunge look for the Vanity Fair Oscars party, for example, I still wanted it to have a rich, shiny finish.