I'm not good at hair. I blame it on the curls but really it's downright laziness. When I was 18 I got my first proper haircut (that is, neither my mum nor I did it) by Martin Cullen, a Coventry boy who'd been styling hair for shows and campaigns long before I first went to him. His credits over the last few years include editorials for Dazed & Confused, AnOther and Vogue Italia, as well as videos for Gareth Pugh and Showstudio. Cullen knows curly hair. "Instead of buying products", he told me, "mix some salt with water in a spray bottle." I did as he said and lo and behold, my hair stayed where I put it. The spray gave it some hold, making it much easier to manage. I imagine many of you hair people screeching in horror.
The best thing about my Cullen mullet was that it was almost impossible to get wrong. I always judge a good haircut on how easy it is to style myself; if it means getting up an hour earlier, forget it.
For the spring/summer collections, Clements Ribeiro and Emilio Pucci sent models out in low, loose ponytails. At Michael Kors there were messy plaits and, perhaps the most user-friendly of all, untidy up-dos at Mary Katrantzou and Christopher Kane.
Having tried and failed countless times to emulate catwalk looks, I'm wary of doing it myself in front of the bathroom mirror, but with Beijing's spring winds it seems timely to consider how best to manage the hair during this awkward period, so I asked a few of Beijing's leading hairdressers for advice on which styles and cuts will stand the weather. Essentially, how can I get that windswept, carefree look with minimum effort?
The Experts Speak
Alex Dam, salon director of Toni&Guy at the Hilton in Sanyuanqiao uses Label M styling products, all of which have curious names like mud paste, hair glue and souffle. "Souffle works well on frizzy hair because it keeps the curls under control. It's a kind of creamy paste. The mud paste is good for short styles as it's more like a wax."
He showed me the Toni&Guy lookbook for this season, which includes several styles which fall on the attractive side of dishevelled. I confess my saltwater spray habit and he nods, "We have something called Sea Salt Spray which we use in the salon." This one looks perfect for keeping that textured look set and contains lots of beneficial stuff from the sea (and is probably more forgiving than my table salt and tap water concoction).
In order to get the most out of your hair during the changing seasons, Alex advises women with naturally wavy or curly hair to go for fewer layers during the winter, when hair tends to go a little flat, and vice versa in the summer, when the humidity will bring the curls up. For a minimum effort maximum impact do, Alex recommends the Chignon Chanel: "Pull all your hair back and secure the ponytail with a band. Backcomb the ponytail section by section, then cover the band with your hair using pins."
In Central Park's Cut UnCut, Tom Yuen recommends a leave-in conditioner to counter the dry winds which leave the hair static. "We use Hipertin, a Spanish product. It's a two-phase conditioner that you can spray on wet or dry hair." He's also full of useful home remedies to help combat dryness and irritation.
"Some people suffer from irritation on the scalp after getting their hair coloured, due to the chemicals. What you need to do is apply some pure, plain yoghurt to the scalp (you can pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds if you want to warm it up a bit) and massage it in gently, then wash off. If you suffer from dandruff, rub some olive oil onto the scalp, then wash out with shampoo. You can do this over a few washes. To counteract all the grease, you can add a tiny amount of cornflour which will absorb some of the oil."
S'il Vous Plaît
Christina Schitz, manager and stylist at Catherine de France, recommends a plait. "With a braid, you can make it flexible and wear it to one side - it looks very nice and doesn't let the hair fly around. This I can recommend from my own experience. That's why I always have a hairband in my purse!"
For product, Christina recommends TIGI. "We use Bed Head Hairspray and Masterpiece Hairspray from TIGI, which doesn't stick the hair together like glue. It allows the hair some movement. It gives some shape and doesn't leave any traces. It's easy to brush out afterwards too."