Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mirror, Mirror…What A Celeb THINKS Is Her Fairest Look of All May Not BE Her Fairest Look

Model-turned-actress Jaime King
Sometimes a woman falls in love with a cut or color – or a combination of both – that she absolutely HAS TO HAVE. Celebrities are no different. Hopefully, there’s someone to talk you or your best friend (or you will talk your best friend) out of something doesn’t complement your best features, or worse, brings out features that a good style will help to camouflage. 

You’d think that celebrities would have handlers to do that for them, or that the very high-priced stylists and colorists who ply their trade on celebrities would perform that service, but sometimes the opposite is true: they are paid to do exactly as their celebrity clientele demands, regardless their professional opinion. I think you’ll be able to pick out the examples of the latter scenario below…  

Candy Stripers and Dip Dyers

Chloe Moretz
January Jones
Ashley Tisdale
Bright pops of color aren’t just a runway fad or a nightclub fetish; more and more celebrities are showing up with streaks of color in candy pink (Chloe Moretz), rose gold (January Jones), or merlot (Ashley Tisdale), dip-dyed or ombred ends in blue (Jaime King) or deep crimson (Lake Bell), or going for flat-out all-over My Pretty Pony shades of green (Willow Smith) and Smurf blue (the Grand Dame of the Haircolor Lightning Round for $200, Katy Perry).

Lake Bell
Willow Smith
Notice how each of them did (or didn’t) adjust her makeup to deal with the addition of the new color. Neither Lake Bell nor Willow Smith wear makeup (but only Willow Smith has the excuse of being 11, and today’s US Weekly reports she’s now dyed it bright Big Bird yellow, although we haven’t seen pictures yet.) 

Jaime King's before-and-after
Some, like Chloe Moretz, January Jones, and Jaime King, let the color do most of the talking and simply picked complementary shades that didn’t fight with the new additions. In particular, Jaime King’s new blue dip dye needed nothing else to bring out her intensely blue eyes. 

Katy Perry
At the other end of the spectrum you have Katy Perry, who never met a matching eye makeup she didn’t slather on. As if blue hair and blue eyes aren’t enough, she continues to wear matching blue shadow, heavy black eyeliner and false lashes. We still think her makeup circa the pale pink/blonde bob was the best and most flattering. She should be categorized with the "Cuts 'n Bangs" group -- her new blunt fringe is technically the news here -- but one almost overlooks her new "look." That's the power of blue... 

Closer-to-Normal Colors

Here we have celebrities who dyed their hair colors that fall within reasonably accepted “natural” ranges from blonde to red to brown, with nothing blue, green, purple, or pink involved. One the whole, we’re preferring their “before" pictures with the only two “after" pictures both changing their hair to red.

Emma Roberts
What can I say – I am a total sucker for red hair. And Marianne didn’t even have to tell me to say that.

Jennifer Lawrence
Emma Roberts’ transition from sunny blonde to brunette washes her out; Jennifer Lawrence’s continued transformation back to blonde from the rich brunette shade she wore in Hunger Games, plus the addition of layers and a curled bang are disappointing; we thought she was much more interesting as a brunette.

Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato seems to prefer trying out her new haircolors via Twitter pictures, and perhaps this transition back to blonde is prettier in person, but we really liked her with the red hair. It worked much better with her dark eyes and slightly olive complexion. 

Kaylee Defer
Actresses Kaylee Defer and the infamous Lindsey Lohan also went red, and it was a welcome choice, particularly for Ms. Lohan. 

Lindsey Lohan
Kaylee’s coloring is well-suited to this shade of red, and of course, red is actually Ms. Lohan’s God-given color, though that’s easy to forget with all of the mistakes she’s made veering from blonde to black and every shade between. Plus, her addiction to spray tanner and facial…”modifications” we shall call them, have had her looking like she was a hard 40, not a healthy 25. At least the move back to the much more vital auburn of her youth is a huge step in the right direction. Let’s just hope she didn't celebrate the termination of her parole yesterday with cocktails.

Ciara's questionable color choice
I kept singer Ciara’s color transformation for last, partly because my initial reaction to her picture was to blurt out “What the h*** happened to her?!?” Her “after” picture is usually someone’s “before” picture. It’s what a woman usually comes in to have FIXED, not what she walks OUT with. And Ciara takes all the credit for the idea, telling InStyle magazine that she wanted this lighter shade in her ombre ‘do. “I just wanted to have fun,” she said of the change. “I’m a tomboy at heart and I just felt like attitude, like not caring a little bit, to be honest.” And you really WOULD have to "not care," because it simply is unattractive. At least in her “before” picture, the root areas are dark but the ombre blends; in the “after” look she and her colorist just went entirely too far with the ombre. This is not a fashion statement anyone should want to utter.

Cuts ‘n Bangs

Katie Holmes
The trend toward cutting bangs has not slowed down in the least. Katie Holmes’ blunt fringe, which she debuted at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, doesn’t do her justice. Look at how gorgeous her hair is in the “before” shot. She should have left well-enough alone, but perhaps it wasn’t entirely her choice, if media reports are to be believed.

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman is sporting a light side-swept fringe, which she debuted during New York Fashion Week. Her color seems a bit deeper and richer, too, and there’s a bit of layering around her face. She looks beautiful both ways, but it is nice to see her in the “after” picture, when she’s not at an awards show, with softer makeup and more casual hair, looking just as ethereal.

Shay Mitchell
Shay Mitchell, of the TV series Pretty Little Liars, seems to have had a whole makeover. Starting with the hair, she has a nice peek-a-boo bang that works well to disguise her high forehead. She has the perfect face shape for soft bangs like these, and both her haircolor and makeup are a lot softer as well, as if someone buffed off all the hard edges, adding a subtle ombre to bring a little golden warmth to the hair instead of the hard red highlights to go with the crimson pout. Gone is the fake-bake and the pouty look. Whoever helped with this transformation really asked all the right questions, and brought out her best features while minimizing those which could take a back seat.

Chanel Iman
Victoria’s Secret “Angel,” Chanel Iman, debuted brow-skimming bangs and a much lighter color (and perhaps a few extensions) for a very sexy little shag.  We like it, the color is nice, and she looks very pretty. This one’s a keeper!

Milla Jovovich
Model –turned-singer-turned-action star Milla Jovovich debuted an asymmetrical crop with a shaved side this week. Highly lauded for her soft and sexy finger-waved Oscar’s bob, she added a dose of edge to her look with the “super-easy, super-low maintenance” undercut, as she described it.

Victoria Beckham
Cut-and-color chameleon Victoria Beckham chopped off a reported 10 inches for this wavy, caramel-highlighted bob. We always think she looks best at about this length and with some curl and texture to soften her very angular and sometimes harsh face. Now, if she’d just smile more. She certainly has PLENTY of reasons to, as my female clients love to point out!

Viola Davis
Ah, the incomparable Viola Davis, who heeded her husband’s very good advice and stopped wearing wigs. She’s darkened the coppery shade she wore when she won “Best Supporting Actress” at the Academy Awards, and the whole package just works. I think her smile glows 1000 watts brighter when she doesn’t wear those wigs.

The moral of this post is that anytime you make a change, spend some time gazing into that "mirror, mirror on the wall." Look at the whole picture – your new hair and/or haircolor AND your makeup. Does your new look bring out your best features? Does it go with the makeup you used to wear, or do you need to change color families from cool to warm, or vice versa? Do you need to play up your eyes? Play them down? Does your new look complement your best features, or bring out those features you always were able to camouflage? Then take it from there…

Until next week, ciao…  

Friday, March 23, 2012

We’ve Come So Far We Don’t Know What Too Far Is Anymore

Elie Saab
Elie Saab
I am struck, in looking at these pictures of the models from the 2012 Fall Fashion Week runways in Paris, that we’ve come to the point where anything – and I really mean ANYTHING – goes. I can remember that it wasn’t so long ago that precision was the reason you went to a professional hairdresser. Precision cuts, precision color; when you walked out of the salon, everyone knew you’d had your hair done by someone with training and knowhow and professional standards.

But much like today’s lifestyles, when it comes to hairstyles, nothing is out of bounds. Nothing is perfect anymore, and literally anything goes. It’s the era of no precision. Look at the bangs on the model for Elie Saab. They look as if they were hacked at with those blunt-tipped scissors issued to first-graders.

Sonia Rykiel
And what about the hair we can see hanging limp and almost greasy from below a wide black headband at Sonia Rykiel? Her hair looks absolutely fried, and in the past, we would have cut off hair that looked so damaged and unhealthy. Now, we say anything goes, but what should go here is a good eight to ten inches off the bottom!

Gaultier in Blue
And then there’s all that temporary color – or they’d better HOPE it’s temporary. 

Gaultier in red
Haider Ackerman
I’m not so worried about the dark-haired models at Gaultier (those are colored powders worked into hair that has been coated with styling cream) or Haider Ackerman (that’s a heavy gel infused with a lot of color and glitter). 

Junya Watanabe
I’m not even worried about all that pink paste on her hair at Junya Watanabe, because I think it’s been worked into a wig. 

Yojhi Yamamoto
No, the young lady who is going to regret her time on the catwalk is the blonde at Yohji Yamamoto. Her platinum hair is color-treated and therefore at least a somewhat porous material, even if she’s a natural blonde. That inky blue is not just going to wash out.

Alexis Mabille
The braided and twisted up-do at Alexis Mabille is interesting, and relatively speaking, looks highly complex by comparison. 

Giambattista Valli
The half-up-do at Giambattista Valli is shiny and healthy... 

The slicked-back ponytail at Chanel a classic (if a bit boring, which must be why they felt compelled to glue stones to her eyebrows)... 

And the loose chignon at the nape at Givenchy also a classic shape.

The loose natural texture at Chloe and Isabel Marant could have used a bit of finishing.
Isabel Marant

Just look at the difference between those two models and the two from Nina Ricci’s runway. Just the tiniest bit of styling and a deep side part, and their hair looks incredibly shiny and vital.

Nina Ricci
Nina Ricci
To some extent, we can blame this revolution in mediocrity on our worship of celebrities. They are some of the worst offenders when it comes to unflattering, damaged, imperfect hair. We’ve just blindly followed behind them as they set trends that are so ridiculous that most people have no idea what too far is anymore; now, too far is the new normal.

 Until next week, ciao…

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Top 10 Reasons NOT to Color Your Hair at Home

As a Board-Certified Master Haircolorist, I'm the one women call when they have a haircolor disaster that their regular stylist cannot fix. More often than not, the reason for the disaster is an ill-advised attempt at coloring their hair themselves at home, or allowing a friend to color it for them.

That's a video uploaded to YouTube titled "At Home Haircolor Horrors." It's been viewed over 32,000 times since it was posted just 10 days ago. 

haircolor disaster, orange & brown #1
When a home-haircolor victim arrives in my ER, not only does the color need correcting, but there is usually considerable damage to her hair. As the recession drags on, I'm seeing more of these victims than ever, but the lesson here is this:

haircolor disaster, orange & brown #2
Home hair color does not save money. In fact, it ends up being the most expensive haircolor one can have, because it inevitably necessitates a series of salon visits to correct the color and condition and reconstruct the hair.

Here's what some of my colleagues have to say on the matter:

haircolor disaster, brassy #1
“You wouldn't do your own dental work or give yourself a tattoo, so why would you think it's okay to do your own hair color?” John C. Simpson of Lewis Salon, Pittsburgh, PA

haircolor disaster, brassy #2
“You will end up spending so much more than just what you paid for that "box" color --you will easily spend ten times more to have it corrected by a professional.” Jesse Marcks of Hair Excellence, Sun Prairie, WI

“Don't believe what you see on TV; celebrities don't get color from a box. The majority of corrective color we do in the salon is correcting home haircolor disasters.” Tiffany Conway of CoCo Cheveux, Portland, ME

haircolor disaster, ashy & frizzy #1
“It's unpredictable! A professional colorist knows how to assess the other factors – starting level, grey coverage, texture, etc. It's like an address with no directions; how can you get to a destination if you don't know where you're starting?” Deborah Gavin of Fresh Studio, Philadelphia, PA

haircolor disaster, ashy & frizzy #2
“People think nothing of spending money on clothing or accessories they rarely wear; why wouldn't you put your hair as a priority as you wear it every day?” Marie Ferro of Marie's Hair Studio, Malibu, CA
“You can't talk to a box but you can talk to a professional. Where else do you get advice and beauty at one place and for one price?” Rona O’Connor of Lukaro, Beverly Hills, CA

haircolor disaster, oversaturated ends
“Too often, color done at home can jeopardize the integrity of your hair, leaving it dry and with an undesired end result ... and besides that ... who doesn't love a little attention from their hairdresser?” Jeff Taylor of Jenniffer & Co. Salon & Spa South, Mentor, OR

“With a creative eye, knowledge, and experience, a professional can create consistent and brilliant color results. A box bas no eye, no knowledge, and no experience; it's a dump-and-hope approach.” James Edick of ARROJO, NYC

haircolor disaster, damaged ends
“Overlapping applications create damage and lackluster hair. A professional colorist knows how to apply so the end result is always even and can create signature looks to suit the individual.” Rebecca Heile of Fresh Studio, Philadelphia, PA

So, if the thought of buying a box of haircolor at the drugstore or supermarket ever crosses your mind, remember that the actress or model whose gorgeous, healthy, shiny, multi-dimensional hair graces the front of the paid hundreds of dollars to one of the country’s top colorists to get that look; she didn’t get it from a box.

Until next week, ciao…

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fall 2012 Fashion Week Hair Trends: We See London, Await France…

Burberry Prorsum

The fashion industry is enough to turn your head right around: Spring fashions are shown in September of the previous Fall; Fall fashions in February and March of the same year. 

So, while your current stack of glossy magazines are showing the warm-weather clothes and beauty trends that strutted down the Spring 2012 catwalks in 2011 -- full of clothing colors from breezy pastels to neons; styles preppy and safari to ethnic and edgy; red lips from matte to gloss, from brow/red to sheerest vermillion;  rosebud lips; cat’s eyes, smoky eyes, white/silver metallic shadow, deep-toned glitters, or brilliant pops of eye shadow; flushed cheeks; and heavy darker brows; hair with pastel streaks and dip-dyed tips, slicked back ponytails, embellished up-dos, and sleek center parts --  New York, London, and Milan just wrapped up their respective Fall 2012 Fashion Weeks, and Paris Fashion Week is coming to a close. 

Ossie Clark
LONDON: The watchword for hair at London’s Fall Fashion Week, with the usual notable exceptions, was touchability, natural texture, and shine, embodied beautifully at Burberry Prorsum. The overall motif in London for the upcoming Fall is looks you could achieve yourself – or that at least look as if you could. 

Vivienne Westwood
These are hairstyles that are wearble and commercial; the colors look healthy, natural, highly reflective, and are very European, lacking the usual American overabundance of highlights. This is hair that just begs to be touched (, Ossie Clark, Burberry). 

Alexander McQueen
Of course, it wouldn’t be London without Vivienne Westwood’s and Alexander McQueen’s outrageous designs – and for that you will require quite a bit of assistance. 

Bora Asku
What we really noticed is that, overall, the makeup for Fall is much more mannered than the hair – and that’s sexy (Bora Asku, House of Holland). 
House of Holland

Paul Costelloe
And I am personally pleased to see so many variations of pink lipstick on the London runway, from a just-bitten rose to a vibrant fuchsia (Luella, Issa, Paul Costelloe). That’s sexy, too!  

Gianfranco Ferre
MILAN: In Milan, it was a season of extremes. It was all about making a statement, and that statement was “look at me” – but my, how the approach differed! In one camp, we had the “look at me because I am molto bella,” and the other “look at me because I am piuttosto brutta.” 

It’s really a choice of what kind of attention you prefer: Do you want to be on the receiving end of stares and glances because you look casual, pretty, and the best you can possibly look (like the models at Normaluisa, Gianfranco Ferre, Blumarine, and DSquared2)?

Or are you ready for attention no matter what form it comes in?

Even if that attention is more from a place attraction/repulsion, of wanting any attention at all whether it is positive or negative (like them models at Prada and Fendi – both the makeup and the hair are not going to win fans, and to a certain extent at Gucci and Marni – the makeup at Gucci will win fans even though the hair is lackluster; the hair at Marni will have its fans even if the makeup is so absent the models look recently released from hospital)?  

NEW YORK: Call us biased – at least until we’ve had a chance to review the whole of Paris Fashion Week to weight against it – but New York had the most consistent combination of wearable, touchable, attractive hair AND makeup. 

Ann Yee
Carolina Herrera
Granted, the braided up-do at Ann Yee is something I was doing back in the Seventies and early Eighties, the nouveaux bouffant at Carolina Herrera sees a renaissance every decade or so, and the backcombed faux bob-and-headband combination at Oscar de la Renta was refreshingly disheveled. 

Oscar de la Renta
But the fact is everything eventually comes back around, and we just reinterpret it and reinvent it, improving upon the previous versions with better styling products and less-damaging styling tools.

Cynthia Rowley
Now, how about the hairstyles at Cynthia Rowley and Creatures of the Wind

We were a bit shocked at Cynthia Rowley’s wild mass of almost-dreadlocks and ringlets haphazardly pinned to the back of the models’ heads, as she is not known for her wildly avante garde design sensibility. 

Creatures of the Wind
And Creatures of the Wind: Would the models | Be aware | If anything were to move in there? | What kind of creature might come out of there? | Would YOU dare? (with our thanks to the late Dr. Seuss).

Tory Burch
We saw up-dos at Tory Burch (feminine, wearable, and sexily imperfect), Derek Lam (very do-it-yourself looking, lunchtime-tryst-and- rushing-back-to-work – also sexy), and Preen (caught in a high wind?). 
Derek Lam

The faux bob from Rodarte with unwieldy metallic embellishment camouflages the best parts of that style as effectively as the headband accentuates what is essentially the same style on the Oscar de la Renta model – a perfect example of how execution can make or break a look. 

Rag & Bone
The long, waving textured locks at Rag & Bone, Diane von Furstenberg, Rachel Zoe, and DKNY are alive and sexy.

Diane von Furstenberg
Rachel Zoe
And even though stylist Eugene Soulieman pulled the hair into a low side ponytail at DKNY, we never thought to lump it together with the highly controlled, pin-straight, high-crowned ponytail from Jason Wu. The only thing the two styles have in common is the elastic band.

Sometimes runways shows are not the easiest places to find flattering hair and makeup (or clothing, come to think of it). Haute couture and pret-a-porter fashion shows are very much about fashion designers competing with one another, showing off their design and technical skills, trying to break new ground, looking to be shocking, hoping to differentiate themselves from the hundreds of other hopefuls and become a household name. 
Jason Wu

What often gets lost twice a year is the women who are going to buy the clothes and make their careers a success. Designers so easily get caught up finding the perfect hanger for their designs that they court mannequins who don’t look like real women, and some get caught up in the shock value of exaggerated or even slightly grotesque features, making those women their “muses.” And sometimes women get caught up in being on the cutting edge of the trends, in becoming the patron or the muse of a designer, or of buying into a designer’s aesthetic without regard for whether it is flattering, brings out the best in their looks or figure, is cut for their body type, or is a hairstyle, haircolor, and a makeup palette that flatters their unique coloring, ethnicity, age, and features. Women are encouraged to run from one trend to the next without thought for whether it is right for them , only that it is the latest, newest, and she’ll be the first.

And ladies, as a professional, master haircolorist and stylist for over 40 years, and as a man, I am here to tell you that the latest/newest/first does not matter to us AT ALL. It matters that you look sexy, beautiful, confident, and happy. And that may not entail dyeing your hair aubergine and cutting it in the graduated bob Victoria Beckham wore when she moved to L.A., or growing you hair below your shoulders, cutting in disconnected layers, and trying an ombred or dip-dyed look that is best left to your granddaughter.
Until next week, ciao!