Article from to vogue or bust

You guys may have already noticed my new hairstyle (bye-bye ombré!) in recent pics or from this share to Instagram – I did away with the ratty blonde ends that were literally dragging my face down and updated it with the expert help of the lovely Sarah from The House of Blond here in Vancouver. The result? A warm chestnut brown with lighter face-framing highlights infused with red undertones, much like my natural hair colour turns during the summer! Not only did Sarah totally give my hair the makeover it desperately needed, but she was also such a wealth of hair care and style maintenance information, something which not all hair stylists always deliver. So without further ado, click through to discover the 5 must-know styling tips she laid down on me during our session!

1. First things first, let’s start with a universal styling tip for all hair types. You know that “rough dry” we’re all told to do before going in with a brush while blowdrying? Well really, this would better be described as the “foundation dry,” because without doing it properly, your whole style will rest on an unsteady foundation. So many of us hurry though this part as if it’s just a prelude to our actual blow out when this is really the part that should be given the most attention and strategy. For the sake of your hair’s health, you should do as much drying as possible sans brush as the elasticity of your hair is greater when it’s wet, leading to more breakage if you start using a brush too soon in the drying process.

This is also the time to really eliminate any natural cowlicks, unnatural parts, etc by focusing on the roots (starting first at the crown then moving outwards) and making sure you dry both in line with and against your hair’s natural fall – you should be flipping the hair around your crown back and forth and lifting from the roots, focusing on the roots of your remaining hair afterwards and finally, blowing down towards your tips to smooth out the shaft for the length of the rest of your hair.

2. For fine hair in particular, you need product to protect it from the heat – something which I never used to do before visiting Sarah. Fine hair has the double conundrum of being both more prone to breakage and easily weighed down by product, so many of us fine haired folk (myself included until recently) would forego product and pick the lesser of two evils by going into heat styling sans-protection. This is a silly strategy though because there’s a way to get the best of both worlds (treatment + lightness) since there are so many great products out there that will actually boost volume, add texture and protect your hair without weighing it down – Sarah swears by Kevin Murphy!

3. And this leads into my next point re: heat – so many of us just turn on our heat tools and stick to the default temperature setting, but for fine hair, you need to bring it down – you can hold the style you’re using the tool for for a bit longer (Sarah recommended 15 seconds) but you’ve got to be heat aware and bring it down to max 300 degrees celsius for fine haired ladies.

4. Now for curling – I thought I had my wavy/curly styles figured out and would just go in and curl everything away from my face, but as I soon discovered with Sarah, there’s so much more strategy at hand to really emphasize both body and length! General rule of thumb for most wavy/curly hair styles is to curl out from the face for those two framing pieces on either side of your face – this highlights the curl/wave and opens up your face. But then for the longer pieces directly behind the face-framing layers, curl inwards – this will accentuate the length!

You can also ease up on how much length of the hair you curl as you make your way backwards (Sarah just did a couple loops around a wand for my back pieces) but gather your hair at the very back of your crown into one piece to finish off so that you don’t have an unnatural centre break in the back of your head. So generally speaking, anywhere you want to emphasize the curl (usually face-framing pieces and shorter layers), curl away from the face, while longer pieces look great curled inwards to give the illusion of more length.

5. Now this is especially important for those of us with fine hair: when you’re done with your waves/curls and have let your hair curl down, use a thickening hairspray (other hair types can use whichever works best for them!) by spraying underneath curls (spraying on top will weigh hair down) then break up curls with a wide-toothed comb rather than a brush or your fingers. A brush will diffuse the curls too much while fingers have natural oil in them, which could weigh down your tresses! You want something clean of any residue or oil to really just gently break up your heat-treated style.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much info Sarah gave me, all targeted to my unique head of hair and my personal concerns/desires! I was so impressed with her professionalism, knowledge and (of course) the final product! If you’re in the Vancouver area, book your appointment with Sarah now (she’ll generally have you in for a one on one consultation so that you can both get clear on what you want and your hair history) – she is in demand so you’ll want to get your appointment requests in as soon as possible!

And finally, just wanted to say a big thank you again to Sarah for bringing me back to brown in a way that feels both true to me while elevating my natural style!