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Back to your roots

There's nothing quite like a fab new hairdo to put some pep in your step. There's really no better time to try something novel and lovely with your locks than at the start of a new season.

That's especially true if the new season involves the descent into autumn/winter, when we could all use a distraction from the change in the weather and the mammy saying things like "sure the evenings are gone now altogether" 20 times a day.

Read on for your guide to some of the stand-out hair trends for this season. I mean, God forbid that your barnet would be out of fashion?



THE COLOUR: OMBRÉ

Two-tone colour that makes hair look almost as though it's been dip-dyed, ombré colour is darker for a couple of inches at the roots than along the mid-lengths to the ends of hair. Also called a fade or graduated colour, it's actually been doing the rounds for a while: the eagle-eyed among you will have spotted early celeb adopters Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexa Chung sporting variations of the look.

It's seriously taken off in celebrity circles, with actresses Drew Barrymore, Rose Byrne and singer/actress Ashlee Simpson-Wentz all hopping aboard the ombré train.

While ombré colour might look like the wearer was just too short on either cash or time to keep up with her highlighting appointments, there's more going on here than simply recession-tastic grown-out roots. It's the hair equivalent of the "no make-up" look. Yes, it appears absolutely effortless and natural but, in reality, it takes a bit of work, and a two-step colour process is required to achieve good-looking two-tone ombré hair.

If this graduated colour effect floats your boat, ask your colourist to apply a darker colour first to your roots, followed by staggered, graduated highlights from mid-lengths to ends, starting around ear level and then becoming progressively lighter along the length.

Oh, and be prepared to explain to people that no, you're not just trying to get as long as possible out of your last colour.

The contrast can be as subtle (think Rose Byrne's caramel hues) or as dramatic (three words: Ashlee Simpson-Wentz) as you like, but bear in mind that the ombré effect only really works on shoulder length or longer hair with loads of texture. In hair maths, poker straight hair + ombré colour = piebald pony in need of a good wash, and I think we can all agree that's never a good look.



THE TEXTURE: GRUNGE . . .

In tandem with the '90s grunge take on make-up that's been all over the catwalks like a rash comes '90s grunge hair à la Kate Moss in the Johnny Depp days. Less unwashed and unkempt than it sounds, this time around grunge hair is also a less gritty and, therefore, more wearable look than the '90s original that inspired it.

Those with a natural kink in their hair are laughing when it comes to recreating this look at home. Use something like Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray, €24.50, (left) at Peter Marks nationwide and Harvey Nichols and Space.NK, Dundrum, on damp hair and rough dry with a diffuser to encourage what nature gave you. Straight hair? Get busy with a large curling tongs to create very loose waves.

Whether diffused or tonged, brush the waves out when finished for that lived-in, almost morning-after effect. Apply a frizz-fighting serum such as John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Shine Shock, €6.89 (pictured top) from supermarkets and pharmacies, to prevent fuzziness.



. . . VS GROWN-UP

Worry not if grunge isn't your thing -- there was also plenty of ladylike glamour in evidence on the autumn/winter 10 runways. At Chloe and Armani Privé, luxe loose sleek locks with volume were the order of the day and there wasn't a single strand out of place at either show. Every single model looked like she'd just stepped out of the salon after a particularly spectacular (and spectacularly expensive) blow dry.

Getting this super groomed and grown-up look just right necessitates getting to grips with your blowdryer, but first try the new Pantene Aqua Light range, from €2.99 in supermarkets and pharmacies, to cleanse hair without weighing it down. Blast dry hair (upside down for additional volume at the roots, if you can stick it), until most of the dampness is removed, then divide hair into several sections to make it easy to manage. Dry section by section using a large round brush rather than a paddle brush to encourage movement and volume, and be sure to always point the nozzle of the hair dryer down the hair shaft from root to tip to keep hair sleek. This is tough on the arms initially but I promise it does get easier with practise!



EASY UPDATES: THE DEEP SIDE PART

Tommy Hilfiger sent models down the catwalk with very graphic side-partings, lending an androgynous edge to hair that was otherwise left loose and girly. Going for a side-parting is an easy way to handle a cow's lick: the hair will usually lie better and behave itself when the parting works with it rather than against it. Use a small-toothed comb to create your own sharp side-parting from above the middle of the eyebrow, adding a plain Kirby grip if necessary to keep the heavier side out of your eyes. Hey, if it's good enough for Tommy . . .



ACCESSORIES

The shows were full of hair accessories and now the shops are, too: hairbands, headbands, fascinators, feathers, corsages and statement clips in every conceivable shape, colour and size.

With so many to choose from, there's bound to be one that's right for you (and that won't make you feel like a total eejit while wearing it).


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