New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten, but a real opportunity for change arrives when we decide to do our hair!
This season was inspired by the images of women on the big screen and little screen as well as relentlessly reinvented and globally tweeted recording artists. It’s always safe to say anything goes pretty much anywhere nowadays. But two notions for the new season are specifically irresistible: color outside the lines, and show some neck.
By color, we don’t mean business as usual. Sure, red is ever-hot, blonde is a standard life-phase, and brunette is timeless. But sugary puff-pinks and dove-blush tones are the new baseline. The new palette comes to us from the bake shop confections and the penny candy jar. The most delicious salon interpretation of the season’s sugar-buzz is the gingery pastel called rose-gold. “Rose-gold is the new blonde phenomenon sweeping the red carpets and salons worldwide! It provides soft rose glow to any blonde canvas with a neutral warmth, leaving hair a rare, peach-beige color,” says John Simpson, Lead Artistic Director for Goldwell and Global Master Team.
And here’s where the fun really starts. Regardless of your overall color, sweet licks of confectionary color can be a DIY project that’s as easy as whipping up a batch of cupcakes, using a rainbow of hair-chalks which shampoo right out. Michael Bui, Artistic Director for Hair Salon Educators of Newport Beach, CA, comments, “Hair-chalking is one of the most exciting and easiest ways to add temporary color to your hair. With no commitment, you can feel free to rock any color of the rainbow.”
Hair-chalking first emerged (using actual art-supplies in the hair) with face-painting and other forms of trippy self-decor at mass tribal outdoor music festivals like Coachella, where the party wails on for days amidst glow-sticks, million-marshmallow volleys, balloons, neon, billows of dry-ice smoke and waves of soap-bubbles. Today, it’s a mainstream medium for showing team pride at sporting events. Go, Gators! And, when worn strategically with a classic, well-cut jacket –the plainer and blacker the better– its perfectly pastel for most workaday settings.
HINT OF TINT OR BOHO-BRIGHT
Beauty stores offer hair-chalking sticks in literally hundreds of colors. Not surprisingly, these trippy flicks of pinks, peaches, baby blues, downy chickster yellows –or lightning bolts of strong color like cobalt and magenta– have a feel of the surreal. Not to mention decadent. A chignon tinted teal, or a bob that’s been angel-dusted with a petits-fours frosting of lilac and coral call to mind the powdered wigs of that greatest cake-eater of them all, Marie Antoinette, not to mention the twisted chic of the Hunger Games “faministas”.
Right now, this irreverent approach to color allows cool, grown-up ladies something which probably hasn’t been an option for a long time: a bit of goofiness or innocence. When was the last time you felt comfortable wearing pink or lavender? Maybe when you were dressed in a glazed bob-bon of a taffeta bridesmaid’s gown which you promptly donated to the local thrifter the moment you got home to Cincinnati. But even if you’re all about the noired-out Donna Karan Urban Zen these days, or the newly-new (it was never really old) DVF wrap-dress as resurrected by “American Hustle” –stone-cold sex appeal– a little whisper of giddy-pink pastel in your hair lets the world know that you don’t take it or yourself oh-so seriously.
THE BIG REVEAL
The other giant wake-up call from the likes of Taylor and Miley and Rihanna, is that short hair can be sexier and way wilder than the longest, heaviest, swampiest set of extensions. Sure, the huge mane of waves and the jumbo beach-braid will always have a womanly allure. But when the mercury climbs to 100 and the humidity’s right behind it, really: don’t you just want to crank up the AC, grab the office scissors and chop it all off? Not recommended! But this season, the bob has never been bigger.
Showing a graceful neck, like a glimpse of well-turned ankle, may seem like a bit of retro delight. In recent decades, we’ve become desensitized by super-revealing fashions, often worn in unflattering ways by all the wrong people. Just two words: jeggings, Walmart.
But editorial photographers, stylists and fashion designers agree: showcasing this area with a wide bateau neckline or portrait collar, then styling hair to draw attention to the collarbones are elegant ways to show some skin this season without flaunting too much. Let’s remember that the most alluring women on earth –the classical Geisha– kept the world in thrall by revealing the area of the feminine body known to hold the most magic: the exposed nape.
LET FREEDOM RING
A bob is frisky, peppy and blunt. It zings and swings with liberation. These days, we generally credit the divine Vidal Sassoon with putting the bob on the map. He was, after all, the one who transitioned all of those sweet Brit grannies out from under the helmet-dryer and out of the bi-weekly wash and set. Joi Rooks, KMS California Brand Artist Team Member and Owner of Fresche Hair Salon & Boutique, comments, “If you’re looking for a way to make a big splash to change your look, go for the timeless, classic bob. This strong shape will give you the power to say ‘I’m in charge’, but if cut right, will have the duality to still be feminine and sexy.”
Long before Sassoon started yanking the hairpins out of those varnished-hard-as-rock updos and putting Mum under the hose post-war, silent screen siren Louise Brooks had mesmerized the Lost Generation with her clipped ebony bob on camera. Ditto for the sublime Josephine Baker. The cutting of a bob in the 1920s was heralded as a daring, dangerous and politically feminist act. It happened in history’s same glorious, bead-swinging moment that women rouge-d their knees, rolled their stockings down, and discovered jazz and bathtub gin. Charleston! Women unhitched their whalebone corsets, stepped out of their ponderous ankle-length dresses, bustles and leg-o-mutton sleeves, took down their great poufs of hair and cut it all off.
And, if we’re talking queens, kohl-rimmed eyes and hairdo history, let’s not forget Cleopatra, whose ebony blunt-cut bangs and classic A-line bob literally brought civilization to its knees. If you’re intimidated by the rectilinear severity of a fringe and squared corners, loosen up the cut with an off-center part and a tousled, matte texture – try KMS California Hairplay “messing” crème for the softer side of the bob.
WE’RE ON A ROLL
Want to leave it longer? A rolled or faux-bob may be a sultry solution. For shoulder length hair, try one of the velour-covered wrappers available in beauty stores. These are basically a pair of plush, padded flexible wires used to clasp and roll the ends of your hair under. The effect is a bit more languid than an actual chop.
If your hair is longer than shoulder-length, no worries. Begin by prepping hair with a texturizing spray for a bit of grab. Then, section off the top third of your hair into a banana-clip on top of your head. Smooth and braid the lower remaining hair, using a coated elastic at the ends. Try coiling the braid into a fat bun if your hair is really long, and then bringing the top layer down and over it. Piece by piece, section and pull the loose hair down over and under the braided bun, and secure with bobby pins. Finish with a sugared scribble of hair-chalk and a spray of gloss, and you’re on your way. Let us know when you get there!
By Victoria Thomas