Hair hangups. We all have them. Often they’re born out of the wish for a lie-in (will we ever learn that an overnight pillow dry is a bad idea), but other times, it's honestly not our fault. We can allocate a solid 20 minutes to the hairdryer, throw money at fancy new brushes and products, and keep highlights in a constant scalp-touching state, yet our locks remain substandard.
Moments like these call for a miracle, or perhaps a miracle worker. That’s why we sought out Luke Hersheson, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Hershesons, stylist behind some of the best barnets in the business *one glance at his star-studded Instagram feed confirms* and author of the modern-day bible, ‘Great Hair Days & How to Have Them’, with a foreward by his client Victoria Beckham.
What’s his advice? Forget everything you thought you knew. Put down the hairbrush, throw away the products, and let your roots grow out. Then invest in a few key items – a great hairdryer, quality shampoo and conditioner, and your gran’s favourite hairspray.
1. A great cut is the foundation to great hair
“Just as a building needs solid foundations, beautiful hair stems from a great haircut. This doesn’t necessarily mean short and perfectly neat - that’s a very old-fashioned concept of a haircut, and may not be the right style for you.”
2. Specify the ends you want
“Explaining the kind of ends you want is just as important as specifying how short you would like to go. What are your options? There’s ‘chunky choppy’, which keeps the weight but breaks it up slightly, think Alexa Chung. ‘Perfectly blunt’ is ruler-straight ends like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, or ‘silky and fluid’ means ends that don’t look freshly cut, as showcased by Sienna Miller.”
3. Little changes make a big difference
“If left to its own devices, hair will grow into two long curtains. That’s perfect for those wanting to channel 90’s grunge Kate Moss, but most of us will need to do something about it. Even a simple change such as adding a curtain fringe, or cutting sections around your chin will make an enormous difference to your hair, complement your face shape and highlight your best features.”
4. A regular cut is non-negotiable
“The 6-8 week rule was formed in the 70's when graphic haircuts were very popular and is only necessary for maintaining styles such as a chin-length bob. If you have long hair with buttery ends, or a grown out fringe, you might not need to cut your hair so often. Some hairstyles can even wait for up to 3 months. Find what works for your style and book in when needed.”
5. Hands down – your fingers are the best hair tool you own
“I strongly believe my hands are my greatest styling tool, and don’t think they are utilised enough by hairdressers. When I’m styling hair on set, I rarely even use a brush – my own hands and hairspray are much more effective.”
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6. Lighten up on the product
“You really don’t need a million products. From a styling point of view, Elnett hairspray and dry shampoo,plus a styling cream (we have an exciting new version coming out in January) are the only essentials you really need. To get the most out of your hair, learn how to do some simple tricks well. If you want volume, dry your hair upside down with a good hairdryer, pushing all the hair away from the direction it wants to lay. For texture, you can use your index finger and thumb to rub sections of hair together, particularly around the face to help frame it.”
7. Rough dry to 100% before styling
“When I cut a client’s hair, I often show them how to dry it too. My key tip is to rough-dry your hair until it’s 100% dry, before you reach for a brush or any other styling tools. If you do this stage right, it will make your life 100 times easier. Working in the same direction as the hairdryer, use your fingers like a big comb to stretch the hair out and create tension, pulling out any kinks and waves.”
8. Don’t scrimp on shampoo & conditioner
“Some shampoos and conditioners really are worth the investment. Brands such as Kérastase may be higher priced, but an enormous amount of science goes into the products and I really do think you get what you pay for. When it comes to colour, I also highly rate John Frieda products, for a cheaper option.”
9. Great colour reflects what happens naturally
“Grey hair doesn’t have to be dyed and dark roots are not a faux pas – in fact, they are infinitely better than a lighter root. Unless you’re going for a solid black, or a bleached look, your hair colour should look natural. Typically, your own hair would get lighter towards the ends and darker toward the roots. That doesn’t mean a total dip dye, but requesting a gradient of shade will create a more natural-looking finish.”
10. Invest in a hairdryer that actually works
“A good, strong, powerful hairdryer will make your life so much easier. Choose wisely. There’s no need to splash £300, but don’t spend £30 either. If you have a hairdryer with tonnes of power but with no heat, it’s ineffective, and if you have one with heat and no speed, it will ruin your hair. There needs to be an even balance. These great hair dryers exist, people just don’t know about them. Brands I’d recommend are our Hershesons one of course, but also Parlux and Babyliss.”
Want to learn more? Hersheson’s book ‘Great Hair Days & How to Have Them’ is filled with 300+ pages of pure hair gold. After reading, not only will you understand your hair habits, you'll know how to correct them. But the best part? This heavenly book doubles up as a translator for hairdresser lingo. Finally, we can communicate the haircut of our dreams.