It started with a tweet from Josh Wood: “Set your intention.” He had just returned from a trip and was talking about the jivamukti yoga he practises. There it was, set your intention. I decided to scribble this on paper, photograph it and and set it as my desktop background.
It made me decide to have a clear out and erase all of my pictures on my iPad and phone that I’ve collected for the past few years. It was actually traumatising; it felt like Julie Christie was gazing right up at me and daring me to press delete. I felt naked, exposed by my now lack of preparation, but ready to start all over again.
I had a meeting with Harriet Evans (ghd’s PR) and Jo Robertson (head of UK education for ghd) and we discussed all the plans for ghd for the year; the courses that I am teaching and exciting launches that ghd has planned. The more they revealed plans, the more ideas started to form on what could be taught so I decided to bring in new research and methods for the year.
I had, like many hairdressers, booked a get-away week in January. So after the madly busy Christmas and New Year, last week I flew off to India for a yoga and meditation week.
In-between classes and hours of focusing on my breath, I began to collect new images with the rule that I could not use any that I had used before. It was really difficult as I had so many wonderful ones, but I was determined to do it properly. I began to rewrite my courses and search for new books – which was as enlightening as a sunrise meditation!
Using new material takes you out of your comfort zone, it means more practice as you trip up on new words and quotations. But starting afresh brings new focus. I decided to take a new path on the fashion references that I teach in my courses and slowly, as the weeks go by and my headstand preparations wobble less, so do the new words that I am saying in my head. New year, new you!
Aldo Coppola, a hairstylist who has heavily influenced my career, sadly passed away last week.
I first became aware of his work after attending a session styling course with Keith Harris, who had worked with Aldo in Italy. Keith taught us his tonging technique and spoke of his beautiful styles, and after that I started to follow Aldo’s work. I fell in love with his simple natural hairstyling, which was so different from anything else that I’d seen before.
Working with designers such as Valentino and Armani, Aldo became known for changing the way hairstylists were perceived. In 1966 he banished the beehive and developed a dry cutting technique that celebrated a more natural texture that was far removed from the lacquered and teased styles of the time.
In the ’90s, he began development on new colouring techniques without the use of chemicals and developed care products using olive oils and yoghurt. More recently, he introduced his most famous colouring technique ‘shatush’, which was a true step ahead of the highlight/lowlight option around at the time. It created a three shade combination of colour on each section that gave the gently lighter effect towards the ends of hair. Thanks to Aldo’s revolutionary haircolouring techniques, this has now become one of the most popular methods of lightening hair.
Here are some of my favourite styles by Aldo:
From a villa in Ibiza I wrote a section on summer hair and skin for the training manual of my new beauty project. It could not have been better timing; oh yes, I had arrived with a bag of summer survival beauty products – hair protection, check; high SPF skin protection, check. But writing up on the real damage that a day in 30˚C heat would do long term to my hair structure was the wake up call I needed.
I spend my days giving hair tips to the glossies and I am the first to preach that you must enter the shower and drench your hair before diving into the sea or pool, but seeing photographs of the hair cortex damage that happens when you disobey the rules was a lesson I needed.
My most-used beauty products of the summer have been:
ghd Style heat protection
I adore the lightness of this spray and use it daily, but under the test of the high summer heat it really came into its own. For the days when I wished to stroll carefree in Sicily with a big blow-out and heels, this feather-light styling spray drenched my tresses in protection allowing me to have volume and drama with the best of Italian ladies without returning a frizzled and sun-scorched mess.
Clinique after sun rescue balm with aloe
Sometimes, even with the best of intentions it can all still go astray. I spent a day under a sun umbrella with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. As I was gripped by the story I sort of forgot to reapply sun lotion… I foolishly thought I was in the shade. But the sun reflects from the sand and through the umbrella and so I returned with a overly done pink shade to my tan, more half-boiled lobster than Kate in St. Tropez. Luckily this light soothing cream that I picked up at the airport really brought down the crimson and healed my sun-scorched skin. It has since become my nightly saviour as it moisturises really well and is oil-free so it didn’t feel sticky at all.
Kérastase masque intense
I have to admit I argued with the guy that sold me this in the salon, he told me I needed the light one because my hair is so fine and I learnt that I hate being told I have fine hair – I’m such a ‘client’. I made him sell me the one for thicker hair because I prefer the weight of it; he was so dreadfully upset it made me feel like I was leaving with something illegal. But it makes my hair so hydrated and soft that I can leave it to it’s own wavy, curly devices and adopt the beachy look for a night. I alternate with another Kérastase masque that is more structuring.
There are many more that I shall share with you in my next post, but I also have to mention the silly, oversized hat I bought on the promenade that I resorted to in my final week!
Glimmer, glisten, sparkle: whatever the word for shimmer, all I know is that if you apply a shimmer-enhancing product to your skin mixed with a light bronze tone, it instantly makes your skin look better. I have been mixing Givenchy Reflet Précieux Satiny Body Enhancer with my sun protection for the last few months; it creates a shine line along your arms and legs to make them look so much leaner. Okay, not quite Rosie Huntington-Whiteley lean, but your limbs definitely look longer and it hides imperfections to make skin really healthy and glowing.
It’s a trick I picked up from the make-up artists I work with and over the years I have tried many versions. But this summer the Givenchy version has become my favourite. The sparkle is soft and the colour is subtle and it works with many degrees of tan. It also is a great moisturiser.
Living in East London I felt I had a great take on trends that come from the street, but travelling has given me a broader perspective. With flights being so cheap, I fly back for 48 hours to do my work as a creative director for ghd, to teach or to do an interview for my new project. I use Airbnb to find accommodation abroad and end up staying in people’s homes – I am currently in a penthouse in Barcelona that I really wish was mine!
I am more forward when shooting now, especially in shops and galleries, and I often ask if I can take a photo and ask more questions about what I see. I met an artist who let me shoot his workspace; it was a crazy, beautiful mix of Camden markets and Paris boutiques.
This picked me up after I was knocked back in a jewellery store I loved the style of, when I asked to shoot a few things they said no. I told them I worked for a fashion magazine but they were still suspicious, it must have been my Converse – I should have worn my new Chloé sandals.
You have to learn to be quite forward and studying has made me become this way. I feel like a detective secretly recording people and I guess in a way I am – a trend detective!
Here are a few of my pictures – they are just shot with my phone so they’re not brilliant, but often using my phone makes me look less conspicuous. And if you see me in a restaurant the answer is yes, I did just slip the menu into my bag because I love the font and design – but please don’t mention it to the waiter…