Legendary hair stylist Sam McKnight’s five party hair rules

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Stylist Beauty Team
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Master stylist Sam McKnight shares his ultimate party hair hacks

So, you’ve found the perfect party outfit, mastered the art of sparkling eyeshadow, and practiced staying upright in those 6-inch heels. But have you nailed a party-ready hairstyle? We sat down with Sam McKnight to discover his top tips for festive hair styling…

1.Maximize your lunch hour

When time isn’t on your side, it’s best to keep things simple. If you have long hair, plait it into braids at lunch, and by the time you remove them at 5pm you’ll have perfect, soft waves. Alternatively, twist your hair into a knot right at the top of your head, and when you come to take it down you’ll have loads of natural bends and volume - add a light spritz of Hair by Sam McKnight Barely There Cool Girl Texturizer, £25, to set, and you’re off! 

2. Accessorise all areas

For short hair, statement accessories are a great idea. Try a classic band, or use a statement comb to sweep one side back. A bit of backcombing on short hair is always good too – flip your head upside down and use a liberal spray of texturiser to create messy, 1980s-style volume - then add your statement accessory. And for afro hair, party season is a great time to play with braids, and make them the accessory - have some fun with it and experiment with some new shapes. 

3. Braids are still big

With practice, braids are easy to master. Forget complicated French styles - instead, try pulling the hair back in a single loose plait. Once you’re confident, try sectioning the hair into 2 or 4 braids, then tuck and pin at the nape of the neck. When honing your technique, practice makes perfect. Watch video tutorials, or get your mates to do it and watch.

4. Embrace the imperfect

You don’t need to put rollers in your hair and leave them for hours - there’s no need for that much effort these days. Be gentle with your hairdryer, curling irons and straighteners to create a style that looks slightly underdone. It’s about a lightness of touch, holding back a bit and keeping it real. Also don’t try to control the uncontrollable, in the midst of winter, a perfect blow-dry is hard to achieve, so embrace undoes and your natural texture instead. 

5. Have fun!

The most important thing is to have fun with your hair. The industry has come a long way in recent years. From clip-in fringes to rebonding treatments, that make it easier to achieve dramatic yet temporary changes - it has even become mainstream to have bright colours in your hair. We’re in a more exciting space for hair now that we’ve ever been before - there’s a new generation of women changing their hair all the time, and it’s great to see. 

Images: Rex Features