Celebrity stylists share their tips on how to get your best hair ever

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Jo Hoare
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From the exact shade of highlights to the coolest cuts, these British mega stylists are shaping the looks of the moment. They reveal what’s now – and next – for all our hair.

The Innovator: Vernon François

The most in-demand stylist this awards season, Vernon François is shattering the stereotypes of afro-textured hair. Working with Lupita Nyong’o, Solange Knowles and Serena Williams, he’s responsible for the new wave of textured hair looks.

How will hair change in 2018?

Right now, we are moving towards an emphasis on height and volume for all hair types. We’re starting to see models of ethnicity with big hair instead of sleek hair – which is really empowering. If you need help with volume then Kevin Murphy Body Builder Mousse, £21, is great for a voluminous blow-out at home.

What’s your go-to cut right now?

When clients say, “I want something really current”, I say, “Find the right haircut for you and you will always be relevant.” However, we’re definitely seeing shorter cuts – even [number] ones. I don’t think long hair is sexy any more. Be brave, go short.

Are trends getting bolder? With colour we’re moving towards golds for afro-textured hair but people like to change things up, which is why I also think we’ll see more wigs. And wigs moving away from being just a cover-up and instead being a way of changing identity.

What are your tips for styling afro-textured hair?

As a child, I used to practice my twisting and braiding technique on everything – from a mophead to my grandmother’s beaded curtain (before graduating to a blonde, blue-eyed doll head who I christened ‘Shaniqua’). So my number one tip would be to play with your hair. Spend time touching it, educate yourself about it, understand its structure. And give products time. Try them in combinations for a few months so you can refine what works.

Do you aim to set trends on the red carpet?

I’d like to continue making looks that create a conversation – looks that are authentic to heritage, that question what’s appropriate for a red carpet and are inspired by sculpture, movement and shapes [such as Lupita Nyong’o’s towering bun at the 2016 Met Gala].

The Trendsetter: Chris Appleton

Spreading his unique brand of edgy glamour throughout Hollywood, from hair piercing to the return of uber-lengths, think of a major hair trend over the past two years and you’ll be able to trace it back to Chris Appleton.

What’s your biggest trend prediction for 2018?

Texture is coming back into our lives now – think Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex And The City and her pretty, imperfect curls. It’s more than a beach wave but it’s not a fully ‘done’ look. And we’re not done with Nineties inspiration, keeping texture a bit grungy and cool is really hot.

What’s the next cult cut?

The idea of a ‘trend’ has changed so much – we live in a world where things move so fast that the idea of a ‘look’ being ‘in’ doesn’t happen as much now. We’re in such a time of change. We won’t have another Jennifer Aniston cut that everyone rushes out to get. Instead, it’s all about versatility. People don’t want anything that means they can’t change things quickly. For example, Kate Hudson’s recent crop looks great but we haven’t seen women rushing out to copy her. What’s your colour prediction for the year? Sexy blonde – think Kim Kardashian at the Alexander Wang New York show, a mix of high glamour and undone. But it has to be in great condition. Olaplex [a replenishing hair treatment available at various salons, from £25] is the secret to this, there’s no technology out there like it.

How else will hair evolve this year?

I think it’s going to be about more than just a blow dry or an updo. It will be about adding personality with something like hair jewellery. When I did this with Ariana Grande and the hair piercing, using rings in her ponytail, it just added some attitude. It’s about pushing your look further. What are the latest additions to your kit? If you’re going to make an investment then go for the Dyson hairdryer, £299.99. I tried it for a week recently and afterwards other driers felt so ancient, heavy and loud. Also Color Wow Dreamcoat, £24 – it’s always raining in the UK so the one thing all women need is this. It acts as a sealant, like an umbrella for your hair, and makes sure it won’t frizz because water can’t absorb into the cuticle of the hair.

The Super Colourist: Nicola Clarke

With more than 20 years’ experience, the woman responsible for the hair colour of Kate Moss, Daisy Ridley and Cate Blanchett has just taken the helm at John Frieda’s Margaret Street salon, creating Nicola Clarke at John Frieda.

Which shades will be trending in 2018?

After a long period of heavy platinum bleach, warmer blonde tones are back. We haven’t seen the back of pastel rinses but we’ll see more apricot finishes and rose golds – both surprisingly flattering on a lot of skintones and much easier to wear than the statement brights of 2017. For brunettes who want a subtle change, it’s about ditching the all-over gloss – a flash of lighter pieces gives shine and makes hair look thicker.

Which new techniques do we need to know?

Balayage is here to stay but we are starting to mix techniques to individualise things. Now it’s all about combining foils with balayage or putting bases on then adding some freehand colour. Colour sponging will also be big. We backcomb the hair and work a lighter tint randomly through the hair using our hands. The end result is subtle twinkles of colour.

What’s the coolest cut for 2018?

Blunt-cut hair is still a big trend, but it will get more extreme this year, by pairing a blunt bob with a blunt fringe. It can feel scary, and is definitely a strong look, but can be flattering and interesting if done right. Another cool look, and the opposite of a blunt bob, is a very long layered style. Hair needs to be really glossy to pull this off, with regular treatments and trims. Wear with a centre parting and loose waves.

What are your latest hair discoveries?

  1. I always have the Sam McKnight sprays with me, they are so workable and easy to use. Modern Hairspray, £22, is my favourite because it can be used for so many things – wet looks, setting lotion, everything. On a personal note I’ve just been using Iles Formula Haute Performance Finishing Serum, £42.50 to stop my hair being a frizzball on holiday. Are we getting braver with hair? Yes, I’ve been taking a lot of my brunettes blonde – I’ve just turned Carey Mulligan blonde as she wanted to look different for a season of red carpets, and I made the switch for Daisy Ridley too. It’s all about experimenting – we definitely want to play with our hair more. 

The expert styling kit

Vernon Francois Mist Nourishing Water, £12,

Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer, £299.99,

Colour Wow Dream Coat, £24,

Kevin Murphy Body Builder Mousse, £5.83,

Hair By Sam McKnight Modern Hairspray, £22,

Iles Formula Finishing Serum, £43,

Main Image: REX Features