Band, bobble, braid

Band,  bobble, braid

Divya (27) likes to change her look (read hair) with the changing season. The numerous fashion magazines, which run dramatic spreads showcasing film stars and supermodels with windblown tresses, help her decide on her style statement.

 It may cost the young PR professional a minimum of Rs 1,000 in monthly salon visits, with a new cut coming at an extra Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000, but Divya feels “it’s all worth the effort, as it makes me feel like a new woman”. This season, she plans to sport the ‘Deepika Padukone look’ — the actress has chopped off her hair for her forthcoming flick. And Divya says she will soon be heading to her nearest salon for a similar style.

Do you make the cut?
With changing lifestyles and more disposable income in hand, women — and even men — are willing to blow up an amazing amount of cash to look hip and young. And hairstylists, along with super-expensive hair care products, make these seasonal transformations possible. But celebrity stylists like Savio John Pereira strongly recommend developing a personal style sense rather than yielding to the urge to copy film stars or pop stars blindly.

Yet how many of us can resist the temptation of wanting to have hair like Aishwarya Rai? Thanks to aggressive advertising campaigns, very few. The moment we see Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor or Penelope Cruz swishing their shiny locks on TV, whether young or old we all have the urge to run to the nearest store and stock up on the latest hair colour, shampoo, conditioner, spray and serum. Numbers certainly seem to suggest this. According to Euromonitor International’s Cosmetics & Toiletries in India market report, the hair care market has seen a exponential increase since the turn of the millennium.
Salons, too, have sprung up at every nook and corner, offering a variety of hair treatments right from basic colouring, straitening and perming to high-end personalised styling and treatments like chemical rebonding and weaving.

“Colouring or highlighting hair is no longer restricted to covering grey hair. It’s a style statement. Sporting black hair is boring. Colour adds style to the overall personality,” observes Savio John Pereira, whose clients include actors Shilpa Shetty and Priyanka Chopra, industrialist Vijay Mallya and cricketer Yuvraj Singh.

Listen to your stylist
With ever-increasing media coverage, women like Divya are instantly aware of changing trends. In fact, today most teen talk too revolves around new hairstyles and cosmetics, and teenagers often come to hair boutiques with particular looks and products in mind. But Placid Braganza, a celebrity hairstylist, believes that it is the duty of a hairstylist to render the right advice and explain to a client which style or product would be best suited to him or her. “Every person’s requirements, lifestyle and purse sizes are different. With so many products available it is always advisable to discuss with experts before one starts using something new,” she says.

Won’t constant styling and colouring harm the hair? Placid declares, “I would be a fool if I told you that the products are harmless! No chemical cosmetics are ever very safe but it all depends on how one uses them. Proper after-care definitely lessens the harmful side effects.”

And what do trichologists — experts on the health of hair and scalp — have to say about this? Dr Rekha Yadav, member of International Association of Trichologists, says: “Permanent hair colours damage the scalp by lifting the cuticle and thereby weakening the hair follicles. A good hair conditioner must be used to control the damage. One should try to use botanical hair care products, which are chemical-free. Don’t be fooled by some so-called ayurveda products as many of them don’t shy away from using chemicals.”
Coleen Khan, former model and hair expert, says: “Well-known cosmetic brands definitely don’t like to damage their reputation. They do extensive research before launching their products in the markets. The proper use of any of the hair products of well-known brands, despite being their chemical base, won’t damage hair.”

Savio adds, “You would need to understand your hair type and texture to be able to select the right shampoo and conditioner. No two products are the same, they vary in quality. Some of the high-end products have nutrients, which work well on certain hair types. The right application will only make your hair feel and look better.”

Trim, shampoo and cover up
So what’s the right regime to be followed to get those lustrous locks? Coleen suggests basics like regular trimming, shampooing and covering hair while out in the sun. She also emphasises post-styling care. “In India, having longish hair will always be fashionable. Massaging and ending any hairstyling with a serum is a must to protect hair,” she says.
And while colouring and streaking are very popular among teenage clients, both Placid and Savio strictly advise against it. “Girls of that age — 14-15 years — shouldn’t try it. Until 18 years, your hair is still maturing and you shouldn’t tamper with natural growth,” Savio emphasises.

Coleen though sometimes gives in to the trend. “Young girls today are determined to experiment. So it is better to guide them to proper hairstylists and allow them to get what they want in a controlled and correct manner. Otherwise they will try bleaching or using wrong products on their own, which is most harmful,” she says.
Ammonia-free colours
Well-known trichologist Dr Apoorva Shah has a more holistic approach to acquiring good looking hair.

“From the beginning adopt a proper lifestyle — eat healthy food, drink lots of water and exercise regularly. Barring genetic factors this should take care of your hair. And stop colouring your hair on a regular basis. It’s okay to do it occasionally but always ensure that you use an ammonia-free colour,” he advises.
How does one decide on the perfect cut? Says Savio, “Getting the perfect hair style would depend on your personality, work, lifestyle and wardrobe. A really competent hairstylist can help you make the right decision only after keeping all this in mind.” This essentially means that every time  Priyanka Chopra or Preity Zinta get a  perm, do not rush to get the same look to be ‘with it’. You may just as well end up ‘without’ your precious hair.

Choose your style:
*Oval face: You are lucky, any kind of cut can become yours. Adopt a hair style to suit your lifestyle.
*Round face: Your cut should frame your face so that the face doesn’t look chubby. And o fringes, please.
*Square face: You should cover your face with a fringe so that the corners of the square get covered.
*Long face: Do not sport long hair. Cut hair to the level of your nose so that the fullness of the top compensates the rest.

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