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How to: Simplify your Style, According to the World’s Top Hair Gurus

Wed, 5 December 2012 4:39PM

Throughout my career, I’ve had the honour of interviewing some pretty amazing people, from celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Cate Blanchett, to the stars of the beauty world, such as Pat McGrath and Mary Greenwell, the original make-up artist to the supermodels.

However, I must admit, Primpers, that I get more than a little excited when a visiting hair stylist comes to town. For one, simple-yet-effective piece of advice is totally priceless and can go a long way to beating bad hair for good. For another, they’re just so … charismatic. These guys can turn a roomful of cynical beauty journos into a blushing-and-giggling mess in just a few short minutes.

The best part? I find myself putting their pearls of wisdom into practice virtually every day. So, as a little pre-Christmas treat, I thought I’d share three of my favourite tips from some of the industry’s brightest international stars. Good hair days for everyone!

The Colour Commando: Harry Josh

His pedigree: He gave Gisele those trademark honey-coloured lengths, took the plunge with Rose Byrne’s dark-chocolate bob (below), and has even tended the tresses of the Olsen twins.


What I learnt: Strapped for cash? Consider this money-saving hair move courtesy of Mr. Josh. If you want to lighten your hair, start at home. Pick a DIY colour – he recommends John Frieda Precision Colour Foam, $22.99, from pharmacies – that is no more than two shades lighter than your current shade (this is key to preventing unsightly orange errors). Use this as your base shade, then book an appointment at the salon for just a few foils around your face and the crown of your head. It’ll add depth, break up the colour and impart a professional finish – for a fraction of the cost. Genius.

The Eco Warrior: David Babaii

His pedigree: Not only is David the go-to for a red carpet ‘do (think Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie…heck, he even came up with Kate Hudson’s boho waves all those years ago), he has a heart of gold. A true animal lover, he donates a percentage of all profits from his cruelty-free products to both wild and domestic animal welfare.

What I learnt: Other than many juicy secrets about his celeb clientele, David taught me to keep it uncomplicated. “Keep your hair clean using the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type, avoid harsh chemicals, don’t over process it… People get more and more highlights and all of a sudden their hair is falling out.”

Instead, he recommends investing in good tools – “it’s really important to have a kick-ass blowdryer” – that, although more expensive, will last the distance and save you time. So true – $199 for a ghd Air, from selected salons, certainly isn’t pocket change, but, gosh, it makes mornings so much speedier.

David’s overall philosophy? Clean, simple, healthy hair is infinitely prettier than tortured styles: “I love it when girls don’t overdo their hair.”

The French Gent: Frédéric Fekkai

His pedigree: Aside from his high-end eponymous product range (I love the Apple Cider Shampoo, $38, Mecca Cosmetica), this über-charming stylist counts many an international celebrity as a client. Even Hillary Clinton has had a hair makeover at his talented hands.

What I learnt: When I recovered my equilibrium after almost totally succumbing to Frédéric’s French charisma, I discovered this excellent tip: “Don’t use the same shampoo all the time”. Sounds simple, right? But it works. For example, he suggests that if your hair is tinted you should use a colour-specific shampoo one day, then the next time you wash, swap it with something for volume, shine, or whatever best treats your main concerns. “Try keeping a couple of different shampoos in the shower to address the roots, the hair and the colour.” Sure, you end up with a rather crowded cubicle, but this easy advice makes a huge difference. I’ve had three different options on the go ever since.


Across the board, Primpers, the main thing I’ve taken away from meeting these international hair gurus and a lot more besides, is that when it comes to your hair, simplicity is key. Gentle, clever care; regular trims; soft-and-easy styling; and a colour that’s pretty close to your natural hue is what they preach. A low maintenance ‘do? I can do!

How about you? Do you like to keep things simple when it comes to your style?

And what is your easiest, yet most effective hair tip?

Until next week,

Emily xx

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  • Posted by: Its_Jess Master Fan // Wed, 5 December 2012 05:51pm

    “Don’t overdo it” is definitely my approach too! Some great tips there!

  • Posted by: SophYesterday Enthusiast // Wed, 5 December 2012 05:52pm

    This article needs a little editing as far as typos go. Really helpful tips though!

  • Posted by: glossed Master Fan // Wed, 5 December 2012 06:11pm

    I always swap shampoos – it’s like your hair gets used to it if you don’t? And I deifnitely want a GHD hair! My best hair tip was from Zoe Foster – brushing your hair flat across your scalp in all different directions (she explains it much better than I do) speeds up the process without damaging hair or doing anything fancy!

  • Posted by: loopylexy Master Fan // Wed, 5 December 2012 06:30pm

    That’s a really interesting tip about swapping shampoos!

  • Posted by: PrettyPrincess Master Fan // Wed, 5 December 2012 08:09pm

    I often have a few shampoos on the go, it’s more because I find something new or different I must try!

  • Posted by: misschris Master Fan // Wed, 5 December 2012 08:42pm

    I definately agree with the keep it simple rule, I like to keep my hair more natural so only get highlights every 12-18 months, and because my hair has natural highlights you don’t notice the regrowth that much.

  • Posted by: melg Master Fan // Wed, 5 December 2012 10:04pm

    Really want that ghd air, mines about to die. I always keep mine simple and use gentle products and a good clarifying shampoo

  • Posted by: daylight dancer Master Fan // Thu, 6 December 2012 09:54am

    I love the john frieda hair dyes!! They work so well and the results are great.
    I love to keep things simple. I love the look of a nice blow dry after youve been to the salon. And your hair feels so smooth and looks shiny!
    Loving the looks of the ghd air dryer!

  • Posted by: Sparkles17 Master Fan // Thu, 6 December 2012 01:24pm

    Love Rose Bryne’s chocolate bob am tempted to get it done for Christmas!. I keep things simple with my hair as I’m not to good with intricate hairdo’s!

  • Posted by: CandiH Devotee // Thu, 6 December 2012 02:22pm

    Simple is the best thing, when you try too hard and wrench your hair in directions it doesn’t want to go, your style becomes too overdone & will not last as long.

    I must admit I have not met the caliber of stylist that you have Emily (I am so jealous) but the one thing that I took from every external course I did was to follow the hair natural instinct & don’t work against it

  • Posted by: lovefashionangel Master Fan // Thu, 6 December 2012 03:30pm

    Easiest hair tip for me is just a jazzed up ponytail. I like it sleek with shine serum or good hairspray.

  • Posted by: anitas.artistry Master Fan // Thu, 6 December 2012 04:26pm

    I put my hair up in a bun after it’s been washed and towel dried and wear it for a day and night, then let it out the next day for bed head waves!

  • Posted by: lolo Master Fan // Thu, 6 December 2012 04:43pm

    Use hair oil… makes life so much easier! haha

  • Posted by: MissJo Devotee // Thu, 6 December 2012 04:52pm

    I straighten Sunday night, wear it down for a day, ponytail next day, spritz beachy spray the next day for a less fussy style then wash and start again – sort of like a hair wardrobe. Inject other styles as well like a topknot or bun, and watch your hair – if it’s getting oily or dirty particularly in summer – don’t try to save it, you can’t – better to go to go out with freshly washed hair slicked into a bun.
    Great tip re changing your shampoo around.

  • Posted by: matty Enthusiast // Thu, 6 December 2012 08:27pm

    I like to keep things simple. I have recently discovered David Babaii’s beach spray. I love the focus on protecting our wildlife and producing first rate products.

  • Posted by: bluebird Master Fan // Thu, 6 December 2012 10:08pm

    Great article, I eally enjoyed reading it. Low maintenance is what I crave too. I guess my tip was part of this article, to have regular trims to keep your style neat which makes maintaining it at home much easier.

  • Posted by: Tina-1291133452 Master Fan // Fri, 7 December 2012 10:45pm

    would love to give the ghd air a try! i love the straightener, can imagine how good this is too! best tip is probably to apply coconut oil on damp hair instead of another serum..

  • Posted by: Coconal Master Fan // Sun, 9 December 2012 10:43pm

    Great tips here, I already switch shampoos from time to time as I feel like my hair gets ‘used’ to it otherwise, but I do love having it confirmed!

    I also agree wholeheartedly with the tip of using a good hair dryer…I find it does less damage and cuts drying time significantly. :)

  • Posted by: DebstarDesigns Master Fan // Mon, 10 December 2012 03:55pm

    I really like Frédéric Fekkai’s tip about using more than one type of Shampoo! I have heard in the past that your hair can get used to a product and that mixing it up now and again keeps your hair looking healthy so I have been doing that for a few months and agree that it works!

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Mon, 27 May 2013 03:45pm

    A low maintenance do sounds spot on. With all the primping and preening I do in the mornings, it’s a wonder I get out the door.
    I love to try different hair products to see the benefits gained. I have learnt I have liked so many products that are wonderful.
    Simplicity is the key.

  • Posted by: aliasam47 Master Fan // Tue, 6 August 2013 01:57pm

    As always – great tips, thank you!

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