He’s done the hair of everyone from Princess Diana to Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista. Now SAM McKNIGHT shares… 6 party hairstyles to make any woman feel like a supermodel
- Sam demonstrates how to create six of his favourite looks for the festive season
- READ MORE: Celebrity hairstylist details easy, fun and festive looks to create at home for every party on your calendar
At Christmas, most women — even those who just about manage to run a comb through their hair the rest of the year — want to unleash their inner glamourpuss during the party season.
And a magnificent ‘do’ is the surest way to conjure up a glossy festive look, guaranteed to attract admiring glances from colleagues more used to seeing you looking like Worzel Gummidge.
I know all about the power of having the best-looking barnet at any bash, having spent four decades on speed dial for the world’s most glamorous women, among them Princess Diana, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Cara Delevingne.
There’s a good reason the weeks before Christmas are the busiest time in hairdressing; even more than a sequinned dress, stilettos and sparkly jewellery, the style and condition of your hair will be the thing fellow party guests clock.
So it’s no surprise to me that my celebrity clients book their hair appointments the moment an invitation lands.
Sam McKnight shows how to create six festive hairstyles: Punk Princess; Sixties Starlet; Disco Diva; The Supermodel Look; Cool and Carefree; and Easy Updo
Celebrities are, of course, under pressure to update their image constantly. So I’m always experimenting with new looks — tumbling waves, a messy up-do, a half-up, half-down arrangement — and beautiful accessories to set the style off.
But there’s no need to opt for something so drastic people don’t recognise you. Instead, aim to enhance your locks, adding gloss and volume to create an exciting, exaggerated version of yourself.
As long as you stop short of accessorising with baubles and tinsel, no one could ever accuse you of being too dolled up for a Christmas party. Especially as we’re seeing a return to the 1990s supermodel vibe (perfect for me, as I helped create looks for many of them) which can be summed up in two words ‘polished volume’.
So many women complain of having ‘terrible hair’ that they ‘can’t do anything with’. But, in my experience, that’s not true — they just need to learn how to make the most of what they’ve got.
What equipment and products you need will depend on the type of hair you have — frizzy, fine, curly, straight — and the style you’re aiming for. A good hairdryer — I always use a professional one such as a BaByliss or Dyson, as the heat is less damaging — is essential.
To create wavy volume, Velcro rollers or a hot brush that also dries the hair lets you get salon results without the struggle of juggling a dryer in one hand and a brush in the other.
However, whether it’s a straight or curly look you’re after, balm or serum are essential for smoothing frizz and flyaway hair and creating that glossy, finished look that will turn you into the belle of the ball.
Here, I demonstrate how to create six of my favourite looks for the festive season…
While this look has more impact if you have a bit of texture in your hair, the style works on any hair type
While it will undoubtedly turn heads, this look is very simple to achieve — in the loos after work if necessary — as you don’t need styling tools.
It’s also a must for anyone who wants to walk tall into their Christmas party; the stylish quiff gives the illusion of extra height.
It has more impact if you have a bit of a texture in your hair, but this style works on any hair type, from straight to curly.
Leaving most of the hair hanging loose behind, I backcombed the front and sides, from above the ear, creating volume at the front and gathered it in my hand, as if to make a pony tail. As I twisted the hair, it naturally folded in on itself, creating a shape a bit like a rockabilly 1950s roll, or an apple turnover, which I then pinned into place and set with spray.
As a finishing touch in honour of the festive season, I attached a large velvet bow at the back, which created the perfect balance to the rockabilly roll.
The Sixties Starlet look is elegant and flattering, drawing the cheekbones up. It’s a great style if you have mid-length hair
If you want to create an aura of chic elegance as you sip your Christmas cocktail, this is the look for you. It’s a flattering style, that draws the cheekbones up and is sensual and sexy. This is perfect for mid-length hair.
I started with my texture spray, called Easy Up-Do, and applied it to dry hair. It creates better hold and grip for accessories, which are hard to achieve in silky, just-washed hair.
Next I did a little bit of back-combing at the roots, on either side of the crown. I wouldn’t recommend it every day, as that would damage the hair, but it’s the perfect way to create some beehive-like height and volume — both welcome additions to any party look.
After creating a low parting on the left-hand side, I brushed the hair forward, forming a fabulous faux fringe, before sweeping the whole lot round to the back of the head.
Gently brushing the hair to achieve a smooth surface without unpicking the backcombing, I then tied it into a ponytail at the base of the skull before twisting it and folding it back on itself, creating a neat French pleat.
The pleat was pinned safely into place using a couple of hair grips hidden close to the scalp.
I then finished with hairspray, adding extra shine and ensuring this look would stay put all night.
The Disco Diva style is perfect for those with curly hair. It will equally work well on those with straight locks, providing they set aside time for curling first
This style creates real va va voom, turning any head of hair into your crowning glory. It’s perfect for anyone with natural curls, but even those with straight hair can create this look, though you’ll need to set aside 30 to 40 minutes of curling time, using narrow tongs.
The key with naturally curly hair is not to try and contain it. Instead, enhance the texture using a smoothing balm, or a serum. If your hair is naturally straight, a hairspray will help give the curls longevity.
With this look, you don’t want loose waves but a voluminous display of corkscrew curls, which can only be achieved using narrow, 1.6cm tongs. Separate the hair into roughly 1.6cm sections and wind each one around the tongs, holding for 2 or 3 seconds at a time.
To boost the volume I created a parting on the left-hand side and used my fingers to sweep the hair forward and then over to the right, where the bouncy curls cascaded down and across the model’s shoulders, perfect for flicking around on the dance floor later.
Use a comb to tease the curls apart, creating both separation and definition.
Finally, use your hands to work a balm through the curls, and fix in place with hairspray.
THE SUPERMODEL LOOK
This polished and glossy look works especially well on those with a layered medium to long style
This look exudes confidence. The hair looks glossy and thick, which we tend to associate with youth, and also has lots of movement.
It works best for those with a medium to long style, but with some layers, because when your hair is all one length, the weight will pull it down.
Volume is key, so I used my root- lifting spray. Then, tipping her head upside down, I directed the nozzle of the hairdryer into the roots setting them (with the aid of gravity!) to ensure plenty of root lift.
Starting at the top of the forehead, I then sprayed my Modern Hairspray on individual sections and combed it through before rolling each separate bit over 16 large 5.5 cm Velcro rollers (you may need between eight and 20, depending on your hair length and thickness) pulling the hair straight up to keep the roots lifted as I rolled.
I then popped on a hood dryer that attaches to a hairdryer and blow-dried the hair for 15 minutes and left the rollers in place until everything had cooled.
Due to their larger size, the rollers don’t curl the hair but instead create bouncy, glamorous waves. I sprayed it again with hairspray to add shine and hold it in place.
COOL AND CAREFREE
Kate Moss favours the Cool and Carefree style. While it takes a little time to get right, it looks attractively effortless
This is the hairstyle equivalent of the ‘no make-up, make-up’ look — it takes a little work to pull off, but looks carefree and ‘effortlessly’ good. It’s a look I’ve created for Kate Moss numerous times over the years.
To create a glossy, polished party look I first used my own moisturising balm, Dressed To Kill, to get rid of any frizz.
After applying hairspray, mos- tly as a heat protector, I used a 2.5cm (medium-sized) curling tong on inch-wide sections of hair, wrapping the strands around and holding them in place for no more than a second to create the natural, tousled look. I also alternated the direction of the curls, so if one was facing inwards, towards her face, I turned the tongs in the other direction for the next so it pointed away.
Once the hair had cooled, I used a couple of pumps of nourishing balm and ran them through the waves, to get rid of fluffy ends. I set the look with hairspray, ensuring definition in each wave.
This Easy Updo really is simple to achieve and creates an elegant aesthetic that brings to mind style icon Audrey Hepburn
This is an elegant, timeless look that brings to mind actress Audrey Hepburn. Women tend to worry about up-dos, convinced they can’t achieve them on their own, but this one is so simple anyone can do it.
Ensuring the hair was smooth and frizz-free, I tied it into a tight, high pony tail just above the crown, which has the added bonus of giving the optical illusion of lifting the face and accentuating the cheekbones.
After adding more texturising spray to the pony tail, I simply twisted it around itself, creating a bun, before using pins to secure it to the top of the crown. Prim is not the look we’re going for, so I teased strands out of the top knot using my fingers, giving it a slightly softer, more frivolous, feel. Don’t worry about releasing too much hair, you won’t have to start again, as any excess strands can easily be clipped back into place.
I experimented at first with two waves on either side, framing the face, but tucked one back into place after noticing that a single lock gave a chicer feel.
The look was topped off with a black velvet bow, with a pretty diamante-encrusted circle. Christmas is the perfect time to bring out the bling and sparkles.
- Hair by Sam McKnight (sammcknight.com)
- As told to Helen Carroll.
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