The idea that a ‘good hair day’ can change your mood, and even your outlook on life, sounds a bit far-fetched, but the theory has stood the test of time. So why is it then that more than 94 per cent of women* in the UK (me included), fail to style their hair every day? ‘It’s the inability to tap into our innate sense of creativity,’ says style expert Sam Clarke, who runs classes on how to be creative at The School of Life. She believes society has inherited the belief that our jobs define creative potential and that some – accountancy, law, nursing, telesales etc – are seen as totally uncreative. ‘We fall into the trap of thinking that if we’re not what “society” deems to be creative, then it’s a place we can’t venture to,’ she adds.
How do I look?
My mane has always been a point of contention. I have vivid childhood memories of running from my mother as she tried to brush my hair out – my curls all knotted and wild. As a teen, I had no idea what to do with it, and with no guidance (my mother had totally different hair to mine), I spent a few years in the wilderness until I discovered what I clearly realised as a child – brushing my hair while dry was the worst thing I could do to it. I was envious of friends who could straighten their hair without it going frizzy, or put in layers à la Rachel from Friends. My lack of knowledge and the restrictions curly hair brings meant I’ve grown up with boring hair. I’ve never worked my creative muscles on it, which leaves me second-guessing myself if I do attempt to try something different now – ‘will people think I look silly?’ resonates in my head. This fear of being judged for how we express ourselves through the way we look doesn’t just stop me from exploring the creative part of my personality; it’s affecting the majority of us – if statistics are anything to go by. But it’s not just our hair that’s missing out, we’re also missing out on being happier individuals.
Psychologist and co-author of The Creativity Cure: How To Build Happiness With Your Own Two Hands (Scribner Book Co, £9.94) Carrie Barron says: ‘Creativity is a natural antidepressant. When we make things, recombine old elements in new ways, immerse ourselves in an absorbing endeavour or try a fresh approach, we feel vital and engaged. As humans, we have a need for novelty, so breaking out of the script is a joy and a relief, whether it’s your hair or a new hobby.’
This wouldn’t go amiss in an age where more and more of our lives revolve around gadgets and personalised services, resulting in a generation that lacks the imagination to go DIY. It really is up to us to tap into our creative resources and doing this through hair styling – where the feel-good factor you get from a ‘good hair day’ fuses with the proven benefits of creativity – is a winning combination. In a bid to get my creative juices flowing, who better to speak to than the world’s most sought-after hairdressers?
‘Most people have a natural wave to their hair – so, it’s all about finding the best way to wear it. Apply a moisture-injecting, frizz-taming prep product to towel-dried hair and twist in sections. Leave locks to dry naturally, then separate with fingers. Alternatively, if you don’t have time to dry naturally, you can plait it when damp and dry with a hair dryer. Once dry, release the plait and shake the hair out to reveal soft waves.’
Michael Lendon, advanced master creative director, Aveda UK
‘Hydrate the hair with a suitable shampoo and conditioner, as the healthier the hair, the more you can style it with heat and product. A faux bob is a fun way to change things up and try short hair for a day. To manipulate your hair length, add some soft waves to the hair, then curl tresses under and pin at the nape of the neck. This looks incredibly chic and allows you to try a completely different style without cutting your hair.’
Julien Farel, founder of Julien Farel Anti-Ageing Haircare
‘Colour is uplifting; it’s like make-up for your hair and – best of all – you can chop and change by using one that washes out easily. Don’t be afraid to take that leap. From coloured tips to a bright parting or one bold-hued section, you can get really creative using hair dye. The only limit is your imagination!’
George Northwood, UK ambassador, Pureology
‘Plaits are a classic, yet beautiful, way to get creative with your hair. From Fishtail and French to thin or chunky, there’s a style for absolutely everyone. If you have not yet mastered the technique, or are a bit short on time, then invest in a plaited accessory instead. Whether you have short or long hair, this is the quickest way to add some intricate detail to any hairstyle.’
Inanch Emir, co-founder Inanch London and Gold Class Hair
‘If you tie your hair up a lot, just curling the ends or even smoothing them with a flat iron while the hair is already in the band, instantly offers a more styled and glamorous look – great for rushed mornings! And if you have extra time, leave a section of your hair out of the ponytail and use it to twist around your hairband – you’ll be surprised how something so easy makes such a difference to your pony.’
Adam Reed, co-founder of Percy & Reed
‘Headbands make an instant statement – they’re a quick route to creative hair and also help you go that one extra day without washing it. Spray on some Ojon Full Detox Rub-Out Spray, £19, first to soak up sebum and give some volume, before gathering up hair into a messy top knot or low bun.’
Jennie Roberts, Ojon treatment technician
Up and away…
‘Up-dos are one of my favourite ways to be creative with styling. For example, if you want a quirky, fun and modern reinvention of the Princess Leia-shaped bun, spritz damp hair with a texturising spray, then blast it with a hair dryer. Section the hair into four or five equal pieces, and twist each one right to the ends of the hair, before wrapping each twist separately around on itself, and pinning them all into a low-slung bun.’
Jon Moore, director at Trevor Sorbie