As the festive season looms and the party invitations stream in, working out how to style your hair quickly and easily (particularly if you're racing out straight from work) can induce a last-minute panic. How can you add volume to third — or fourth — day hair? What's a simple updo you can hastily recreate in the office bathroom? How do you get those perfect curls without spending 20 minutes in front of the mirror?
Fret not; Sam McKnight, one of the most renowned hairstylists in the industry, is here to save the day. With 40 years in the business — working with everyone from Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell to Princess Diana — no one knows hair quite like McKnight. Earlier this year he launched his own product line (aptly named 'Hair') of dry shampoos and sprays, bottling a bit of his magic into colorful cans to help us transform our hair at home. Below, McKnight exclusively shares his secrets on how to achieve a host of party looks with the revitalizing products from his own range.
The Best Way To Do An Updo
The quick route: "If you don’t have curling irons, hair clips, or hair rollers at your disposal, that’s fine. The Lazy Girl Dry Shampoo is all you need for a quick fix. The ultra-light powder mist refreshes hair but is a styling product in its own right. It gives the hair bite, texture, hold, and volume – essentially priming your hair so it’s ready to be pulled together and turned into an updo. Dry shampoo has always been a staple in my kit bag, but I really wanted to move the idea on – take the product from a quick refresher to a styler / texturizer, which is how I use it.
"Simply spray Lazy Girl at the roots and through the lengths. Add serious height to the look by backcombing the roots and then pull the hair smoothly into a French pleat. Use a brush to smooth down most flyaways – but avoid an overdone, sleek look. Leave the ‘last minute’ texture. It keeps the look cool. Gives it that edge."
The long route: "Those more glamorous updos are easier than you think. The trick is to have the right tools – the right styling products, the right curling irons – that prep the hair to create a look that lasts. You want to set the hair first. Use a medium-barrel curling iron and, taking the hair in sections, wrap each one around and hold for a few seconds. When you remove the iron, clip the curl in place until it’s cool. This will really lock the curl into the perfect shape that will add some hold to the up-do.
"Once the hair is set, remove all the clips and rollers, spray the Easy Up-Do into each section and backcomb. Do it at the root and lock in the volume with a light spray of hairspray. Use a flat bristle brush to smooth over top of hair. Then pull the hair together from all the sides and back of the head and twist up from the nape of the neck. Fold it neatly into a French pleat (secure with pins – but the Easy Up-Do gives you enough grip and hold that you won’t need many) and then brush smooth the top section of the hair and fold it back neatly into the pleat."
Cool Girl Hair
"This is quick. It is my signature look — the rock and roll, sexy hair that everyone wants — in a can. And it’s simple – we need more simplicity in our lives. Just spray my Cool Girl Texture Mist through the crown, mid-lengths, and ends. Or just throw your hair upside down and spray liberally through the hair and into the roots. Whatever. There’s no secret to this one. It just works. Throw the hair to one side and spray it into the roots, mid-lengths and ends. Throw hair over to the other side and repeat, creates great volume and texture."
"You need to get the hair super straight before adding in these curls. And build the texture bit by bit. First blow-dry through the lengths with a hairdryer set to medium heat. Use a bristle brush to really smooth the hair — but always avoid holding the dryer too close to the hair. Use the Modern Hairspray liberally throughout the hair and brush thoroughly for a lived-in texture and a quick way to build a base for styling.
"Then taking the hair in small segments, spray each section again from root to tip. Wrap it around a curling iron – a medium size – to create a tight coil. Repeat all over the head and clip each curl in place, allowing it to cool. Once cooled, remove the clips and break up the curls with your hands. A light mist of Modern Hairspray will add definition. I love a side-parting with curls – it feels more modern. Whichever part you go for, keep it clean and defined with the tail end of a wide-tooth comb."