There’s nothing like a swish updo to create a sense of occasion. VERNE MAREE went on a mission to discover how the pros do it.
Some women are clever with their hair, and adept at twisting their locks into a tidy topknot, a formal French roll or a sexy chignon at the drop of a hairpin. As for the rest of us, we need to find a stylist we can trust.
We don’t generally want to spend half the day in a salon before a special night out, so it’s better to have any time-consuming colouring or highlights done on a previous visit.
On both occasions, I wash my curly hair in the morning and let it dry naturally.
My brief to the stylist each time is simple: put my hair up in a style that he or she thinks will suit my face, nothing too formal or severe, and please do it in under an hour.
Catherine Lai is the updo expert at Visage The Salon. Faced with my mop, she starts by putting in some heated curlers to tame the natural curls into smoother, bigger waves. A lot of deft finger work, half a can of spray and a hundred hairpins later, she’s hot-tonging stray bits into picturesque order. Only when she shows me the back do I see the clever plaiting in the nape of the neck. Forty minutes from start to finish, and it’s party-time!
When I arrive at Alexandre de Casta Coiffure de Paris, it happens to be the day of the Tanglin Club Ball, and Viennese stylist Andy Trippel is putting the finishing touches to a sleekly formal updo. The plain style is enhanced by an interesting vintage diamante buckle, which the customer has brought along with her.
Do they do many updos here? “Mostly for balls,” says Andy. “And we recently did a lot of them for a La Perla fashion show.”
Andy starts by blowing straight the hair at the front, but is pleased that I have lots of curl at the back. “Good,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if the back is curly, as it adds body.” Then he squirts rather a lot of hairspray on the top and back and teases it for extra fullness.
“I won’t give you too much height, and I’ll let the front hang loose. Sometimes, I like to pull out a few strands and use the tongs on them for a pretty, feminine effect.”
Forty-five minutes later, result!
TIPS FOR UPDOS
by Dominic Seow of Visage The Salon
• Don’t assume it will be over in 45 minutes. If the hair needs to be washed, set and then styled, it can take
much longer than that. When you book, tell the stylist what time you have to leave the salon, and we will
work back from then.
• Depending on the texture of your hair and the style you want, it may be a good idea not to wash it for a day
or two before the big event; that way, it should hold the style better.
• If you have a style in mind, it’s best to bring in a picture, such as from a magazine. We don’t want to get 80
percent of the way through and then hear that you hate the style and then have to take it all down again!
• Don’t wear a t-shirt that has to be pulled over the head. Wear something that you can unbutton or pull off
over your hips later on, so as not to mess up your hairdo.
• Give us an idea of what you will be wearing. Certain styles go better with an off-the-shoulder dress,
for example, and if you’re wearing a cheongsam, you might like to have a pair of pretty chopsticks
incorporated into your hair.
• Consider bringing an accessory such as a diamante brooch, a flower or something similar to go with your
• You can book one of our beauty therapists to do your makeup or your nails while we’re styling your hair.
Visage the Salon is at #02-12 Delfi Orchard.
Call +65 6733 0933.
Alexandre de Casta Coiffure de Paris is at 32 Aliwal Street.
Call +65 6296 8698.
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