The Romantic Bride: Long, Loose and Shiny Hair
When Kate Middleton walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey last April -- with her lustrous chestnut brown hair in loose, elegant curls -- brides-to-be everywhere put down their bobby pins. Her stylist, James Pryce, described the style as “romantic waves,” and said the Duchess had chosen the look because she wanted to “feel like herself” when she married Prince William.
Today, long and loose styles are the most popular look for brides, says Eli Mancha of Chicago’s Bang! Salon, named Hairstylist of the Year at the 2011 North American Hairstyling Awards.
The key to making cascading hair work on your own wedding day isn’t a diamond tiara but shiny, healthy tresses. We asked Mancha for advice on how to get your long hair ready for the big day.
Avoid a Pre-wedding-day Split
Even though you’ll be growing your hair or keeping its length in the months leading up to your wedding, you still want to maintain the ends to prevent splitting. “A trim is necessary at least once every three months to keep the ends fresh,” says Mancha. You might also want to invest in a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent breakage. “The ends of long hair can be very fragile, especially if your hair is fine or color-treated,” says Mancha, “and it can catch on the cotton fibers of traditional pillowcases.”
Rehearse Your Color
Start coloring your hair six months in advance so you’ll have time for at least two touch-ups, and any necessary fine-tuning before the big day. Schedule your final color appointment for a week before your wedding, “so it looks fresh and shiny but more natural than freshly colored hair,” says Mancha. You might also consider a gloss or cellophane treatment. “For blondes, a gloss will tone out any brassiness,” he says, “and it will add richness to darker shades. It also acts as a topcoat, smoothing down all your ends, producing incredible shine and locking in the color so it won’t fade during your honeymoon.”
Find Your Perfect Product Match
Choose the shampoo and conditioner that’s designed for your hair texture: curly, straight, fine or thick. You might also consider products specially formulated for long hair, which has been exposed to more washes, styling and environmental damage than short hair. Wash your hair every other day, applying shampoo to the roots, but only put shampoo on the ends about once a week. Using a leave-in conditioner after your final rinse will provide the extra moisture your thirsty ends need.
“I usually tell my brides to wash their hair the night before the wedding,” says Mancha. “Sleeping on the hair gives a little bit of natural body. What’s more, freshly washed hair is very slippery and won’t hold a style as well. If you are going to have any curl or wave added to your hair, I recommend you or your stylist use a flat iron to create the curls. Not only are flat iron curls more modern and natural-looking, I find that they last longer. You get a slightly more squared curl, which defies gravity better than a curl created by a round surface.”