Four hot hair looks for autumn

IN the spirit of renewal and productivity after a long, lax summer, autumn style is all about change. We’re leaving all things floaty behind and moving into the manic run-up-to-Christmas push.

The sea change applies to hair as much as to clothes. No more the laid-back sun-streaked locks of summer. Rather, big and bold are in, both in colour and style. “Big is back,” says John Vial, pal of Vidal Sassoon and Mario Testino, and head honcho at RealHair in Chelsea.

Tracey Hayes, RealHair’s colourist, says: “Whenever you come out of summer and go into autumn, colours become more dramatic. Clothes get harder and darker and people are still wearing a lot of black. So one thing that’s big this season is violet. Youngsers are getting powerful sections and panels; older, highlighted clients can go for pearly violets without it being too strong.”

Here are four key looks for autumn, suggested by Vial.

“Flat is gone,” says Vial. “Throw your irons away.” The look is moving away from that straight, over-ironed hair.” Instead, experiment with a fluffy, frizzy texture as seen on Dior’s catwalks last winter. Or, for the most fashion-forward, do some good old-fashioned crimping like Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding below. Get hold of an eighties crimper or buy a triple barrel waver for a softer look – Babyliss does a good one. As for how you want to wear it, up and down both work, just avoid Jerry Hall’s famous “fried, dyed and tossed to the side” look.

Banish all thoughts of schoolgirl plaits on either side of a straight middle parting. This season, braids are all about the asymmetrical and the surprising – texture, not neatness. Do some thin braids in unexpected parts of your head so that they just peak out, or a hefty one down the back that’s shrouded in non-braided hair, as sported by Leona Lewis, left. “The nice thing about braids is that if you’ve got mid-length hair you can tie it into a knot at the back and attach a false braid to it,” says Vial. “Also, if you sleep in your braids, you get a crimped look. That’s two-for-one value.”

This is a big look this season. For a neat one, a la Gemma Arterton at right, turn your head upside down and tie it into a high bun. To give yourself a trendier, more dishevelled look, try weaving a-symmetrical braids into the knot. Get funky with your partings; do one side parting on the right and one on the left; do a braid out of each segment of hair and feed it into the top knot. You can even use the braid to tie the hair in place – or another strand of hair. It looks much better than an elastic band.

“It’s back,” says Vial. Giles Deacon, Jasper Conran, Mulberry and Chanel all featured bouffant hair in their autumn/winter shows last year. “It’s a new take on Margaret Thatcher but more dishevelled.” To get Drew Barrymore’s look here: turn your head upside down and blow it from inside out – for maximum effect, back-comb your roots. To tailor the look for the office, pull your hair back into a tight ponytail so that it’s smooth in front and wild behind. Controlled bouffant. Lovely.