When Kim Sears appeared at Wimbledon earlier this week to cheer on husband Andy Murray, her eyes might have been glued to the court, but hair obsessives were admiring her artfully tousled waves and perfectly placed highlights.
Because Kim’s new do perfectly epitomises the summer 2021 aesthetic — long hair that is gorgeous yet artless, colour that looks like it’s a combination of grown-out and sun-kissed, a style that’s more casual than contrived — it’s all basically about being done in an undone way.
And as celebrity stylist Richard Ward, who looks after the Duchess of Cambridge’s hair, explains, like many trends we’re seeing, it’s the direct result of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns. While fashion forecasters might have predicted we would be glamming up to the nines at the first opportunity, actually the opposite is true. Or at least, even if we have made an effort, this summer we really don’t want it to look as if we have. The secret to achieving the ‘undone do’ is artifice, the illusion that we haven’t just stepped out of a salon.
Three top stylists shared their advice for embracing this summer’s ‘undone’ trend, as Kim Sears (pictured) gains admirers of her artfully tousled waves and highlights at Wimbledon
‘The crux of this is that people have got used to a more natural look,’ says Richard. ‘Previously, they’d never given themselves the opportunity to see what their hair could do. They booked in for their cut every eight weeks, and often had their colour done more regularly than that. But lockdown has changed that. Women are more comfortable with their hair being longer than it might have been in the past, and with seeing those darker roots coming through.’
That said, this summer’s look is ‘effortless’ in the same way as the no-make-up make-up look is effortless i.e. it actually requires serious amounts of make-up and a lot of time. ‘Just because it’s called “undone” doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at it,’ says George Northwood, who is so known for his perfectly imperfect styles — as showcased by the likes of Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Rachel Weisz — that his haircare range that launched earlier this year is called Undone.
‘There’s a real art to making something look like you haven’t made an effort with it.’
With the help of Richard, George and Jonathan Andrew, global brand ambassador for Fudge Professional, here’s the Femail guide to the undone do.
WANT LONG HAIR? TRY CUTTING IT!
Richard Ward believes Kim’s long, thick hair is all her own. ‘She’s always had that incredible hair,’ he says. Social media is packed with pictures of real-life Rapunzels who got used to the length in lockdown and decided that actually they really rather liked it. But if you’re not naturally blessed with long locks, Jonathan Andrew has some tips for making the most of what you’ve got.
Contrary to what you might think, the key to longer, thicker hair is regular haircuts. Jonathan says: ‘When people are trying to grow their hair, they say “take as little off as possible”. They only have half an inch off, when really the damage at the ends is just symptomatic of the damage that goes through the mid-lengths, which means that the hair is more likely to break.
‘Ideally, find a stylist where there is mutual trust, and make an agreement that they will only take that half-inch off, but that you’ll go back in eight weeks’ time, rather than three months, to have another half-inch off. It’s the simplest, easiest way to get hair longer, thicker and healthier.’
Celebrity stylist Richard Ward, who looks after the Duchess of Cambridge’s hair, said the key to longer, thicker hair is regular haircuts. Pictured: Kim at Wimbledon
If you don’t want to play the long game, there are always extensions. ‘People worry extensions are going to ruin hair,’ says Richard. ‘And while that might have been the case in the past, the newest ones — tape extensions — where a section of your own hair is sandwiched between two wefts attached to each other with surgical-grade tape — don’t damage hair at all.
‘They can be perfectly colour matched — a colourist will identify your hair shade, then colour the individual extensions so they’re indistinguishable from the real thing — and re-used.’
Vicky Demetriou, a hair extensions specialist, says business is booming. One of her most requested looks at the moment is wavy, mermaid-long hair. ‘It’s all dishevelled curls that look like they’ve been just washed and air-dried. It’s the sort of thing that can look a real mess, but if you take time and care over it, looks wonderful.’
However it’s worth bearing in mind that all extensions need regular maintenance, so you will have to see a stylist roughly every six weeks to have them removed and repositioned. Whether your length comes naturally or is down to extensions, a good maintenance and protection plan is vital.
‘A good conditioner is essential,’ says Jonathan. ‘But I advocate making the effort to do a weekly deep condition. After you’ve washed your hair, take double the amount of conditioner you’d usually use and coat your hair in it thoroughly. Use a clip or a scrunchy to tie it up, then run a hand towel under hot water, wring it out and wrap it round your hair. Take it off when it’s cold, but leave the conditioner in for as long as you can before rinsing it out. This sort of regular treatment will really help.’
Products to try: Dizziak Deep Conditioner, £22, dizziak.com; Pantene Strong & Long Keratin Reconstruct Hair Mask, £2.47, superdrug.com; It’s A 10 Miracle Hair Mask, £29, itsa10haircare.co.uk; Fudge Professional Damage Rewind Conditioner, £13, beautybay.com.
Jonathan Andrew said there’s no defined line between the darker and the lighter parts of Kim’s hair (pictured), as they both have this olive-golden tone
NOW GO FOR THAT CAREFREE COLOUR
‘Kim’s colour is almost like a natural balayage look with darker roots and lighter ends,’ says Richard. ‘But it’s not entirely natural. It’s been tweaked, and we’re seeing this a lot at the moment.’
Instead of going for a full head of highlights that go from root to tip, it’s all about a new, less-groomed, grown-out look.
As Jonathan points out, there’s no defined line between the darker and the lighter parts of Kim’s hair: ‘It’s really well done in the way it’s blended. You don’t see the difference between the two tones.’
If you want this sort of look for yourself, it means either letting your colourist know you want a balayage colour that will grow out and look natural, or asking a colourist to ‘smudge’ the line between the two colours.
The choice of shades is also important. ‘You need a correlation between the two colours so it doesn’t look two-tone,’ says Jonathan. ‘The lighter and the darker shades in Kim’s hair are complementary as they both have this olive-golden tone.’
The finishing touches come from the highlights at the front, which make it look very natural as this is the area most likely to be bleached. ‘Those few individual pieces that are coloured from root to tip really break things up and frame the shape of her face.’
So let’s say that you’ve got the length and the colour. How do you get the style?
Start with a good blow-dry, which in a salon can easily take an hour, so take your time.
‘What makes Kim’s hair look great is the volume and separation,’ says Jonathan. ‘I recommend putting the effort into the blow dry.’
George says start your blow dry by spritzing hair with a volumising spray, then tipping your head upside down and rough drying it to get volume into it. Then flip your head the right way up for a thorough smoothing blow-dry.
George said a large barrel tong (pictured) can be useful for recreating Kim’s hair style
Then it’s time to tong. ‘You want quite a large barrel tong,’ says George. ‘Wrap the hair around it. Leave the root out and the ends out, no need to be too precise.’
To finish it off, use a styling cream, or serum.
‘Put a little bit into your palm and then rub it all over the fronts and backs of both hands,’ says Jonathan. ‘Then start at the bottom and work out and upwards so you’re conditioning the mid-lengths.’
And his trick for getting rid of any flyaways along the parting is to hold the hairspray a little bit above the parting and spray a thin layer across the top.
‘Finally, use the rounded side of the can to smooth hair on both sides of the parting.’
And that’s how you get the undone do.
richardward.com, georgenorthwood.com, fudgeprofessional.com