Speedy wash-and-go-hairstyles make sense for summer but once winter’s bone-chilling temperatures set in, doing a salon-style blow-dry after your shower every day does not a relaxing morning make. Leave the house with hair that’s even a little bit damp and you can guarantee your teeth will be chattering all the way to the office, but dry it properly and you’ll have to wake an hour earlier to be out of the door in time. The answer of course is to shower the night before, but when has that ever led to anything other than scarecrow-like strands? Fortunately there’s an answer and George Northwood, the hairdresser behind Alicia Vikander‘s always-flawless styles, has it.
“Firstly you have to decide what kind of hair you want to be waking up with – that completely determines what you should be doing to prep the night before,” he explains.
For undone, kink-like waves – “think Daryl Hannah in Splash!” – the key is drying hair completely before you begin. Then work it into a tight plait before bed and give yourself 10 minutes in the morning to complete the look. “Undo the plait and then piece out the waves, using a texturising balm like Redken Rough Paste to separate the hair and create that crimped effect. If there are any weird areas or sticky-out bits you might need to adjust them quickly with a tong, and then you can add lift at the roots with a bit of dry shampoo.”
For an even more undone look – “we’re talking proper bedhead, Kate Moss at the weekend hair” – blast hair with a hairdryer until it is 90 per cent dry, then go to bed and “roll around as much as you want – though bear in mind that with this kind of look it can get pretty wild depending upon your hair texture”. Finish with a texturising spray and a rough comb-through with your fingers and you’ve got the ultimate weekend hairstyle without having to wait for it to dry.
Women looking for that coveted second-day blow-dry look with the requisite volume at the roots, wavy texture and smooth finish should give themselves plenty of time the night before, but rest safe in the knowledge that they can roll out of bed in the morning. “What you want to do is either go to a salon and ask for a big Kate Middleton blow-dry or do it yourself at home with rollers and plenty of heat and product. Go to bed looking like Dolly Parton and when you wake up it will have dropped, softened and will be that perfect semi-polished look that is so hard to achieve when you’re trying to create it from scratch,” Northwood explains.
The final and perhaps most complex option is to aim for sleek, Veronica Lake waves without having to lift a finger once your morning alarm starts beeping. “For this one, your actions the night before are crucial in making it work,” he says. “You want to make sure hair is really smooth and completely dry and then pull it into a tight, neat bun at the nape of the neck. It has to be the nape otherwise you won’t sleep. You need to take the hair and twist it all in the same direction before pinning it into place – no scrunching or going in the opposite direction. In the morning, undo the bun and then smooth through an oil or serum to combat any errant hairs.”
Any flatness at the roots can be assuaged with a little dry shampoo massaged into the scalp, and once you’ve congratulated yourself on your foresight, you’re good to go – apart from one last thing.
“Never, ever brush in the morning. For one thing it leads to frizz, and secondly there’s always an element of mechanical damage. Use your fingers and you’ll be able to feel out any tangles,” he says. “If you’re looking for a very sleek finish like the Veronica Lake style, run a Mason Pearson brush across the hair’s surface just once.”
And all that’s left to be said is, enjoy the extra 40 minutes in bed.
Related reading: How to use dry shampoo