Tuesday, 30 November 2010

8 Worst Mistakes That Hairdressers Make and How to Avoid Them

Friends of Bettie love hairdressing and hairdressers, but are you finding that your salon experience can sometimes be an anti-climax?

Here's our 8 Worst Mistakes That Hairdressers Make, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. The cardinal sin most reported is that hairdressers don't listen. Whether it's ignoring all the verbal clues from a client trying to express who they are and what they want, or simply taking the attitude they know better than the client what the client wants.

2. Next up is having a limited repertoire. You know how it is, no matter what you want, somehow the hair cut turns out exactly like the hairdresser's previous client, and the one before that, and the one before that..... You get the idea. It feels like that's all the hairdresser can do, and they stay in their comfort zone rather than entering yours.

3. Rushing through a consultation or no consultation at all. Your hair is totally personal, it's obviously literally part of you, but the hairdresser who fails to find out who you are will be struggling to give you the individual service you deserve.

Davines Shampoos and Conditioners in window display at Vintage Hair Lounge

4. Not knowing their products. The benefit of going to a hair expert, as hairdressers should be, is getting that expert advice on how to maintain a healthy head of hair and be able to style it as you want in between salon visits. Professional hair products have a purpose, and can make a huge difference to how your hair looks and feels. Hairdressers that work on the basis, one size (product) fits all, are selling you, and their expertise, short.

5. Treating the waiting area as a waiting area. Think about it for a minute, your me-time fabulous feelgood experience starts the minute you enter the salon. Being made to feel you're waiting for a bus, or a doctor's appointment isn't much of an "experience".

6. Having confusing price lists. This is a bit controversial as it's common for hairdressers to have a scale of prices according to the experience of the stylist. But that's not for your benefit, it's all about incentivising staff by having promotion goals - they hit targets, and they get to move up a notch and charge a few more pounds. How can you possibly judge whether the service you want, and are going to pay good money for, is capable of being delivered by the "rank" you pick. With up to 7 or 8 levels of stylists in some salons, the decision on who you chose may come down to price, before you even know what you're going to get for it.

7. Inane chat. Hairdressers are creative technical artists. Public perception still downgrades hairdressers as a profession. But if they don't show you any knowledge, passion or interest in what they're doing, you may be left feeling a bit deprived of what you thought you were paying for.

8. Using the Junior or Saturday Boy/Girl to gown you up and shampoo your hair. This is a common experience, and of course youngsters and trainees need to get hands on experience in order to learn. But don't forget, you are not there for the Junior's benefit. Consultation and Shampooing takes up at least the first 15 minutes of your salon experience, and it's usually longer. This is time you should be having with your expert stylist.

Avoiding these mistakes is possible. If you are happy with your hairdresser, that's fantastic, there are some brilliant inspiring and accomplished people out there in the profession. But if you're feeling a bit hard done by, a bit disenchanted, and you've experienced any or all of the above mistakes, there's still good news!

Elena at her Vintage wedding at Beaulieu Palace, hair by Gloria at Vintage Hair Lounge

1. Know exactly what you want from your hairdressing experience. Know how you want to feel whilst you're in the salon, with the hairdresser, and most importantly how you want to feel when you leave. If you're not on top of the world, something's gone wrong.

2. This is your time. You're not just buying a haircut, you' are buying your stylist's experience, expertise and creativity, and every minute counts. It's OK to be the centre of their attention, that's why you're there. Ask for what you want and ask the stylist questions (lots of "why's" and "what do you recommend" will tease out that expertise that can make a positive difference to you).

3. Listen carefully to what others say about their hairdressers. Are your friends and colleagues expressing disappointment with hairdressers or are they raving about the experience they have when they go to a salon?

4. Have you kept the same hairstyle for ages even though you've wanted a new look for a long time? If this is because you don't trust your hairdresser, or they're failing to listen to you, then change your hairdresser to someone who pays as much attention to you as a person as they do to your hair.

5. Watch out for opportunities to have a dialogue with your hairdresser. And that means not just during the time you're sat in front of them. Is your hairdresser making it easy for you to contact them for advice at any other time and through any other process?

6. Value your hair as you value your health : feeling good about your hair and your hairstyle is good for you and your wellbeing. A great salon experience can be a real boost, and that's as it should be. Demand more from your hairdresser and enjoy them exceeding your expectations.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

A Short History of Besame Cosmetics and Vintage Hair Lounge

With new Besame stock on display at Vintage Hair Lounge this week, it's about time we told the story of the influence these beautiful vintage inspired cosmetics have had on the development of the Vintage Hair Lounge brand and vision.

Tinks Reding introduces Besame
Back in 2007, when I (Sharon Holloway) was a fellow Hackney resident with tv and film make-up artist Tinks Reding we often shared our thoughts of the future, and over a drink one day Tinks enthused about developing a professional make-up store with a glamorous vintage feel. Besame, she told me, was the brand leader of vintage make-up products, and she'd seen it in the States and fallen in love with it. She was determined to bring it to the UK. I listened intently, went home, and googled the Besame website. I too fell in love with the brand, but no matter how hard I tried, including pacing up and down through Selfridges who were rumoured UK stockists, I couldn't find a single Besame product anywhere in London to actually look at.

Cassie Leedham develops the brand
The idea went on the back burner as I focussed my attention on developing and launching my historical film production company Archive TV , but a year later, when the idea for Vintage Hair Lounge returned to the planning table, it became obvious that Besame was going to play a central part of this new vision. Throughout the development process, Besame was able to provide a sense of timeless vintage style and product quality that we wanted to achieve across all our work, products and services, and many a mood board created with Vintage Hair Lounge brand designer Cassie Leedham from Good Show Studio reflected the Besame style, now incorporated into our own bigger picture. But I still hadn't seen a single Besame product and had no idea how to find a way to stock Besame in the salon.

Besame delights in Vintage Hair Lounge vision
If there's one thing I can't fault is the personal customer service of Fergus and Gabriela Hernandez, founder of Besame Cosmetics, because direct contact with them in the United States was very easy. An introduction through UK cosmetics buyer Stacia Prince, quickly led us to a personal contact with Fergus and Gabriela, and I was elated with their endorsement of Vintage Hair Lounge and approval of us as an authorised stockist of their amazing brand. It was one of the most exciting achievements along the way of the establishment of Vintage Hair Lounge.

Besame's outstanding performance
So I finally got to see and hold the products, and quickly began to try them out in professional and personal looks, and I can honestly say, you can't get better lipsticks or powders than these. Professionally I'd always been a fan of MAC, and I still rate MAC products highly, along with another favourite brand, Smashbox. But the quality of Besame, and the attention to detail of vintage shades, make for authentic make-ups with astonishingly good finishes for photographic and film outings.

Friends of Bettie Besame favourites
It's hard to pick out the real diamonds, but I'd say the best performers were Red Hot Red and Noir Red Classic Enchanting Lipsticks, Sweetheart Balm in Cherry, Socialite Brown Alluring Eye Shadow, Raspberry Rouge Boudoir Rouge and Medium Cashmere Powder Compacts. I wouldn't be without these in my professional kit, as time and time again they outshine any make-up competitor. But with Besame it isn't just about product performance, because the packaging is pure vintage luxury. And you won't have to scale the country's make-up-stores on the off-chance the products may be on sale as I did, because a large range of Besame products can be found at Vintage Hair Lounge to try out and buy.

Endless thanks to Tinks Reding for the Besame inspiration.

Find out more at http://www.besamecosmetics.com/.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Hepwrights Original Vintage, 34 Bedford Place, Southampton

One of our dearest Friends of Bettie is the most expert vintage fashion queen, Catherine Wright, owner of Southampton's biggest vintage clothing store. We popped up to see her today in her new shop at Bedford Place, and despite the rather unintentional romantic atmsophere (due to a temporary powercut!), Hepwright's Original Vintage looks very comfortable in it's new stylish surroundings, and was bustling with seekers of unique fashion pieces.

Friends of Bettie first met Catherine in April, when Vintage Hair Lounge was in the throes of establishing our temporary salon. The warm welcome we received then has never waivered or faulted ever since. Many Vintage Hair Lounge clients have either found us through Hepwright's or vice versa, and in May 2010 we were delighted to support Hepwrights GO! Vintage Market at Southampton's Soul Cellar.

What's so fantastic about Hepwrights is not only the huge range of fashions available to buy from the forties through to the eighties, but that it is possible to hire a frock for a special occasion. Friends of Bettie bagged a couple of outfits for an upcoming photoshoot with the Southern Daily Echo next week, and in true try-before-you-buy style, if we fall in love with the items we can purchase, or if we want to try something different for another occasion, we can hand them back and book out a new piece. Rather like going to the library, you can amaze all those around you with the vastness of your vintage wardrobe without having to shell out a fortune or extend your own wardrobe space.

So this Christmas, with the party scene upon us, where better to really dress up and show off than Hepwright's. And of course you can count on Vintage Hair Lounge to style hair and make-up to match your sparkly outfit.

Hepwright's, 34 Bedford Place, Southampton SO15 2DG 07986 370 543 http://www.hepwrights.com/

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Curls : Vow to Love, Cherish and Embrace

The ghd and the straightener has for long enough dominated modern hairdressing (although we're sure we read somewhere that people really did used to iron their hair. With the iron.) But it takes its toll on the condition of the hair and limits styling options, especially if you are lucky enough to have naturally curly hair.

Here's Friends of Bettie Claire's Top Tips for Loving and Cherishing Your Curls.

1.Curls need MOISTURE. They are thirsty little things so conditioning properly is top a priority. The best we've found is Davines Lovely Curl Enhancing Conditioner containing Pistachio Oil and Rice Wax. Yummy.
2.Once a week give those curls an extra boost with a luxury conditioning treatment. They'll love you back for it.
3. After a great wash, go careful on towel drying. An affectionate squeeze is more than enough. Rough towel drying may well leave a frizz fiasco in its wake.
4. Use a great styling product suited to curly hair and apply whilst wet.
5. Don't rush your drying process. Those gorgeous conditioned curls need to keep their shape, so use a diffuser attachment on a slow speed and only moderate heat.
6. Don't brush curly hair between washes, else you'll have another frizz fiasco!
7. Regular trims will blitz any split ends and keep those curls in the manner they've now become accustomed.

Love your curls and they will Love you back.

Thanks Claire for the expert tips!

Lovely Curl Enhancing Shampoo and Conditioner from Davines can be found at Vintage Hair Lounge.

Friends of Bettie launches!

As Stephen Fry would say, welcome welcome welcome welcome! Friends of Bettie have arrived. Here we can share more top tips, secrets and news about Vintage Hair Lounge, our work, our team and all things wonderful that Friends of Bettie friends are up to.
First things first, being somewhat theatrical characters that we are, we love all things camp. So Friends of Bettie is a rather knowing wink to our many Friends of Dorothy, and promising all our new Friends of Bettie that the world of vintage guys and gals, burlesque lovelies, chaps and pin-ups are all welcome into our fold.
And the great Bettie herself was our inspiration for our lovely retro mermaid creation you see on our page. The short film Fish! by Damian Samuels and Mark Eccleston is currently in post-production. The most gorgeous Francesca Brown plays the eerie but stunning mermaid, lost in time, at Brighton's infamous Saltdean Lido. Bespoke hair extensions were made by us for the film, and hair and make-up styled by us for the film production. As soon as Friends of Bettie has news on the film's completion, we'll post it right here.
And now we're off to put the kettle on and scoff on a cupcake.