Product watch: Tousled hair

From loose and tousled to day-old curly, good hair compensates for imperfections. Blow salons open at 7am, and Brown Sugar offer ‘couture finishing’, says Edel Coffey.

Rapper Azelia Banks, she of the beautiful locks, says you will always be forgiven if your hair is done. That’s an excuse for me. It’s Christmas party season, the time of year that I do something dramatic with my hair and then end up looking like a bird’s nest. So, I’ve accepted that I am not a hair stylist and that some things are best left to the professionals.

It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either. Blow salons (www.blow.ie) are a godsend for working women. They offer amazing, early-morning services for harried women, opening at 7am, and on Mondays and Tuesdays their blowdrys are just €15. It’s a good start to the week and a professional blowdry on a Monday will get most women through to the mid-week hump.

Brown Sugar are the go-to salon for many of Ireland’s celebrities, and their dramatic looks feature regularly on the red carpet. ‘Couture finishing’, as they call it, consists of things like a ‘twisty’ blow-dry or GHD curls, and costs €50. If you want an individual look for a very fancy Christmas party, upstyles will set you back €83.

While I like to look groomed, I hate to look ‘done’. I like a flawless, but natural, finish and a recent trip to Dylan Bradshaw’s, in Dublin, gave me some insight into how to achieve a loose, tousled look. If you like the effect of a day-old, curly blow-dry, but don’t want to go through the day looking like an over-grown Shirley Temple, try this, instead: Roughly dry hair, then separate into sections.

Working from the back of your hair, loosely tong sections, then spray each section with a good amount of hairspray.

Work methodically through the hair, until it is all done, by which time the hair will look quite fixed, so here’s the important bit. Throw your head as far back as possible, put your hands loosely into your hair and firmly shake out the hair, working your hands through from your scalp to the end of the hair.

The result is a relaxed, beachy look that is both voluminous and smooth.

GIFT TIME

The Clarins counter in Brown Thomas is currently offering a range of treats and gifts. Buy two products (one skincare) and you will receive six Clarins beauty treats, including Hand & Nail Cream, Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch and Pure Melt Cleansing Gel, all in a cute little bag. Clarins also have some amazing Christmas gift sets on offer too. Last year I bought a few of these for friends and ended up getting a full size body lotion free (which I gifted to myself, of course!).

You can also be in with a chance to win one of 10 prizes by simply entering a card for the draw on counter. The prizes include a 10-minute facial, a face and décolleté tan application, a lip treatment or a brow shape amongst other treats When it comes to spa treatments I’m a bit like the guy in the Carlsberg ad — entering the fray with a slight unease and an underlying feeling that I should be somewhere else. My latest foray was in the Sheen Falls in Kenmare, Co Kerry. Maybe it’s the setting, the sound of the Sheen river as it snakes its way through the grounds or the huge open log fires, but the treatment starts as soon as you drive through the gates. The Sheen Falls offers a range of beauty treatments for face, body, hands and feet as well as an array of massages. Prices for a massage start at €50 for 30 minutes. I opted for a Swedish massage, designed to promote relaxation, increase oxygen flow in the body and eradicate toxins. Face down on the table, everything was going to plan until the therapist came to the knotted junction just below my right shoulder. “Can you feel that?” she inquired. “That’s stress. You can also feel the tension in your shoulders and neck. Are you under a lot of stress?” “Not really,” I muffled through the heated towels, at the same time part of me wondering just how much of the hotel upstairs my two boys were destroying. Junction cleared, she worked on my neck, arms, scalp and forehead. After the initial awkwardness, I began to worry less and for the 50 minutes I let the rest of the world take care of itself and pampered myself for a change.

Sheen Falls is now taking bookings for luxury Christmas spa breaks. Two night packages start from €650 per person from either the 24th & 25th or the 25th & 26th December. For more information on Christmas at Sheen Falls Lodge please call 064-6641600 or look online at www.sheenfallslodge.ie


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