Category: Hair


How to do short hair in 2013.

In short? (Zzzzing!)

The rule seems to be go real short. Pixie short, if you can handle it.

Cases in pointses:

Ms Pamela Anderson, who may have lost her length, but has gained several metric tonne of elegance as a consolation. So Frenchy! So Chic!

Ms Jennifer Lawrence, whose hair was so ravaged from swinging between blonde and brunette, that the only option was to cut it all off/piss off everyone in the continuity unit at Hunger Games Inc.

Ms Charlize Theron, who is a master of very short hair, and who shaved it all off for a movie role with grace and pistol fingers.

Of course, not everyone has the need or desire to go quite so short. They tend to opt for the bob instead, this lot. Which is a terrific middle-ground for those looking for a dramatic change, without all the shock factor and hair gel required for a pixie cut.

Ms Jennifer Aniston is the most recent and famous example. She revealed the cut was NOT to make putting her motorbike helmet on and off easier as I initially suspected, but rather because Brazilian smoothing treatments had, well, fucked it up, to be blunt. Good lesson here for those addicted to the keratin smoothing treatments: MAKE VERY SURE the one you use is absolutely devoid of formaldehyde and its variants.

The Grand Priestess of Bobs, though, is of course Daryl Somers. No, sorry, I mean Karlie Kloss. She cut her long, runway-friendly hair off to just below her ears and thousands of us immediately imitated. The best part of The Kloss is watching all the way she styles it: straight, tucked behind one ear, wavy and textured, curly and cute…. Some say bobs are dull and impossible to make look sexy and the opposite of versatile. Karlie spits on this suggestion. (Sexily, in a model way.)

I go short every couple of years, when I tire of long hair and top-knots. I feel more ‘me’ with short hair, more stylish perhaps? More something. But when I have longer hair as I do now, I remember how easy it is to just jam it back, or because of the weight and length, let the curls sit semi-naturally and just be themselves and hang out and stuff. I have been pixie short only once, back in about 2006, and because of my curls and cowlicks, I had Japanese permanent straightening first, so that it was smooth and obedient. It was pretty fun, actually. I will probably do it again one day, but will resist the permanent straightening and just do the non-Aniston semi-permanent smoothing instead. (The place I had my handsome new colour done the other week, Xiang, they do it.)

Products that are excellent for short hair:

A texture spray: Something like Bumble & bumble thickening spray used on wet or dry hair is excellent for volume and mussiness. I especially like it on dry hair, roughly blasted through with a hair dryer on high heat.

A smoothing product for waves/curls: Use on wet hair and then blow-dry through until the hair is smooth. Follow with a soft tong job all over. Pantene’s Styling Treatment Mist Soft Curls is perfect.

A wet-style gel for slicked back looks: Short hair is the best length for  sexy, masculine slicked down/back looks and it makes me a touch jealous, in all honesty. On dry, smooth, blow-dried hair, apply a mix of wet-look gel or balm – like Redken’s Hardwear 16 super strong gel- with some water and comb through with a fine-tooth comb. Tuck behind ears, or do a deep side part.

If you have been flirting with the idea of cutting off your hair, now is a great time to take the jump. This is because it’s National Donate Your Hair Week this week, which is part of the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program I am ambassador for, which asks women/men/children to snip off their hair to donate and make real hair wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment. It’s SUCH a fantastic bloody initiative, I love being part of it, and while we’re stoked we raised over 5000 ponytails in our inaugural year, we’re obviously greedy and want to double that this year.

To check if your hair is eligible for donation, head to the Beautiful Lengths website, and don’t worry if it’s not long enough to cut off this week, the campaign goes all year, and we happily accept donations at any time. (Where and how to send your ponytail is also on that website.)

Oh, and if anyone knows this woman, please tell her to get in touch with me.


Responses to this drivel: 13 Comments

Hair colouring: Are you a contraster or a blender?

Don’t worry, I didn’t know what these terms meant until last week either.


Your eye colour is on a similar colour level to your base hair colour. (What your roots are/what your natural colour is.) Creating a blend of similar toned colours is most flattering for you. If you go too stark in contrast, you’re not doing your hair OR your eyes (or skin tone) and favours. Take Jennifer Lopez for example. She is all warm chocolate eyes and so when she blends in chocolate and caramel and toffee tones together in her hair, it is perfection on her. If she were to go bright, cool blonde or dark ashy brown: no good.

Famous Blenders include:



Your eye colour is on quite a different level to your base hair colour, and the best way to accentuate this interest and excitement is with a contrasting hair colour, at least around eye level. If you go for hair colour that is too similar to your eye shade, you can look washed out, or, uh, boring. (THE WORST THING EVER.) This is where people like Kristen Stewart are perched, with piercing light green eyes bought to life with dark, contrasting brunette hair. If she went soft light blonde, it would be too similar a level to her eyes, and do nothing for her.

Famous Contrasters include:

Have a good think about whether you might be a contraster or a blender, as chances are it will provide some impressive clues as to why your hair colour is or isn’t working for you, or if perhaps there is something new you should try. It can be a bit tricky, I should admit. Some people can be both a Blender and a Contraster. And there are nuances within eye colours, for example, like the difference between dark blue eyes and light blue eyes. A dark blue eye (think Drew from Big Brother for those of us danguses who watched it) will look fantastic with a darker brown hair base, (Contraster) while a light blue eye colour (think Cameron Diaz) is much more of a Blender, and is suited to a lighter, blonde base.

I learned all of this as I had my hair colour done last week at Xiang salon in QV, Melbourne. This was my first (finally!) Melbourne colour and cut, but I was several post codes from nervous as my colourist was Dani Solier, who owns the salon with her boyfriend Jamie Furlan (who cut my hair perfectly: all one length to thicken up my super fine hair). Dani heads up the L’Oreal Professional Colour Team so she knows things. She is a top bird and the clever dame who did my hair at the Logies last year. Five stars.

Anyway. I explained to Dani I was enjoying my underlighting, but was feeling like I might like a slightly darker brunette shade around the face. Keep seeing Megan Gale look all amazing with her dark hair and getting jealous. And, was feeling like since the last colour had faded (my laziness being the reason) it was all a bit… meh. Dani gently agreed, and explained that because I am naturally a Contraster (light eyes, dark base colour), when my colour is too similar to my eyes and there is no contrast, I looked washed out.

And godammit, she was right.

Dani decided to use the new range of L’Oréal Professionnel INOA shades (of which Alexa Chung is ambassador… which gives you some idea of what L’Oreal’s motive is… natural, cool-girl hair) to create DEFINITELY NOT OMBRE HAIR despite the product name, (because I explained to Dani that I was very uninterested in two-tone or dip dye hair) but lovely, very-subtle natural reflects and colour graduation around the mid-lengths and ends for excitement and texture. I looked at the images from the campaign to see what I was waltzing into and was pleasantly impressed. This isn’t balayage circa 2010. This is all new shit.


The result: A gorgeous dark, cool, ashy (all VERY important words to use with your colourist if your natural hair is cool-toned and you wish to avoid redness or gold in any way shape or form) ammonia-free gloss up top, then lived-in, subtle highlights seamlessly blended in below. It’s not hugely different to my previous underlighting, but there is definitely way more contrast, and THAT is what I like.

I’m a BIG fan because it does nice things for making my eyes stand out, but still offers lots of (much-needed) texture because of the ribbons of lighter hair below.

I promised Dani that I would not be a naughty shit and let the highlights get all blergh and the gloss get all dull by neglecting to use specialised colour protect shampoo and conditioner, and of course, I would always protect my hair before heat-styling.

She seemed satisfied with that.

Are you a Blender?


No idea?


Responses to this drivel: 35 Comments

Probably the best anti-ageing beauty “product” a dame can use.

What a headline! What a hook. So intriguing and exciting. Aren’t you excited? Can you even believe what you’re about to read?? God, I can’t, and I’m the one who wrote it.

Disclaimer: If you have been so generous and popular and attractive to buy or read my beauty book, Amazing Face, this will not be news to you. But, back then when I wrote the tip, I didn’t have an actual product to recommend, just a genre, so there’s still something in this post for you beyond the obvious hilarity.

Disclaimer #2: I had chia seeds in my porridge this morning, sorry if there are some between my teeth.

Okay, are you ready? The product is A SILK PILLOWCASE.


Don’t make that face. It’s not as big an indulgence as you think, in fact, you probably spend the same amount on that Shellac pedicure you get each month. ($60)

Why it’s worth it:

It’s simple: because silk looks after your skin while you sleep like some kind of angelic babysitter. It’s a breathable and natural fabric, and quite the anti-ageing device too. It’s extremely soft and gentle on the skin, unlike cotton or cotton/polyester blends or satin, which are harsh on your face, and will thieve the moisture from the skin. My favourite part is that silk prevents those gnarly sleep lines you wake up with all over your face when you use non-silk, which, over time, you better believe will have a long-term effect on the texture and appearance of your face. (Ditto the chest lines, which is why I always say your face stops at your boobs, in terms of sunscreen/moisturiser/masks etc.)

And! Silk pillowcases do good things for your hair too. It keeps your blow-dries longer, and prevents your painstakingly created hair styles from being a mess in the morning. If you have curls, they won’t tangle and knot. And if you prefer a bed head look, like I do, when you wash your hair at night then roughly blow dry it off, your hair is that lovely, soft, non-frizzy bed head, not the wild ratwoman one.

I have been using the same two silk pillowcases for years. When I was between the two cities, I had one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, and I always pack one when I travel overseas, such is my dedication to not having sleep-crease lines, and my addiction to the softness. I can’t even remember where they came from, except that they are no longer white, but a charming grey colour, and they have my initials on them, which makes me think they were part of a press kit from a cosmetics brand years back, or else I once dated a man in his 70s with a penchant for embroidery. Who can say.



I didn’t like the fact that my husband’s pillow case was one colour (a nice colour which matched the linen) and my pillowcase, while doing terrific things for my skin, looked sad and out of place and shabby. So I bought some more. Now obviously you can get silk pillowcases at bedding shops and Myer and David Jones, but I went with slip, an Aussie brand I have become quite fond of and not just because their pillowcases are terrific and their marketing is cheeky. Now I have SEVERAL pillowcases in the shades I like my bedding to be (dark chocolate, latte and grey – all terrific shades for masking fake tan marks, I find), which means my husband gets one too, because I shouldn’t be so greedy and hog all the non-wrinkling, and apparently men age too although Sylvester Stallone leads me to think otherwise, so fresh and youthful is his face.


Consider ditching the cotton and sassing some silk. You won’t regret it. The fact that you feel rich when you wake up on a silk pillow is merely a happy bonus. Oh, and also they make a wonderful gift, because strangely some women can’t justify spending some of their salary on fancy pillowcases. I KNOW, can you believe it??

Responses to this drivel: 48 Comments

Underlights: for added volume, contrast and interest.

As I mentioned recently, arrogantly and in a way that assumed you cared, my natural, colour-free hair is fineWay too fine. Floppy, flat, dirty-in-two days, fine. I enjoy its colour very much, but its texture can suck a doz.

So I decided to have some “underlighting” done, a word I have coined (heck, let’s say dollared) which refers to having highlights painted on around the head, but with the following provisions:

They must not create the issue of “roots”

They must not be applied to or visible on the top layer of hair, but rather, underneath

Maintenance must be at an all time-low

The colour of the highlights must be very close to the natural hair colour

There must be enough of them to create a marked improvement in hair texture, “grip” and body

And so, with that list of cool and easy going rules, (written out helpfully here today in a way that you can use/remember them should YOU be interested in this technique) I slithered into the salon* of one Barney Martin (whose idea it was for me to boof up my hair with highlights for texture inspired all of this) and after a consultation with colour king, James Pearce (who got me from all-over blonde back to convincing brunette in a swift two-hour seating last year) I was lovingly given my underlights.

James explained that they would use two shades of high lift tint, (so, ammonia not bleach), one that was two shades lighter than my base, and one that was a shade or two darker. This meant, James explained, that there would be plenty of contrast, but it would look extremely natural. I liked this. Stephanie, a very talented colourist with the kind of wash-n-go texture that permits her not only short hair, but also a fringe (show-off) applied the colour masterfully, and an hour and a half later it was done.

In the continuing quest for volume, however, I had James cut my hair. There were still some layers in there, which is a shame since I’d had two blunt one-length cuts in the past three months, (the ones around my face I can handle – adds some softness) but the thing about layers is that they cling on to your hair like the scent of fish after cooking. And layers, you see, are the last thing fine-haired dames need, especially when the hair is long, and there are curls lurking around, smoking ciggies until they’re next allowed to roam free.

So, we cut it all one length, and quite a fair amount shorter. I instantly felt more me, and more stylish with the length. To me, long hair feels “pretty,” but slicing it off on the collarbones or above feels more … chic.

Here’s the “before” shot. What a godamn mess.
All that bleach ruining the last few inches of hair, all those limp curls…


And now, here are a bunch photos taken by either me or Mario Testino, I can never remember, in order to show the different lights of the colour.

It looks, overall, a touch lighter, but so very, very genuinely naturally coloured, as if I just happened to be born with the most awesome, flecky, contrasty shade of brunette. It looks like the same natural brunette colour I’ve worked so hard to grow out, but there is all this excitement hiding underneath. If I was being unashamedly braggy, I would say that I feel a bit like I just got the hair colour of a bird in a ’90s Ralph Lauren ad, or Ms Brooke Shields in her Blue Lagoon days. And that’s all I could ever hope for.

More importantly  it FEELS thicker, it’s got a lot more texture (the haircut assists this greatly) and I just got almost five days out of it (not even from the salon blow-dry, from my own!)





If you’re a fine haired Shezzi who craves texture, contrast and body but NOT regrowth, then you may just enjoy this underlighting biz.

*Speaking (“writing/reading”) of salons, have you added your favourite salon to the fruitybeauty Personal Beauty Army post?

Responses to this drivel: 29 Comments

Underlights: For fine hair that wants volume but not regrowth.

When there is no permanent hair colour or highlights or tints in my hair it is so… thin. So fine. And if, like me, you already have fine hair, your levels of fineness and thinness and flatness reach levels that were previously reserved for uncooked angel hair pasta.

This is because, as we all know, hair colour adds plumpness to the hair strand. Some volume. A bit of sass and excitement. And I always forget this when I set out to get my natural colour back. What a pity.

Now that the first six inches of my hair is completely natural, with no colour whatsoever, it is arrogantly healthy but I find:

1. My hair needs more washing because my cute scalp oils have more effect, faster

2. My hair is flatter and even the usual root-boost/volume-crank-up products aren’t really doing much (or they do much initially, but by day two the effect has buzzed off to get a latte on Degraves St)

3. I use double the products (esp magic dusts and mousses) which leads to build-up and even – GASP – a dry scalp

4. Styles won’t hold, because the hair is too limp and pathetic and deserved of being bullied quite frankly

5. I eat more Lindor balls than I should.



Just one of the many wonderful magic (“volume”) dusts on the market.


I find it most amusing that every few years I bang on about wanting my “natural hair” back and then as soon as I have it, I immediately resent it for its overwhelming thinness and dullness… Of course the one VERY big plus to having hair that is not permanently coloured is that you can donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which puts you in the Fabulous Saint category.

Incidentally, during some wonderful trips to Sydney and Brisbane for Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Look Good Feel Better last week, I got to chatting about this with my fellow Beautiful Length ambassador and hair dresser and the chap who did my wedding hair, Barney ‘Bananas’ Martin.



My fancy wedding updo, care of Barney.

I pretended not to be offended when he commented after blow-drying my hair that it was very fine wasn’t it, and perhaps I needed some colour back in there..?

“NO, Barney,” I said, unnecessarily loud. “I like having my natural colour back. Is healthy and shiny and the curls are behaving. Also I am lazy and care not for regrowth.’

“Just get some highlights underneath the top layer, silly!” he said in that fun British accent. “That would give you some volume and some texture, and you needn’t worry about regrowth because the top layes is still your natural colour.”

He had a point. It was large and red and wailing like some form of emergency vehicle.

“Almost like… underlights.” I said, trademarking it in my brain as I did so.

“Yes!” he said.

“And I suppose I could just have a colour similar to my own, couldn’t I. I don’t want obvious highlights at present.”

Ocourse you can, you duffer. Anything you like. So long as it’s permanent.”

“Just some lovely, natural smudging on the under layes of my hair, right up at the roots, but concealed by my top layers,” I said, in a way that would be helpful and very explanatory should I ever be enthused to write the conversation out as a blog post. “Yes, that could work.”

Barney is as tired of super-obvious ombre balayage as I am, but we both agreed the balayage (“painting”) technique. also called smudging, is still terrific, in terms of how natural the finish is, and how non-traditional-foils-or-streaks-cap it is.

So, I’m going to do it and report back. What fun!

Is your hair flat and uninspiring at present?

Does it shit you?  Yeah me too. When there is no permanent hair colour or highlights or tints in my hair it is so… thin. (Post continues on in a never-ending loop.)



Responses to this drivel: 15 Comments