Mermaid hair (you know, those long, undulating waves) has been a trend on social media for a little while now.
But, bold and ultra bouncy, it looked like something only twenty-somethings could get away with.
However, the Princess of Wales is now showcasing what can only be described as ‘grown-up’ mermaid hair, and it has inspired some of us to wonder if we, too, dare go the full Farrah Fawcett in midlife.
We asked celebrity hairdresser Richard Ward (richardward.com), who has worked with Kate in the past, to share the secrets to copying her glossy style.
‘This “curtain fringe” is one of the most flattering you can have,’ he says.
‘It’s centre-parted with long, graduated layers that frame the face, but the length makes it really versatile as you can also part it on the side as well.’
The gorgeous waves are a great showcase for Kate’s stunning hair colour.
‘Dark hair reflects light more than blonde hair,’ explains Richard, ‘which is why, when it’s in great condition like hers, it looks really shiny and healthy.
‘Plus, waves and curls really show off this sort of autumnal base that’s broken up with caramel and honey tones, which are really warming and flattering.’
Of course, it’s not just about a good cut and colour. You can’t fake healthy, hydrated hair, and, says Richard, that comes down to what you do on a daily — and weekly in the case of hair masks — basis.
‘I really think that with shampoos and conditioners, you get what you pay for. In the salon, we recommend Oribe and Shu Uemura, but even if you can’t stretch to those brands, do try to buy the best you can afford.
‘If you can get to the middle range — say £8-12, rather than £5, I think you’ll really notice the difference.’
And as for the style itself, well, this is not one to attempt if you’re in a hurry.
‘A finish like this takes time. You can’t just wash your hair, do a rough dry and stick hot irons on it if you want to look the way Kate does,’ he says.
‘First of all, you have to blow-dry it as sleek and smooth as you possibly can, taking all the frizz and curl out of it.
‘So, after washing, I’d towel dry the hair and apply something like argan oil to help get the lengths smooth. Then, I’d blow-dry in sections, using a round brush until you have perfectly smooth hair.’
While most of us might well be tempted, after all that effort, to leave our poker-straight manes just like that, if you want to get the mermaid waves, there are a few more steps involved.
First of all, start by clipping your curtain fringe out of the way, and then work on one half of the head at a time.
‘You probably want to divide each side into four or five sections,’ says Richard.
‘Spritz each one using a heat-resistant holding spray — I like L’Oreal Professionnel Tecni-Art Constructor (£13.56, amazon.co.uk) — and, using a medium tong, pointing downwards, you loosely wrap the hair away from the face going diagonally around the tong.’
But, he points out, what makes it look really modern is that you’re not tonging above the ear.
‘You have this really long, straight bit before the wave, and then it’s not a curl, where the hair has been tightly wrapped several times, it’s much looser, so you’re only wrapping it about three times.’
Once you’ve got your gorgeous wave, Richard suggests loosely wrapping it around three fingers and pinning it to the scalp with a long clip, before finishing with a light mist of hairspray.
‘When you use heat on the hair, you’re actually changing the way that the molecules in it sit together, so the key to the longevity of the wave is letting it cool for as long as you can. The longer you can leave it pinned up, the longer it will stay put.’
Once you’ve waved and pinned the sections on both sides, brush your curtain fringe forward, and then tong the very end of it away from you.
‘When you’re ready to leave the house, take out all the pins and then use a wide-toothed comb to comb through everything, and blend the separate sections together, then finish with some light hairspray.’
Et voila: grown-up, princess-style mermaid waves.