I have written about the rapid growth of those who identify themselves as being of ‘mixed heritage’ in the past and with the recent Census figures confirming that this group now represents 2.2% of the population (some 1.2 million people), the spotlight will be increasingly shone on the hair and beauty desires of this very special group.
Jessica Ennis is the ultimate poster girl of multicultural Britain and with the majority of people from a mixed heritage background being under the age of 16, the next 10-15 years will see a massive demand for services that cater to their needs as they come of age.
While our favourite catwalk and red carpet European and Afro hair styling are widely analysed, with tips on how to recreate the looks, mixed heritage hair, which is rocked by many of our leading stars, doesn’t always get the same attention as a hair type in its own right. “The danger is applying techniques, colours and styles that are either for European or Afro hair” notes Jasmin Allen, colour master at Errol Douglas Salon, “neither of these approaches work, mixed hair has its own characteristics, and the mixed skin tone palette requires a bespoke approach to rocking colour” Of mixed heritage herself and with over 10 years on Douglas’s colour team, Jasmin shares her personal and professionally acquired Do’s and Don’ts for “Mixed Chick Chic”:
1. EMBRACE ALL SHADES
Mixed heritage chicks will find there really is a shade of Blonde, Copper, Red and Brown to suit every subtle difference on the skin tone spectrum. “That’s why Leona Lewis was able to go from a beautiful soft blonde to a sexy, skin warming caramel. Bespoke face framing low lights avoid the harshness that all over colour can sometimes create”
Emeli Sande – rocks her signature platinum blonde locks. Her father is Zambian and her mother is English.
2.STUDY SKIN UNDERTONES AND EYE SHADE
Mixed Heritage skin’s natural base can have a flatness to it that a wrong colour choice can exacerbate. Opting for a rich dark shade that will reflect the light and a create face flattering shine is a good move. “Corrine Bailey Rae, Sade & Jordin Sparks do the one shade darker than natural for high shine finish really well” says Allen. For the right choice in ANY shade, the eyes have it: Reddish/warm flecks in the eyes respond well to burnt coppers, burgundy reds and golden blondes – think autumnal. “Mixed chicks rarely have lighter, cool blue undertones eyes which is why a good colourist will steer advice away from classic “Swedish” blonde expectations, it drains remaining warmth in the complexion, and advise for sandy based tones”
3. ENHANCE COLOUR WITH A CATWALK INSPIRED PARTING
Deep side partings seen on the Catwalk (SS13 Marc Jacobs and Dior) are great for really putting the natural curl of mixed hair centre stage. The deeper the parting the more effectively the light will bounce on a curl and highlight the different tones achieved from carefully placed high or lowlights.
4. USE COLOUR TO ENHANCE A NATURAL CURL – “3D COLOUR CURLS”
Mixed hair has natural texture and bounce that lends itself to a wide range of looks. A great way to rock it naturally is to work with the natural curl and colour by painting selected curls with a pearlised version of the natural colour. It creates a 3D spiral effect when the light hits it. “Thandie Newton does this beautifully – styling her dark almost black hair in a spiral curl, with a “Perle Noir” rich black glimmer shade painted randomly within the curls. It really boosts her naturally mixed heritage hair. The principle of a glimmer version of the natural shade on any colour works the same”
1. BE AFRAID OF ROOTS
With mixed heritage hair, leaving roots natural and free of colour can actually make the overall look “pop”. “We call it shadowing” notes Allen, “Take Emeli Sande; it looks like bold block blonde, but the reason it delivers drama without washing out her complexion is because it’s been graded from golden brown, through blonde and onto ice blonde in an ombre principle that’s less defined between the stages. It avoids the iced blonde being right against the skin which wouldn’t work”
2. GO OVERBOARD – LESS CAN BE A “WOW” MORE
Creating texture with a few lighter pieces on a short and simple mixed heritage style brings a freshness to the skin. “I loved Halle Berry at the BET Honors Awards earlier year, her signature pixie crop teamed with a few lighter coloured areas gave her texture and let her stunning skin take centre stage. Colour doesn’t have to be extreme to be effective on a skin tone that is lucky enough to look young and fresh naturally”
3. STRAY TOO CLOSE TO THE HAIRLINE
When a style appears harsh or gives a somewhat unnatural finish, it’s often because the colour has been taken too close to the hairline. “The closer to the skin, the subtler the colour placement needs to be. It’s not impossible but should be considered on an individual basis in consultation with your colourist” says Allen.
4. CHOOSE COLOUR OVER CONDITION- GO GLOSS
Mixed race hair can be extremely delicate as its components are an amalgamation. Over processing will compromise elasticity by breaking down the make up of the hair leaving curls limp and lifeless. “Colour Gloss and treatments are my two key maintenance tools for mixed heritage hair” advises Allen, “The gloss, great value in between colours, can extend the colour by up to 6 weeks and really lift it again. A weekly mask with potent ingredients such as Moroccanoil Hydrating Mask, will keep locks in top shape so that colour work really delivers impact on healthy hair”.
5. UNDERESTIMATE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS FOR MIXED HAIR HEALTH
“Don’t assume European or Afro specialist products will work on mixed heritage hair, they often don’t, as they’re either too light or too heavy” cautions Allen, “That said, Moroccanoil has been a game changer as it really does cater to all hair types. For Mixed race hair I recommend the Treatment Oil – wet or dry – it’s a major condition and frizz improver.” “Humecto Creme Leave In Conditioner by Keracare- is a conditioner that hydrates and humectifies, detangles and adds shine. The texture is amazing for curly hair and… I use this when letting it dry naturally. [It is also].. great as a leave in when at the beach….”
Above all, Jasmin advises: “Always pick healthy hair over colour, play with highlights and lowlights over block colour to achieve drama and keep the high shine available to mixed heritage hair. Good condition protects a stunning curl from a brittle finish that doesn’t reflect light”
Jasmin – colour connoisseur
Mixed heritage expertise is just one of the service available with the Errol Douglas Salon colour team – the only team in the UK all to have “Colour Master” status.
To book a consultation with the Errol Douglas Colour Team: 020 7 235 0110