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LAURA CRAIK IS UPFRONT

Laura Craik on our new laissez faire hair, Ariana’s spotlight on mental health and
the perennial search for the summer dress

The past 480 days have made us reassess many things, and while ‘our hair’ may not be the most profound of these, it’s still pertinent that a large number of Londoners have recalibrated their relationship with their hairdressers, swapping their previously strict six-week root schedule for a more laissez faire approach.

Contrary to expectations, their hair didn’t actually turn green or fall out in clumps when they were forced to colour it at home over lockdown, and actually looked okay when they trimmed it themselves. Sure, hairdressers are great, but so is spending £280 on a slap-up meal, a new outfit or a mini-break.

While some hairdressers will guilt-trip you for not visiting more often, the smartest ones have adapted sanguinely to this cultural shift, asking not, ‘Where have you been?’ but, ‘What can I do to help keep your hair looking good as you isolate/wait for your next pay cheque?’ Josh Wood’s online hair tutorials helped many a cack-handed cutter and colourist over lockdown, as did Sam McKnight’s, Larry King’s and George Northwood’s.

Northwood also spent the pandemic launching a haircare range, Undone — the name sums up the current trend for demystifying the salon process and transferring knowledge and power to the customer. Vegan, sulphate-free and in 100 per cent recyclable packaging, it’s the best shampoo I’ve ever used — no idle boast, for in its quest to find a perfect partner, my fine, limp hair has been highly promiscuous.

“Hairdressers are great, but so is spending £280 on a slap-up meal, a new outfit or
a mini-break”

Here in July, I’m still alternating trips to the hairdresser with trips to the bathroom sink to touch up my roots with a DIY colouring kit by eSalon, which comes with everything the clueless amateur needs, including stain guard and stain remover.

Do I cock it up sometimes? Totally. But I’m also saving a fortune. Because I’m resourceful; not quite as catchy as L’Oreal’s ‘Because I’m Worth It’, but a useful mantra in these post-Covid times.

Lockdown locks: somehow we survived without hairdressers

Grande gesture

In the olden days, stars would give away front-row tickets to their gig, with maybe a five-star hotel thrown in for good measure. So it’s a sign of the times that Ariana Grande is giving away $1m of therapy — a philanthropic gesture for sure, unless a Londoner wins it, in which case it won’t buy them enough sessions to fix a tap never mind their life.

Critics may have dismissed Grande’s gesture as performative, but surely all giveaways are performative, a word shaping up to be the most misused and overused of 2021. If it takes us one step closer to destigmatising the idea of asking for help with your mental health, don’t knock it.

Say yes to the dress

It’s a question vexing the finest minds: what’s the dress of the summer when a) we’re still in semi-lockdown and b) there hasn’t really been a summer? Seems it will take more than a global pandemic to kill off THAT polka-dot Zara dress.

Perhaps said dress will be with us forever, like Covid, mutating every summer by dint of being pimped up with espadrilles/pool slides/a pashmina. It’s a prospect too grim to countenance, so let’s suggest H&M’s cotton ‘flounce-detail’ sundress. It comes in six colours, it’s £17.99 and, judging by the number of times I’ve seen it, all it will take is some sunshine for it to topple Zara’s crown.

HOT:
‘Zendom’

Zendaya and Tom Holland have been spotted kissing. Though they’re long-time friends, so it could have been a platonic kiss. But it’s never too early for a portmanteau.

NOT:
Long, verbose toasts

Specifically, boiled lobsters, set to be banned under a new animal welfare law that will class invertebrates as ‘sentient’.