The Hairstylist

Secrets of a styling pro: How to have your best hair day ever.

Renée Small
Premier Atelier, White Plains
(914) 328-5100

Can you offer us a pre-wedding-day hair timeline?
Hair should be cut at least one or two weeks before your wedding and color should be done at least two weeks prior. You don’t want to wait for the day of because you want the hair to look natural; hair color, in particular, oxidizes over time for a more natural color. Any keratin or Brazilian straightening processes should be done about a month before. For the actual appointment, come in with no makeup and clean, dry hair without any product in it. I recommend shampooing the night before, but it’s okay for someone with really oily hair to wash it that morning.

Is it a good idea to schedule a trial appointment with a stylist?
I definitely recommend it. The bride should bring pictures of her dress—or be prepared to describe it—and pictures of hairstyles she likes and, equally important, doesn’t like. Celebrity magazines like In Style, People, and Us are good sources for inspiration. And, of course, there are many, many books and magazines you can look through. A bride should also bring the veil or headpiece she will be wearing.

What should you consider when choosing a wedding-day hairstyle?
The shape of your face, what your dress looks like, whether the event is indoors or outdoors, formal or casual, and whether a veil will be worn all evening or just for the ceremony.

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What are the most common types of bridal hairstyles?
The most popular is half-up/half-down—at least sixty percent of brides wear their hair this way. It’s a universally flattering look.

What do these various styles typically cost?
We charge one hundred fifty dollars for hair worn down and two hundred dollars for a full updo. Half-up/half-down styles start at one hundred fifty dollars, depending on hair length.

Which hairdos work best for different styles of weddings?
For an outdoor wedding, I like a tousled look, all down with soft waves. For a formal or black-tie event, I like a full updo; it’s classic.

Does face shape determine hairstyle?
If you have a round face, you’ll want some pieces down—pulling it all back will just accentuate the roundness. And if you have a longer face, wearing your hair long drags down the appearance of the face. And side bangs and soft tendrils around the face work well with all shapes. No matter what the shape of your face, height in the crown area adds height to the bride and becomes a focal point for the headpiece. Finally, you want some volume. You don’t want your hair slicked back flat to the head—you’ll look bald.

What can you suggest for someone whose hair is fine or thin?
Hairpieces and extensions.

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What hair ornaments are you seeing a lot of these days?
Rhinestone clips and, sometimes, silk flowers.

How do you ensure that the style stays put for the duration of the wedding?
I use spray and finishing products, plus hairpins. And I give the bride a travel-size hair spray and extra bobby pins for the day of, but that’s just to make her feel better—trust me, by the time I’m finished with her hair, it’s not going anywhere.

What often overlooked tip can you offer to the bride-to-be?
Think about the hairstyle from every angle—front, side, and back. You may see a picture of a style that’s very detailed and beautiful in the back but there’s nothing going on in the front.

What are some hot new hair trends that you’ve been seeing?
Wearing a thin braid across the forehead, like Jennifer Aniston or Lauren Conrad, is a nice, casual look for an outdoor or beach wedding. And the big side ponytail has become popular for more formal weddings.

What’s the biggest mistake a bride can make when it comes to her hair?
Trying something new or anything drastic too close to the wedding. Don’t cut your hair on a whim right beforehand!

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