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Christmas hair: why no parting is the new parting

The main goal at Christmas is, of course, to appear louche, even if you’re fretting about sellotape and Network rail timetables. Gold clothes, silly shoes, proper hair. It’s all about appearing cooler and better than you actually feel. And if looking like this is your aim, then parting-less hair is your next logical move.

Think of it as 1% hair. The philosophy might seem skewed but stay with us. Odile Gilbert, a big-name hair stylist who has worked at Calvin Klein, The Row and on Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette calls it “aristocrat hair” because it makes you look posh. Claire Bonney, of Radio London Hair Salon, says it’s as elitist as hairstyles get, mainly “because it reveals a lot of face”. Ergo, if you can pull it off then you must.


The Tom Ford autumn winter 2015. Photograph: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

Tom Ford’s models on the autumn/winter catwalk did just that, looking like they had come straight from the gym. Miranda Kerr, also, on the cover of Bazaar’s 2016 cover, looked impossibly hot thanks in part to her nakedness – but also to the way her hair tumbles buck wild over a wrought-iron balcony. And then there’s new model Rita Saunders in the latest New York Magazine editorial with her backwards, parting-free mane. All free from the shackles of partings, all looking like better versions of themselves.


The Tom Ford autumn winter 2015. Photograph: Drew Jarrett

Why now? Messy is cool. We know this because no one had a parting in the Love magazine 2016 advent calendar – a reliable yardstick for your primary winter beauty goals. Caroline Flack wore her underwear and a quiff. Irina Shayk wore a swimsuit and a slicked back variation while deftly assembling a deckchair.

Tidy partings, on the other hand, scream “contained fun”. Precise, anal and a bit 2013, back when models didn’t dye their hair and pale was interesting. It is minimalism in that Phoebe Philo, slicked down, tuck-it-into-your-poloneck way which is fine but, well, a bit safe. Not very party-party and not very powerful.


Adele’s Rolling Stone cover 2015. Photograph: Rolling Stone

There are several ways to do it. You can, like Kate Moss did while emerging drunk-mermaid-like from the sea in green sequins while filming the Absolutely Fabulous film, make it look accidental; wet and slick and floppy (see also Adele on the Rolling Stone cover) and very St Barts. Or you can do it in a serious way, as Gigi Hadid did at the AMAs, by aiming high.

Bonney suggests the following: “Start with wet hair and blow dry it back and forth, in no one direction. Use a thickening hairspray applied to the root area to give support and hold. Losing a parting on shorter hair styles is much more realistic as the longer your hair is, the more weight there is and gravity will naturally pull the parting back in.” Hadid has more styling resources than this but even she couldn’t even do it without the help of a wig. It’s not easy. But then looking good never is.

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