Summer usually means minimalism, but the beauty buzz for this season is all about big, full voluptuousness. We're talking about hair -- lots of it. Massive manes, tons of tendrils, fabulous falls.
This hair tsunami means one thing for those who have spent tons of time and money taming their locks into rail-straight submission: Your days are over. Toss out that straightening iron, and say goodbye to those hours in the chair to tame the waves into flattened submission.
"Big Brigitte Bardot hair is a big trend. It's one of the trends that came off the runway for 2004 -- volume for spring," said Julie Redfern, beauty editor for Sephora. "We're moving away from stick-straight hair. We're realizing how damaging it was to our hair with all that straightening and flat ironing. We have fried our locks so much that it's time to give them a break."
Indeed, stars including Jessica Simpson, Kate Beckinsale, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman are sporting lusciously full hair and riding the wave. The August issue of Glamour magazine includes a story titled "Buh-bye Straight, and Hello Waves!" which says that blow-outs are dead and that stars -- including Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, Jessica Alba and Beyonce Knowles -- have "finally gotten over their addiction to stick-straight hair."
This month, Victoria's Secret Beauty introduced its So Sexy hair-care collection for full, loose, natural-looking hair. The line, created with the help of celebrity hairstylist Italo Gregorio, says out with the Jennifer (Aniston) and in with the Gisele (Bundchen, who epitomizes the season's most coveted look).
"The style is wavy but polished and very late '60s," Gregorio said. "Think Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch."
Other hair-care companies, including Redken and Bumble and Bumble, have also predicted the trend and are ready to teach and groom the masses that return to a more natural, fuller-looking head of hair.
"Straight hair is out," Allison Luongo, stylist for Bumble and Bumble, said flat out. "As seen on the spring / summer 2004 runways, natural texture and volume is in; pin-straight hair is out."
Why the shift for more body and volume?
"It is sexier, and has more movement," Luongo said. "It looks low-maintenance and less stressful."
"Big hair is in because 48 percent of people in the United States have hair with texture," said Paul Smith, vice president of Matrix, which has a new volumizing product on the market, AirTrix. "People love change and enjoy wearing their hair with a lot of volume. New products on the market are making it easy for people to imitate the looks seen on the red carpet and in Hollywood."
While summer has traditionally afforded women the opportunity to be a little more loose and carefree with their hair, this season has brought with it the emphasis on bigger hair. The runway look aimed at the big, exaggerated bounce, said hairstylist Elie Camoro, but the actual trickle down to the street made for a more natural look. Big, yes, but not so structured.
"It's worn with a more soft curl," said Camoro, a stylist for Frederic Fekkai in New York. "In comparison to the big hair of the past, today's big is in body, not dimension."
Camoro also said he sees more requests for perms. "No one was going near perms when the stick straight was in. Now you're seeing more of a loose body wave," he said. "It's not the tight curl. It's the bigger, looser curl."
Redfern said women tend to experiment more with their hair during the summer, which makes this a perfect time to step into the realm of loose and lovely locks. She also said that because the majority of women don't have naturally straight hair (Camoro said three-quarters of women have wavy, curly hair) they should stop trying to force their follicles to the straight and narrow.
"Rather than fight curls, they should embrace them," she said. "That means bigger hair."
The Hartford Courant is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.