Nicky is former editor of Life & Style online.

Summer hair inspiration (+ photos)

I've been carrying around a huge head of hair since last summer. During the cooler months, having a thick, dark mane and a heavy fringe works. But it's getting warmer - the back of my neck is getter hotter, the dark hue makes the top of my head a hotplate and what would ideally be "sexy, beach waves" is just a tangled mess.

So I book in a session with award winning stylist, Rochelle Collins at Ainsley's Hair Design in Newmarket. She assesses my hair and says it's time to get a bit of balayage happening in time for summer.

"This is creating a colour that mimics natural lighting," Collins explains.

"I want it to be concentrated on the mids to the ends."

She puts most of the blonde highlights in using a foiling technique, then goes "free-hand," applying the caramel colour to a comb and selecting certain strands to touch up. She says my look's inspired by that carried off on fashion favourite, Nicole Richie.

"You don't want to walk away looking like you've got severe regrowth," she says. It's all about keeping it natural and sunkissed, kind of replicating the way a child's hair is lighter towards the front.

This look is seriously low maintenance - not only does it work with you natural shade, but there's no need for pricey touch-ups as it grows out.

When it comes to styling, opt for a middle part and put a wave through the hair to show off the balayage, Collins says. So ditch the severe poker straight look and go for a cut that lets you play around with long, tussled layers.

Blow dry the front layers forward, as you would a fringe, then push them to either side to create a windswept frame around your face. Think Kate Hudson and the Olsen twins. Blowdry the rest of the hair downwards using a paddle brush. Once it's smooth get the curling wand in to the ends. This might look a bit perfectly prom-queen initially, but avoid the urge to tussle too soon. When you're done shaping the ends, run your fingers through them to loosen and break up the curls.

"It really is about more of a tousled look, a lot of body in it, nothing flat, it's quite young," Collins says.

"The hair is a bit more warm looking than a real polished sort of look."

I step out of the salon with my new do, ready to play frisbee and frolick in the sea. So summer.


* Rochelle Collins will be available to answer all your summer hair questions during a live chat on Thursday, December 15, from 12-1pm. If you want to get your questions in early send them here.

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