Richard Kavanagh came up with his idea for a book of hair "recipes" when chatting to women he knows about ideas for his regular slot on Australia's breakfast television show Good Morning. He asked the hypothetical question that if they saw a book about doing their hair what would they hope to find in it? Several asked him where they could get the book, so that got him talking to Auckland fashion journalist-turned-author Stacey Gregg who advised him to talk to a publisher which led to the publication of Love Your Hair.
The book's easy-to-follow visual format lays out what you need to achieve its 24 style recipes and also offers instructions on the basics such as choosing the correct hair tools and product and how to achieve a decent blow dry. Asked who it is aimed at, Kavanagh says "women with hair", explaining that he figures even the woman who goes to the salon regularly for professional blow dries still needs to do something at home most days.
"So she might as well do something good," he enthuses. "Let's face it, many women leave the salon armed with products, tools and great advice only to forget most of the advice within a few days.
"I've tried to package up all the major advice into one recipe book so that you can now take home the tools, the products and the advice."
What are you up to these days?
I'm based in Sydney working as a freelance hairstylist for the fashion industry. I'm shooting or hair-directing shows almost every day of the week and I'm still the creative director for the Rodney Wayne group in New Zealand. For that I create two campaigns a year and design and implement a training programme for the 600 or so hairdressers in the group. I'm also an ambassador for Redken in Australia so I teach a three-day session styling workshop to hairdressers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth once a year as well as hair-direct shows at Australian Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week. When I've got a spare minute I like to have a surf at Bondi with my 7-year-old son, Banjo.
What is the one question regular salon clients most often ask you in terms of styling help?
Probably the most commonly asked question about styling is what product should I use to create a quick simple style. While the steps in each of the recipes are really simple to follow, I also point out that we hairdressers use a range of products to create a look and you'll likely need at least one from each family (preheat, heat styling, and finishing) to get the best out of each look.
What's your advice, other than buying your book, to women wanting effortlessly sexy hair?
Most women know that the secret to looking effortlessly sexy is putting in a whole lot of effort! It's the simplest looks that often require the most work. Sexy hair is what makes you look and feel your best. My best advice is regular salon visits. Keep your colour fresh, and your haircut regular and you'll feel sexier and it will take less effort to look your best.
What's the quickest way to achieve this sexy look on days when women are really pushed for time?
Try a quick updo. The French twist [in the book] is a great way to look elegant and sexy with second-day texture in just minutes. Simply twist the hair tight at the back, pin and tuck the ends in. A quick sprinkle with some hair powder and you're hot to trot.
You had a break from working the shows this season. From a distance, rather than being in the thick of it backstage as usual, what stood out as wearable trends to you?
I think there's a definite lean to the 60s this season. Loose textured beehives, sexy ponytails and Bardot-esque texture.
Runway or red carpet: which influences salon looks the most?
I feel like runway influences music, which in turn influences red carpet which in turns influences salon trends and becomes street which sometimes influences runway. It's definitely cyclic. Runway is the biggest influencer of trends however.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I'd love to see people trying styles from my book and posting them to Facebook for feedback. See what your friends think looks best on you. Have a play, have fun, it's only hair, after all.
Love Your Hair by Richard Kavanagh (Random House New Zealand: $34.99).