The Beauty Desk
The latest beauty news & views, direct from PRIMPED HQ!
Eugene Souleiman: Hair Guru, Mousse Squasher & Chopstick Twirler
Thu, 9 August 2012 1:59PM
Meet Eugene Souleiman:
Official title: Wella’s Global Creative Director, Care & Styling.
Unofficial title: Rock star of the hair world (lock star?). Seriously, there are few bigger names in the world of hair – and beauty and fashion in general. A constant fixture backstage at all the big shows, he’s the Pat McGrath of hair. A visionary capable of creating true artworks. Yet Eugene also knows when to pare things back to sleek and chic minimalism.
So you can imagine my excitement when I got the chance to meet Mr Souleiman (here on holidays with his Aussie wife and kids), who kindly gave up some time to talk catwalk copy-cuts, hair trends, and top techniques and tips. Here’s how it went down ….
So, you’ve been in Australia for a few weeks … how does our hair measure up?
“I’m quite surprised! Australian women are very brave with their hair. I thought it would be very natural and beachy but it doesn’t seem like that’s the case at all – at least, from what I’ve seen in Melbourne. The women here seem to like to make a statement with their hair, especially with colour. I’ve seen all sorts of silvery whites and pastel shades. And I’ve seen lots of short cuts, too. But I’m imagining that the hair, say, in Sydney might be a bit beachier!”
I think you could be right about that … Speaking of which, how much do you love Ocean Spritz ($24, 1300 885 002)?
“I love it! I think it’s a very modern, very versatile product. I like the fact that it can be used for many different reasons. It’s great for putting hair up because it gives hair a bit of guts. It kind of makes hair feel like it has almost been chemically processed – you know how when you’ve had your hair coloured you can actually do more with it? Simply spray it in the roots, blast it, and you’ll find it’s easier to put your hair up. It’s great for creating volume and width – spray it in the roots underneath the hair and really blast it up. The great thing is it doesn’t weigh the hair down, it gives you a lightness. Of course, I love it for a beachy kind of look. And I also like it for disheveling looks. For example, at Stella McCartney, we pulled the hair back into a bun, then sprayed it with Ocean Spritz and literally just pulled pieces out so it was a bit imperfect.”
I loved the hair at Stella. You managed to make a ballerina bun look cool not prim…
“The key is contrasting textures. What we did was pull hair into a ponytail and then we twisted it really, really tight until it was like a coil. We pinned it around into a bun and sprayed it with hairspray so it was shiny and perfect. But then we rubbed our hands over the sides and front of hair to create some lightness and softness. It was a contrast between something very clean and something very soft.
I also loved your contrasting textures at Peter Som …
“Oh this one is really easy. It’s a side part. Then we sectioned the top of hair from just behind the ears, combed it down, so the front and sides were really tight, and tied these sections into a ponytail underneath the rest of hair. Then we blow-dried the hair at the back with a huge round brush and Ocean Spritz, twisted it into a very low bun at the nape, sprayed it with hairspray and dried it, then shook it out. This gives a soft kind of wave that you can’t get with an iron or tong. It’s sexier and looser. And you get the contrast between the clean look at the front and the softer effect at the back. It’s almost the opposite of the Stella look.”
Are there any other ways in which we can contrast texture in hair?
“You could try blowing hair out, so it looks very natural, and then combing some mousse into the very front of your hairline, and combing it back so the front is a little shiny and groomed but at the back it’s more loose and natural.”
So mousse is on the comeback?
“Yes but I like to use it like how I did at Missoni…
I combed the top of hair back and then literally squashed mousse into the hair and left it to dry naturally. It looks like a gel but it’s not shiny, rather more of a satin-matte effect. Unlike gel, mousse is quick to dry and easy to brush out.”
The Missoni faux bob was very cool … and we’ve seen a few similar looks on the red carpet. Is it something we should be trying?
“It’s quite a big thing at the moment. It’s because it’s cooler and softer than the real thing. If you have a real bob you can look like a librarian, can’t you? Or else a bit space-age. But if you have long hair, the minute you put it in a side part and roll it up into a bob length, it has a more romantic feeling to it. The faux bob is usually softer and prettier than the real thing.”
What’s the easiest way to get the look?
“Put your hair in a very loose ponytail and braid the bottom of hair, and then roll it under itself and pin it up. The trick is to use lots of pins. Don’t take a lot of hair in one hair grip or it will fall out. Bobby pins aren’t designed to have a lot of hair in them, as a barrette is.”
What accessories are right for now?
“It’s very minimal and natural at the moment. I like the look of wood and tortoiseshell. It feels more organic. We’ve done so much embellishment in the past that now we’re just stripping it down and making hair look cool again.”
Like at Rochas?
“These were cheap barrettes we found by chance in Paris. Made from glazed cinnamon sticks of all things. They worked well against the matter texture of the hair.”
You also did a beautiful, simple ponytail at Tommy Hilfiger. Any tips for cracking the perfect pony?
“This look is all about preparation. We actually washed all the models’ hair because for this look you need shine, but not a glossy silicone shine. It needs to look healthy and gorgeous. Then we massaged Wella Velvet Amplifier ($24) throughout, which gave us the perfect base. It kind of evens out the porosity of hair. We blow-dried it perfectly straight with a round brush and then straightened it more with irons, which is something I haven’t used in a very long time. I just felt this ponytail needed a controlled feeling. Yet it isn’t too perfect. We tied the hair very loosely at the back, a little lower than the nape, and if a little piece at the front fell out, we left it there.”
For readers who want a bit more of a ‘do, can you give us tips for the fabulous side French roll you created at Donna Karan?
“You’re going to laugh. What we did was blow-dry the hair right across the side of the head. Then we got a chopstick and basically just rolled the hair around it and pinned it all in. Taking the chopstick out, of course. I used this technique because I wanted a French roll that was a little tighter and chicer than usual.”
Finally, you must be starting to think about the hair you’re going to do for the spring/summer 2013 shows … any hints?
“I think hair will feel much cleaner and chicer. Heads will be quite small. Yet we’ll still be looking at different textures.”
You must have so much fun … is doing the shows the highlight of your career?
“I don’t think I’ve reached my highlight yet. There have been many defining moments though. One would be when I did my first Prada show. I couldn’t believe that someone was prepared to fly me on a plane and put me up in a first-class hotel. I thought, oh god, I’ve arrived!”
Yes, Mr Souleiman, you most definitely arrived!
Posted by: Katrina Lawrence