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Best of British

Una Healy at Pride of Britain
Una Healy at Pride Of Britain Awards 2018. Pic from James Johnson.

We love nothing more than ogling over fashion’s finest at red carpet events, so this week’s Pride of Britain Awards 2018 created a stir at Respect HQ.

Not only did the annual event honour the achievements of the UK’s unsung heroes, but it featured a pretty great line-up of hair looks too, so we’re feeling pretty proud right now. 

The Hair
From Carol Vorderman’s effortless waves created by James Roberts, to Amanda Holden’s super sleek low-ponytail from Christian Vermaak, our favourite was the streamlined but feminine style James Johnson created for the Saturday’s band member Una Healy.

We caught up with James to find how how he created the perfect party season look…

“The aim was to style Una’s hair out of the way without her looking too exposed,” explained James. ” To emphasise Una’s envious silhouette we kept the hair streamline and sleek on the sides with some texture on top to soften the look. To keep the overall look feminine and not too harsh, we added some soft waves behind so the look became more three-dimensional and ‘a look’ at all angles – ideal for pictures on the red carpet. 

The Step-by-Step

  1. Blowdry the hair sleek and smooth. Silk press, glass like hair is the in trend so to achieve this, I always blow-dry with a paddle brush (Tangle Teezer) to keep the hair compressed and smooth. I use a healthy dosage of ColorWow Dream Coat to achieve that glass like red carpet hair glow.
  2. Curl all the hair, using the soft classic tong from ghd. I curled the hair in the same pattern symmetrically, making sure each curl was set off her face. As Una wears Great Lengths individual extensions and the hair is naturally heavier, I ensured I pinned each curl as this will help me form the structure of the curl perfectly later on. Once set and cooled, I sprayed a light mist of hair spray. 
  3. Once the curls are set and taken out, I sectioned the hair into four sections. One on top, and two either side leaving the back out. It’s really important you balance the top section well as this will frame the face and help decide the amount of loose texture you want later on over hanging the sides. With the side sections too, often hairdressers scrape all the hair back and it becomes too much. I like to go at an angle from ear to crown of the head as the less hair pulled back from the sides will mean the less bulky the pony will be underneath at the back. 
  4. With the top section neatly pinned away using anti crease clips (MyKitsch do great ones!), spray with a strong hairspray and comb the hair from both sides back to form a tight pony on top of the back section of the hair. 
  5. Backcomb the top section of the hair previously pinned away and place over the new pony tail. 
  6. Brush all the hair together. This will help smooth and connect all the different sections together making it into one hair style. Depending how much you brush the hair depends the depth of the waves. I wanted Una’s to be really dressed out and un-done so I kept brushing it so it was subtle and sultry. 
  7. For me, finishing touches is everything. Round the hairline I always use a toothbrush and setting paste to smooth the baby hairs into the design. This transforms your hairstyle from high street to high end. To add texture on top I also used section clips to pinch and clamp into place, adding smaller, finer detailing to make the look softer. To finish the hair I spritzed with a wet hairspray and set using the diffuser on the Dyson Dryer. 

    To see more of James’ work click HERE.Respect is a hub for UK hairdressers of all ages and stages to find out what We Love, We Hear and We Seeas the best product launches, styling advice, hairtools, education training and seminars and hairshows! Sign up to our newsletter which is sent fortnightly direct to your email, so you stay up-to-date with salon styling information, trends in session work, advice on presenting on stage or progress in educating – whatever your interest, whether you’re a trainee or creative director, an educator or team leader, you’ll find all the opportunities and ideas on

    We love hairdressing; we see and we hear how you can become the best hairdresser, colourist and salon owner possible. Contact us if you’d like to know more about us. If it’s worth talking about, you’ll read it here.

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