My Life In Hair: George Northwood
My Life In Hair: George Northwood

My Life In Hair: George Northwood

Celebrity hairdresser George Northwood has created some of the world’s most famous styles, from Alexa Chung’s bob to the Duchess of Sussex’s evening bridal look. Add to that an award-winning London salon and haircare range, and it’s safe to say he’s one of the best in the business. From his best blow-drying tips to the products and tools he’s never without, here’s what he’s learnt from more than a decade at the top.

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Where It All Began 

“I’ve been a hairdresser for about 14 years. I always had an innate feel for hair, so when I moved to London, I worked at some of the most prestigious salons and created hair looks for fashion editorials and advertising campaigns. I was lucky enough to work with an up-and-coming Alexa Chung – her effortless undone bob became one of my most requested styles. My salon on Wells Street, which was my first solo venture, then opened in 2012, and I created a new product range last year called Undone.”

First Hair Memory 

“My nan was a mobile hairdresser. I grew up watching her do women’s hair and will always remember the scent of the perm lotion. I was also fascinated by the client-hairdresser relationship – that social bond seemed only to get stronger with every appointment. It really was a key element in the development of my love of hairdressing. My nan also gave me my first piece of advice: after washing your hair but before you apply conditioner, you should really wring out the water and air to ensure they don’t dilute the product. It’ll make your conditioner much more effective.”

Kit Essentials

“My haircare kit is full of tools and products. I have three different sets of tongs, a hairdryer, multiple brushes, extensions, elastic bands, pins, grips, and a plethora of hair products. I never leave home without my tongs, dry shampoo or hair grips, so I’m prepared for anything. With those three things, I can do any kind of updo and if the hair is down, you can just tong it to create something more ‘done’.”

Favourite Products 

Sam McKnight’s Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist is unbeatable. It adds that ‘undone’ texture to damp or dry hair and is suitable for all textures and hair types. I’m also never without the Undone Volume Spray for adding effortless, non-sticky volume, and the corresponding Moisturising Cream which gives great texture and lets you create a natural look.”

Desert Island Item

“I have to choose my scissors. I don’t have much hair, but it grows quickly. All the stylists at my salon cut my hair whenever I ask but during lockdown I discovered that I could cut it myself if forced to. My YouTube video shows you how to do it.”

How To Create A Good Routine

“If you wash your hair every day because you feel like you need to, then one shampoo session is fine. However, if you wash your hair two to three times a week, then two shampoo sessions are good. The first removes the superficial pollution etc and the second will really clean the hair. Also, make sure you use the right shampoo and conditioner to suit your hair’s needs. Then, always condition hair after washing it, but only use your conditioner on the mid-lengths and ends, not on the roots. That can make it greasy. Comb your conditioner through with a Tangle Teezer, then end with a cool rinse – cold water going down the hair shaft will help close the cuticle and add shine.”

Best Blow-Drying Tip 

“When blow-drying your hair, use a round brush to lift it at the roots, introducing warm air beneath the brush as you go. This will add a lot of volume. When you remove the brush, make sure you twist it out of the hair instead of brushing it through to ensure the shape and volume of the curls stay intact.”

MistakesTo Avoid

“The biggest mistake I see people make is using shampoos and treatments that are too rich for their hair. They cause excess build up and that’s what causes it to feel a bit greasy. Find something that suits your hair or ask your hairdresser what you should be using instead.”

Favourite Styling Tool 

“If you use one styling tool, make it a pair of hair tongs. They’re a godsend when you’re short on time but want to revitalise your look. Even with unwashed hair, a combination of dry shampoo and tongs can give you those effortless beach waves in minutes. When you have time, whether your hair is thick or thin, tongs can be used to create the perfect wave. They are the ultimate tool to give you that undone yet chic hair style.”

Hair Inspiration 

“I’m inspired by all the wonderful women whose hair I am fortunate enough to tend. I also take inspiration from women in the street carrying out their day-to-day life. Naturally, the seasonal catwalk trends are always interesting in showing how hair fashions change and evolve throughout the seasons.”

Haircare Icons 

“There are so many women who have amazing hair – including Goldie Hawn for textured blow-dried hair, Alexa Chung for her cool-girl bob and fringe inspiration (she’s really the Jane Birkin of today), and Zendaya – a modern-day icon who always keeps it fun and sets the trends. Brigitte Bardot’s grown-out fringe is still as chic today as it was back then, while Sarah Jessica Parker has an effortless vibe and brings so many new styles to the table, from updos to buns to curly to sleek.”

Hair Motto 

“Go for pretty hair. Any hairstyle you wear should be flattering first and foremost.”

Finally, Here Are George’s Top 5 Haircare Rules…

1. When you’re using hot tools, always ensure you use a heat protection spray to protect your hair from damage.

2. Invest in a good conditioning mask and use it regularly.

3. Have your hair cut often to keep it healthy and fresh. It will also make styling much easier.

4. See a colourist who puts the condition of your hair first.

5. Find a stylist who you can be your true self with.

Shop George’s Favourite Products Below…

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