A few weeks after becoming a mother, I made the fatal mistake of going for a haircut. While it was nothing more than a trim, and was - frankly - well overdue, the moment I emerged from the salon, I was met with comments of, "Oh look at you! You got a mum cut!"
Did all mothers just shiver in unison? It didn’t take much to know that this wasn’t a compliment. Since then, I’ve avoided the mum cut with fierce passion – likely to the actual detriment of my hair. Months between haircuts? Tick. Off-limits between the chin and the shoulders? Tick. Avoidance of any subtle blonde highlights? Of course. But having now stared down the barrel of the same look for a little over five years, I realise it might be time to shake things up. But before venturing straight to the nearest hairdresser and instructing them to go wild, I decided to enlist the expertise of the best of the best – David Keough. Australian-born, LA-based Keough is known for his work on celebrities including Miranda Kerr, Megan Gale, Sarah Murdoch, and my own hair muse, Sarah Rafferty (Donna from Suits). I asked David about his tips for cuts, colours and styling, and how to achieve beautiful hair with the next-to-no effort and time we have available as mothers.
See more about David here.
What are your go-to cuts for time-poor mothers (who don’t want the dreaded ‘mum cut’ title)?
The ‘Lob’ (long bob) that has different lengths and layers is always a safe-zone for time-poor mums. Longer, layered styles can also fit perfectly here. Both styles are low-maintenance, always on-trend and can be effortlessly styled in different ways – throw it up in a ponytail, wear it straight for something a bit more polished, let it air-dry for some body … The options are endless! The John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Crème ($16.99, 113ml) is the perfect product for time-poor mums sporting Lobs, or for any time-poor mum, really. You can distribute it through dry hair and it combats frizz, fly-aways and gives parched hair some much-needed moisture, shine and gloss without weighing it down.
What tips do you have for maximising the longevity of our colours?
I always tell my clients to invest in water filters on their shower heads! This helps to balance the pH levels in water and helps to not ‘strip’ the colour in your hair. Another tip is to use a shampoo and conditioner that helps to maintain salon-fresh colour as much as possible. John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tone Correcting Colour Renew Shampoo and Conditioner ($17.99, 250ml) is a must-have to maintain cool blonde tones, banish brassiness and to slow down the wash-out process as much as possible. And even though it’s lavender, it’s gentle enough to use every day and won’t stain or overtone your hair. Lastly, coloured-hair always needs to be well-hydrated to keep it in top shape, so a treatment is definitely needed. I recommend John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave-In Conditioner ($16.99, 236ml) as it’s so easy to use and it’s loaded with vitamins that help strengthen your hair to keep it looking shiny and healthy.
What are the top trends you’re seeing for the season ahead when it comes to colour?
In LA, blondes are always a trend. This season, we’re really seeing a surge of champagne and salmon blondes (think Bebe Rexha and Georgia May Jagger). Here in Australia, though, as we’re moving into the cooler months, we’ll definitely see a wave of warm balayage. So think dark brown base, finished with warm coppery blonde tones.
Are there any particular treatments you recommend for mothers to breathe life into our hair - or to minimise the amount of time it takes doing our hair each day?
To minimise time and to be kind to your hair, the first thing to do is to give yourself a break from blow-drying. Staying away from heat tools will give your hair a chance to breathe. Women with wavy or natural hair should definitely be using John Frieda Frizz Ease Air Dry Waves Styling Foam ($10, 147ml) – it’s infused with moringa oil to hydrate, it’s light in weight and gives you defined curls without the need for any heat tools.
What styles are particularly modern and flattering?
Well, pulling your hair off your face is always flattering, as this style follows your natural jawline and almost has an overall ‘lifting’ effect on your face. Ponytails are always really fun – they’re happy, can add some ‘height’ to the hair and are perfect for a ‘disco’ night out (love a disco!). Another great modern and flattering look is a top-knot. Again, this style has an overall ‘lifting’ effect and you can create a sleek and clean knot with a perfect pair of earrings for a beautiful evening dinner, or have your knot ‘messy’ if you’re wanting a style with a bit more edge. And to top it off, both looks are effortless.
What’s your view on hair accessories?
I love a hair accessory! Headbands are fun. I’m also seeing a lot of the ‘six bobby pins on a side part’ which creates such a sleek and modern look. In LA, really thin and ribbon-like headbands are the rage and give such a ‘lady-going-to-church’ look that is so pretty. You can have ones that are made with lace and flowers, which are perfect for a low-pony on a Sunday afternoon or for the evenings, ones made out of sequins or just sleek, black ribbon.
What tools do we need in our cabinets to make styling our hair a breeze?
Curling irons in two different sizes to change the size of the bends. Flat irons, for bends and to straighten your hair but also to run over plaits to give yourself the ‘loose crimp look’ that is always on-trend. A hair-dryer needs to be there, obviously for drying speed and time. And if you’ve got curly hair, a diffuser is a must as it dries but will keep your curls in formation. Next to these tools, always make sure that you have a good heat protectant on hand and apply it to your hair before any of these are used!
What are the top products we should be considering in our cabinets/showers?
Pre-shower masques are big in LA at the moment. They are applied to dry hair, stay in for two minutes and are rinsed out before shampooing. This helps to rid environmental damage and water build-up in the hair before the cleansing process. A good shampoo and conditioner made for your hair is always a must. And a great leave-in conditioner to pop in the hair for at least ten minutes, once a week. The John Frieda Miraculous Recovery Intensive Masque ($16.99, 150ml) is one I always recommend to my clients – the milk proteins and avocado oil in it really help to repair the daily stresses of hair and restores hydration, elasticity and shine.
Are there any absolute no-go hairstyles that we should avoid?
My best advice is to know your face shape. Play around with different styles and know what suits you. This is where an amazing and trusted hairstylist should help. Always try to have at least three good hairstyles that are your ‘go-to’ looks. And when it comes to big teased hair… No thanks…
In terms of celebrities/influencers, who do you think gets it so right?
Jennifer Lawrence is one. Not only for her environmental work, but she just doesn’t sit with one look. She changes her hair and her look so often, and gets it right every time. Miranda Kerr is another one. She’s a successful businesswoman and takes such great care of herself holistically. Lastly, probably Jessica Alba. Again, a great businesswoman who is not afraid to have fun with her hair. Colours, styles … She does it and owns it!
If you could give mothers just one tip when it comes to their hair - what would it be?
Just be kind to your hair throughout your pregnancy and even for a good six months post-pregnancy. Nourish your hair with good quality treatments and use beautiful oils on your scalp to keep it healthy and hydrated.