When a celebrity hairstylist flies over from fabulous Los Angeles to temporarily take over a hair salon in Dubai it would be foolish not to visit them. After all, how often is it that you get to share the same hairstylist as Ellen DeGeneres, Keira Knightley and Cameron Diaz? Alexandria Gouveia visited JetSet salon in Emirates Towers to get the star treatment from Benjamin Mohapi. British born Benjamin worked at some of the UK’s top salons including Nicky Clarke, Daniel Galvin and John Frieda before delving into the fashion industry working with David LaChapelle, Rankin and the late Herb Ritts. Collaborating with the likes of Vogue, GQ, ID and Nylon and styling the hottest tresses in Tinsletown, he has become as big a legend as the stars he was worked with.
Benjamin joins celebrity hair colourist Negin Zand with a temporary residence at JetSet from March 9 to 15. As Benjamin tackled his biggest feat to date – taming Alexandria’s dried and tired locks – he also answered all the hair questions you’ve ever wanted answering…
In the UAE, hair loss is a big problem for women. What can we do to add lustre to thinning hair?
Diet plays a big part. I truly believe health is the new beauty. There are no real shortcuts. It’s just like your grandma used to say: “Eat properly and exercise.” That said there are some cosmetic tricks to help hair look thicker. Dry shampoo is great at not only soaking up grease but also adding some volume. Anti-hair-fall shampoos are good, too. Though they won’t make your hair grow back, they will just stop the hair from lying flat. I think pre-natal supplement tablets also work.
How often should we wash our hair?
Ideally, twice a week. Do more and you start draining the hair from its natural oils. Washing your hair too much can also increase hair fall. If you are going to the gym, I advise just rinsing your hair in warm water. That should be enough to wash the hair. If it still looks greasy spritz on some dry shampoo.
What are your top tips when it comes to the perfect blow-dry?
Blow-drying hair is an unique skill. It’s an art that’s why we train for years doing it. Don’t blow-dry your hair when it is soaking wet, you will just be wasting your time and won’t get the shape you’re trying to achieve.
If you have slightly frizzy or curly hair, rough dry your hair first. Your hair needs to be a little damp as the hair will be more supple ad stretchy, allowing you to straighten out the lengths with more ease.
For body, rough dry your hair until it is 90 per cent dry. At this pint the hair will be stronger. Add product such as volumising mousse, then continue to dry, tousling your hair to give it more oomph.
Do you advise using heat protection products?
Absolutely. If you wash your hair only twice a week you won’t need to use heated utensils as much, so you won’t damage your locks as much.
Out of all the celebrities you have worked with who had the hardest hair to style?
It would have to be Ellen DeGeneres. Her hair is really curly so it’s quite tricky to cut and then tease into a style that’s meant to look naturally tousled. Ellen is actually a really fun client to work with.
How you ever been behind an iconic style such a ‘The Rachel’?
No, I think those trends only happen ever once in a while. My method of working sees me working closely with the client and understanding their lifestyle. For example I wouldn’t give a mum of three who enjoys going to the gym a hairstyle that will require hours of work. I prefer to understand a client’s needs and then adapt what they want to fit their lifestyle and also to suit them. I like the natural and classic look.
What key trend do you think will dominate 2014?
It’s all about the bob still, whether it’s classic short bob or a long bob it’s a really great hairstyle. I think a woman with this style really knows what she is doing – she is confident. She knows her sh**.
Hair trends don’t really change much. Look back at the hairstyles on the catwalks 10 years ago and they don’t differ that much. So, while the long bob has been around already, it’s also here to stay for a little while longer.
A recent article about men in relationships stated that men are more likely to have affair with women with long hair, what do you think about this?
I think that is ridiculous and an outrageous suggestion.
We totally agree, but as a man, why do you think this conclusion was made?
Well, I suppose women with long hair play into a fantasy of the woman in the castle with really long hair waiting to be saved by her knight. Women with short hair tend to have a reputation of being confident. They are seen as challenging a status quo and so they might be viewed as more intimidating.
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