I first met Nicola when I was a Fashion Assistant at Marie Claire in my early twenties when she had just started out on her own after assisting the legendary, Sam McKnight. We found ourselves on a trip in Wales having to share, not only a room, but a bed (it’s a long story…)! And we had never even met before!! Luckily we laughed about it (we didn’t actually have a choice), bonded and have been friends ever since. She has also pretty much been the only person to colour my hair since (and this was over fifteen years ago!!). I feel incredibly lucky that my hair is in such safe hands, and I always love her down-to-earth, honest, no bulls**t approach (I have often gone into the salon excitedly clutching a picture of someone’s hair that I’m currently obsessed with, only for Nicola to say: “I’m not doing that! You’ll hate it!!” or “are you sure you’re looking at her hair and not her body!”. And needless, to say, she is always right. What makes Nicola so special and unique (and in demand!!) is that she will give you the right colour for you and your hair. Not necessarily the colour that you think you want.
Anyway, enough about me and how great I think she is, here’s the factual bit about Nicola and her amazing career…
Nicola is one of the world’s most sought-after and influential hair colourists. As Creative Colour Director for John Frieda Salons, she is known for her ability to bring out subtle nuances of hair colour while still allowing for easy maintenece. It’s her ‘painterly’ approach that marks Nicola out in her field. She uses a combination of transformative techniques – foil, balayage and highlights to create super natural, flattering, wearable hair with just a few strategically placed highlights. With an unparalleled talent for creating expensive looking, impeccably conditioned colour, it comes as no surprise that Nicola is the name behind some of the world’s most beautiful faces, including Kate Winslet, Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Scarlett Johansson. She’s in demand for good reason!
Nicola is also responsible for creating some of the inspired and iconic looks in today’s biggest box office hits, taking Kate Winslet to a mousy brown in The Reader through to a Hitchcock blonde in Revolutionionary Road. While colour is definitely Nicola’s calling card, she also styles, and works regularly with Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett to get red carpet ready, most recently with Cate for the Cannes Film Festival.
Nicola may be as jet-set as her famous clients, but she still remains completely unchanged from when we first met in Wales all those years ago. She is one of the most down-to-earth, lovely, funny people you could meet. I don’t just go to her to sort my hair out, I go for the chat and the laughs! I always look forward to my appointment with her, as it’s the only time we get to properly catch up.
I asked her a few mama-related questions…
What advice would you give to people wanting a change of hair colour
Firstly, think about what big events you have coming up in the near future – you don’t want to be going from blonde to brunette and back to blonde if you have a big wedding. It will take months to go backwards and forwards on such a big job. Not to mention the damage it would cause to your hair!
So many people (including me!) want that gorgeous, natural looking, sun-streaked looking blonde (like Kate Moss’s). Are there any key words we should be using when we go to the hairdressers to communicate this?
I think it’s always best to have an image when it comes to communicating with a hairdresser. Understanding colours like ‘ash’ and ‘gold’ can sometimes be misunderstood on both sides, so it’s much easier to have a picture.
Any tips on covering greys?? To pluck or not to pluck?
If it’s just one or two greys, then I’d let you off the hook, but generally I’d say no to plucking, as they grow back and stick out. It’s always better to leave them so that they are not ‘poking out’.
Hair can change so much during and after pregnancy. Any tips?
I think the best thing is to take vitamins for hair and skin, and not freak out! Just be aware that when your baby is around four months old, you may lose a small amount of hair around your hairline. Don’t worry, it will grow back.
What are your favourite quick-fix/time saving hair products for time-poor mamas?
Dry shampoo. If you have a fringe, don’t wash all your hair – just wash the fringe to give the illusion that the whole head of hair is clean. Saves time with long blow-drys.
Do you have a favourite go-to product that you always have in your kit?
My favourite product would be my John Frieda Volumising Blowdry Spray, my Mason Pearson brush, Khiels Silk Groom and Oribe Texturising Spray.
What is the one request that you hear the most from clients? And how can we achieve this?
Most of the requests I get from clients are to be blonder, but to keep the quality of their hair. I’m able to achieve this now because we have a great product from the US called Opalex.
Now for the bit that we have been so excited to share with you – our ‘back to school’ mama treat! One lucky mama reading this could win an appointment with Nicola, where she will work her magic on your hair! John Frieda are offering a complimentary half/full head of highlights (or equivalent colour) with Nicola, plus a gorgoeus blowdry afterwards at their salon on Alford Street, Mayfair, London. Yes, one of you can get the Kate treatment!! All you need to do is email us with why you would love the chance to have a one-on-one with Nicola? Oh and you have to be called Kate to enter. Just kidding. Good luck!