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Richard Kavanagh's school ball hair styles - 13 July

Oh, yeah - it's party time! And what better way to say par-tay than with a hot hairdo?

The thing about formal hair is that it's not really quite so formal as some might think. You definitely don't want to take your cues from beauty pageants or how your mum wore her hair to her school ball! Use red carpet and catwalk styles as a reference or starting point and create something that makes you feel like you but flasher.

To decide how you'd like your hair, first get a dress, then get some shoes and then start thinking about how your do will fit with the frock and flippers. Flick through a bunch of magazines and mark pages with your favourite red carpet or catwalk hairstyles. Take these with you to your hairdresser and then have a talk to them about what they think will look good with the outfit you've picked. Maybe they could even do a trial run so that you can iron out any unwanted kinks before the big night. On prom night, you have to love your hair.

I believe there is nothing that can't be fixed with a can of hairspray, and the night of the ball is definitely one night you want your hair to stay put. Don't be afraid to lock into place with a super hold hairspray once it's done. The ultimate test is if you can dance all night, go to sleep without taking your hair down and wake up in the morning and it still looks just as good as when you went out.

Here are some ideas about styling directions you could take with hair for the ball. Three looks for girls and one look for boys.

1. Hollywood glamour 
2. Fashionable flapper
3. Rock your socks off
4. Rockabilly rebel

Old School Hollywood Glam

Think Marlene Dietrich, Marylin Monroe, Gwen Stefani. If you only recognised one of those names, Google the others for reference! This is a tricky one to do yourself, you might find it slightly easier with hot rollers than a curling tong but you wont get as strong a result.

Dry hair shoulder length or longer
Mousse (I like Redken Full Frame 07)
Blow dryer (make it a Kavanagh)
Heat activated texturiser (I like Redken Fabricate 03)
Hairspray I like Redken Workforce 09)
Curling tong .75" or 1" (only Kavanagh tongs will do)
Tail comb
Dinky clips
Mason Pearson type brush

Time required: 45 to 60 minutes


1. Start by adding a large handful of mousse to dry clean hair and blow dry it in. if your hair is particularly fine, repeat this step for extra control and volume.

2. Part your hair on one side, take a diagonal parting from the front hairline back to your main parting to create a section the same size as the barrel of your curling tong. Spray the section lightly with Redken Fabricate 03 and clipping the ends into the blade of the tong, wind the tong down to the roots and hold for a few seconds to heat the hair thoroughly. Clip it with a dinky clip or bobby pin.

3. Continue in the same fashion until you have set all of your hair. If you allow it to cool for a few minutes before taking the clips out it is likely to last longer. Take all the clips out once it cools and give it a thorough brush through with a medium bristle brush (Mason Pearson is best)

4. Once your hair is looking suitably glamorous, lock the style into place with a stronghold hairspray.

Fashionable Flapper 

This is a great look that has a soft femininity to it along with a cheeky edge. Taking its inspiration from the soft felt hats of the '20s and '30s this hairstyle goes great with a high collar or even an androgynous outfit with a bowtie.

Dry hair shoulder length or longer
Hairspray I like (Redken Workforce 09)
Straightening iron (it's better if it's a Kavanagh Gen V)
U pins
Bobby pins
Soft bristle brush

Time required: 30 to 40 minutes


1. The key to this look is the texture. Lightly backcomb your hair. Separate it roughly into about 8 large sections. Spray each section with hairspray and iron it with your straightener to create a texture set.  
2. Using a large paddle brush or soft bristle brush give your hair a good brush through. It should look wild and fuzzy and kind of like candy floss.
3. Brush your hair forward from the crown and starting at one edge start lightly and loosely rolling it up and pinning it into place with U-pins.
4. Work all the away around the edges pinning where necessary until you've made a shape that looks kind of like a hat (but prettier). When you are happy with the shape, lightly fray the hemline with your fingers to create a few loose flyaways around the edges to keep it looking soft and like hair.

Rock Your Socks

Clean dry long hair
Tail comb
Pastiche brush
Non aerosol hairspray (I like Redken Headplay 09)
Aerosol hairspray (I like Redken Forceful 23)
Straightening iron (it's better if it's a Kavanagh Gen V)
Bobby pins
Hair tie

Time required: 30 to 40 minutes


1. Create a horseshoe shaped section at the top of your head by making a horizontal parting from the outside corner of the eye back to the crown on both sides and continuing each parting across the crown until they meet. Twist this hair up and out of the way on top of your head.

2. French pleat the hair at the bottom to create a sleek base for your up do. Lightly mist the sides with non-aerosol hairspray and brush back with your pastiche brush to give a slight wet look. Tie the bottom of the plait with your hairtie. Use a small elastic slider the same colour as your hair so that it is almost invisible.

3. On the top, starting at the crown, take a horizontal section about 1" deep and the full width of the main section. Comb it straight up, spray 2 to 3 pumps of non aerosol hairspray onto the section and iron it straight up with your straightener. It should sizzle and smoke (don't worry, that's not your hair, it's just the hairspray) and it should also stand straight up and look a bit like a sheet of shiny cardboard. Continue in the same manner all the way to the front.

4. Start with the first section you ironed. Holding it between thumb and forefinger at the base, twist it so that it folds over to about half its original length and pin it at the base to secure it. Work your way forward section by section twisting alternate sections in opposite directions to create a look that you're happy with. Finish by lightly brushing the ends of each section to soften the texture and spray with a strong hold aerosol hairspray to lock it into place.

Rockabilly Reel

Boys should look like boys, and forget the old saying boys don't cry, I prefer boys don't try. At least they shouldn't look like they try!

Boys hair needs to be done in a way that makes it look un-contrived and almost like he just got up, ran his hands through his hair and walked out the door. We all know however, that to make something look like it hasn't been done takes some doing.

Clean damp hair at least 4 to 5 inches long
Hairdryer (Kavanagh Dryers are preferred)
Curling tong (it better be a Kavanagh tong)
Gel (I like Redken for Men Mint Fix)

Time required: 5 minutes


1. Put approximately 3 ml of gel into the palm of your hands and work it through damp hair. Blast dry with a hairdryer

2. Using your fingers roughly part your hair down the middle. Create another parting parallel to the middle parting about two inches to the side. Hold this hair in the blade of the tong and roll the tong towards the middle parting. Take another parallel parting another two inches deep and repeat. Repeat on the other side.

3. Pull all your hair forward and onto your face and holding the ends of the hair in the blade of the tong, roll the hair back away off your face.

4. Now, use your hands and fingers to really mess your style up. Start at the crown and shake the hair forward and then push it up off your face into a rough and ready rockabilly coif.