The Importance of Styling Foundations

(Megan Grimm)

I love styling hair because there are so many ways to create texture and movement, but it all starts with a good foundation. When we look at an updo, for instance, sometimes it's difficult to determine how much of the foundation is prepped before styling and finishing. Some styles look sleek but require a significant support system, while others have an airy vibe with lots of volume and require much less backcombing and teasing than you would imagine. Whether it's an updo or a stylized blow out, understanding where you are headed with your your finished work, how functional it needs to be and knowing how to visualize your style in three-dimensional form can be the difference between a success and a mess. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

Teasing & Texture

As we all know, texture really effects our ability to shape and mold hair. When I am working an updo, I check my guest's natural texture first. Hair with a coarse texture or wave pattern may not require nearly as much product or styling attention initially as someone with fine texture, depending on your end goal. For the same up style, fine hair can require multiple texture sprays, texture tools, curls, backcombing, and teasing. On the other hand, when I have an up style that waterfalls down in cascading curls, regardless of natural hair texture, I have to create a padded foundation in the back of the head or to the side. This gives me something for the curls to latch onto. At that point, it becomes a delicate dance of following the curl pattern to create the most interesting placement.


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One of my favorite tools right now is a small-tooth crimper. I know that when I use this tool, my volume and grip is there to stay. This type of texture is great for fine, limp hair. In order to create a control the silhouette of the style, it allows me to mold and shape without worrying about the style collapsing later on. A crimper is a great tool for straight looks as well. I can hide the texture in layers underneath but execute a full style without a stringy-looking finish. I can also use my crimper to fluff up big loose braids, too.

Reading Three-Dimensional Form

How many times have you been told to step back from your work? It's crucial to take a step back and look at style you're creating as a silhouette. Do I have enough hair framing the face? How far back should the volume and body be depending on the structure of the head I'm working with? Do I want airiness at the peak of the crown or do I want something more solid? If I'm working on a collection during a shoot, where is the depth and the foreground of my style? Do I want the lines created by the silhouette of my look to meet up at any certain area of the face or line of the body? And, most importantly, what kind of structure or foundation is needed to support this particular style?