- Miabella Ristorp is an international hair and makeup artist and founder of luxury London beauty studio SMUK.
- She has worked on fashion week shows like Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana, and styled models like Cara Delevingne, Georgia May Jagger, and Suki Waterhouse.
- In order to ensure you leave a hair salon happy, she said there are six key things you should ask or tell your hairdresser.
- For starters, make sure to tell them how you actually style your hair each day – and what it’s like naturally.
Miabella Ristorp is all about natural beauty.
Working out of SMUK London, her new luxury beauty studio in London’s Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, the Danish entrepreneur is also an international hair and makeup artist with over 15 years of experience in the industry, working in Copenhagen, LA, and now London.
A regular at fashion weeks including London and Paris, Ristorp has worked on shows including Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana – and she’s styled models like Cara Delevingne, Georgia May Jagger, and Suki Waterhouse.
Despite her work being seen all over the world, her motto is “less is more” and she likes to keep things “neutral,” which is pretty clear in the Hygge-inspired SMUK.
In order to achieve natural results – and to leave a hair salon feeling happy instead of stressed out – we asked Ristorp for the things we should always be asking or telling our hairdresser. Here are her six pieces of advice.
1. Be honest about how you style your hair on a normal day…
“I think it’s very important that you tell them what you do to your hair on an everyday basis,” Ristorp said. “Most of the time you can leave a hairdresser and feel good about your hair, but it’s all about how it looks the next day and the next day.
“What’s really important is to always explain what you do when you style it.” However, she added that a good hairdresser should be asking you these questions anyways.
2. …And about what your hair is like naturally
Ristorp says the idea is to make life easier for you rather than more complicated – so you should be honest about what your hair is like naturally so you can figure out the best way to work with it.
For examples, she said: “With wavy, thick hair, you want to be careful with layers. It can enhance the curls and make them nice but it can also make them really big and puffy, so I tend to make sure I have the right information in how your hair is.”
She added that in the last year, natural colours have also become “trendy.”
“I’m not against us colouring hair and doing things that enhance the beauty that we have, but it’s also about longevity, something you don’t need to do too often.
“When we do Fashion Week a lot of the designers want a lot more variety in the girls and the designers are very much encouraging us to follow the natural look of girls rather than where back in the day everyone had to be the same shape,” she went on. “Sometimes when we’re backstage, the designer will say, ‘Don’t touch her, she looks great,’ and we just touch the hair a little bit before they go on the catwalk, which is amazing. It’s a more healthy way of looking at it I think.”
3. Ask what would look best with your face shape
“I tend to look at face shapes and the individual instead of trends,” Ristorp said.
“If you have a really round face, I wouldn’t go for a bob, because that will just expand and make it bigger. There are so many nicer things to do for that kind of face shape. You could go really short pixie-style if you have the right face for it, but you could also try to get it longer to drag the shape down.
“If you have a very long face or long forehead, you might want to go for some fringe to shape the face a little bit. The general thing is to try and [do] what really suits your specific face rather than try and follow fashion trends.”
4. Find out what products and treatments you should be using – and actually give them a try
It’s easy to come away from a hair salon with products you don’t really need if you’re not careful – but if you go in with questions, you might actually get some good advice.
For example, when it comes to shampoos, Ristorp says you should be wary of ones that are simply made up of chemicals.
For blondes, she said: “There are some shampoos that have a bit of the purple tone to them, which helps with the colour so it doesn’t go too brassy, but the main point when you have blonde hair is to really treat it, and give it all the nutrition that it needs, that’s just as important as the tone of it.”
No matter what hair colour you have, she said you should always look at the ingredients list of a shampoo.
“Most natural ingredients should be understandable,” she said. “If there’s too many letters and numbers that you don’t understand, you know that it might not be that great for you. Also, most brands that use great ingredients are not scared to talk about it. Have it as natural as possible.”
She said that if you’re not able to splurge on a high-end, high-quality product that’s been through the right tests, you’re better off just using natural ingredients, like coconut oil, than opting for a cheaper shampoo.
5. Be very specific about how much you want cut off
“I think also if you really want your hair long, you need to emphasise it,” she said. “A lot of the time long hair girls come into a salon and say ‘It’s really damaged, just cut off what you think it needs.’ Sometimes it needs 30 cm, but that doesn’t mean you want 30 cm off. It’s better to say ‘I just want a trim, can we just take minimum, no less than 2 cm.”
6. Ask if you need a toner before assuming you do or don’t
If you’re having highlights put in your hair, whether or not you need to use a toner – which makes the colour “more clean and clear and gives it that fresh look,” according to Ristorp, but also costs extra at most salons – is dependent on your hair.
“In Denmark we hardly ever use toner, because when we lighten our hair it gets this very clear colour,” she said. “In London you have so many nationalities, it really depends. The darker the hair, the more you need toners because the colour that come out will have more of a brassy tone to it. With thicker or darker hair, it takes a bit longer [for the colour to lift], but with finer hair it blondes easier.”
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