Sweaty Betty? Nope, be a city slicker

With each summer we see the return of the slicked-back styles which ooze cool. Finding that balance between intentional and unwashed is tricky – luckily we have experts on hand to make it easy breezy

TOME SS18; hair by Antoinette Beenders for Aveda

Alberta Ferretti SS18; hair by Guido for Redken

Almost every S/S season will see a version of what we call the Summer Slick go down the runway. Sleek and smoothed back away from the face, whether wet-look or glossy the vibe is effortless. But when you’re facing 30 degree heat on the tube or a sweaty gym class, it’s too easy to tip over from chic to eeek. Keeping the look fashionable rather than resembling a greasy teenager is harder than it sounds! Thankfully we have some best names in the biz on hand to break it down.

Shannon Lewis, senior colourist and stylist at Neville Hair & Beauty in Knightsbridge, knows that often it’s the weight of the product which tips the look too far.  “Most products that are marketed for the wet look leave the hair with a greasy and wet appearance. To achieve this look you can use a mousse on freshly washed and towel dried hair and leave the hair to dry naturally, which gives the hair some volume. Once the hair is completely dry you can apply a gloss spray to add shine to the hair. Tecni.ART Shower Shine from L’Oréal Professionnel is a great product as it gives your hair a brilliant shine without it being greasy or sticky.”

Over at Electric Hairdressing, Mark Woolley has been playing with different textures and layering of products to nail the look. “The secret for a perfect Summer Slick that looks clean and natural is in the products you use and the amount (that has to be generous!). It’s important that the products are lightweight but also able to secure a long lasting hold and style.”

Apply a cocktail of Electric °C-2 Smoothing Cream and Electric °C-3 Serum; the first product will tame and smooth all the kind of hair; the serum is a light, non-oily serum that leaves hair with a shine, while taming flyaways. Combined together they ensured a smooth and glossy results, but not oily. Back-brush the hair, creating as much volume as desired on the top, and finish with Electric C7 e.Spray to fix the hairstyle naturally, yet with strong hold. The product is extra dry to ensure a non-oily result no residue.

If you’re looking for a sleek design which doesn’t veer too far into wet-look territory, we loved the ponytails designed by Jon Wilsdon for Hallie Sara’s S/S18 show. “The key to achieving slicked back hair is all in the products you use. With Hallie Sara, we used a small amount of label.m Volume Mousse at the roots for control then sprayed with label.m Shine Mist to dismiss the volume and add extra shine. If slicking hair into a ponytail, use bungee elastic,” explains Jon. “A hair tie won’t work as you end up losing the tension when wrapping around your ponytail and the style won’t look as sleek. Apply label.m Fashion Edition Wax Spray to the front section to give it a high shine effect.”

Zero + Maria Cornejo SS18; hair by Antoinette Beenders for Aveda

For a super chic slicked look, Stefano Sbuttoni at Q Hair & Beauty in Midhurst knew it was important to nail down the style for his clients. “We all remember when Kim K started slicking her hair back and so I was quick to make sure I had perfected the art of it as a stylist. It’s all about the product choice and preparation beforehand. Start by applying R+Co Wall St Strong Hold Gel to damp hair – this prevents flyaways when the hair is dry, then continue to blow dry the hair smooth. When the hair is completely dry begin straightening the hair until every strand is sleek and perfectly smooth.”

Then, to get the slick look, use a sculpting brush to smooth the hair back and the R+Co Dart Pomade Stick taming all flyaways. Finally finish the style with R+Co Foil Frizz + Static Control Spray to hold and keep in place.” 

Michael Lendon, creative director at the Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa in Covent Garden, agrees that it’s all about layering and prep of the hair. “Start with clean hair then, after applying Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel to wet or damp hair, rough dry your hair using a nozzle attachment on your hairdryer to gain control as you direct the airflow along your hairline to push the hairs back away from your face. Confixor Liquid Gel will help control and fix into place your hair whilst giving shine and helping to protect against fizz. Next, work some light shaping cream like Aveda Light Elements Defining Whip, into the palms of your hands and disperse into your hair line and into your mid-lengths. This whipped cream type texture balm will persuade your hair into a desired slick, wet look even if you continue to layer while not over-doing it like an oil or classic wax could.”

Using a soft bristle type brush, pull your hair into a tight ponytail, making sure to choose your desired parting (low side is best or classic straight back without a parting). Evenly distribute the product and slick hair into place as you move around your hairline. Secure into place using a band, not forgetting to choose your ponytail height and position – low and side for evening glamour, or high and perky for casual daytime ease. Finish the style by wrapping a small amount of hair from the pony around where the elastic is, to disguise the band and ensure a polished, stylised look.

But be warned – while this style is great on all hair types, it doesn’t necessarily work on all face shapes. “It’s quite a sharp look, so it can accentuate strong features,” warns Tom O’Brien, co-director of Baroque Hair. “Straight hair is best and ideally hair should be clean and dry. If your hair is a little greasy, don’t worry – spritz with dry shampoo and blow-dry back away from your face with a round brush to give shape and volume. Use a pin-tail comb to backcomb from the front to create volume and height all around the face and about halfway back. This look relies on volume, otherwise it’ll look greasy as opposed to slick. Fix with a strong-hold hairspray and use your fingers to pull hair back. Keep locks in place with slides at the side and smooth ends with straighteners for some seriously sleek summer chic.”