Shave or Style with Macmillan

Wednesday, July 30th 2014 0

A Fundraising Initiative

This month, Macmillan created the Shave or Style project to get people talking about their hair. Lots of people who go through cancer treatment lose their hair, and this is something that Macmillan can help patients to come to terms with.

By teaming up with MichaelJohn, a beautiful salon in Mayfair loved by the likes of Anna Wintour and the Royal Family, Macmillan asked us to try something new and different with our hair. The aim was to create more conversation around the topic and encourage people to stand together in support using the hashtag #ShaveorStyle on social media. Before I tell you about my journey and share my tips and tricks, I would please love to encourage you to text ‘STYLE’ to 70550 and donate £3 to Macmillan. This will help them to provide support and guidance to

Now for the hair tips from two stylists in one of London’s finest Mayfair salons!

When it comes to summer hair, there is nothing prettier than a braid or plait. The problem, for me, is creating them! So my first port of call was a quick tutorial from Adrianne.

Adrianne’s key recommendations for creating a textured braid were to first prepare the roots with Philip Kingsley’s Maximiser (blow dry it in so that it sets) and then to set your work with L’Oreal’s classic Elnett spray. It was really quite telling that a salon that stocked such luxury haircare and skin brands were still swearing by the classic hairspray. It just goes to show that it is so well loved for good reason.

Philip Kingsley Maximiser

And as for creating the braid itself? Take three sections, precisely measured with a fine tooth comb. Work your braid around to the side and seal everything in place with straight pins and tiny clear elastic bands (you’ll find these on Amazon for a couple of pounds). I have to admit that this one isn’t an instant success; find a few tutorials on YouTube and practise every day. I’ve been putting a braid in before bed and although it’s a work in progress I’m getting better as I go along.


But the everyday issue I have with my hair is blow drying. My hair is thick, curly and frizzy, and creating smoother styles always takes lots of work for me. So next I took to the hands of CJ, who created a gorgeous smooth but bouncy blow dry for me and talked me through her key styling tips along the way.

As a pre-shampoo treatment, she recommends Philip Kingsley’s cult Elasticizer. I confessed to her that although I do use it I’d gotten a little lazy. You’re supposed to apply Elasticizer in sections to damp hair, whereas I’d got myself into the habit of throwing a little onto my dry hair for 10 minutes before washing… CJ explained that if I could leave this on damp hair for a little longer – say 30 minutes, or even overnight – the difference I would see would be outstanding, especially for some of my finer, fluffy flyaways around my front section.


Oil, she continues, is one of the best things I can use on my hair. I mentioned the Rare Blend Ojon oil that I always go to, and my beloved Moroccanoil, and she liked both but also encouraged me to try a 50p helping of Kerastase Elixir after each wash.

Kerastase Elixir

Now for the styling. CJ gave me one of the best tips I’ve heard yet. It was so simple, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner. With curly, frizzy hair, I’m always finding kinks at the root. So CJ told me the best thing that I could do would be to dry my roots first, then go back to dry and style my ends. Using a Denman Vent Brush, she began to dry my roots (starting from the front and working backwards), and as a result I got 4 days out of my blow dry. This is unheard of in my book! And the best bit is that I’ve done this myself on two more blow dries and found that it lasts really well. By focusing on my roots, I’m ensuring that my hair is going to fall where I want it to. The ends are so easy to touch up with a curling wand or straighteners, but without the perfect roots your hair isn’t going to look the best it can. This is without a doubt the best tip I’ve been given and I’ve seen an instant improvement in my hair.


As we continued through my lengths, I asked CJ for some tips on my cowlick. I’ve got one right at the front of my hair and as a result I find it hard to get volume in the fringe because it naturally falls backwards. To create some volume, CJ used the same Denman brush to pull my hair away from where it naturally wanted to go. She took time to do this first (once it dries it will be harder to work with), and as a result my hair fell bouncy and forward.

And her final tip for great hair? It’s a silk pillow. CJ tells me that this is really going to help with static, frizz and broken hair. Who’d have known?

My visit to the MichaelJohn salon was such a luxury, relaxing experience. I received by far the best head massage I’ve ever had with Mel when she washed my hair at the basin, and even arrived to a glass of pink champagne when I sat down to enjoy my blow dry. What really stood out to me though was the effort the team went to to ensure that I could maintain my salon results at home. During my visit everyone made an effort to ask what I was already using at home and offer advice on how best to make the most of those products rather than trying to sell me a whole new bathroom cabinet. It was such a relaxed, friendly environment that I knew when I was recommended any extra items it was really for the good of my own hair.


A lovely experience and all for a great cause, it was a pleasure to team up with Macmillan.

Did you learn something new here? If so, PLEASE do your bit and help us to raise money for Macmillan. By texting ‘STYLE’ to 70550, you can donate £3 to Macmillan and help to ensure that no-one has to face cancer alone. And if you recreate any of these looks then share a photo using the hashtag #ShaveorStyle to help to support the cause.

Shave or Style week may be over, but there are still so many ways that you can get involved and help Macmillan. Visit the website to see more about the cause:

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