PART­ING WAYS

Left, right or some­where down the mid­dle – the seem­ingly sim­ple de­ci­sion of where to part your hair makes the world of dif­fer­ence to your look.

VOGUE Australia - - News - By Remy Rip­pon.

Left, right or some­where down the mid­dle – the seem­ingly sim­ple de­ci­sion of where to part your hair makes the world of dif­fer­ence to your look.

Drap­ing me in a black cape and ob­serv­ing my post-hair­wash re­flec­tion in the mir­ror, my hairstylist, John, combs back my strands in the same way my mother would when I was five, then asks the in­evitable ques­tion: “Which side do you part your hair?” “Kind of here,” I re­spond, point­ing vaguely left-of-cen­tre.

Truth be told, I’ve been hov­er­ing in a state of “part­less­ness” for some time, flick­ing my tresses from side to side and in turn, con­fus­ing my hair’s nat­u­ral abil­ity to find its groove. The minute my fol­li­cle me­mory knows where to fall, I flick it to other side, forc­ing it to be un­pre­dictable and most im­por­tantly, not fall flat on my scalp. But af­ter John took the metal tip of his comb and etched a mil­i­tary-pre­cise track from my hair­line to the left of my crown, I felt an im­me­di­ate sense of new­ness.

If the spring/sum­mer ’17 run­ways were any­thing to go by, it’s a step in the right di­rec­tion. At Bal­main, mod­els like Gigi Ha­did and Josephine Skriver were is­sued a part so deep-set it al­most aligned with the outer cor­ner of their eyes. Like­wise, at Dries Van Noten, hairstylist Sam McKnight off­set smoke­screen eye­shadow with a left side part that felt more girlie than tough and as­serted the no­tion that while a de­fin­i­tive part is ul­ti­mately put to­gether, it’s never la­bo­ri­ous. Just ask Or­lando Pita, who let mod­els sleep their way through much of the styling process ahead of the Michael Kors show. “I told all the mod­els to sleep with damp hair the night be­fore the show for a just-woke-up look with min­i­mal styling eas­ily pulled into a deep side part,” says Pita.

Celebri­ties, mean­while, know a change of part can go so far as to turn their ca­reers around. Take Si­enna Miller, whose cen­treparted, bo­hemian-cum-Brigitte Bar­dot tresses helped push her pro­file into the spot­light and in­spired a slew of copy­cats (my­self in­cluded) keen to em­anate her ef­fort­less aes­thetic. That was un­til 2014, when Lon­don-based hairstylist Luke Her­sh­e­son lopped her mid-length tresses into a choppy bob made ut­terly fresh by a wide side part that gave the il­lu­sion it had set­tled there from sim­ply be­ing combed through her fin­gers. Need­less to say that with this new look, film roles soon fol­lowed.

“A PART LINE SHOULD BE FUN TO CHANGE AND DOESN’T NEED TO BE DRAS­TIC, SO DON’T EVER BE AFRAID TO EX­PER­I­MENT”

“A part line should be fun to change and doesn’t need to be dras­tic, so don’t ever be afraid to ex­per­i­ment,” en­thuses hairstylist An­thony Nader, not­ing the ver­sa­til­ity of a part. “Work with your growth pat­terns, es­pe­cially if you have a cowlick, and then you can keep in the guide­lines of that di­rect line for safe mea­sure or ex­ag­ger­ate the part to swing fur­ther over if you want to make a big­ger fash­ion state­ment.”

And like our fash­ion choices, where you part your hair can be a pow­er­ful form of non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. A study dubbed the Hair Part The­ory, found that where a per­son parts their hair can im­pact other’s per­cep­tion of them. It found: “The way a per­son parts [his or her] hair is re­lated to many sub­con­scious as­so­ci­a­tions when as­sessed by oth­ers. Each hair part type ini­ti­ates cy­cles of be­hav­iour to­ward, and re­sponse from, the in­di­vid­ual.”

The study the­o­rised that peo­ple who choose to part their hair on the right are un­con­sciously em­pha­sis­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics as­so­ci­ated with the right side of the brain, such as cre­ativ­ity, while peo­ple who part left are sub­con­sciously as­sessed by oth­ers as be­ing more aligned with left-brain be­hav­iours such as logic and science. The jury is out on what a cen­tre part in­di­cates, or what it means if, like me, you’re a ha­bit­ual hair flicker, jump­ing from left side to right mul­ti­ple times a day.

How­ever, that’s pre­cisely the point: a part line shouldn’t be a de­ci­sion made dur­ing child­hood (usu­ally by a par­ent or hair­dresser) and ad­hered to for life. Ver­sa­til­ity is why part­ing one’s hair is a fun­da­men­tal in styling lore. Con­sider it the beauty world’s equiv­a­lent of a neck­line: func­tional yet adaptable, ef­fort­less yet dra­matic. And un­like hem­lines and hair length, age will never dic­tate how a part should be worn.

But that’s not to say hair type doesn’t have an in­flu­ence. “If you weren’t blessed with masses of strands and your hair is on the finer side, al­ways be aware of di­rect­ing your part line too far over,” says Nader. “Aim to stick as close to the cen­tre or off-cen­tre as pos­si­ble, then both sides of the hair will be bal­anced.” Nader adds that the part line can also be a pow­er­ful tool to bal­ance asym­met­ric fea­tures: “If the tip of your nose is point­ing to the left, you can make it ap­pear cen­tred by di­rect­ing the part line over to the right.”

So how does one aim to amend a line that has main­tained its po­si­tion for decades? Like a plant that’s been reach­ing in the di­rec­tion of the sun’s rays, it will take some time for the nat­u­ral course of the hair shaft to pivot. Speed up the process by draw­ing a line into wet hair and se­cur­ing it in a low pony­tail overnight. Come morn­ing, re­lease the band and add nat­u­ral tex­ture via a vol­ume spray like Eleven I Want Body Vol­ume Spray. If a quick fix is in or­der, ap­ply strong­hold hair­spray or a dry sham­poo (we love Oribe Gold Lust Dry Sham­poo) di­rectly to the roots and dis­perse with a comb in the new di­rec­tion of the hair.

Haven’t had time for a colour? A part can help with that too. “If you’re poor on time and want those dreaded roots cov­ered up, opt for a hap­haz­ard part line rather than a strict line,” says Nader.

With my fresh head of high­lights, the de­fined part line John has drawn is ap­pro­pri­ate. I feel like some­one’s hit re­fresh – the feel­ing akin to a new hair­cut, prov­ing that all I had needed was for some­one to im­part a part.

Back­stage at Mary Ka­trant­zou. MID­DLE PART At Os­car de la Renta. At Ver­sace. At Michael Kors. At Prada. SIDE PART At Dries Van Noten. Back­stage at Bal­main.

Back­stage at Os­car de la Renta. MA­SON PEARSON TAIL COMB, $ 30.

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