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Hair and hues

Invest in your hair to make a statement, says Millicent Howe, colour specialist

"SO WHAT if it's in fashion? I'm not going to colour my hair bronze. I will just have a normal haircut." That resolve of individual style made you think no scissor-hand can touch you. Just then, a hairdresser in the parlour casually asks if you go out too much in the sun. Err, umm, why? "No, no," she says, holding your hair with concern, "It looks dull and damaged. The natural colour has faded. You need a protective layer of colour."

And that, dear upholders of personal preference, is the point where you crumble, and give yourself to the snip and dye.

At Bounce, the first thing I hear is a harried, "Someone wants a consultation... " The saviour has to be Millicent Howe, colour specialist. She rushes to the person's aid, and once she's rescued some follicles, sits down for a chat. "It was fashion design that got me interested in hair dressing," she says, "But it was too costly and I didn't see it as my career." But she knew that there were other things that went into fashion shows. "And one huge part was hair."

Taste vs trend

Cutting, slashing and colouring hair for 11 years now, Millie unflinchingly declares that it was only twice that someone did not take her advice, and one girl ended up with bright yellow, shocking orange and purple in her hair, and the other over-bleached her hair till it looked like it would wilt and fall off.

So even if she suggests the unthinkable, try saying your mom will disown you, and if that fails, give in. As I ask her about personal taste as opposed to trends, Millie says, "It's not like I suggest blue highlights to a working woman! I do match their hairstyle to their lifestyle."

For example, she would never put high maintenance colour for a career woman.

"I know they can't keep visiting the parlour, so I give them a sophisticated last-long look and leave it at that."

Tips for Indian women

Long, long, astonishingly long hair is what she noticed of Indian women in her three weeks in the country. "I'm so jealous," she says, in a whisper, "Indian women have such beautiful bone structure, almond eyes, and such an enviable complexion." But? "But... they part their hair right in the middle!!" Parted like that, the hair falls right along the cheekbones and "hides every perfect feature".

Rohini mohan

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