Create the Perfect Up-Do for Your Client: Tips from Robin Dorton

Hair: bridesmaid up-do by Tronisha Robinson with makeup by Chrissi Vitanza

One of the most important factors in ensuring a client leaves the salon feeling happy and completely satisfied with her style is the consultation. Guests looking for a more formal hairstyle typically have some idea of what they want, and a consultation is an essential way to make sure your client will receive the perfect style. This also allows stylists a chance to guide those guests who aren't sure what style they want, and to let them know what will look best, not only for their hair type, but for the specific event, style of dress, and other factors as well.

Hairstylist Robin Dorton, a pro at styling formal events up-dos, offers her tips for working with a client to make sure that she receives exactly what she is looking for.  

In regards to determining the perfect style for a given client, Dorton reveals that, "the type of braided up-do really depends on the hair type, and we also put a lot of consideration into the type of event and also the bodice of the dress. Waterfall braids look best with a strapless dress for prom, but may not work with busy necklines that would be covered by the long curls. Braids can be incorporated into an elegant classic chignon to update the look and work well with high necklines, as well as halter and asymmetrical necklines."

Hair: waterfall braid by Robin Dorton

When getting down to the braiding itself, Dorton employs a few simple tricks to create certain results. "Incorporating braids into up-dos on very dense or thick hair is a great way to 'hide' or use lots of hair to save time and not have too large of a finished style. Keeping the braids very loose lets them appear soft and not overly done, yet still feminine and polished."

Working with guests is key in creating a desired result. Says Dorton, "Our salon has a great book in the reception area showing different dress necklines along with samples of which hairstyles are appropriate for each. It's a great starting point for clients that are unsure of how to wear their hair. We then explain that different events call for different styles. If it's for a wedding the bridesmaids should all coordinate, while letting the bride have a style that truly stands out. Prom hair should be youthful with a few trendy elements to keep them fun, while weddings should be a bit more classic so the photos stand the test of time."

Hair: braided up-do for Prom by John Joiner

There are always somewhat unpredictable factors, such as the weather, to keep in mind when creating a look as well. It's best to anticipate the needs of your client in any given situation, and make sure that she feels her best, no matter the weather! Says Dorton, "If [your client is] prone to frizzy hair and the event will be during a humid month, perhaps an up-do will be the best style. Wearing [hair] down with big, loose curls could become a disaster after an hour or so! No time for a touch up before a big day? Go for a side swept bang with a messy zig zag part to hide those roots!"

Lastly, Dorton advises to always use the right products. "Cheap products can leave a film on the hair that may flake with all the extra brushing and hot tools used during an up-do. We say it's a myth that dirty hair works best. [Clients should] wash [their] hair the night before and leave the products to the pros. Non-pro products just don't stand up to all the elements of up-do styling like the pro products do!"

Hair: John Joiner

[All Images courtesy of Robin Dorton]

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