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Bridal Hairstyle Tips with Andrew Barton

Get ready for gorgeous locks!
Enter Andrew Barton...
Words by Andrew Barton


Creating hair styles for a bride is always a joy for me, not only making her look her best but also ensuring that she feels her best. After all, her bridal hairstyle has to not only complement the gown but also last from day to night. Brides want a look that once it’s done, it’s done and they can forget about their hair and enjoy their special day.

As the expert hair correspondent for Sky News, I’ve been delighted to be at the last three royal weddings, including Prince William and Duchess Kate’s, as well as Harry and Meghan’s, reporting on the bridal hairstyles. It’s been no surprise that these royal brides have opted for classic, elegant hair styles that will stand the test of time.

I’m often asked for my top tips to achieve the perfect bridal style. It’s not an easy task, as so much depends on the wedding dress, the bride’s face shape, her body shape and, of course, the statement she wants to make. One thing is for sure, just like you would prepare your body and skin to look and feel your best, you need to prepare the hair too. Starting your bridal hair preparation early will ensure that the condition, cut and colour will all score high marks and create the perfect bridal hair style.



It’s a good idea to arrange a trial run with your hairdresser to ensure you’re totally happy and comfortable with your chosen hairstyle. Take pictures of your gown, veil and makeup brief to your appointment to help the stylist get a good idea of your overall look, and allow them to create a style that complements the rest of your outfit. A consultation is key when working on bridal styles. Generally, when I advise brides, it’s all about what is going to suit their body and face shape. For fuller figured brides, a hairstyle with some height on top works well to accentuate the overall look, while for a bride wearing her hair down I recommend a few strands secured back off the face, this not only looks pretty but makes for a practical style as it stops the hair from blowing around the face – especially important for those constant air and cheek kisses given by guests!



I’m a huge fan of hair extensions to not only add length, fullness and colour, but also for adding volume to a hair-up style. Even a simple ballerina bun that sits low in the neck can be exaggerated by adding in a few hair extensions. I use (and can recommend) Racoon Hair Extensions for their great hair quality, options for custom colouring, and their ethical approach. There are different types of hair extensions for brides, from long lasting techniques that can last for months to temporary weft solutions that can be used just for the special day and typically last a few washes before being taken out.



I like to give the bride options with a simple change of hair look for the evening that still complements her gown and head dress or, if she’s changing in to a second outfit, give her a new hair look. This is often the opposite of the first look, so if the hair is worn down during the day, a simple up-do can create a great second look for the evening celebrations.



Most weddings involve a series of planning stages, spreadsheets and copious notes. These should include the visits to the salon for cut, colour and trial sessions. Avoid disappointment and ensure your appointments are booked well in advance. I recommend a cut and colour two to three weeks before the big day. Follow a hair care regime, including deep conditioning masks, de-frizzing solutions and glossing appointments to ensure your hair looks in optimum health and perfectly toned.



It’s a great idea to collect images of the type of looks you like to discuss with your stylist and explore if they will work for your hair type. You want to make sure that your husband recognises you when you walk down the aisle, subtly teasing little questions like “do you like my hair up?” without giving the game away is a good idea. When creating mood boards, look for images of hair that is similar to yours. If you are brunette and only point out images of blondes the chances are the textures and tones will be completely different, so even if the hair look is replicated it won’t have the same overall effect.



It's one of the biggest questions for most brides, and a combination of half-up, half-down is a bridal favourite – just as Kate Middleton and her chief bridesmaid Pippa wore their hair. It’s a practical solution as it ensures the hair is secured away from the face, so there’s no strands over your face for the official pictures, and you won’t have to constantly move your hair out of your face. The look can also subtly be built up at the crown for added height, giving the illusion of a slimmer silhouette. It also gives the cheekbones a lift.



One bride in particular taught me a good lesson when I gave her a box of hair grips and asked her to use the grips to arrange her hair how she imagined wearing it. Giving her a hand mirror so she could see the hair from every angle, she arranged her hair exactly how she thought she wanted it, which gave me the opportunity to create a better version of the look. Use three way mirrors or a hand mirror to make sure your hair is perfect from every angle.



When it comes to hair accessories less is often more. Simple sparkling bands or tiaras tend to complement any hair look with little sparkling grips or slides beautifully holding back pieces of hair and securing up-dos. If floral headpieces are more your thing, think about using silk flowers rather than fresh flowers as they often wilt in the heat.

Racoon International Creative Director, Andrew is available for bridal hair at his Headmasters Mayfair Salon or by appointment across the UK.



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