“This Has Been A Dream Job” – Hair Stylist Farida Ghwedar Shares Her Secrets From The Bridgerton Set

“This Has Been A Dream Job” – Hair Stylist Farida Ghwedar Shares Her Secrets From The Bridgerton Set

“This Has Been A Dream Job” – Hair Stylist Farida Ghwedar Shares Her Secrets From The Bridgerton Set

Bridgerton hair looks are trending big time – discover what it’s really like to work as part of the hair and make-up team on set.

Farida Ghwedar

What was the career journey leading up to working on Bridgerton? To style the hair and wigs for three leading ladies in series two and three is beyond impressive…
Oh, thank you so much! I feel incredibly lucky, this has been a dream job. I studied film at university and after some time working at a watch repairs, I knew I needed a practical course to enter the industry. I loved make-up and thought that was an area I may enjoy within film. I took a three-month hair and make-up course at CBMA, run by the designer Christine Blundell. It was an incredible experience with invaluable lessons as well as contacts.

I was terrible at hair with no training before or after! But my frustration made me practice and learn from tutorials in my own time. From there my first job was running the hair and make-up department for Secret Cinema. I saw it was doing a live event for Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla premiere, so I asked if they needed make-up… which led to more than six years as department head!
A friend who also trained at CBMA, Jenny Rhodes McLean, approached me to work on Bridgerton series two as she was supervising and I think she thought I could bring a slightly more modern feel to period hairstyling as that wasn’t my background. From there, Jenny – who looked after Penelope – went on to design and so Erika (Ökvist, hair and make-up designer of series two and three) asked me to take over the hair of the character as well as Kate again for the third series. I’d also looked after Edwina in the second series.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope

Ashleigh Hodges

Simone Ashley as Kate

“I feel incredibly lucky, this has been a dream job. I studied film at university and after some time working at a watch repairs, I knew I needed a practical course to enter the industry.”
– Farida Ghwedar

Talk us through the process from the first phone call right through to shooting the series…
Prep was three weeks as we were a returning team. However, I had a new character… who was the leading lady! I was very supported in anything I needed though. Erika called and talked through Penelope’s journey. Due to the scale of this job, she created moodboards, would have an initial discussion then trust you with your characters, which is amazing. I then send her looks to be signed off. She’s generally there to support you in every aspect. 
There’s a new look for almost every outfit and once shooting starts you rarely get fittings with the leads due to the schedule. So, most of the time you try on a style for the first time in the call, which is the ‘get ready’ time for hair and make-up. However, we made great use of the two to three fittings we had in prep.

Describe a typical ‘day in the life’ while working on set…
It changes all the time but, on average, we arrive at 5.30am to be ready for your actor in the chair at 6am. Hair/make-up happen then while the actor goes to costume, you grab breakfast, pack your set bag and tidy your station! Head to set for 8am and watch your actors on the monitors to keep an eye on the hair and continuity, and run in for checks where needed. You eat your lunch on the go most days and possibly have one or two changeovers. Finally, you’ll wrap at 6pm, derig your actor, clean the wig, reset it where needed and up your station for the next day.

Penelope’s ‘reveal’ is such an iconic moment of the series. How did you go about finding inspiration and ultimately deciding what was right for the moment?
Nicola Coughlan and I liked the idea of hair down as a departure from Penelope’s old style. I had been wanting to create something like Jane Russell’s sideswept waves or Blake Lively’s hairstyle in The Age of Adaline (the New Year’s Eve scene). The compromise with production was pinning up one side, as they wanted more room for her style to evolve, which made sense. I had already been using pin curls around the hairline, so I just extended this to the back tapering towards the loose waves.

Mash Creative Studio
Mash Creative Studio

Talk us through some of the key steps in creating the reveal hair look…
To start, I blow-dried Bumble & bumble Surf Foam Spray, which gives styling hold and a little grit to the hair. I followed with Oribe Gold Lust Dry Heat Protection Spray. I know most people wet set wigs and use a wig oven but sometimes I feel these sets can be too rigid and harder to dress for soft styles. I like being able to control and manipulate the hair through the whole process. I curl and pin one-inch sections, which takes longer than other sets but each style needed very little redressing using this method. 
Once I had brushed out the waves, I used a little Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream to smooth. For the pinned-up section, I reduced bulk by braiding away much of the hair. This also served as an anchor for the pin curls. I lightly sprayed Schwarzkopf Professional Silhouette hairspray as it’s a super-strong hold, and misted Oribe Superfine Hairspray for the loose waves as it allows movement which was part of the walk down the staircase during the reveal. 

What has the reaction been to Penelope’s hair evolution in the third series? 
I’ve been so overwhelmed by all the positive feedback! I do have to stress that this is a collaboration including the artists who looked after Nicola in the past. Nicola is also very involved and has great ideas. The styles are also more wearable because they are more modern this season, so that attracts more attention. 

Do you have a favourite look from the series?
I would say the Hawkin’s Ball, which is the side bun with hair flowers. I feel like all the elements from costume to make-up and hair all came together and Nicola looked beautiful. When everything marries together, that’s always a great thing. 

What are your three kit bag essentials?
My YS Parks or Denman Carbon tail combs, Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream and fine waves hair pins. 

What’s one thing readers may not realise about doing hair for film/TV?
When you create a hairstyle it’s not just about making something beautiful or immersive, but you have to consider how long a scene is. This translates to how long that style must last in a wig or be recreated to maintain continuity. You may have to replicate it perfectly a year later, or adapt it to withstand weather or certain action. You must be ready to compromise your vision to align with that of others in charge. 

For any stylists looking to branch out into the world of TV and film hair, what would your advice be?
Be prepared to be tired… always! The hours are long! Hair and make-up are often the first in and last out. You must learn to work efficiently as time is precious, and you must be a team player and stay positive where possible. Asides from your team, your actor is also doing those hours but they have to then step in front of the camera and be ‘on’ all day. You need to be aware of your impact on the start and end of their day.
Lastly, just love the work you do! Not everyone will have the same route into film and TV hairstyling, but if you love hair and put the same amount of effort into a small job as a big job, you will find your way.

Nicola Coughlan is Talk of the ’Ton

Nicola Coughlan is Talk of the ’Ton

Nicola Coughlan is Talk of the ’Ton

Session stylist Halley Brisker lifts the lid on working with the Bridgerton star as its third series hits Netflix.

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Custom lace front wig for the Met Gala 2022, with colour by Jason Hogan

Dearest readers… Whether you are a Bridgerton fanatic, a member of the Polin fandom or have never watched an episode at all, you’ve most probably come across Nicola Coughlan at some point in the past few years. From Derry Girls to Big Mood, she has a knack of creating ‘wow’ moments that love to go viral. That’s in part due to her role as Penelope Featheringtonin the Netflix hit Bridgerton, and also because she enjoys an exploratory sense of style that captures attention online and on social media.

One of the more misunderstood parts of my job is the ‘style journey’ as I like to call it, which myself and other glam team members craft through the unique partnership we create with our clients. Almost everybody has a personal sense of style but when one also has a public-facing life, there often isn’t time to take care of hair, make-up and wardrobe choices when carrying out duties that come with the role. That’s where professionals come in…

Going red for the Barbie premiere in London

Met Gala 2022

However, where it gets particularly exciting is when my clients want to go a step beyond the expected and craft a style iconography. I’ve worked with a breadth of talent over the years; many like to execute minimal changes to their personal style and have us perform only that, as best we know how for them. Then others want to push the boundaries of style, which for any creative is a form of pure joy. Nicola has always been someone with a love of style and the courage to be dynamic. We met – along with make-up artist Neil Young, stylist Aimee Croysdill and nail technician Michelle Class – on a photoshoot for Refinery29 in 2020. Nicola was already established thanks to her role in the hit show Derry Girls, and was due to appear in the debut season of Bridgerton. We had no idea how big that show would become nor the importance of the role of Penelope Featherington within the Bridgerton universe!

 

 

 

 

 

“Nicola has always been someone with a love of style and the courage to be dynamic”

Halley Brisker

Halley Brisker

It often takes time to discover what our clients’ goals are when working with glam teams. In the nearly four years we’ve worked together as a team of creatives alongside Nicola, we’ve created looks that have incorporated extensive product knowledge – from the oily, sleek locks for the SAG Awards to textured, A-line bobs at The Baftas. Hair piece sourcing for faux bangs at front row shows for Miu Miu in Paris and braided hair bows for the Stylist magazine awards in London. We’ve experimented with colour too; Nicola went red for the Barbie premiere in London and with the custom-coloured lace front wig I created for Nicola at the 2022 Met Gala, Jason Hogan at Josh Wood Atelier painstakingly coloured it to complement a bespoke Richard Quinn dress.

 

Halley and the glam team at work behind the scenes

Stylist Magazine Awards, 2022

Throughout this incredible style journey we’ve gone on together, the thread that has been a relative constant has been Bridgerton, which has just launched its third season. That instalment sees Nicola’s character take centre stage in the plot, to become…  nope, I’m not giving anything away!

It’s no coincidence that as looks go, the hair finish in New York was one of our most straightforward; sometimes we ‘grow as we go’. Of course, I have no idea what the future looks like for Bridgerton or Penelope, but to see hundreds of fans turn out for Nicola was a special moment and a perfect opportunity to create simple, elegant looks for this milestone moment.

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The French Bob Is Going Nowhere  – This Is How To Perfect The Style, Complete With a Colour Transformation

The French Bob Is Going Nowhere – This Is How To Perfect The Style, Complete With a Colour Transformation

The French Bob Is Going Nowhere – This Is How To Perfect The Style, Complete With a Colour Transformation

A quick-fire Masterclass from Allilon educators Kate and Madeleine, which covers how to create a beautiful, sunkissed blonde colour and achieve the ultimate French bob.

Join Allilon expert educators, Kate and Madeleine, as they guide you through a transformative journey exploring our signature house model, Saffron.

“Saffron’s journey begins with a vibrant, deep red hue, transitioning gracefully towards a sun-kissed blonde ideal for the summer months,” says Madeleine. “Employing a precise application technique suitable for salon use, I’ll delicately colour the darker strands while preserving the pre-lightened areas.”

Regarding the French bob cut, Kate explains: “Our vision was to craft a timeless, chic French bob, blending precision with effortless elegance. Using scissors for precise shaping and the feather razor for subtle interior layers, we’ve infused Saffron’s hair with texture and fluidity. Embracing the natural drying process, we’ve achieved a soft, salon-ready look that exudes sophistication.”

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“To Partner With Dior Is A Dream Come True” –  Hayden Cassidy On The Modern Power Of The Barber

“To Partner With Dior Is A Dream Come True” –  Hayden Cassidy On The Modern Power Of The Barber

“TO PARTNER WITH DIOR IS A DREAM COME TRUE” – HAYDEN CASSIDY ON THE MODERN POWER OF THE BARBER

Dior’s new UK grooming expert talks connections, Guinness and being ready for when Johnny Depp calls… 

Hayden Cassidy working
Hayden Cassidy
When a young footballing Hayden Cassidy broke her leg while on a US college scholarship – signalling the end of her playing career – she probably wouldn’t have predicted where she would be today. In a move that underpins an important statement on the place of women in the traditionally male-dominated world of barbering, Hayden has been unveiled as Dior UK’s grooming expert. Let that sink in for a moment…

It seemed a stretch when Hayden saw an email in her inbox in January last year from the Dior beauty team (she thought it was spam and ignored it). They chased her on Instagram, keen to discuss working together. The fashion and beauty giant had been impressed by what they had seen of the Dublin born, London-based barber across social media, working across editorial, education, with musicians and behind the chair with a laser focus on fusing
barbering with fashion.

Let’s not forget, she won The It Girl at the 2020 It List awards, such was her impression on the judges. She was also one of the stars of The Industry’s Not Just A Hairdresser campaign in 2022, showcasing perfectly the thrilling and creative possibilities of a career in hair beyond the expected. It’s been clear that Hayden Cassidy was always going to stand out…

Hayden Cassidy
Pierre Mouton for Parfums Christian Dior
Dior has commented on how Hayden “strives to push the boundaries of men’s grooming while showcasing her signature clean, contemporary and detailed style” – the reason why she is the ideal expert for Dior to partner and work closely together with over the next year. Her creative vision and skills will be on hand for editorial, digital, influencer and celebrity projects, with her aligned with Dior’s Sauvage line. 

Hayden has deemed the partnership as “a dream come true”, and her expertise for Dior has seen her featured already in high profile pieces in the Financial Times, Wonderland and the ES Magazine. 

“Where do men get a lot of their grooming tips from? They don’t go into shops, and they don’t search on articles or magazines, they look to their trusted barber,” says Hayden. For so long, barbers haven’t really been given those opportunities when it comes to fashion and editorial work. As a luxury brand, it’s been incredible for Dior to recognise the barber as someone that has that information, and given that title. What’s really exciting is that it’s a new role for both myself and Dior. They’re really open to working side by side, more of a collaboration.” That’s already meant trips to Paris, including a tour of the Dior archives and gallery (“a ‘pinch me moment!”)  

Photography by Declan Kelly (@declankelly)
Does she see Dior’s choice of a female barber as a grooming expert, sharing techniques and advice across social media and editorial, as important? “Definitely, it shows how the industry has evolved. From going into what people might think is quite an intimidating, male-dominated industry to getting opportunities like this. I’m not saying I’m a hairstylist; I’m a barber. It’s something that I never shied away from.  

 “A few years ago, everybody tried to drop the barber term. But there’s something about history and heritage in the barbering culture that I fell in love with, the classic shaves. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always said I hated going into a salon, that never attracted me. Barbering has this ritual; it feels like a sacred practice.” 

The Dior gig comes at a time of exciting change for Hayden. Having outgrown her Hackney studio unit, she’s recently set up a larger collaborative space in London Fields called Croí (pronounced ‘kree’, it’s Gaelic for ‘heart’), where clients can chill out, guest artists can work (Dublin colourist Sara Hurley has visited) and other creatives can host pop-ups (two of Hayden’s friends – a jeweller and a designer – have already done just that).  

“Where do men get a lot of their grooming tips from? They don’t go into shops, and they don’t search on articles or magazines, they look to their trusted barber.”

Hayden Cassidy

 “It still feels intimate, comfortable and welcoming. I get recommended by barbers in Ireland to clients moving over here, and the barber might be the first person they meet in this scary big city. It’s always been important for me to be that connection that people have, where they can feel welcome. And where they can get their recommendations for a good pint of Guinness!” Indeed, she has a list of perfect pub pourers divided into north, south, east and west London. 

She’s still educating – this year has included Mexico and Italy – but she’s also learning how not to say yes to everything. “I’m open to every opportunity but my studio is fully booked three weeks in advance, and I’m a little bit on call with Dior. If Johnny Depp needs grooming for an event, I have to jump on a plane and be there! I do also need time to sit down and just enjoy my successes. I’m so hyper, I love doing a million things. But I’m in such a happy place when I’m behind the chair with my clients, in my own space, having a connection and that chat… and that’s something hopefully that I’ll have forever.”   

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