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Updated: September 1, 2013 19:15 IST

Snip judgement

SUBHA J RAO
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Saddique Alam during a hair styling session. Photo: K. Ananthan
The Hindu Saddique Alam during a hair styling session. Photo: K. Ananthan

Celebrity hairstylist Saddique Alam on what South Indian lasses prefer

“I belong to a traditional family and am expected to maintain long hair. But, I really need a change in style. Can you give me a cut that does not reduce the length? A cut that no one will really notice?” a 20-something asks celebrity hairstylist Saddique Alam.

Saddique, brand trainer, Trends in Vogue, has been hearing quite a few of these requests since he stepped into Coimbatore, for demo sessions at Green Trends salons. “I’ve observed that people here want style but not at the cost of length,” he says, after a makeover session at the Race Course outlet.

For 13 years, Saddique’s life has been about snipping, curling and styling hair of his regular clients and those of celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Shilpa Shetty and Aparna Sen for events and magazine shoots.

He got into the field in his second year of college after his father wanted him to learn some “hand work”. “After training in London, Hong Kong and other places, this became my life.”

The stylist, who runs his chain of Sadiqs Academy and Salon in the Eastern part of the country, primarily in Kolkata, shifted to Chennai three months ago. Since then, he’s been working with luxurious, black South Indian tresses.

“South Indian hair is challenging. It is darker and thicker, and there’s the issue of length,” he says. “My job is to work with clients, and offer them a hair cut or suggest a service after taking into account their lifestyle, maintenance regimen and the clothes they wear,” he says.

So, if someone in a traditional sari insists on a Priyanka Chopra hair cut, she is gently guided towards a better option. “Else, the style will fall flat,” says Saddique. “I have to be honest with the client,” he says.

During the course of the demo, he imparts tips to stylists at the salon. For instance, a client walks in with thin, long hair, and a limp layer. He cuts her hair into blended layers that create an illusion of volume.

While blow drying her hair, he opts for a bigger comb. “This will help you achieve bigger curls. They are in vogue,” he tells the stylists. He also wants them to allot five minutes for consultation before deciding on the cut.

Saddique’s dream is to train a thousand stylists. He has crossed 400 already and says his new assignment will see him reaching his target fast. “The teaching, sharing and learning is what I love most about this job!”

Colour it right

Go in for an ammonia-free colour. Ideally, you should get your hair coloured by a professional. If done systematically, your hair will actually turn softer. If not done properly, your hair suffers damage. If henna is your choice of colour, grind the leaves and apply it. Most store-bought brands contain chemicals.

Hair woes

Accept your hair the way it is. Work around your problem areas. The other side is always green. You can turn curly hair straight or the other way around, but nothing is permanent.

Handling tips

If you have naturally wavy hair, don’t brush it vigorously. Tie your hair into a ponytail in the front. Leave it for 10 minutes and then open it out. Your hair will be a lovely tumble of curls.

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