Band and beautiful

SUNIL SHETTY and Sanjay Dutt have done it. So have Vikram and Kushboo. After dominating the screen and the catwalk, streaking (well, colouring bands of hair) is finally seeing a democratic explosion. From young city slickers to greying housewives, it's the happening hairdo that redefines the look.

Call it wonderful, weird or wacky. Lolita or lady-like. Accentuating the hair with ribbons of colour makes catchy headlines. And yes. It doesn't make a chic statement to play safe with colour! So you have mops of purple, gold dust and streaks of silver. Long and short bands of auburn and burnt copper charged with sex appeal.

"Rock-star shag, edgy bob, beautiful blunt or simply letting the hair down.

Band and beautiful

Whatever the cut and length, highlights certainly add a touch of drama," says Punitha Soni, a marketing executive, flicking her curtain of curls with a distinct band of burgundy. "With clothes getting glamorous by the day, such hairdos are a perfect match," she reasons, at a salon in the city.

Chitra Seshan who works for the Korean Airlines, is yet another woman who opted for these fringe benefits recently. "At some point of time, monotony sets in. That's when I decided to go for a subtle streak of burgundy at the behest of my beautician. The next day, I was greeted with "wows" at my office. The trendy touch has indeed given me a refreshing look."

If women are head-deep into streaking, can men be far behind? "No way," asserts Sherieen of Salon Nayana. "College boys are not just stopping with crazy cuts. They add streaks for that much-desired hip look. So you have spiky styles with strips of copper, violet or red. Even men from the corporates have an appetite for adventure when it comes to tints. Further, bands of colour help in camouflaging strands of grey." Agreeing with her is Rahul Venkat, an engineering student, who recently went for "natural looking highlights to cover his premature grey strands." Actor Vikram, who had recently donned a new look for "Pithamagan" says, "I keep trying out fresh cuts and colours. And now, these strands of colour do make a difference," he says pointing out to those golden streaks.

Band and beautiful

Going by what Madhu Mohan of Kanya beauty chain says, after couture, the glitter bug seems to have caught on, on the mane front too. For gold is the colour of the season. "It's a hit because it complements the Indian skin tone. Most women carry it off beautifully. Brown, red and burgundy are a staple with those who wish to be fashionable, at the same time don't feel like experimenting with colour."

According to Isabora of Limelite parlour, "Streaking is done on small strips or pronounced ribbons, depending on the customers preference and the look desired. While funky teenagers go for bold bands and high-voltage hues, older women prefer subtle touches and understated shades."

The colours are hot, and the look hotter. But what about the safety of the colouring products? A trip to the city parlours revealed that the barrage of merchandise in the market with mind-boggling features has only left the customer confused. As Madhu puts it, "Despite refinement in the product, some people are scared about such synthetic wonders. But, there is no risk involved, because in streaking, the dye does not touch the scalp. In any case, a patch test is done for first-timers and only reputed brands with ammonia-free dyes that are safe on the skin are used."

Band and beautiful

"Yes... ammonia-free and hair-friendly, they say. But streaking does alter hair texture", says actress Kushboo. "I've done it. But don't intend to repeat the procedure. All said, I liked the look."

From a customer's point of view, Deepika, newly crowned Queen of Chennai, says, "Chemical colours are bound to roughen hair texture. But there's no holding back fashion-conscious people like me. Using the right shampoo and conditioner can control the damage."

Deepika who loves experimenting with colour says, "Every time one shade fades away, I go for a distinctly different tone. It feels nice to look into the mirror and see a new you." It's not just the teenagers who love trying out colours. Even older women like Pooja Malhotra, mother of two for instance, freaks out on streaks. "As soon as the strips become dull, I visit the parlour for a fresh do. Such soft accents make even a simple look striking."

Band and beautiful

Visiting the parlour, selecting the right shade and then sitting through the procedure. Streaking sure is an investment of time. And what about the money? "It depends on the length and thickness of the bands. Perhaps anywhere between Rs. 350 and Rs.1,500," say beauticians.

Screen and catwalk divas have displayed anti-gravity styles, the beehive look, platinum plaits, pretty perms and stunning streaks in recent times. But what really clicks in Chennai is style with substance. And that cutting edge practicality. Even if it means just a streak here and there!

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