When you think of a blowout experience, do you think of scalp-scorching heat and painful round-brush yanking? Some, like Fashion Magazine beauty editor Sarah Daniel, relish the ouch --Â she uses the phrase "no pain, no gain" in a debate with Fashion's beauty director Lesa Hannah over the pros and cons of blowouts (Lesa hates them, but not because of how they feel).
If you feel the same way as Sarah, celebrity stylist Mark Townsend might change your blowout perception.
US-based Townsend has tousled with the likes of Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. He's been working with Christina Aguilera since my friend Bahar Niramwalla (below) and I met with him last month at an event for Dove haircare, for which he's the spokesperson. (Townsend tip: try the Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoo to add texture to clean hair.)
And when he blow-dried my â€™do, there was nary a tug or a pull. It was a gentle, relaxing blow-dry, yet the finish was sleek, shiny and completely frizz free from root to tip.
"I train all my assistants to be really gentle," said Townsend when I commented on his unusual technique. "I put a mannequin head (unanchored!) on a table and challenge them to do a perfect blowout without making it fall. They all say it's impossible!, but when they finally do it, they're amazed and so proud of themselves."
Coincidentally, just a couple of weeks before meeting Townsend, I'd had a blowout withÂ Jessica Sciarra at Greg May Hair Architects in Yorkville. Her technique is just as gentle. "It freaks some clients out," Sciarra admitted. "They don't believe I can get their hair properly straight and full and shiny this way -- and then they see the results, and say Oh!"
"I used to have a client who just couldn't adjust to my ways," Townsend told me. In fact, he says, he lost her to an assistant who gleefully threw all her strength into the client's blowdry.
Do you have a sensitive scalp that makes you wish blowouts were... less violent? Or are you a no-pain-no-gain type?