Summer hair should be relaxed, lush and natural. And that’s what can look forward to thanks to Marc Armstong and Sabrina Maxwell, co-owners of Sydney-based salon Marc & Maxwell.
After a long, cold, winter, Covid-19 has meant less tress-stress from heated appliances and an altogether more natural, relaxed and healthier look and feel for summer hair. Call it laziness, or the fact that we had nowhere to go … whatever it is, I’m loving my healthier mane, as is most of Sydney, as we flock to get our strands styled.
Marc and Sabrina know all-too-well if there’s anything positive that has come out of 2020, it’s that we are all practicing more self-care, while at the same time, sporting healthier, lusher locks.
“This new, more relaxed direction in hair is going to the biggest stand-out beauty trend of the new decade,” predicts Marc, adding that the ‘shag’ style is going to be a hot look for 2021. Think Miley Cyrus in her Midnight Sky video. It’s the perfect shape for that song, which is all about being free (and incidentally requires little styling – just point your hairdryer’s nozzle at the roots and roughly style-dry with your fingertips, adding a wax-like product later for staying power). It also echoes Jane Fonda’s iconic ‘do from the 1970’s Oscar Winning film Klute.
Summer Hair Serenity
A virtual tree-top oasis in the middle of bustling Surry Hills, Marc and his longtime business partner and senior stylist friend, Sabrina Maxwell opened their welcoming space, in mid 2020. Nothing like opening a business in the middle of Covid-restrictions, right? Their brief: make it seem like and Oasis in the City. Brief, nailed.
Success Despite Lockdown
The talented twosome didn’t let the world pandemic cramp their style – they’ve never been busier in their careers and bookings are being taken at least a month in advance.
“Our journey actually started 18 months ago, way before we had even heard of Covid,” recalls Marc. “We researched different business possibilities and yes, Covid was a hinderance, but it also gave us clarity and made sure we didn’t rush into things or head in the wrong direction.”
Both Marc and Sabrina are fully trained and highly experienced colourists, cutters and stylist, so between the two of them, they offer top notch, one stop hair services in a light-filled, laid-back, tree lined space that makes you simply want to move in.
Never mind the obstacles, Marc & Maxwell quickly became known as Sydney’s Best Hair Salon, offering premium services at an affordable price and delivered professionally without the faffing around that many salons seems to do these days.
The same person who is cutting and colouring your hair is going to wash and conditioner it too. They’re also going to blow-dry it, as well as make you a cuppa (or pour a glass of rose). You’re still there for a major pamper, you just aren’t fussed over and made to feel claustrophobic, as is the case with many over-staffed salons. Another plus? Fewer names to remember. It’s an easy sell for me, who prefers a seamless session at the salon and likes to switch off and relax.
Stairway To Summer Hair Heaven
Marc and Sabrina laugh when I tell them I feel like I’ve arrived in a beautifully lit, fairy-tale-esque glass tree-house, after ascending the short staircase to the first floor. It’s seriously like sitting in a glass tower!
“It’s not the first time we have heard that!” they say in happy unison. “It was what we wanted! We developed organically and continue to do so,” says Marc. “We are in constant talks about new ideas, discussing how we want to evolve to make the client experience better every time.
“We didn’t just have one idea – we put everything on the table. For example, the size of the salon and location was a ‘Eureka’ moment. We realised a great salon is not just chairs and a mirror, but that to have a fantastic hair hub, you need to establish a brand. This encompasses everything from the coffee we serve, the milk we add to it and yes, the glass of chilled rose we offer each client on arrival. We also have a special collaboration coming up with a Gin company, but that’s a bit of a ‘watch this space’ moment for now!”
“We chose these brands as they constantly reinvent themselves, which is what our plan is also,” explains Marc. “Muk Haircare is Australian-owned, vegan and cruelty-free. Oribe speaks for itself. It has a cult following and is a beautiful, luxury product. As for R+CO, this exciting range embodies all we believe products should be – functional, fashionable, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and versatile.”
Summer Hair Styles
But back to summer and how we are wearing our hair for 2020/21’s warmer months. Both Sabrina and Marc are adamant – the only rule is, there are no rules!
“The hottest trending look towards this summer is simply allowing your hair to feel like itself” stresses Sabrina. “We are encouraging clients to use lightweight products like Oribe Matte Waves. It allows you to create effortless, natural looking waves, and R+Co Waterfall, which adds hydration and mirror-like shine without introducing anything nasty that can hurt hair or scalp. It’s vegan, too, which we love. They also protect against UVA and UVB rays – so important in summer.”
Got bangs? Sabrina suggests keeping them longer in order to beautifully frame the face and highlight your bone structure. “Keeping the bangs below the eyebrows will compliment any up do, too, and makes the perfect transition from day to night. Think EmRat, Karlie Kloss, Alexa Chung and Keira Knightly!
Post Covid Summer Hair
“Covid certainly has had an impact on how both woman and men are wearing their hair,” says Sabrina. “I’m seeing a lot of women who have used the time working from home to give their hair a break from over-processing with chemicals and drying it out with lots of heated appliances. I’m seeing so many clients coming in with hair that is in lush, healthier condition. It’s fantastic!”
Marc agrees, adding, “Clients are returning with longer, healthier hair that has not been torched by the constant use of heated appliances or over coloured. The result is hair that has grown healthier and longer, with fewer split ends. It’s hair that your stylist can get creative with, and if there’s anything a stylist loves, it’s to get creative with a healthy head of hair!”
Summer Hair Colours
No matter what your hair colour, each season there’s a slight variation in hue to keep colour fresh and modern. This year, Marc says blondes will be bolder, with an increase of baby lights and root stretching, but the mid-lengths and ends will be more striking.”
Sabrina adds that “Blondes will also welcome some natural warmer tones that suits the skin tone and look glossier and shinier than ever before! The regrowth is less obvious, but it also it is less maintenance for the client!”
“Brunettes are all about high shine,” says Marc. “Our goal is to ensure we educate our clients in home hair care, so that they can maintain the quality and gloss fo their colour until their next visit.”
“Red and copper haired ladies will be meticulous about choosing the right tone to suit their complexion,” stresses Sabrina. “If your veins are green, you have warm skin tones. If they are blue chose a cooler red.”
As for raven haired beautiful, Marc adds, “black hair is about luxurious shine. Go for gloss that reflects all of your undertone colours!”
Sabrina pipes up – “just don’t overdo it! Less in more when you’re black. It can easily look very heavy on your face. “
The Right Cut
As for cuts, Marc agrees they’re forever changing, whether you’re rocking an ever-changing ‘do like Dua Lipa, or hanging on to your Gisele Bundchen waves. He does stress however, that “you need a good canvas to showcase your colour. If you are going for the modern “Shag” keep colour to a minimum and let the hair cut do the talking. “
Sabrina is a big fan of the longer bob for summer. “Add texture through the mid-lengths and ends to create movement and introduce some placement colour to enhance the visual aspect of the cut.”
Summer Hair Essentials
No matter what cut or colour you go for this summer, Marc and Sabrina both agree that care and precaution are paramount to keep your hair in top condition.
“Protecting hair from damaging UV Rays is imperative,” says Marc. “Look for products that promote this and double up by wearing a hat! If you are swimming a lot, try plaiting your hair with conditioner before entering the water.”
“Make sure you use moisture-maintaining products, especially in blondes,” adds Sabrina. “Olaplex Bond Repair helps keep your ends strong and offers protection from both artificial heat at the sun.”
“Give your a hair a break from drying. Simply add a sea salt spray or moisturising balm to the hair and let it air dry. Your hair will love you for it,” says Sabrina. “Stretch out your hair an extra day of washing by using an oil spray. Slick your hair back into a bun or pony! My go-to is R+Co Neon Lights Dry Oil Spray. It is really gentle on your scalp.
Countering Summer Hair Colour Fade
“You will never stop colour fade in the summer,” laments Marc. “But you can slow it down, and that starts with using the correct colour shampoo and conditioner for your hair. Try Oribe Beautiful Color range. It is free from the parabens and has extra UV protection for locking in that freshly coloured feeling.”
Golden Rules For Summer Hair
Both Sabrina and Marc agree there are certain golden rules we should all follow in the warmer months. these include:
– Always book your hair appointments four weeks apart to keep hair shiny and healthy.
– When in the sun or swimming, keep your hydrated with leave in moisture barrier with UVB protection such as R+Co High Dive
– Keep a travel-sized dry shampoo in your bag. It never goes amiss, even when you’re cutting up the dance floor. R+Co Death Valley is our fave!
– Use a deep cleansing shampoo every fortnight. It will help exfoliate the scalp making sure your pores don’t get clogged.
– Protect your scalp and your strands by wearing a hat when out in the sun.
– Rinse your scalp after workouts, you don’t always have to shampoo your hair (it can wash away the natural occurring oils you need for hydration). Just make sure you add some moisture mid-lengths to ends.
– Sensitive Scalp? Try pouring milk over the affected areas as it has the same pH balance as your skin and will soothe it.
Interview and story by Shonagh Walker