Love is in the hair: Tips, tricks and advice from David Gillson

Even if you’re not familiar with David Gillson’s name, you’ve likely seen his work. The Joburg-based hairstylist – and co-owner of Carlton Hair in Hyde Park and Melrose Arch as well as Issy’s in London – has a loyal following of high-profile celebrity clients and also tends to the manes of a growing list of media personalities. We asked David to tell us his go-to tricks that don’t require a master’s in glam-squad-ography. (Translation: Hair tips you can use in real life.) Read on, and steal his secrets.

What post-lockdown hair trends have you been seeing?

At the moment, there seem to be two main hair trends. Some people are lockdown-proofing their hair and opting for a low-maintenance look, while others are rebelling by choosing high-maintenance looks after months of dark roots, grey streaks and outgrown cuts. Those who believe hard lockdown 2.0 is imminent are embracing a very natural look and allowing their colour and cuts to grow out. On the other hand, those who think that now is the time for a big restyle are bleaching their hair or going for pastel colours like cotton candy pink, lavender purple, ombré turquoise and fluro green.

Share your hair saviours to lift lockdown locks.

The entire Davines Oi range made with roucou oil, which consists of the Oi Shampoo, Conditioner, All in One Milk, Oil, Hair Butter and Body Wash. The sensational shampoo’s creamy white formula, which works well on nearly all hair textures, has a powdery floral scent and coddles hair with a blend of moisturising oils. You also need the lightweight All in One Milk in your life – and your shower. Spritz it on wet hair to detangle, and enjoy the added benefits of shine and hydration. If you’re looking for a finishing and styling oil, the Oil softens hair and adds just a subtle hint of polish and a leafy vanilla scent.

Any tricks for gorgeous, low-maintenance hair?

Long, loose layers look great blown out or air dried. If you choose to air dry your hair, use some Davines Oi Oil or Curl Moisturising Mousse – a creamy, compact mousse that gives shine to curly hair. You can also get away with snipping a long-layered cut every three to four months. I also recommend treating your locks with TLC by applying a hair mask at least once a week. When your hair is in fabulous condition, it’s easier to style because you aren’t trying to hide breakage or tame frizz. The travel-friendly Davines The Renaissance Circle repairing mask comes in a convenient packet and should be part of your beauty routine if you have dry, damaged or colour-treated locks, or if you use hot tools.

What looks are your celebrity clients rocking this season?

Tamara Dey has gone for a contrasting white blonde and black colour with an edgy cut that complements the colouring perfectly; Kerishnie Naiker has had a fresh cut and colour – a melted, warm chocolate brown that melds into light chocolate tones; and Claudia Henkel is still loving her blonde bob.

Tell us about Davines’ most recent launch – A Single Shampoo.

Davines has always pushed the boundaries in the world of beauty, but this is the brand’s most successful project yet. A Single Shampoo is the world’s first carbon zero shampoo that’s been created for daily use. The cleansing and conditioning formula is made of 100% traceable ingredients and is 98.2% biodegradable. Striving for a more environmentally friendly future, the recyclable packaging is made of renewable sources and uses 48% less plastic. By the time it makes it to your shower, the product is 100% carbon neutral through reforestation projects. I love it not only for its ultra-clean minimalistic design, but also because anything that’s better for the environment is holistically better for us humans, too.

Get to know David

Your top three skincare essentials? Heliocare Gel SPF 50 to protect my skin from the harmful UV rays, NeoStrata Smooth Surface Glycolic Peel Pads to refine skin texture and improve skin tone as well as the Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Day Cream, which accelerates the renewal process of collagen in skin cells.

Skin treatments you’ve splurged on? Fraxel DUAL, a non-invasive laser treatment that can resurface damaged skin; a non-surgical Liquid Facelift that combines Botox injections with dermal fillers; and Dermapen, which is fabulous for wrinkles and enlarged pores. I have all of these treatments done at Skin Renewal in Parkhurst.

Your current scent obsession? The brand-new Rouge fragrance by Comme des Garcons, which is dressed in a red glass flacon. It’s an oriental spicy fragrance with notes of beetroot, pink pepper, ginger, mint, incense, labdanum and patchouli. You can purchase it at Skins Cosmetics in Sandton City.

Restaurants we’re likely to bump into you at? My favourite restaurants in Joburg are Tortellino D’Oro in Oaklands for heavenly Italian food from pasta to gelato as well as Marble in Rosebank for dinner or a Negroni or glass of champagne at sunset. When I’m in Cape Town you’ll find me at Duchess of Wisbeach and La Perla in Sea Point, and when I’m in London I frequent Hakkasan for modern Chinese food, Daphne’s for a seasonal Italian menu and the relaxed yet sophisticated Ivy Chelsea Garden.

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