In addition to having one of the catchiest singles of recent times (“This time baybee I’ll beeee-ee… buhllehhhhhtproof”) La Roux’s Elly Jackson has probably my favourite hair in pop right now. It’s the quiff – a bit androgynous, a bit retro – and while it’s a style that Gwen Stefani and Irish rockabilly songstress Imelda May have long been championing, it’s only really recently that a whole rake of celebridees have sat up and got in touch with their inner pompadour.
Most notable of these is Rihanna, who turned up to the Inglorious Basterds London premiere sporting a quiff that would have Elvis spinning with envy in his grave/on his spaceship/wherever his new Witness Protection Programme identity landed him.
So is this a look that the peeps on the streets can hope to recreate?
Sure of course it is! Achieving a quiff with short hair’s not difficult – just channel There’s Something About Mary, style the front of your gruaig in with strong hold gel, and use a shot of hairspray to be sure to be sure that it’s not going anywhere. If you’ve a bit more hair on your head, a bit more time to spare, and want to go for something gravity defying, backcomb the top section of your hair to add height. Work from back to front and spritz each backcombed section with strong hold hairspray. Use a small amount of matt gum or paste to smooth the hair at the temples back and pull it upwards slightly, and use a hairpin at the side of your quiff to hold the sides in place.
This contrast between smooth sides and a texturised top is a key element of the quiff, regardless of hair length, and using mattifying products rather then the more traditional wet-look gel or pomade will keep the look bang up to date.
You can similarly choose how dramatic to take mid-length or long hair: for a subtle take on the quiff craze, gather a section of the front of your hair from hairline to mid-crown in a “V” shape. The widest part should be at the front, from directly above the outer corners of your brows, tapering back to your crown. Pull this section of hair straight back, twist, push forward for height and pin in place.
For a more dramatic effect, you can use the the same technique but backcomb the “V” in sections beforehand, working from back to front and spritzing each backcombed section with hairspray for extra height.
Gather the ends into a ponytail, or just use a strong hold styling gum or paste (or oodles of hairspray) to smooth hair back from temples, using hairpins to secure the ends under the quiff, and leave the rest of your hair loose à la Marion Cotillard and Danni Minogue.
Alternatively – and this takes some practise! – brush all your hair forward from the nape of your neck. Use hairpins across the crown and perpendicular to the outer corners of your brows to secure the hair behind and outside where you’re going to create the quiff. Your hairpins should form a rough rectangle, with your hairline acting as its fourth side. Roll hair back on itself, flip the ends underneath, and pin in place. Then empty two cans of hairspray onto your head and pray to Banoffi that it stays put.
If your hair is fine, on the limp side, or you simply need fancy some additional va va voom, use a volumizing mousse when blowdrying hair fairly straight (and blast dry hair upside down for added lift at the roots) or throw in a few heated or velcro rollers to build body. While this is a style that will work best with day old hair, dry shampoo will add texture and remove any “slip” from freshly washed hair, making it easier to handle and more likely to stay in place. The most important thing is really just to make sure you’ve plenty of hairspray and hairgrips to hand!
Will you be having a crack at The Quiff yourself?