Couture, Session or Salon Hair – What’s the Difference?

January 26, 2024

With the Fashion Week season soon kicking off in New York and the Couture Fashion Shows currently taking place in Paris, now is the perfect time to explore fashionable new trends and styles to offer your clients. As a stylist who juggles his time between working at Couture Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, on shoots and in the Knightsbridge salon with clients, Jack Merrick Thirlway from Neville Hair & Beauty talks to us about the differences between couture, session and salon hair.


How would you describe the hair at Couture Fashion Week?
Couture hair has to be perfectly executed; the precision of each look must be dressed to look expensive, with high shine and gloss. Couture hair should be worn with confidence, with strong independent women wearing their crowning glory. The hair is elegant and worthy to be worn with the stunning couture collections.

How does this differ to editorial hair and hair that you create for clients in the salon?
Editorial hair differs with texture. Hair worn on the catwalk moves differently, and the way it captures the eye is opposing to editorial hair. We can produce different types of art for photography – flyaways, for example, look beautiful when the flash captures their movement. Some of the most stunning editorial pictures can stem from the simplest of ideas, but when seen on print look incredibly genius.

London Fashion Week, on the other hand, allows us to be creative with our products; we can open our minds to mixing products to create art, without being restricted to how wild the looks can be.

How do you make Couture hair wearable and client friendly?
As long as they’re worn with confidence, Couture styles can be worn by everybody. In my opinion, these elegant hairstyles can be easily manipulated into salon-friendly looks with just a few changes. Volume is key for recreating Couture hair in the salon. Slightly less volume will be more wearable day-to-day, and using less setting spray will allow the hair to move more naturally, making the look feel elegant with a softer edge.

Using the right products is also essential, and there are a few specifics I always have in my kitbag: L’Oréal Professionnel TECNI Art Pli or Volume Mousse offer great hold when prepping, while L’Oréal Professionnel TECNI Art Super Dust hair powder is my best friend for giving great hold whilst backcombing. Whether it be runway, editorial or salon styling, setting and prepping the hair is the absolute key to a great outcome; if the pre-work has not been executed perfectly, achieving the final look will be very difficult.

What are your top tips for creating couture hair?

  1. Learn how each product works – use them in different scenarios and hair textures to increase your confidence.
  2. Have every tool in your kit – your work becomes easier when you have the correct tools.
  3. Don’t be afraid to experiment – Push boundaries as it’s the only way to grow.
  4. Always add more texture or movement than you need – it is easy to reduce, but impossible to add.
  5. Practice, practice, practice.