Good Hair Day: Lottie Haigh Wedding & Occasion Hair

Julia Smith

Today on the wedding blog we’re meeting one of our brilliant UNVEILED Network Members, the really very fabulous Lottie of Lottie Haigh Wedding & Occasion Hair. Lottie’s an active member of our supplier community and the go to girl for sensational styling and science-backed haircare prescriptions.

I was the lucky recipient of one of Lottie’s amazing product totes in 2020 and my locks are eternally grateful. If you do one thing for your follicles this year – let this talented lady get her hands on them!

Lottie is based in Yorkshire and her business offers a full 360 hair service with a focus on great hair care ahead of your big day. Lottie is also a trainer on the Media Hair & Make Up course at The Yorkshire College of Beauty. It’s who you know, darlings…

Let’s meet her! Oh and p.s, use the code UNVEILED2021 for 21% off online orders.

Where did your passion for hairstyling come from – and how did you it turn into a career?

Lottie says: I would sit on the edge of my Dad’s passenger seat in the car every Saturday as I travelled to work as a trainee hairstylist at Toni & Guy as a teenager. My excitement for hair and people has always been there. I’ve also had thin and fine hair all my life so styling has always been a challenge. I initially started doing friends and family’s wedding hair and over the years was being asked to do it more frequently. After my son was born I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave from my role in marketing. I had been a marketeer for over 12 years and I knew it was now or never. I enrolled on a Bridal Hairstylist course to sharpen my skills, became insured and the rest is history!

Why do you like working with bridal clients in particular?

The two things people always say are: “Wow, that must be such a lovely job to do, to be involved with someone’s wedding” and “You must have met some real Bridezillas!” (it’s a mean phrase isn’t it).

I know first hand how overwhelming and intensely absorbing wedding planning can be, I also know the absolute joy you can have as a bride watching your vision come to life. It’s been those two things that have led me to working exclusively as a bridal hairstylist. I love to really understand someone’s ideas and then bring them to life. Confidence comes from feeling like you are being unapologetically yourself.

Describe the service that you offer?

My focus is on giving you a Luxury Hair Experience. When a bride books me for their bridal hair we work on a timeline including ensuring we get their hair in the best shape for their big day. Inspired by the world of skincare, I started offering a Prescription service to nurture and nourish hair in the lead up to the big day. I offer salon exclusive cruelty free brands and top haircare tips to achieve this.

In the lead up to the big day I ask to see and hear about as many details as possible. We then get to work on curating a style (or styles in some cases) for my bridal clients. Many times the ideas that brides come with initially are not what they always go for – I’ve been known to throw in a wild card style during trials!

Do you have a signature style?

I would not say I have a signature style as every bride is so unique. I have started to see more of my own hair styling images brought to me at trials or by bridesmaids which is so lovely. I have worked hard on mastering relaxed hairstyles that have secure foundations. I take my time with styles and really work with everyone’s unique head of hair and what they prefer around their face. I am asked a lot for braid work, half up half downs and low textured buns. I am open to almost anything though! The only style you probably won’t see me do is a tight, over-sprayed hair do, lets leave those styles in the 90s!

What about for the guys?

I don’t tend to work that much with men, although I have lost count of how many times I’ve fixed the button hole flower on a Father of the Bride! I do have a wedding next year where two of my gorgeous brides who are marrying have asked me to do their son’s hair which I cannot wait for. I also have been asked to do the hair for several bridesmaids for two gentlemen marrying next year.

Where do you find inspiration and keep up with the latest trends and techniques?

I do a lot of training behind the scenes to ensure my skills are up to date both for my clients and for students that I train. I watch a lot of tutorial videos and practice in my spare time. There is so much out there in terms of sharing techniques. I am always keen to trial as something that works for a studio photoshoot may not be practical for a long wedding day. I love looking at creations at the International Fashion Weeks and getting involved with bridal photoshoots which usually push the boundaries of the current trends.

How can a bride or groom make sure that their hair is in the best possible condition before their big day?

As soon as a client books with me I am here to answer all their hair care questions. Some of the common things that I give advice on is how best to care for colour treated hair, improving hair growth, and getting more volume/smoothness in a client’s hair. My questionnaire on my website goes quite in depth to really understand how the client’s hair behaves. I am also one of a select few retailers in the UK of the Viviscal Professional Hair Growth Programme, it’s a supplement I take myself after experiencing quite severe postpartum hair loss and it has been a savior for my own hair.

Key things I always advise: use Olaplex/Wellaplex in your hair colour where possible; ALWAYS use heat protection when styling your hair; and try to switch to paraben and sulphate free products as this will really help your hair.

Why would you recommend a trial?

I have always said a trial is obligatory for my clients, this really isn’t a money-making exercise for my business, it’s an essential for your big day. Until I see your hair type, hair line and fully understand your expectations I cannot give you the best advise and create something really perfect for you. I really take my time at a trial to get your style exactly how you want it. We also get to try hair accessories and perhaps a veil if that is what you plan on wearing. It is also a lovely part of the process, so that on your wedding day there are no strangers in the room. We’re together for several hours and a wedding morning is such a personal and special moment. I also get to hear from a bride if there is anyone who might need a confidence boost on the morning of the wedding.

Tell us a bit about the products that you have in your kit?

Firstly, nothing goes in my kit unless it’s cruelty free. This is a deal breaker for me. There are so many incredible brands that do not compromise on effectivity. I have really refined the amount of products I take for a big day and to a degree is dependent on the hair types I’m working with.

A good styling spray, heat protector and hair spray are essentials. I also might use some volumising or texturising products for certain styles and hair types. I use brands such as: Olaplex, Moroccan Oil, Amika, Neal & Wolf, Unite, Biolage and Design Me.

My styling tools have evolved a lot as well. I ensure all my combs and brushes are anti-static, if you’re new to the industry this will make such a huge difference to your finished results. I have also been through countless brands of hair bands and Kirby grips, but I have now found the perfect type. I use tools from Dyson, Cloud Nine and Babyliss for hair preparation.

How does it all work on the wedding day?

I usually arrive between 6 and 7am to get set up and to be ready for my first client. Depending on a bride’s style I will usually prep their hair first and then allow their hair to rest for a couple of hours. A bride will always go second to last or beforehand, no bride is ever last in my chair (unless of course that’s the bride’s request).

I leave around 90 minutes for a bride’s hair and 45-60 minutes per bridesmaid. For larger bridal parties I have an assistant who comes with me, I find this helps keep a wedding morning calm whilst ensuring we keep the pace going all morning.

I am with the wedding party right up until you are in your gown, to ensure that once you are dressed that your hair is perfect. I will also usually put a veil in, where necessary.

Can you do hair for the wider bridal party too?

Yes, absolutely, my largest wedding party was 11 people – it was the most incredible atmosphere. I love working with mums, grandmothers, aunties, friends, flower girls, you name it, everyone is welcome in my chair!

What are your top three tips for clients when planning their wedding day look?

Firstly, do not compromise, it so easy to be guided by other people’s visions and aesthetics. You will never regret doing exactly what you want.

Secondly, if at first your ideas do not quite translate, make sure you lean on your suppliers. It is likely that you will have chosen them for their creativity and there is nothing we love more that helping you.

Thirdly, I have been in situations where brides have thought they must have a certain component of a traditional wedding outfit. It is not always necessary to have everything on the list. Start with your gown or outfit and let us work from that.

And your three no-nos?

When it comes to hair there are a few no-no’s. If you are prone to changing your hair colour regularly make sure your hair colour is the same at your trial as it will be on your big day. DO NOT do a conditioning treatment in the 2/3 days ahead of your wedding – slippery hair is not good! Also, if you usually have a fringe, or perhaps your hair is naturally curly do not feel like you must change your hair before the wedding. I am a big advocate of having your hair in the style and texture that you would naturally have.

What trends do you see emerging in wedding hair in the coming year and beyond?

I am seeing more and more statement accessories made by some incredibly talented designers. I think there will be a focus on keeping hair simple in its styling to show off the hair accessory. I think soft texture will still be very much part of wedding hair styling with an emphasis on keeping it neat and polished whilst looking romantic.

Tell us about your recent award win?

Hands down one of my top moments of the past year! I was nominated for the second year running at The Wedding Industry Awards for Bridal Hairstylist of the Year for Yorkshire & North East. My bridal clients from over the past year were invited to place their votes and provide 360 feedback on how I worked with them. I am overwhelmed by my recent win and have so much love for our industry.

Why is this award so important to you?

For me it has been a validation in what has been my most turbulent year. I have worked really hard to try and juggle having two young children during lockdown whilst also keeping my business going. I managed to introduce the Prescription Hair Care service and become a Trainer at Yorkshire College of Beauty in amongst it all which really kept my mind focused whilst weddings couldn’t go ahead.

I also incredibly grateful to the brides who voted for me and the judges who gave me the award. Customer service and a great customer experience are top of my list in running my business, that will never change.

Tell us about your Prescription service?

I have been recommending products and hair care plans for my bridal clients over the past two years, improving the health and appearance of my client’s hair ahead of their wedding day. As a self-confessed beauty junkie I love trying out products to see how well they work and which hair types they would be good for. I heavily research all aspects of hair care to give you a bespoke prescription with a variety of brands, based on my own product knowledge.

I exclusively source cruelty free products from brands that respect nature and sustainability in their formulations. Brands such as Amika, Neal & Wolf, Moroccan Oil, Olaplex and many more.

Behind the scenes I work on a free of charge Prescription for your hair. I analyse your responses (fill out your form here!) to build a picture unique to you, no two prescriptions are the same in the same way that no two heads of hair are the same. I look at what you will need in terms of hair care (i.e. shampoo and conditioner) and treatment, in case you have any damage or conditioning requirements and also styling products that will help you achieve your favourite looks at home, whilst protecting your hair from heat damage.

I will put together a plan for how best to achieve your hair goals in the lead up to your big day.

The Prescription service is free and you have no obligation to purchase products that I recommend. Delivery is £6 or free for orders over £150.

Is there a special discount that you would like to offer to our readers and details of how to redeem this?

Why not! As I’m really looking forward to the year ahead please use UNVEILED2021 for 21% off online orders.

Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about?

A personal thank you to Julia and the team for setting up the UNVEILED Network which came at the right time for me & many suppliers this year. Lockdown has really isolated so many of us and it’s been such a reassurance being part of a network of wedding industry professionals.

(Lottie, you are welcome!)

Find out more about Lottie’s work at www.lottiehaigh.com and check out her Facebook page and Instagram grid.

Images supplied by Lottie Haigh Hair.

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