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Five minutes with: Mana Dave

By Milly Nolan

Mana Dave is an award-winning hair stylist, the Creative Director at Auckland’s hairsalon, Blaze, and an international platform artist for Redken, MiNDFOOD interview.

How did you first get into hairdressing?

By accident. The first salon I worked at had a men’s boutique clothing range that I helped to produce for a few years. The clothing and salon operations were under the same roof, so I gained a really strong insight into the day to day running of the salon environment, the interaction with clients and the creativity achieved in a relatively short timeframe. The salon was going through a change over in staff and needed a new assistant stylist, so I had a chat with the salon owner and the very next day I began my new career as a hairstylist.

What do you like about being a hairdresser?

It’s a career that is both creative and people focussed. There’s a real “feel good” factor to what we do. You have the ability to impact the way a person feels about themselves because of a look that you create for them, you can change their state of mind – it’s such an amazing experience.

What does your role as Creative Director at Blaze involve?

It’s both an interesting and diverse role but primarily I focus on the “creative” component of Blaze and work to ensure that everything we do has our Blaze stamp on it. Our team has been fortunate to win and place in some high profile industry competitions and we really encourage that, so I help our stylists to streamline their concepts and oversee model selection and styling; as well as coordinating our photoshoots. Together with a core team, we are also responsible for our in-house training programme that ensures all of our staff are continually “upskilling” and have an awareness of current trends.

What’s the motto for hair at Blaze?

Our catch phrase is “Blaze loves you!” That really encapsulates what our philosophy is about. We have a genuine concern for you and your hair and we express that through our environment, our service and the way we care for your hair. We love hair that looks uber shiny, feels healthy and moves.

What look are you loving right now?

Shorter shapes are really big at the moment, especially when combined with really long disconnected fringes. Worn sleek or with wave, these shorter cuts are ultra modern but still very feminine.

If you could style any celebrity’s hair, who would you choose and why?

Kate Moss, she is uber stylish. It’s been cool to watch her transform from her early waif days to the style icon/modern mum that she’s become. Kate has a really understated cool quality to her sense of style and always seems really effortless in her appearance.

What is the latest trend for blondes this winter?

Blondes get really scared when you mention the word warm but in winter, having a slightly warmer version of your colour makes you look uber healthy even if you’ve lost your summer tan. Add more depth with soft light brandy and caramel tones and take the edge off your summer platinum blonde with a splash of honey.

For those blondes still wanting to maintain a lighter look, then play with the trend for dark to light colour play. Wear a colour similar to your natural tone closer to the scalp and let it blend into more lighter tones on the ends.

And redheads?

Copper is definitely the new red. Copper is the perfect tone for redheads during this winter with it’s richness and vibrancy, it’s a high impact colour that is very fashion forward. To enhance this shade, speak to your colourist about the idea of adding dimension with both lighter and darker versions of the same colour.

What about brunettes?

Brunettes often dread the idea of colouring their hair because they fear the colour may appear too red or brassy. The new mahogany violet shade is a great trend for darker hair in winter to add richness without unwanted warmth.

What about the cut? What styles should we be asking our hairdresser for?

Chat with your stylist about incorporating some type of underlayering into your cut to create more movement and versatility in your styling. Shorter shapes are definitely big for winter, but if longer hair works for you, then your stylist may suggest heavy shaping through the front area, so that when you pull your length back, you can create the appearance of a shorter cut.

Is there any particular hairstyle or colour that makes you cringe?

Any haircolour that makes your hair look and feel seriously “munted”! Hair should always, always look and feel beautiful.

Are there any current trends overseas that you hope are going to make it Down Under?

Kiwi women are really great at embracing new hair trends in shape and colour and aren’t precious about keeping length. There is definitely, however, a big trend overseas for your hair to look done with an emphasis on good blowaving and hot tool styling and that’s one thing we may need to work on.

Speak with your stylist about the idea of having a styling lesson with them to make the most of your shape and get hot tips on how to achieve some different looks from that cut.


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