Wedding Hair Styling Advice From Celebrity Stylist Michael Barnes

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 18.46.24Hairstylist to the stars Michael Barnes is renowned for his stunning hair styling which ranges from the sublimely beautiful to the ‘how does he do it’ avant-garde – with everything else in between. Michael began his hairdressing career in 1972 at the Ricci Burns Salon in London. Working with Robert Lobetta, Michael flourished and became a member of the Renbow art team guided by Trevor Sorbieand and travelled all over the world. He is today one of the most respected hairstylists in British hairdressing.

Michael has done hair for celebrities such as Keira Knightley and Lily Cole among many others and recently created the hair looks for Marie Claire’s beautiful beauty editorial perfume shoot. He has also done the hair for many TV programmes such as Britain’s Next Top Model. Michael’s easy-going nature and creative genius make him a favourite among photographers.

With 25 years experience under his belt Michael is today one of the most respected hairstylists in British hairdressing and now he shares his secrets with The Wedding Girl….


Your wedding day should be the most wonderful day of your life so you want to make sure you look your best on the day! That will involve a little pre-planning and a few tips and tricks, then you can relax and enjoy the day with out stressing about last minute disasters!

Many happy wishes for your big day



Wedding Hair Tips

The key thing to remember for your wedding is that your hair must be in fabulous condition. Make sure you have regular treatments at your salon in the lead up to the big day so your  hair is really looking great. Soft, romantic, almost natural looks are always on trend for weddings – you don’t want anything too ‘now’ or it’ll date your wedding photos in the years to come.

You can wear hair up or down, usually this is decided with your hairdresser at a consultation appointment. Your hairdresser will take into account face shape, the bridal gown, hair length and texture. Personally, I prefer the bride’s hair to be up, it just looks so beautiful and elegant with a gown. I tend to do consultations and trials and then take pictures of the final look from all sides so clients can show them to a local stylist to recreate if they’re getting married in a different county or even country. If you’re doing your own hair, it’s important you plan something achievable – the last thing you need is the stress of trying to do your own complex up-do!

On the big day, allow 1 hour for your hair to be done with an extra ½ hour if the hair needs to be washed (although for a hair up I advise on washing the hair the night before so it has more grip and isn’t so slippy).

My kit-bag essentials for a wedding include the obvious tools like pins, grips, heated rollers, tongs and products, as well as some very plain combs and fine wire in case you need to fix any accessories, particularly flowers. Fresh flowers look amazing in the hair and photograph much better than artificial ones.

Extensions can be time consuming, I tend to use them in the run up to the day rather than on the day itself,  but they are very useful and you should keep them in mind. Add ins are ideal if your hair isn’t long enough to put up or as thick as you’d like. Celebs use them all the time so if you’re copying a red carpet style, chances are they’ve used them to get such fabulous hair!

Here are a couple of great ‘how-to’s’ for bridal styles:


Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 18.46.46Up Style 1

1.Start by curling the mid lengths and ends using your favourite technique. Take the back (leaving out the sides and fringe) and fasten into a loose ponytail at roughly the centre of the back and backbrush using a vent or similar brush (softly so as not to lose the curl).

2.Hold the front and sides and brush it all as one section forward. Back-comb the whole section then softly brush it back and smooth it using a mason and pearson brush or similar.

3.Grip the section above the pony tail and wrap it around the ponytail.Finish by adding a suitable bridal accessory or flower somewhere near the pony tail.


Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 18.47.12Up Style 2

1.Section the back from ear to ear across the top of the head and set the whole back using heated rollers (medium size would be optimum for this look).

2.Lightly brush out the curls, then take rough sections (about a handful) and roll them back towards the scalp and fasten using kirbygrips.

3.Take a centre parting and brush the hair flat and over your ears (if you want a catwalk finish) or behind your ears (more traditional) then twist the whole section and fasten under the back hairline.

You can fasten your veil or a tiara where the straight part meets the curls. (plan the exact point at the beginning).

Try these looks for different types of wedding:


The Traditional Bride

I would go for a classic chignon. Sweep all the hair up into a pony tail high up the back (almost to the crown) and secure with a covered band. Set the ponytail in medium heated rollers. When they’ve cooled down roll the hair into stylised curls and secure with kirbygrips. You can add fresh flowers or other bridal accessories if you like. Attach the veil just in front of the chignon.

The Mature Bride

As above but leave some hair around the face for softness. Keep make-up soft and simple.

The Trendy Bride

If the dress can stand it I would have the hair down in a modern hippy style. Create soft, natural looking, flowing curls using curling tongs. From a centre parting take two quarter side/top sections and create a rope plait either side and fasten together at the back.

Good luck girls, just remember to relax, enjoy and go for a look that you are completely comfortable with.

Find out more about Michael and his salon at