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The French hair expert explains all over macarons and coffee. (Photo: Instagram)
“I don’t change any of my products for anyone, American or French,” says David Mallett, the acclaimed Paris-based hairdresser whose clients include Clémence Poésy, Diane Kruger, Marion Cotillard, Natalie Portman, and Selena Gomez. I had first met him and his team back in 2012 at the Colette Carnival in the Tuileries in Paris, where he had styled my hair into a chic low chignon that I was never able to replicate ever again — probably because I didn’t have the right techniques or products. His legendary Parisian salon headquarters, where he sees eight clients a day, is an edifice built in 1640, complete with a rooftop flower garden and taxidermy. Today, on Bastille Day, over macarons (he flew them in from Paris, ooh la la…) and coffee, Mallett, who in his 35-year-long career has seen a lot of hair, explained the inexplicable French hair philosophy, for both men and women, to Yahoo Beauty — a beauty perspective that made a lot more sense once he demonstrated his fuss-free, perfume-free, and colorant-free eponymous product line.
David Mallett’s eponymous hair care line. (Photo: Shen Beauty)
Keep your hair healthy with infrequent washes.
Some of his most high-flying clients come in for a singular weekly blowout. “I know women who don’t own any products, not even shampoo,” says Mallett. “I ask them, ‘What do you do when you travel?’ They tell me that they see the salon at the hotel.” For most of us who still wash our own hair, Mallett created two ranges, No.1 L’Hydratation and No.2 Le Volume. According to Mallett, French women believe that shampooing frequently strips their hair of moisture. “They’re also less sporty than American women,” he explains. “I don’t get many clients who need to shower after the gym.” L’Hydratation shampoo ($45) is ideal for color-treated or damaged hair because it hydrates without weight. It’s low lathering, which means you need to do two applications with each wash. “I like to use it as body wash,” Mallett adds. In addition to the shampoo and conditioner ($50), there is a creamy mask ($75) for extremely dry hair.
Get volume from products, not blowouts.
No French woman wants to sacrifice volume for hydration,” Mallett says. His second hair care range, No.2 Le Volume, made with Japanese nori seaweed protein, is specifically made for women with fine hair. “The shampoo ($45) takes some acclimation,” he warns. “When your hair is wet, it feels reinforced, but when it dries, it will be so much more voluminous.” Instead of a conditioner, the line includes a volumizing spray ($40). “Some French women don’t even use conditioner because they wash so infrequently,” he explains.
Fake effortless hair by getting your blowout the day before the big event.
“French women will just sleep on it,” Mallett explains. The Australian hairstylist, originally from Perth, brought soft pink salt from Australia’s Murray River to Paris for the salt spray ($40) he developed. “Raw material from Australia, mixed in Paris — just like me,” he says. Unlike most salt sprays, Mallett’s version doesn’t smell like Coppertone or coconut. “French girls don’t relate to Hawaii,” he explains. “They relate more to the Mediterranean.” This salt spray smells like Bergamot, a citrus fruit cultivated in Italy. He also developed a serum ($80), made of nourishing macadamia nut oil, which is applied to wet hair and will keep your hair shinier for longer. “French women will put in so much effort to look like they didn’t do much at all,” Mallett admits.
Mani-pedis are a must, no matter how low-maintenance you seem.
At Mallett’s salon in Paris, both men and women get their manicures done by his in-demand technician, Laurence, who travels regularly with Karl Lagerfeld. “In fact, only 40% of my female clients get manicures, while 90% of my male clients get manicures,” he says. “Men just don’t own up to it.”
David Mallett Beard Balm. (Photo: Shen Beauty)
Men, feel free to grow out your hair.
“Right now, French men are growing out their hair and beards,” Mallett explains. “No sharp ends.” He developed a Beard Balm ($35) that gives structure to the favored unruly facial hair he sees in his salon. The thick and creamy formula is made with Keravis, a plant protein.