On a mission to demystify the world of hair styling, empowering women with the tools and confidence to style their hair without fuss, renowned hairdresser Michael Douglas has poured 30 years of knowledge into creating mdlondon. Here, he talks award-winning tools, technique and achieving salon-perfect hair at home…
Celebrity hairdresser Michael Douglas has been in the industry for 35 years. His clients have included the likes of Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Rochelle Humes, Laura Whitmore, and, of course, Davina McCall, with whom he has been in a relationship with since 2019. Together the couple co-host their popular podcast, Making The Cut, and star on Channel 4’s Celebrity Gogglebox.
Best known for his TV work and, most recently, for his appearances on The One Show as The Street Stylist, Michael has become a firm favourite with celebrities and audiences alike.
It wasn’t until lockdown, however, and through his daily Instagram Live Hair Clinics that the inspiration for his new venture, mdlondon, crystallised. After receiving thousands of messages about how to achieve salon-perfect hair at home, Michael has poured his decades of experience into creating innovative new hair tools.
In 2022, the BLOW hairdryer was launched. Soon after, mdlondon developed a new straightener equipped with 11 heat settings. Both devices have won numerous accolades, including Marie Claire Hair Awards Winner 2023, Women & Home Awards Winner 2023 and Get The Glow Winner. Now, as he teams up with Harvey Nichols, we catch up with Michael to hear his top tips for achieving quality results everyday…
Tell us more about your daily Instagram Live Hair Clinics during lockdown and where you found the inspiration for mdlondon’s new hair tools… The Instagram Lives were done out of necessity and boredom. I could see there were hundreds and thousands of people who needed help with their hair but very few places to get it. Also, I had all this knowledge and expertise from my 35 years in the industry and given the tragic situation that was going on, I wanted to do something that would help people who were suffering. I know I wasn’t saving lives but it was still help. I realised that most peoples’ hair problems could be solved with tools rather than products. The tools on offer either weren’t that good or were too expensive.
Tell us about the tools themselves and the key features of the straightener and the hair dryer… BLOW is powerful, quiet and lightweight. Tested, used and loved by professionals, this next generation hair dryer is designed to make hair styling easy and enjoyable. It weighs just 360g but packs a lot of power into its compact design, drying hair quickly and efficiently. Cutting-edge DC-brushless technology, variable heat and speed settings and two directional nozzles mean you can enjoy complete control as you style. The diffuser (sold separately) is essential for frizz free, natural waves and curls. As the name suggests, it works to diffuse the air so you get the benefit of fast drying without creating frizz on your waves and curls. STRAIT has eleven heat settings, with a maximum temperature of 230°C, hotter than most straightening irons and ideal for the strongest hair types. A fully adjustable temperature control puts you in complete control of how you style your hair. It’s up to you if you want to have a lower heat setting and take more time on the ironing process, or have a higher heat setting, but spend less time.
What are your top tips for achieving a salon-standard blow dry at home?
Towel dry the hair and start styling within five minutes while it’s still damp.
Start with massaging the scalp with a hair cream (Michael swears by Sebastian Potion Number 9 leave-in styling conditioner) before using a heat protective spray (OGX Heat Protect Spray, for example).
Use a wide-tooth comb to move the hair into your desired shape.
Section the hair. Start with the lower back layer before moving up to the top layers. The lower back layer is not only the hardest section to reach but the section that’s prone to frizz. Each section should be the same width as the radial brush that you’re using.
Attach the nozzle to the hair dryer – the nozzles are designed to be the same width as the brush.
Start with the brush at the roots, place the hair dryer on top of the hair and brush and blow dry the hair down and away from your scalp – if you don’t, you’re pushing all the fine hairs and fly-aways up.
Use a low speed and low heat in case you make any mistakes.
For more volume, blow dry the hair forward.
Top tip: think about which hand you’re holding the hair dryer in for ease and comfort – experiment with using the hair dryer in each hand. See Michael and Davina’s demonstration of the perfect blow dry at: mdlondon.co.uk
What techniques do you recommend for straightening hair, or using straighteners to curl hair?
It’s best to start with wet hair, blow dry it and then straighten it – it will make all the difference. Use a heat protect spray on wet hair before blow drying the hair.
Brush the hair through, starting at the bottom before working up to the top.
Section the hair and start with the lower back layer.
Take a section the same size as the straightening irons – if you take a thicker section, you’re going to need more heat and more time to get through the section.
Take 2-3 seconds to pass through the hair at 180–190°C – one slow, smooth pass is the best way to straighten your hair.
Place a comb in front of the irons, so the hair passes through the comb before it enters the iron.
Top tip: Once you reach the parting, start ironing about five centimetres away from the root area so you don’t crush or collapse the natural body and volume at the roots.
What are your top tips for getting and maintaining healthy hair? Eat a well balanced diet and include 55 grams of whole protein (eggs, fish, meat) daily. Vitamin D and B12 are very good for hair growth. Washing your hair four to seven times a week is a good idea to maintain a healthy clean scalp. Try not to use heat styling more than three times a week if possible. Use a heat protection spray. If your hair is coloured then a treatment/hair mask about every five shampoos is a good idea.
For those looking to dye their hair at home, what products do you recommend and what techniques do you suggest? Garnier Good is a great permanent home hair colourant that will lighten, darken and add and change colour. It will also cover 100% grey, if that’s what you need. Lightening one to two shades is fine at home, but if you want to go much lighter or much darker, visit a salon. If you only want a semi permanent colour then go for Clairol Natural Instincts. And if you just want to give your colour a boost try Josh Wood colour gloss.
BLOW Hair Dryer Casal Blue and Olive Green, £195; mdlondon.co.uk
STRAIT Hair Straightener Casal Blue and Olive Green, £109; mdlondon.co.uk
• mdlondon.co.uk. Exclusive to Harvey Nichols; harveynichols.com