Category Archives: Hair

Hair-spiration: 5 Honest Tips on Using Pinterest For Hairstyling Inspiration

So you’re planning to have your hair done for a big occasion; you’re a bride-to-be, a bridesmaid-in-waiting or attending an important event like a ball or awards ceremony? Hairstyling inspiration has found a home on Pinterest and I’d like to dispel the odd myth and offer 5 top tips on making the most of that great big mood board in the sky.

I always prompt my clients to look to Pinterest for ideas on hair and makeup. It may not offer up your perfect dream style in one hit, but you can put together a selection of images which will give me a sense of your style and the vibe of your ‘do’. I use it myself to post images of my own work and other images which I find inspirational, aspirational and generally achievable for most people.

So based on many clients coming to their appointments with their screenshots and private Pinterest boards and my interpreting them, here’s how I would advise getting the most out of your searches.

1. Search a description of what you specifically like – searching ‘wedding hair’ or anything too vague will bring up the same pictures again and again and often quite outdated styles. 

2. Search for images in your own hair colour and length – the most common occurrence in my working life is for brunettes and red heads to show me pictures of  ankle grazing fishtail braids and wispy halos of BLONDE hair. There’s a reason for this though…its not your fault. Blonde hair is better to photograph if you want detail and texture to feature heavily. Blonde hair is typically courser through treatments and will behave beautifully around heated styling; there are simply more pictures around of blonde hairstyles. (Here are a couple of examples from my own Instagram feed which illustrate my point: while both beautiful, the blonde shows more depth and tone in photographs).


3. Texture and detail is also a challenge in real life – for the love of braids, if you have hair that is one colour and tone, brunette, fine and not massively long, then braids that create a feature in the front and side of your hair are *really not* going to look like this:

Braids eat up any volume you have in your hair – so great if it’s thick and there’s masses of it. Alternatively they can be quite piddly and token-esque in the hair type described above. We can more easily create volume in the main gathering of hair with clever padding underneath your own, leaving your hairline as naturally full as possible.

4. Save images which show multi-angles of the style – or consider that when you’re viewing the back of a style in all its intricacies, that you also need to think about the front. How will it look in the mirror and from the other side which often isn’t photographed?

5. Let your hairstylist create what works in your hair and will have staying power – bear in mind that Pinterest is for inspiration and awash with posed, recently teased, momentary snapshots. There is often a hairstylist behind the camera, artfully positioning the smallest strand, misting a shine spray and then ‘click’ – a moment in time. You want your hair to stay looking great all day/evening, right? Consider that certain styles can’t be guaranteed to last 12 hours unless you invite me to the party and I bring my hair kit…

Carolanne x







Violet and Wren Lookbook A/W 2016 Photoshoot

You know I work on lots of beautiful weddings, but I also work on locations and in studios providing hair and makeup for editorial, fashion, advertising and portrait photoshoots. This one for Violet and Wren is one of my all time favourites.

I’ve had these images lingering in my dropbox for while now and I had to keep them there until the final look book had been released. They are surely some of the most glorious images I’ve ever received.

Model: Clea Martin at Storm, Images: Polly Hanrahan

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The colours, textures and achingly beautiful styling of this British silk loungewear brand are WOW. Feast your eyes…then probably go and treat yourself or someone you sleep beside, to something gorgeous.  The collection: Midnight With Lulu by Violet and Wren is available now…

Carolanne x


Emily’s relaxed barn wedding styling; embracing that curly hair

Emily’s wedding in June 2015 on a glorious hot day in Surrey, with natural curly hair and glowing golden make up…. I only just had time to seek out the pictures by Jacob and Pauline after seeing them featured here on Rock My Wedding. What can I say? They’re worth the delay.

I met Emily at a designer accessories event at Miss Bush where I believe she chose the accessory she’s wearing. She had very long naturally curly hair which I twisted and pinned very quickly in order to try out the hair vine. She and her mum booked me for her wedding on the spot, which was lovely!

Emily then booked in for an official hair and makeup trial appointment where she said she’d like to smooth her hair out. Incorporating smoothed and straightened sections of her hair made the trialled style much bigger in volume and by the end of it, the slightly grecian French pleat was a serious statement ‘do’.

One text message conversation later, we concluded that we’d tone it down on the wedding morning. We’d maintain the fantastic natural texture and incorporate some additional twisting and plaits into the style. I told Emily she didn’t need another trial appointment, I knew how her hair behaved and we’d work it out on the morning. No sweat.

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Emily’s makeup was golden, glowing with some peachy pinks. The eyes were mostly lashes and liner with some rose gold and bronze definition. Super pretty.


I’ll leave you with Emily’s words from her Rock My Wedding feature which made my day….

“My hair and make up was done by Carolanne Armstrong who I would recommend to anyone. We clicked from the day we met, and I really appreciated her honesty and opinions. I can be very indecisive, I needed someone to guide me rather than tell me what I wanted to hear. She tamed my wild hair just enough that it looked elegant, but kept enough of my frizzy curls so that I didn’t need to worry if a hair strayed out of place one we hit the dance floor! My make up was flawless, but not too “done up”. It fit our relaxed theme, and I felt so beautiful.”

Carolanne x

Wedding Hair and Makeup Doesn’t Need To Be ‘Bridal’

Here’s Hanna’s retro cool hair and makeup for her beautiful mid summer English garden wedding held at Stoke Park Pavillion  by Rebecca Douglas Photography. She wore Jenny Packham ‘Eden‘ and the warm golden tones of her makeup, dress, and accessories echoed throughout the gorgeous hazy summer celebration. Importantly, she arrived at her choices through an ad-hoc hair styling moment.

Hanna had her trial at home with her bridesmaids and we talked about styles she liked. At this trial session we created a low, loose, curled style which Hanna was really happy with. Hanna’s sister was concerned about wearing her hair up because it was in a short bob and I had some time before my next appointment so I offered to style her sister’s hair quickly to demonstrate a cool retro beehive inspired updo that can be achieved on shorter hair. Having seen this style in action, I later received an email from Hanna letting me know that she now really wanted that style herself!

It’s worth bearing in mind when planning, how you want to look and feel at possibly the biggest party you’ll ever throw for yourself. I suspect Hanna had researched/ scoured Pinterest for ‘wedding hair’ and chosen a nice, pretty, current wedding style. I find that you end up with the same images being presented over and over again and re-pinning perpetuates the cycle! So when Hanna saw a style, not labelled ‘bridal’ and liked it a lot, those horizons were broadened. Of course it’s hard to know where to start, so I recommend using different search terms other than ‘bridal’ or ‘wedding’. Variety and personality can be lacking within those categories.

You could try searching ‘beachy’ ‘hollywood’, ‘vintage’ or ‘red carpet’ styles for fashion-led inspiration. (For reference, Hanna’s hair was shoulder-length and no extra hair or padding was used) It’s also really important to search for styles in your own hair colour. A braided style will look vastly more impressive on blonde hair because of all the different tones showing through. If you want to try more than one style at your trial, let your stylist know, but be aware that these will be approximations of a a look. The finished, perfect, polished look is not going to be achieved easily via a few other styles.

Hanna’s makeup was nothing but flattering to her skin tone, eye colour and the whole vibe of her styling. Warm, fresh, golden and gorgeous.

I’m always delighted to see those sumptuous golden hour evening shots, and here the silhouetted hairstyle gives me proud mum joy. Happy style planning!

Carolanne x

2015 Highlights: Surrey and London Hair & Makeup

Happy New Year!

I’m behind the times with my post of my best bits from hair & makeup in 2015, but it’s Twelfth Night so I’m still in! Unfortunately my tonsils decided they hated me on Boxing Day and I spent nameless-days-after-Christmas whimpering into a lemsip. Like teachers, hair and makeup artists only get ill on holiday…’s a law or something. While voiceless, I had a little scroll through my social media posts from 2015 and chose some of my favourites. Bear in mind my brushes see hundreds of faces every year and I can’t squeeze them all in – but as Brucie often whispered: *you’re* my favourite.

imageEarly in 2015 was Naomi who married at Fetcham Park photographed by Juliet McKee. Memorable for me as it was wintry enough for her gold-toned wedding dress and a candle-lit black tie reception. Undone curls and waves, unstructured and warm, pretty makeup. The bridesmaids makeup was perfect too, flawless, natural base but with a bold flick of liner.

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From the summer, here’s Phillipa who married James at Royal Holloway photographed by Zoe Collyer
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Phillipa surely won’t mind me telling you that she is possibly my greatest ever candidate for a ‘before and after’. Not because she needs a face full of make up, but rather that she was a tad nervous on the morning of her wedding and brought to the chair her own special green-tinged complexion. She soon perked up after some bespoke breakfast requests and wore a bold combination of rose gold shadows and a pink pop of lipstick. Phillipa, you looked wonderful.


From an event and shoot to launch Sassi Holford at Miss Bush Bridal with hairstyling by Sharon Roberts and all makeup kindly provided by Bare Minerals, I had fun creating grown up pretty in pink and giving a presentation on my kind of bridal make up.


I’ve seen a huge variety in styling, from boho pretty, to retro, to formal and sleek. Hair flowers and accessories have been varied and creative with all manner of jewellery placed into hairstyles and incredible floral headpieces.

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I seemed to be inundated with blonde bombshells in 2015 with Phoebe who married at Great Fosters and was photographed by Juliet McKee. It was retro waves, victory rolls and Beauty and The Beast singalongs…. And Jamie who flew in from the States for a great big English wedding with these Hollywood glam waves.

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I’ve loved creating some traditional and more contemporary styles:

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I’ve been let loose on some incredible faces to make up on special occasions:

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And I couldn’t leave out a  red headed goddess, Rebecca, shot by Tarah Coonan at Fulham Palace

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Oh and I had some fun at Halloween and Christmas too….

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These really are the tip of the iceberg that was my working year. I could go on,  but I’ve got to get cracking on 2016! Thanks to all those clients who’ve sent me pictures and their photographers who allow me to flaunt them.

Carolanne x

New Website + Competition Winners!


Ta-da! Welcome to the new website! I hope first impressions are good; I have tried to make myself presentable.

Please do have a look around and tell me what you think?

As my first blog post I’d like to thank all my gorgeous Facebook followers who offered feedback on what they’d like to see on my blog. I have my categories lined up as you can see, plenty of food for thought and lots of ideas to be getting on with. I hope you’ll enjoy and find my posts useful, if not essential to your life..!

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For now, as promised, the winners of my prize draw (picked at random by in-house reluctant model, V) as a thank you for all your great feedback. If your name is below, please could you email your postal address to and I’ll post them out tomorrow.

1. Charlotte Harris
2. Kim Andrews
3. Helen Seidler
4. Sarah Nuttall
5. Lindsay Parker
6. Debbie Hall
7. Michelle Antill
8. Kate Marchant
9. Gemma Thompson
10. Kate Andrews

Huge thanks again for taking the time to help. If you missed out this time, there will be more product giveaway posts in the future, so keep in touch.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful Christmas!

Carolanne x