Feeling fabulous - we caught up with hair stylist and innovator Gustav Fouche

Gustav Fouche front of salon

Originally hailing from South Africa, Gustav Fouche has become one of London's premier hair stylists and salon owners during the course of the last two decades. Known for his innovative 3D Dry Cut, flawless up-dos and blow-outs, he's also created many a jaw-dropping red-carpet look for the likes of Kate Hudson, Gal Gadot and Leanne Rimes. He's a master collaborator when it comes to editorial shoots and TV commercials, but crucially to us, he's a veteran of hundreds of weddings. His TikTok and Instagram tutorials have amassed a huge following too and he's most recently launched his own haircare line, GF Fabulosity.
CWM beauty editor Kelly Andrews, caught up with the charming Gustav at Claridge's earlier this year, to learn more about his newest salon opening and product launches, while seeking out his top tips for our beautiful brides.

Gustav Fouche head shot in a black shirt and checked jacket

Exciting news that you've now launched your newest salon in Weybridge Surrey, adding to your existing branch in Notting Hill. What made you choose Weybridge? Eleven years ago, one of my clients told me she was pregnant and moving out of London, and asked if I could do her hair at home. She moved from Wandsworth to Hersham, and every six weeks the arrangement was I did her hair and one other person's. From two people, this increased to six, until eventually it became too much. I then found a salon I could rent a space from, and that's how I started in the area. I rented in one salon for six years, then moved to another while I set up Gustav Fouche Weybridge. I'm very proud and grateful to be there.

What tips can you offer a bride for looking after her hair in the lead up to the big day? I always recommend you start by reducing the amount of heat and removing hair silicone from your routine completely. It's important to make sure your hair is in optimum health for your wedding, especially if you want something like waves or curls. This is because moisture will maintain the structure of the hair and help your style last much longer. I also encourage regular cuts and have a plan with your stylist. Work towards where you want to go for optimum health. Colour-wise, if you're going to do any drastic changes, do it at least three months beforehand so you feel comfortable and don't look like someone else on the big day!

Do you have a signature bridal look that you love to style? My personal preference is anything soft and feminine. Even if it's a very structured style, there's a certain level of softness and making it look pretty. Beautiful hair is what I like to do. That's probably my first choice, but as long as the bride looks amazing, that's my dream come true.

What are brides asking for this year? At the moment, we've got everything from hair up, to hair down, but the most popular is half-up and half-down, as this is the style that makes them feel most like them – they still have their hair down with the security of having part of it up.

How can a bride decide on what style to opt for? It's easy to become confused by choice, and it's difficult to have a good understanding of what's realistic or will suit. Choosing the right hair is as important as choosing the right dress. For one, it's vital to understand the feel you're going for. Is it a city edge, a glamorous look, a bohemian vibe or a rustic feel? Once we know this, look at your face shape and consider what you're already doing with your hair. Do you wear it up usually or do you prefer it down, or again, even half up and half down? It's also important to consider whether you're going for multiple looks for the evening with a dress change – how will a hair up do affect those dresses?

interior of salon

The dress will also determine how extravagant we go with the hair. If the gown is understated, we can play around more with the hair. If on the other hand, it's more dramatic, with plenty of embellishments, the hair genuinely needs to be back. The key thing your stylist needs to look at is your face, to understand your bone structure and allow for the energy of the look you're achieving to come through.

What pitfalls should brides be careful to avoid when it comes to their wedding hair? Don't try something you're not already comfortable with. If you're used to wearing hair up, then go for that. If you always wear your hair down, don't dramatically change. You want to look like you, but the best version of you. This is something I strongly stand by when styling bridal hair.

What do you love most about doing bridal hair? The best thing for me is looking at the bride once she's put her dress on and seeing the whole look come together. This will be the first time she'll see herself with hair, make-up, accessories, so I love to see that overwhelming joy and glow. Their wedding day is probably the best anyone will ever look in their life and that moment for me is priceless.

What's next for you? Do you see yourself concentrating more on salons or products, or both?! World domination! I'm definitely focusing on the two salons, as this keeps us busy and I'm very grateful for having them. The product line is still in its infancy but it's growing beautifully, and there are a few more things in production. It's an area I want to make a huge success of.

No two people have exactly the same hair, so Gustav threw out the rulebook to create something truly unique with his new range of products, GF Fabulosity. Whether it's improving scalp health and invigorating blood circulation to the follicles, strengthening, enhancing flexibility, repairing split ends, boosting a glossy shine, soothing damaged hair or hydrating thicker hair, there's a combination for you.

You may have already heard of the evils of silicone, which is why Gustav's range is guaranteed to be silicone-free, using nature's finest ingredients. But why is silicone so bad for our hair, after all it's in so many high street shampoos and conditioners? Kelly found out from the man himself: "Hair is meant to be filled with water. In its natural state with no build up, the cuticle would naturally open and close as you go into humidity to absorb the moisture in the air, which is a good thing. Silicone stops that natural osmosis process. Products that say they prevent frizz in humidity are the worst to use on your hair. We all know that sulphates are bad, they will dry out the hair, but silicone actually destroys it. It doesn't mix with water, so it prevents the hair taking on moisture. Then, when you put heat on it, it starts breaking and shrinking, preventing growth. In fact, it can take up to three months to get a single dose of silicone off the hair and that's with a lot of work." I

The hero product in the GF Fabulosity range is the Hair and Scalp Recovery Elixir, which uses modern science to strengthen hair and balance the scalp. A luxurious leave-in treatment it not only conditions but also stimulates hair growth and nurtures scalp health. With its silky texture, this elixir can be enjoyed by all hair types. With a fusion of modern science and nature, the silicone- and paraben-free hero contains eight star ingredients: the traditional Ayurvedic gem amala, rice aminos, sea kelp, baobab oil, argan oil, horsetail extract, crodabond CSA and safflower oil. The elixir can be used twice weekly as a masque for a spa-like treatment or more frequently for a daily dose of sheer fabulosity! Priced at £53, it's available at https://gffabulosity.com

Salons https://gustavfouche.com | Products https://gffabulosity.com | Follow @gustav_fouche, @gustavfouche

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