Buro 24/7 Interview: Maria Dowling
The Dubai-based hair guru shares her style secrets
What is the most common mistake people make with their hair at home?
Many people use the wrong shampoo at home and this can have a real impact on the performance and condition of your hair and the styling of it. Always choose the correct shampoo to suit your scalp. If your hair is oily at the scalp but with dry ends, you still need an oily scalp shampoo.
And the most common misakle at the salon?
It is difficult when a client comes into the salon with no idea of what style or colour she would like, so I always recommend doing your homework before your arrive. If you have a mood board or selection of images of styles you like the look of, the hairdresser can connect elements of each picture to understand exactly what you are looking for.
What's the single most important thing anyone can do for their hair?
Spend money on good quality products to keep it looking good. Remember, your hair is the first thing people see when they look at you.
Who's hair would you most love to do?
The Duchess of Cambridge's hair is a far too long and shapeless. I would love to cut it to just below the shoulders and create more internal movement to give it more bounce.
Which are you favourite hair care products and why?
At the moment, I am loving the Nashi Argan range of organic, natural shampoo, conditioner, and hair oil. It makes the hair so shiny and easy to comb, plus it's free of nasty chemicals and parabens (available from mariadowling.com – starting from Dhs90). I've also been regularly using samples of my own new Ritual M Hair & Scalp Clay which detoxes my hair of all product and pollution build up, while cleansing and calming the scalp. Its 100% natural with lots of gorgeous smelling oils, and feels like a facial for my hair. (Ritual M Hair & Scalp Clay will be launching in September).
What is the best advice you ever received and why?
The same advice I always give to my team in the salon. Always devote 100% of your attention to each and every client and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. Going to the salon should be an experience from start to finish – an experience that a client will look forward to every time. Every time a client comes to the salon, look at their hair like a new canvas and always exceed the client's expectations, giving her such gorgeous hair that she feels she could never leave you.
Do any home remedies work for hair? If so which?
I am sure home remedies do work but often they are messy and not very pleasant to apply i.e. eggs, mayonnaise etc. I would much rather use a treatment that Kerastase has spent two year researching to make sure it does exactly what it's supposed to do! I am sure that lemon juice on the hair in the sun will lighten your hair but it will also dry it terribly. If you do find something that works, whether a home remedy or salon formulated treatment, then stick with it. This is something I always tell me clients.
What do you most love about your job?
I love transforming people, not just in the sense of a makeover, but the difference in people when they leave the salon: that feel good factor, which makes us all feel great! I adore meeting clients and styling them for years, through their teenage years, university, marriage, children and the trials and tribulations of their lives. Having been based in the UAE for 19 years, I have been through these experiences with many of my clients.
What is the biggest challenge in your job?
Listening and understanding what clients are looking for. Explaining what you want to do with your hair, verbally, is quite difficult to do (which is why images are always a good idea!), so I have to ask lots of questions in different ways to get an idea of what is happening with their hair. As a hairdresser I can make you really happy or really miserable depending on whether I interpret your idea correctly. We are not magicians and we can't always get it right, but the main thing as an experienced hairdresser, we can put it right.