The Duchess of Cambridge has become known for her impeccable style and flawless hair, but as the UK lockdown continues her fans have seen her with a new look. Taking part in video calls from her home with Prince William in Anmer Hall, Norfolk, Kate has had a more relaxed look to her hair and is likely to be styling it herself. In their recent virtual appearance, Kate wore her brunette locks in a chic updo – and it’s not the first time she’s ditched her usual blow-dry.
The Duke, 37, and Duchess of Cambridge, 38, took part in a video call to celebrate the first anniversary of Shout, the UK’s first 24/7 crisis text line, last week.
Kate wore her thick brunette hair in a swept-back style, showing off a subtle tan in a white scalloped Sandro top while the pair spoke to the Shout volunteers.
As the lockdown continues and social distancing means hair salons are closed around the country, it’s unknown whether Kate is styling her own hair, but experts think it is likely.
The mother of three has been wearing a much more casual look in recent weeks, with soft waves that have been brushed out rather than the carefully coiffed curls that the public are used to seeing.
As a busy mum who’s having to homeschool the children while keeping up with charity work, it’s no wonder Kate is opting for easier styles and quick updos.
But the Duchess has also worn some beautiful hair-up looks for royal engagements and events in the past that are just as pristine as her go-to blow-dry.
Kate often goes for a chignon style for the bigger occasions. Royal protocol dictates that hats are always worn for formal occasions, with Kate carefully following the rules and even wearing a fascinator for her sister Pippa Middleton’s wedding. The Duchess wore her long hair in a chic, twisted updo for the big day.
Clive Lever, Senior Stylist at Jo Hansford’s Mayfair salon, commented: “The chignons that Kate Middleton wears are a modern take on a classic look. It is effortless and softer so it does not look overdone. and is a younger version of the French pleats and chignons worn by an older generation.
“It suits her age, and is sophisticated and elegant but doesn’t detract from the headwear, and is not too formal.”
Kate also wore a similar look for Princess Eugenie’s wedding, only with a modern twist.
The Duchess was wearing a fuchsia pink fascinator on top of a sleek yet slightly more casual twisted chignon style that was pulled to the side slightly, giving it a more trendy and relaxed feel.
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The side-swept look is one Kate has turned to for other formal events, too – on Anzac day she wore her brunette locks in a glossy chignon style that showed off her statement earrings. The Duchess had plenty of volume at the crown to balance out the neat knotted style, giving it an edgier finish.
“Quite often when wearing fascinators or hats the hair style has to be created to work around the headpiece so these updos work on both levels,” explained Clive.
“The side chignon may be used to create the balance of the headpiece. Keeping her hair back in a tight style prevents any flyaways, as looser styles can become dishevelled by the elements such as the wind if outdoors which could end up looking messy and creating the need to be fiddled with.”
Clive said the prep for the royal chignon will still involve Kate’s signature blow-dry.
“It’s really important to always blow dry the hair before creating these looks so the hair is still smooth and sleek and shiny. The styles also show off her hair colour and the low lights beautifully.”
Kate has mastered the art of the flawless chignon, which she’s also worn to Ascot before – but it’s not just the style that’s the key to the look. Fans with an eye for detail will spot that Kate wears a very fine, delicate hairnet in the same shade as her hair so that it keeps her look in place while almost going undetected. The clever trick keeps her style from becoming unruly throughout the day.
However, while Kate usually picks the classic chignon or intricate styles for her royal appearances, she has previously sported a more casual look that has been seen in her lockdown days.
On a visit with Prince William to Blackpool in 2019, the fashionable royal wore her thick hair swept back into a soft, mid-height ponytail, with soft curls throughout the ends.
The modern look was topped off with a wrap of her hair around the base, a nifty trick used by many pros for a sleek finish to give the humble pony some wow factor.
Kate’s long lengths give her plenty of options when it comes to hair styling.
On a recent visit to a children’s hospital in Lambeth, Kate wore her hair in a half-up style with pretty tousled waves as she met with young patients.
The Duchess famously opted for a half-up do for her wedding day in 2011, though of course it was also dressed up with a tiara and veil. It’s also a look Meghan Markle’s been trying during her own virtual lockdown appearances.
“The half up, half down is a younger look; not ageing, but more relaxed and not harsh. It shows her softer and gentle personality as does the backcombed ponytail. This is fresh and modern and in keeping with fashion but without trying to make a statement,” commented Clive.
“Kate is beautiful, stylish and elegant but her clothes and hair never overshadow her, she always manages to look fashionable without trying too hard.”