The Duchess of Cambridge stepped away from her signature hairstyle for 40th birthday portraits

·2-min read
Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Getty Images
Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Getty Images

In portraits released to celebrate her 40th birthday, the Duchess of Cambridge stayed true to some of her sartorial signatures. In the pictures, taken by acclaimed fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, she wears three custom-made pieces by Alexander McQueen – Sarah Burton being Kate’s designer of choice for countless life milestones and prominent events, not least her wedding gown. But when it came to her hair, the pictures presented a departure from the duchess’ go-to style.

Kate has become synonymous with a classic bouncy blow-dry. When worn down, her hair – whether cut with a grown-out fringe or not – is usually styled smooth at the roots with full bodied waves throughout the lengths and ends. It always looks polished, with rarely a stray strand out of place.

Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo

For this photoshoot, however, Kate’s fly-aways are presented as an intentional feature. Styled in tighter yet less uniform waves, that start closer to the root, her hair balances nostalgic fairy-tale vibes with a more modern – less 'done' – aesthetic.

The soft, wispy finish nods to a pre-Raphaelite look, whereby women’s hair, when unbound from plaits worn all day, softly waved with natural texture. At the same time, it expresses a feel fresher to that of her rigid signature style.

Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Handout/Kensington Palace - Getty Images
Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Handout/Kensington Palace - Getty Images

Such is Kate’s influence as a modern royal beauty icon that searches for ‘How to get wavy hair’ skyrocketed by 778 per cent following the release of the pictures yesterday. That’s eight times the average volume, according to hair experts Longevita, who analysed Google search data.

If you’re inspired by Kate’s romantic waves in the portrait, put down your barrel brush (perfect for her signature style, but not this) and instead invest in a curling wand like the Ghd Creative Curl Wand. After rough drying your hair with your fingers, take random sections of hair and wrap them around the wand for three-to-five seconds. Focus on doing this with smallish seconds of hair, and change the direction that you wrap the hair each time so that the waves differ in direction.

Alternatively, for minimal effort styling, simply sleep on it (like people have been since the 1800s). Before bed, try this tutorial from YouTuber Shonagh Scott, who, suggests spritzing on a leave-in conditioner, then blow-drying the hair until it's about 90 percent dry before creating a basic three-strand which you sleep on. The next morning, gently unravel your braid and shake out your waves. Et voila, romantic waves to rival Kate’s. (McQueen gowns sadly not included.)

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