Twirling his hands around a blonde Balmain Catwalk Ponytail Memory Hair extension, Balmain beauty ambassador Chadwick Wendell Calkins hovers over a salon chair at Vancouver’s BeautyBar in Kitsilano. He ties, loops, and pins the extension gently into a woman’s natural ponytail and runs his hands through the voluminous tresses as they fall and hover just above her waist. “People are like, ‘How can a ponytail be a look?’” he says, giving the ‘do one last secure tug as it shines in the afternoon light. “Well actually, it completely defines a look.”
Made with either human hair or synthetic fibre (which is 30 per cent lighter than human hair), Balmain’s wigs and extensions, which first launched in 1974, have helped the French luxury fashion house set the bar for extravagant locks-love. Paired with the extension pieces is a line of styling tools and care products, and now for the first time, the whole gamut is available in Vancouver at BeautyBar.
“We’re definitely sticking with the all-natural look and feel of hair,” shares Wendell as he sifts through the Care & Styling collection. “The less refined but still very beautiful, clean look.” While celebrated Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing (credited with making the historic brand relevant in the 21st century) brings sexy, structured, bold pieces to the runway, garments are always juxtaposed with natural, glossy tresses. And it all starts with a nutritious base, according to Wendell, calling for the Moisturising Shampoo, and next the Leave-In Conditioning Spray. Each product contains silk protein, with 17 essential amino acids for deep nourishment and argan oil for hydration. “It’s not just argan oil—it’s actually elixir from the farm Balmain purchased,” Wendell says, referring to a Balmain-owned property in Morocco. The argan oil is distilled 10 times into microscopic molecules designed to penetrate the centre of the hair.
Of course, one wouldn’t be a true member of the #BalmainArmy without dabbling in rogue hair colours like purple, pink, and, especially trendy for 2018, green. Wendell assures that products such as the Ash Toner and the Repair Mask help keep colour and locks healthy in between experiments.
For those interested in adding a touch of Parisian luxury to any vanity or bathroom, Balmain’s tools, such as the Golden Styling comb, are divine—but it is the signature scent of its products that can truly transform any dingy apartment washroom into a glorious Parisian salle d’eau. “The fragrance is designed in the same fragrance house the Balmain colognes and perfumes were developed in,” says Wendell, and as the Argan Elixir (one of Wendell’s most recommended products) is added to the ends of already styled hair, there is a fresh aromatic burst of rose, followed by sandalwood, clove, and gardenia.
The faux, the coloured, or the simply styled—Balmain shows that all these years and all these trends later, the integrity (and the health) of hair will always remain at the forefront.
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