Straight from the Runway in Paris, France

As promised, the in-depth expose of Jillian Chambers’, owner and stylist of Grotto Hair Studio, time in Paris, France.

What does the stock market, Louis Vuitton, Google and a front cover model of Vogue magazine all have in common? Ask Jillian Chambers, owner and stylist of Grotto Hair Studio in Stratford, Ontario. After a three-day, invitation-only L’Oreal Professionnel class in Paris, France, Jillian learned that the common denominator between economics, purses and the internet was hair.

Previously, Jillian has had opportunity to travel to Rome and Berlin through L’Oreal Professionnel, primarily for instruction on cutting hair. However, the four short days spent in Paris were all-encompassing, allowing Jillian the privilege to attend classes that taught how hair, make-up, fashion and photography relate with each other. As the class was by invitation only, comprised of platform artists or artistic directors from L’Oreal Professionnel, it was an extreme honour for Jillian, simply a L’Oreal salon owner, to attend.

Paris, the city of fashion, lights and love. Also, the destination of a 3 day, invitation-only L'Oreal Professionnel class

Paris, the city of fashion, lights and love. Also, the destination of a 3 day, invitation-only L’Oreal Professionnel class

Paris is known as a city of fashion, runways and models. Day one of classes did not disappoint as Jillian spent the day learning about future trends in fashion and hair and how certain influences predict what is or will be up and coming. Interestingly enough, the stock market’s affect on the beauty industry is monumental. For example, when the stock market is low, the general public tends to be more cautious and contained. In turn, low economic times translates into conservative fashion and hair, be that longer hem-lines or longer length in hair. In contrast, when the stock market soars, people tend to embrace more liberal, flamboyant trends, such as shorter hair and shorter hem-lines.

While economic standings have a large influence over the beauty industry, another major predictor of upcoming trends is the common search engine. Statisticians generate studies based on the most common search terms that the general public looks up. How does this affect hair and fashion? Jillian learned that how many times people search specific terms related to fashion and hair, such as “ombre” or “blonde,” generation of upcoming trends are formulated by the most popular search terms entered. It is ironic to note that it’s not necessarily high-end designers who are formulating what the public will accept as current and “in-style.” Rather, the general public unknowingly decides what direction fashion and hair will lean towards, based solely on the most commonly search items on Google.

Day two revealed to Jillian behind-the-scenes design progress before the looks have even hit the runway. A tour of Institut Francais de la Mode, or IFM, showcased many potential designs being proposed to different high-end companies, such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci. A tour of Harcourt Studios, an exclusive photography school who only do 200 photo shoots a year, presented the effects of colour and lighting to achieve specific looks.

A sneak peak of Harcourt Studio

A sneak peak of Harcourt Studio

A hands-on, first-of-its-kind in the beauty indsutry class at Pin-Up Hair Studio was provided with world-renowned hairstylist, Bruno Weppe, the following day. Weppe has been popularized in the beauty industry for his work on celebrities for front page covers of Vogue, Elle and other major fashion magazines. At Pin-Up Hair Studio, Jillian learned about the editorial work that is done for each photo shoot. While it is commonly known that the models on the front of magazines are “touched up,” Jillian experienced exactly what tricks and illusions are used to achieve the end result. Wigs, extensions, clip-on bangs, or even spray paint are commonly used on the glossy front cover models whose hair is coveted world-wide. In conjunction with the illusionary revelation of photo shoots, Weppe also taught how to set the hair properly so that more than one desired look can be produced. Proper instruction was given on how to use specific hair products for the particular hair type of each model.

World-renowned stylist, Bruno Weppe, working with a model

World-renowned stylist, Bruno Weppe, working with a model

While Jillian was mesmerized at how hair integrates with seemingly un-related elements, such as the stock market and internet, the connections that are established between world-renowned stylists and L’Oreal Professionnel educators remains integral to the development of Grotto Hair Studio. However, safe to say, one will never observe the upcoming trends in the fashion industry without recalling the sway of the fiscal market, the influence of Google, or the semblance of illusionary tricks on cover page models.

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Savour Stratford Photo Shoot Sneak Peek

Despite the rainy weather last weekend, Savour Stratford was a fantastic success! We, the staff, at Grotto Hair Studio would like to thank all of our beautiful models for letting us get creative with their hair and make-up. As well, we couldn’t have managed the day without the expertise of David Charlesworth (from davidiam photography) and Kailyn D’Orazio, whose creativity in photography went above and beyond our expectations!

As promised, below are pictures of our lovely models, who are depicting looks straight from the fashion district in Paris. (For those who are just catching up, Jillian Chambers, owner and stylist at Grotto Hair Studio, just came back from four days in Paris, where she was invited by L’Oreal Professionel to attend classes in all the upcoming trends in hair and fashion.)

These aren’t all of the pictures of our models, just a sneak peek. Stay posted for more pictures in the future!

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Savour Stratford’s Parisian Photo Shoot at Grotto Hair Studio

It’s that time of year again in Stratford – one of the favourite culinary festivals in Canada – Savour Stratford. It’s here in Stratford that chefs, culinary artisans, and foodies alike gather to share fork and plate, recipe and inspiration. Food for every palette, brews for every type of sipper, and vision for magic that can be created in the kitchen are abundant.

We, here at Grotto. are privileged to be situated right in the heart of where the festival takes place. York Street closes down, allowing for pedestrian traffic only. Aromas of every appetizing dish under the sun waft, the tones of live music float and the air of excitement is palpable. Each year, during Savour Stratford, we feature an a la carte menu all our own at Grotto Hair Studio, whether that be tutorials, make-overs or live demonstrations. This year, we are bringing a little taste of France to the salon.

Jillian Chambers, owner and stylist at Grotto Hair Studio, has been privileged to be invited by L’Oreal Professionel to Paris, France for classes involving a behind the scenes sneak peek at upcoming runway trends. Not only did she get to meet world-renowned stylists and designers, but she got to work along-side them, learning how to re-create the upcoming fashion and hair statements. Having been back for a week now, Jillian has taken the time to educate her stylists on these trends. With this new knowledge under their belts, the stylists at Grotto Hair Studio have been busy preparing for our very fist live photo shoot, complete with looks straight from the heart of Paris!

Below is a taste of what Jillian was honoured to experience while away in Paris:

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Be prepared for volume, for icy blondes, for cool mochas, and the use of metallic accessories! While Savour Stratford Festival is all about the food, allow yourself for a moment to taste France in a different form when you stop by Grotto Hair Studio’s photo shoot on Saturday! We look forward to seeing you then! (And for those of you who unfortunately cannot make it, stay tuned for a post featuring not food, but hair with a Parisian flair!)

For more info on all that Savour Stratford entails, click here.

For Better or Worse: The Best Updos for the Understated Wedding Gown

Understated: subtly restrained: achieving its effect through restraint, subtlety, and good taste. By no means does understated equal boring or bland. Think of understated, as it pertains to wedding gowns, as timeless elegance, sophistication in its simplest form. An understated wedding gown does not require lace, excessive beading or ruffles to promote its beauty – rather, its classic subtlety breaths the very essence of beauty through its simplistic silhouettes.

Below are some examples of understated wedding gowns:

This understated gown uses a simple silhouette with fabric detailing for added interest.

This understated gown uses a simple silhouette with fabric detailing for added interest.

Another example of a beautifully, elegant understated wedding gown.

Another example of a beautifully, elegant understated wedding gown.

What style of updo best suits an understated wedding gown? While an understated wedding gown quietly promotes its beauty, allow your updo to speak volumes, literally. Because a simpler wedding dress tends to be void of intricate detail, the contrast of a voluminous, dramatic updo proves to be most flattering. Updos or down hairstyles can both be worn with this style of gown – just be sure to try to incorporate lots of volume, curls or accessories to amp up the glam.

Here are some updos that would beautifully compliment an understated wedding gown:

An exquisite updo, accentuated with gorgeous blossoms will add dramatic interest to an understated wedding gown.

An exquisite updo, accentuated with gorgeous blossoms will add dramatic interest to an understated wedding gown.

Scarlett Johansson portrays a glamorous upswept updo with lots of volume. Paired with a sparkly hair accessory, flower, feathers or veil, this updo would be stunning with a simple wedding gown.

Scarlett Johansson portrays a glamorous upswept updo with lots of volume. Paired with a sparkly hair accessory, flower, feathers or veil, this updo would be stunning with a simple wedding gown.

Below are some examples of voluminous down hairstyles to flatter an understated wedding gown:

Here is a perfect example of a voluminous style, accessorized with an oversized flower, to beautifully flatter an understated wedding gown.

Here is a perfect example of a voluminous style, accessorized with an oversized flower, to beautifully flatter an understated wedding gown.

We love everything about Angelina's hair. Here, she depicts a down hairstyle that is wonderfully voluminous. Paired with an elegant, simple wedding gown, this look would be stunning.

We love everything about Angelina’s hair. Here, she depicts a down hairstyle that is wonderfully voluminous. Paired with an elegant, simple wedding gown, this look would be stunning.

Accessories are a great way to show off the lines of a simple wedding silhouette, as depicted below:

Feathers add vintage elegance to an understated wedding gown.

Feathers add vintage elegance to an understated wedding gown.

A birdcage veil is a stunning option when wanting to accessorize a simple wedding gown.

A birdcage veil is a stunning option when wanting to accessorize a simple wedding gown.

A jeweled headband adds appropriate glitter and sparkle to an elegant, understated gown.

A jeweled headband adds appropriate glitter and sparkle to an elegant, understated gown.

This draws us to a close on our series of wedding gowns and their corresponding updos. We hope that you’ve learned some guidelines to best suit the look that you are wishing to portray during one of the biggest days of your life. For hairstyles that flatter a glamorous, backless, and boho wedding gowns, please refer to our previous posts.

For Better or Worse: The Best Updos for the Glamorous Wedding Gown

Today is not about the rules. Today, it’s all about creative expression, freedom from stylistic guidelines, and pumping up the glam! If you find yourself to be a lover of the more glamorous wedding gown, you can let your hair down (or up…whatever you prefer!), because there are no rules, no catches, no specifics!

The updo choices for a glamorous wedding gown are limitless! What constitutes a glamorous wedding gown, you ask? Think ball gown, think lace, think Old Hollywood….there really are so many different glamorous wedding dresses out there!

Here is an example of a natural hairstyle worn with a glamorous dress. Keeping the hair more natural looking is a nice option because it contrasts with the intricacies of the dress.

Glamorous ball gown.

Glamorous ball gown.

Old Hollywood glam gown with natural hair.

Old Hollywood glam gown with natural hair.

Or, you can continue in the glamorous vein and choose an intricate, volumous updo:

Glamorous wedding gown with a volumous updo.

Glamorous wedding gown with a volumous updo.

Another option is to accessorize with veils, tiaras and headpieces:

This bride chose a natural hairstyle with her Old Hollywood glam gown. However, she accessorized with a veil - a beautiful option with her gown.

This bride chose a natural hairstyle with her Old Hollywood glam gown. However, she accessorized with a veil – a beautiful option with her gown.

Add a little glitz and sparkle with hair accessories.

Add a little glitz and sparkle with hair accessories.

If you absolutely adore the Old Hollywood style, perhaps play up your gown with a headpiece such as this:

The Jazz Age. The Great Gatsby. This headpiece screams Old Hollywood glam! What a gorgeous option for a gown, oozing with vintage glam!

The Jazz Age. The Great Gatsby. This headpiece screams Old Hollywood glam! What a gorgeous option for a gown, oozing with vintage glam!

In short – think outside of the box with the glamorous gown! Don’t be afraid to break the rules, because there simply are no rules to break! Stay posted for the reveal of one more gown style and its corresponding updos! Happy weekend, Everyone!

Kate Middleton: Hair Icon and New Mother to the Royal Baby

The anticipation and arrival of the Royal Baby has swept the globe by storm. In honour of the newest Prince (George Alexander Louis, to be exact!), we would like to take a closer look at his iconic mother, Kate Middleton. Rather, we’d like to take a sneak peek into her hair care regime.

It is no secret that Kate Middleton has won the hearts of the masses worldwide with her sparkling, easy smile. But let’s be honest – while her popularity is known among all – what is the secret to her coveted tresses? No matter the in-climate English weather, or the excruciating pain of childbirth, Kate’s hair remains smooth and glossy, tumbling over her shoulders in deep brunette waves.

A mere 24 hours after giving birth, Kate greets the crowds, her hair a vision of absolute perfection.

A mere 24 hours after giving birth, Kate greets the crowds, her hair a vision of absolute perfection.

While we all wish that we were privileged enough to have a personal stylist on hand daily, today I would like to show you how you, too, can achieve Kate’s signature ‘do with the appropriate products. ELLE UK revealed some of the secrets to Kate’s hair and beauty routine here. Online celebrity beauty blog, Handbag.com, also affirmed here that the Duchess of Cambridge does, indeed, use Kerastase products to attain her gorgeous blow-out.

Let’s take a closer look at Kerastase, specifically Kerastase’s Bain Satin 2 shampoo (Kate’s favourite).

Kerastase's Bain Satin 2 - Kate Middleton's go-to shampoo

Kerastase’s Bain Satin 2 – Kate Middleton’s go-to shampoo

We, at Grotto Hair Studio, are privileged to be a Kerastase salon. Kerastase is a luxury haircare and styling line, designed to specifically target the needs of men and women with guaranteed results. Bain Satin 2 shampoo is a daily moisturizing shampoo which promotes softness, nutrition and shine into dry, sensitized hair. Kate, like many of us, colours her hair – a process that should be followed up with proper hair nutrition to prevent drying out of the hair fibre. As well, weather in England is known to be harsh and windy. Kerastase’s Bain Satin 2 will aid in preventing wind damage.

Kerastase also offers in-salon treatments to direct guaranteed results according to the client’s specific needs. These treatments can add volume, repair, add density, protect colour, restore protein, and much more. At Grotto Hair Studio, we are excited to also have the Fusio Dose Home Lab kits that are available for clients to purchase and use at home in between appointments.

Kerastase's Fusio Dose Treatments - part of Kate Middleton's hair regime. We are excited to announce that these are available to clients not only as in-salon treatments, but also as a take home Homelab kit!

Kerastase’s Fusio Dose Treatments – part of Kate Middleton’s hair regime. We are excited to announce that these are available to clients not only as in-salon treatments, but also as a take home Homelab kit!

Let’s take a closer look at some of Kate’s most iconic hairstyles:

Typically we see Kate with her hair down, however, she looks just as stunning with it swept into an elegant updo.

Typically we see Kate with her hair down, however, she looks just as stunning with it swept into an elegant updo.

Kate's classic brunette waves.

Kate’s classic brunette waves.

While it is apparent that the majority of us do not have our stylist on speed dial, armed and ready with a host of products and tools for our every hair inspired whim, it’s encouraging to realize that Kate’s hairstyle is something that we can achieve ourselves! True, we may not be able to relax daily with a cup of coffee and magazine while someone else primps and preens our locks, but we will be able to step out in public with hair that is equally as radiant and healthy.

For Better or Worse: The Best Updos for Boho or Beach Wedding Dresses

Boho, derived from the word “Bohemian”, according to online dictionaries describes “somebody, often a writer or an artist, who does not live according to the conventions of society.” What does this have to do with weddings, much less updos, you say? Well, thankfully, weddings are not all cookie-cutter, rather, they are momentous events during which the couple can practice their individual creative expression. For some, it may mean a glamorous, Old Hollywood gala. For others, this translated to be a traditional, elegant ceremony. And there are others who would prefer a more casual, relaxed wedding day. Typically, brides with a more boho feel to their big day, wear dresses that are “flow-y” and carefree. (Those brides who have beach or garden weddings often also opt for similar wedding gowns.)

The boho/beach wedding dress.

What hairstyle best suits a less contrived, more unconventional wedding gown? Since boho, or beach, wedding gowns are often simpler, the hairstyle chosen should also reflect this. It is important to make sure that the updo is not too formal or fussy. Often, a more natural look is desired, meaning that hair that is completely swept up is not as popular . Experimenting with flowers, headbands, feathers, braids etc…is often a great way to express creativity through the hairstyle, while complimenting a more artistic dress.

Below are some examples of boho/beach wedding dresses and complimentary hairstyles:

Notice how this boho dress is no extremely form-fitting. Rather, it has a much more whimsical air about it. The hairstyle worn down reflects an almost mystical feeling that a  upswept updo would not.

Notice how this boho dress is no extremely form-fitting. Rather, it has a much more whimsical air about it. The hairstyle worn down reflects an almost mystical feeling that a upswept updo would not.

This is a perfect example of a beach wedding dress - flow-y and natural looking. The hairstyle here is also kept more natural looking, which complements perfectly.

This is a perfect example of a beach wedding dress – flow-y and natural looking. The hairstyle here is also kept more natural looking, which complements perfectly.

Boho, beach or garden weddings are the perfect opportunity to experiment with braids and fresh flowers.

Boho, beach or garden weddings are the perfect opportunity to experiment with braids and fresh flowers.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules. The picture below demonstrates just that:

Even though this dress is much more casual in style, the back of the dress has beautiful detailing that, if the hair was left down, would be masked. Here, the bride wears a loose updo that actually enhances the style of the gown.

Even though this dress is much more casual in style, the back of the dress has beautiful detailing that, if the hair was left down, would be masked. Here, the bride wears a loose updo that actually enhances the style of the gown.

Keep posted for more wedding dress styles and their updos in the next few days!

For Better or Worse: The Best Updo for Backless Wedding Dresses

Let’s face it – your wedding day is probably one of the biggest days of your life. And your wedding dress is likely the most beautiful dress you will ever wear. For such a momentous day, your hair will play an integral role in either complimenting or competing with your dress. Obviously, you would like your updo to compliment your overall look, so today we are going to discuss one of the most popular dress styles and its most favourable updos.

The backless wedding dress.

The backless wedding dress is a stunning style that is very popular currently. The point of a backless wedding dress is to show off your back. Therefore, an updo or side updo are the best options for this style of dress. If you choose to wear your hair down, you would be de-emphasizing the beauty of the plunging back of the dress. However, if you’re not such a fan of the more contrived and perfected looking updo, you can easily pull your hair softly to one side and incorporate a braid or loosely falling strands.

The deep back of this dress allows for emphasis to be put on a stunning updo.

The deep back of this dress allows for emphasis to be put on a stunning updo.


This is a perfect example of a side chignon that would flatter a backless wedding dress - without the updo looking too "perfect."

This is a perfect example of a side chignon that would flatter a backless wedding dress – without the updo looking too “perfect.”


While the model in this picture is stunning, the fact that her hair is left down takes away from the dramatic low back of her dress. Am updo or side updo would have been much more complimentary.

While the model in this picture is stunning, the fact that her hair is left down takes away from the dramatic low back of her dress. Am updo or side updo would have been much more complimentary.

Obviously, there are many other styles of wedding dresses out there, and a myriad of complimentary hairstyles. Over the next few posts, we will discuss some of the most popular dress styles and their corresponding updos. Stay posted to learn more!

How to Find the Best Bridal Hairstyle

We, here at Grotto Hair Studio, are in full swing wedding season! Maybe you have a wedding to attend, or you’re a bridesmaid, or even the bride herself. Over the next couple of posts, we would like to take you thru some steps on how to achieve the perfect wedding updo. Some of the guidelines to keep in mind are as follows:

1) Consider your wedding theme/atmosphere. Is your wedding going to be a casual garden party? Will it take place on the sandy shores of a romantic beach? Or maybe you’re going for a more formal mood with an ornate cathedral ceremony.

These beachy waves are a perfect example of an informal wedding hairstyle. Think a bohemian themed wedding, a beach ceremony, or a garden party wedding.

These beachy waves are a perfect example of an informal wedding hairstyle. Think a bohemian themed wedding, a beach ceremony, or a garden party wedding.


This updo is perfect for a more traditional wedding. It may look out of place when worn with a flowy, Bohemian style dress. However, this style, paired with an ornate gown, would suit an elegant, timeless atmosphere perfectly (think a cathedral or church wedding).

This updo is perfect for a more traditional wedding. It may look out of place when worn with a flowy, Bohemian style dress. However, this style, paired with an ornate gown, would suit an elegant, timeless atmosphere perfectly (think a cathedral or church wedding).

2) Consider the style of your dress. Our next post will delve into this topic in more detail, however, it is important to match the style of your dress to the style of your hair. You would not want one taking away from the other. Rather, the updo chosen should complement the wedding dress.

3) Be observant of your hair texture, thickness and length. Often brides find pictures of updos that they love without fully considering the texture, thickness, length and colour of their own hair. What looks good on the model in the picture may be entirely unflattering on the bride herself. Working with your natural hair will help achieve the best bridal updo. However, that does not leave you totally limited. Thankfully, there are many salon tools that can manipulate the hair into your dream updo. You can curl straight hair, straighten curly hair or add extensions to shorter or finer hair. Just remember to avoid making sudden changes in your hair too soon before your wedding to prevent a hair crisis!

Here is an example of a bride working with her natural hair.  A slight wave nicely complements her short bob.

Here is an example of a bride working with her natural hair. A slight wave nicely complements her short bob.

4) The guidelines for face shapes applies even for bridal updos. Refer to our previous posts for advice on face shape guidelines here.

5) Your choice of bridal hair accessories can often determine how you wll style your hair. There are so many beautiful options out there that the possibilities are really endless as to the beauty that can be created in your wedding updo. However, remember that accessories should always compliment rather than take away from the natural beauty of the bride. In other words – less is often more. Take a look below at some stunning options for creating an extra special updo on your big day.

Fresh (and fake) flowers add the perfect touch of whimsy to any bridal updo.

Fresh (and fake) flowers add the perfect touch of whimsy to any bridal updo.


Jeweled hair accessories often add the perfect glimmer of sparkle.

Jeweled hair accessories often add the perfect glimmer of sparkle.


Veils are probably one of the most common accessories. However, the different styles are anything but commonplace. Here, this veil adds a soft, romantic look to subtle waves.

Veils are probably one of the most common accessories. However, the different styles are anything but commonplace. Here, this veil adds a soft, romantic look to subtle waves.


A bird cage veil adds a flair for vintage glam.

A bird cage veil adds a flair for vintage glam.


A tiara adds the perfect princess sparkle to any updo.

A tiara adds the perfect princess sparkle to any updo.

Our hope is that these guidelines provide some inspiration for you to exhibit your natural beauty during one of the biggest moments of your life. Stay posted to learn how to pick the appropriate bridal updo for your wedding dress.

A Six Year Milestone at Grotto Hair Studio

Grotto Hair Studio is celebrating 6 years of business this week! It’s so hard to believe that 6 years can fly by so quickly! It’s because of our wonderful clients that we are able to celebrate this milestone! As always, we, at Grotto Hair Studio, remain a cut above the rest, placing great value in customer satisfaction, while investing in furthering our stylists’ knowledge and education.

Grotto Hair Studio thanks their clients for the past 6 years of successful business!

Grotto Hair Studio thanks their clients for the past 6 years of successful business!