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Sophie, Countess of Wessex has had several hairstyles over the years; when she was in her 20s, she favoured a short cropped style that is usually popular with older women, versus her more youthful current shoulder-length hair. Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Nicole Petty, hair expert and Milk + Blush about the hairstyle choices the royal has made, and which are the most youthful.
Speaking about the type of hair Sophie has, Nicole said: “The Countess of Wessex has sandy blonde hair with highlights that sits just below her collarbones. She has naturally straight hair that is of medium thickness, which features layers and face-framing pieces to add dimension and complement her face shape.”
When she was younger, Sophie opted for short hairstyles, similar to Princess Diana’s on occasion. Nicole commented: “During the 1990s, she opted for a rounded pixie cut, very similar to the hairstyle that Princess Diana wore in her 20s, in her natural hair colour.
“The pixie cut was a major hair trend of the 90s, and the soft edges of the haircut took away the harshness of Sophie’s jawline along with the wispy pieces around the front of her face which covered some of her foreheads to balance out her features.
“In the early 90s, her short hair was a ‘bronde’ colour, with darker roots. The style had a few highlights to brighten the top pieces of hair and plenty of volume around the crown.
“Towards the end of the decade, Sophie grew her hair and settled on a longer pixie bob cut. She maintained its round shape and layers, adding side bangs and sandy blonde and creamy highlights, which accentuated her beauty and gave her more of a youthful glow,” she added.
“From then on, Sophie has stuck with the sandy-coloured blonde but has chosen to grow her hair longer, sporting a rounded bob cut in the early 2000s and settling on the mid-length locks from the 2010s until today.”
Discussing her current style, Nicole said: “Her hair sits mid-way down her back and features some cool tone creamy highlights mixed in with her sandy blonde colour that has signs of greying. The highlights add a natural lift and dimension to her hair.
“Where her hair is of medium thickness, she has some layers to reduce weight and create shape, volume, movement and texture.
“In particular, Sophie’s hair has shorter layers around the front of her hair, which help to frame her face and complement her angular jaw and cheekbones.
“Sophie has sharp and more angular features, with a wider forehead and a square but narrow jaw, so she parts her hair to the side and styles her front pieces with a swooping method to soften the harshness of her features and balance the dimensions of her face.”
Nicole also revealed which of Sophie’s hairstyles was the most youthful: “Whilst Sophie’s longer hair certainly suits her and is a classic and elegant style, her shorter style makes her look more youthful.
“Her angular jawline means she could suit the rounded bob of her earlier years once again. This would remove the illusion of length and weight from her face. Also, side parting her hair in this style would soften the width of her forehead and detract attention away from any lines.
“Occasionally, Sophie wears her hair in soft waves – adding these to a bob would create a sophisticated yet youthful look.”
The hair expert added: “The Countess will also switch up her style for different engagements, opting for more relaxed styles such as a side ponytail or leaving her hair down at more relaxed events and wearing sophisticated up-dos for more formal occasions.
“One that she favours is the French twist, a classic hairstyle that never goes out of style.
“The second is an inverse ponytail, which adds some texture and a more polished style to an otherwise regular ponytail.
“Sophie has also been seen multiple times with what is most commonly known as the half-up half-down style, typically held in place with a decorative hair clip. This displays the royal’s preference for a more relaxed ‘girl-next-door’ look and is super easy for members of the public to copy as it suits most hair types and face shapes.
“And finally, the royal has taken to wearing her hair pinned back behind her head in a low, classic chignon while she is on duties overseas. This hairstyle is easy to achieve in hot climates, keeps the hair off her face and keeps any frizz at bay,” Nicole explained.
Sophie is also the only royal to choose a side ponytail over a centre. Nicole said: “Sophie’s side ponytail choice could be due to several reasons. Firstly, royals such as the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex have traditionally favoured a centre-low or mid ponytail, so the countess might opt for a side ponytail instead to establish a more distinctive look while remaining regal and sophisticated.
“Also, the style is very complementary of Sophie’s features, as the low, side ponytail makes Sophie appear very elegant and is a more youthful take on the regular ponytail.
“Plus, it is a great hairstyle for some of the less formal events and engagements that she attends.”
According to Urban Dictionary, the side ponytail was popular with girls in the late 1960s and again in the 1980s and 1990s.
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