The bridal market in South India is slowly but surely opening up. With brides wanting to flaunt contemporary looks while remaining rooted in their traditions, bridal hair down South is a challenge for hairdressers.
South Indian brides are the true definition of ‘traditional Indian beauty’. And, their hairstyle plays an important role in it all. From upstyles to accessories and from pre-bridal haircare to working with their particular hair texture, South Indian brides pose a challenge for hairstylists. We get top experts to divulge tips on styling a South Indian bride.
Seema V Jerajani, Educator and Consultant, SVJ Academy for Hair and Makeup, says, “The hairstyle for South Indian brides is a traditional braid or a braid with a bun that is decorated with flowers, such as jasmine. However many stylists use other flowers, too, which are often coloured with colour sprays, to match the hues of the traditional saree.”
It’s important to check whether the wedding ceremony is purely Tamil or Malayalee (or from one of the other three states), or if it’s a mixed marriage, as every state has its own cultural flavour.
Also, each state has its own unique rituals. Jerajani notes that the hairstylist must check if the flowers or gajras for the South Indian bride’s hairdo are being given by the groom’s family, or should the stylist arrange for it. The bride may wear hair jewellery instead of flowers. She elaborates, “Naga jadai, a long accessory, is an alternative to flowers; so, the hairstyle has to take the weight of this heavy accessory. Or, it can be the round circular jewellery clips that are arranged in descending order, according to their size. The braid is ended with a jada kunjalam, which is often made of 22k gold!”
Jerajani’s tips to hairstylists for styling South Indian brides:
- Check if the bride has the adequate hair length and thickness, otherwise use extensions for the long braid.
- If the bride is wearing the matha patti or maang tikka, plan the hairstyle depending on how heavy the jewellery is along the hairline. The sun and moon jewellery is also worn along with matha patti; so, style the hair to take the weight.
- Some weddings have a ceremony where the couple is showered with a lot of flowers and yellow colour rice. Check that the hairstyle can sustain that shower of rice and that the South Indian bride’s hair is in place.
- The saree draping has to be perfect to enhance the waist with the kamarbandh. Often the bride wears up to 12 necklaces and a baju bandh; all this takes time. So the hair and make-up artist must keep adequate extra time to adorn the bride with all the jewellery.
Text: Benaifer J Mirza