Get to know what our celebrity Hair Stylist Antara Bahuguna Ghosh has to say about her favourite NishHair extensions

There are a handful of moments in my life that I can pinpoint that have changed me as a hairdresser and a hairstylist. 

The first, when I learned how to hold a pair of scissors properly. It might not seem too mind-blowing, but trust me, it makes a massive difference. So much that in fact, I use non-haircutting scissors in the same way. The second moment was when I discovered the importance of ingredients in the prep and styling products. As a person who was very artsy in my school years, chemistry was not a strong suit, but in the context of hair, learning about various chemicals has been fun and relevant. When I was 13, talking about dimethicones and sulphates would have gone over my head, but experiencing the effects on different types of hair firsthand, makes it make more sense.

The third instance was when I first dealt with hair extensions. It was on the set of Veere di Wedding, my first ever project and also my first tryst with extensions. The person I was assisting gave me a crash course on extensions and what exactly my job was—every night after shoot, it was my job to detangle the extensions and rinse, dry and kind of prep them for the next day of shoot, but I never really worked with them, because I was just assisting. 

The first real time I worked with extensions was on Hey Prabhu, where I was the head hairstylist and created the hair and makeup looks to be followed through the film. Initially, when I had outlined the looks, Arunima had purple hair and Mita had long hair that was always in a chic bun. This was before Parul and Achint were even cast for the roles. I remember sending out the PPT and getting back notes from the art department to avoid purple and from the direction department to make Mita more Miranda Priestly-esque. So then the colour was changed to the beautiful blue you see on Arunima and the iconic silver streak was added to Mita’s character, both sets of extensions, of course, were supplied by Nish Hair. 

Adding these small visual details adds more layers to a character. Before we ever hear Mita speak, we see her chic appearance, from the heels she wears to the silver streak in her berry hair and we know she’s a stern boss and pays attention to detail and has a high standard when it comes to work. When we’re first introduced to Arunima, we know her as Mita’s best writer, one would expect another version of Mita, which we get in her personality. Arunima’s styling is causal and young, and her hair isn’t as coiffed as Mita’s and the blue panels make her seem fun, which juxtaposes her serious and ambitious personality, but unconsciously makes a viewer question if there’s more to her. Because surely the cool blue haired girl in the office can’t just be a nagging perfectionist, right?

In another project called House Arrest, I gave a character named Pinky pink hair.  When we first meet her she seems like an extremely bright and bubbly person, so giving her pink hair was almost making a caricature out of her, but this also made the moments when her sinister side comes out, stand out more.

It’s these small details in the styling that make it more satisfying to create a character

Of course, you don’t really need coloured hair extensions to flesh out a character. They can be used for more technical reasons. On another film, RK/RKay, there was a character named Gulabo who was an old Bollywood style heroine, but the actor who was playing the part had hair that was highlighted and much shorter than what would have looked appropriate for the time. Normally, I love highlighted hair, because on screen it doesn’t look flat, dark and like an all consuming void around the actor’s face, but in this instance darker hair would be more fitting. So with extensions, I hid the lightened parts of her hair and gave her length and that helped add on to that old Bollywood Madhubala vibe that we had wanted.

Extensions are also used for simpler reasons like adding volume or faux highlights. The film industry is a fast paced business, and it’s wise to work smarter and not harder and save time where you can. Instead of adding volume to an actor’s hair with back combing and product, which makes the hair look stiff and unnatural and also takes more time than just strategically clipping in some seamless side patches. Sometimes because an actor is in continuity for another project, I can’t give them highlighted hair, so I custom highlight hair extensions and use that instead. I use them to make textured up-dos or half up half down hairstyles look more filled out. 

The possibilities are endless with hair extensions, which is why they’ve been such a key component to film, tv and fashion, and also why Nish extensions are a staple in my kit.

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