Q&A with head and shoulders ambassador Dawn Porter

TV presenter Dawn Porter, who is the new ambassador for head and shoulders Apple Fresh, talks about her beauty regime.

Talk us through your daily hair care regime?
I wash my hair most days because I use quite a lot of hairspray and I back comb it too. I have to have big hair or I don’t feel like myself. I blow dry it upside down then tidy it up and bob it all under with straighteners, taking about 6 minutes. My hair is my ‘thing’, when it isn’t right I don’t feel like myself at all. It’s the key to my confidence and it does most of my flirting for me too. If my hair is flat and dirty then so is my personality, but not in a good way ;)

How would you describe your hair?
Dark brown, thick, normal. It has a natural wave but just enough to give it a lift; not so much that it is hard to control. My mum was grey by the time she was 30, as were her two brothers, but my dad still has dark brown hair at 68 so I am on the cusp of knowing which way I’m going to go. I don’t really mind too much; I think a bit of silver spray can look quite sexy. For me, as long as it’s clean, fresh and smells nice I think I can handle a silver barnet. This looming head of silver hair does make me want to enjoy my dark brown while I have it though. Right now my hair is the best it’s ever been, I look after it really well. It’s shiny, healthy and still dark brunette, which I love.

How do you adapt your haircare routine to your schedule?
I don’t, I have just got used to doing my hair quickly. Even if I have loads of time I do exactly the same thing. I blow dry my hair upside down and style it with straighteners.

When I’m filming I never have a stylist (only for photo shoots, but making documentaries is a lot less glamorous than that). I always do my hair, make up and wardrobe myself as budgets are tight. We work long hours, often up at 6am and filming by 7am so I just had to work out a style that was easy and took no time. When I used to have long hair I always had it up or used a crocodile clip to give it some height (a girl needs a bouffant to feel strong - I made up that quote once at work, my crew thought I was an idiot).

These days I stick to my bob. It is the same hairstyle I had when I was a kid so it feels like I’ve full circled, but it is definitely me at my happiest with my hair. When you find a style you like it’s easy to get to know it and whip it into shape pretty quickly.

When are you happiest with your hair?
When I have formed it into the perfect bob. I have exactly the same hairstyle I had from age 3 to 11, so it’s quite funny looking at childhood pics. I feel like it’s a style that suits me and goes with my love of vintage clothing. Some people do tell me I have ‘helmet hair’ but I don’t mind that; I like that my hair is as much a part of my look as my outfits are.

What’s the worst thing you have ever done to your hair?
I had dreadlocks as a teenager because I refused to wash or brush it for two years. It was absolutely disgusting - my family were so angry with me for the entire time but I was determined that it was cool. No one else was doing it so God knows what I was thinking. They weren’t even good ones. I had two huge, flat stinky ones at the back. Eeeeeewwww. One night it took four of my friends to brush it out and it hurt so much. When they were gone my hair was so limp and flat, I felt like a pin head. Apart from that I didn’t have a fringe from about ages 14 to 22 and that was a mistake. I don’t like the way I look without a fringe so I imagine I will always have one now.

How do you like to style your hair for red carpet events?
Really simple. Brush it through, back brush the roots all around to make a mushroom then use straighteners to smooth it out and bob my fringe under - then a truck load of hairspray. For the bigger events I might have a stylist but 90% of the time I just do it myself. I don’t mind having my make-up done but I know how I like my hair so generally I don’t like people getting involved. It has taken years for me to have the confidence to tell a stylist I don’t like what they have done, so there are a lot of photos of me out there where I hate my hair because I didn’t take control. I don’t like going to the hairdresser for the same reason, the way they blow dry it is never right. I always wash my hair as soon as I get home and then do it myself.

What makes you a fan of the Apple Fresh regimen?
It smells nice; nice smelling hair without flakes is a winner, no? The smell is sweet and fruity and it lasts, so by the end of the day my hair still smells lovely. I think the fact that head&shoulders didn’t have a nice smell before might have put some people off as girls like to have nice smelling hair. Apple Fresh smells lovely.

Who is your beauty icon?
I could look at pictures of Twiggy in the 60’s all day. Those eye lashes, the 60’s dresses. Just the whole look. Her pictures are iconic; they define a shift in fashion that I think was so exciting. I will forever be gutted that I wasn’t a teenager in the 60’s. I live vicariously through images of women back then. The hair, the fashion, the make-up. For me it is beauty perfection.

Who do you turn to for beauty advice?
The Internet. I just type in what I am looking for ‘best mascara’ and see what reviews come up. I buy most make up on recommendation from friends or reviews. I have so much make-up and rarely use any of it. I am a bit of a lipstick hoarder.

How do you unwind after work?
Eat, drink, read. I cook a big meal, crack open a nice red and watch TV until about 10.30pm. Then I go to bed and read. I am a bit of a book worm these days, it’s the best way to shut down.

How important to you is looking good whilst at work and in the public eye?
Pretty important. Mainly because it makes you feel low when a horrible photo gets out to the public. I have had plenty of those! I never used to think about my looks and it shows. I made a few simple changes - a proper hair care regime, a well matched foundation, good mascara and a good blusher are my top 4 tricks.

What is your earliest beauty memory?
Piling on my mother’s make up aged 5 and getting told off for putting lipstick on my eyes. Red lipstick on your eye lids isn’t a good look. She wiped it straight off and I never did that again.

Who inspires you?
My best friend and sister because they are naturally beautiful. As much as they love clothes and fashion it doesn’t rule them. We share a love for vintage dresses and prefer looking natural and easy than overly styled. None of us really do much to ourselves and I like that.

Do you have an indulgent product when you have time to yourself?
Food and wine. I eat a lot of food and love cooking, that’s pretty much all I do at home. I cook everything from scratch so it’s a hobby as much as anything else. I don’t really do ‘treats’ I don’t think food should be a reward. I eat what I want when I want, and when I eat too much I walk my dog twice round the park instead of once.

What are you reading right now?
The most beautiful book called, Flowers for Mrs. Harris. It’s about a London char woman who goes to Paris to buy a Dior dress. I love vintage Dior so this story is something I can totally empathise with.

New head&shoulders Apple Fresh is in stores nationwide RRP €3.69

Porter with husband Chris O'Dowd