Kate Middleton's hair transformation, plus how she styles it

We take a look at Kate Middleton's hair regime, and the clever products that can help you achieve her perfect glossy locks

Kate Middleton, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, attends Shout's Crisis Volunteer celebration event at Troubadour White City Theatre on November 12, 2019
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo / Contributor via Getty Images)

We take a look at how the Duchess of Cambridge’s much admired hair has changed over the years.

The Duchess of Cambridge isn't short of enviable attributes, but we reckon the top spot on the list has to belong to Kate Middleton's hair.

Her trademark 'do gets nearly as much attention as the Duchess herself, which means a fair amount of effort is required to actually achieve this look.

Here, we look at how Kate Middleton's hair has changed over the years, plus how you can copy her look...

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Before becoming a royal

The fascination with Kate’s hair seemingly began at a charity fashion show way back in 2002, when she took to the catwalk in tight ringlets and a very noughties-style hair braid with Prince William sat in the front row. However, she wasn’t one to experiment on the day of their graduation from St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, opting for her classic signature bouncy blow for the occasion. And the rest, as they say, is history...

Kate Middleton's wedding hair

When announcing her engagement to William, she introduced a more polished version of her bouncy blow out with a slight curtain fringe and curled ends. While on her wedding day in 2011, she went for relaxed half up, half down do, worn under a tiara and veil. Revealing her decision behind the style, royal reporter Ashley Pearson said, "Kate had her heart set on wearing her hair down with long flowing curls, which is her favourite way to wear it and actually William’s favourite as well."

Duchess Catherine's holiday hair

Kate ditched products in favour of natural tresses while on a Diamond Jubilee tour in 2012, where she and William represented the Queen in Singapore, Malaysia, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands. Her hair, which she wore longer at the time, perfectly matched the laid-back theme of the event and showed off her natural curls.

Duchess Catherine's darker hair

The Duchess has made plenty of subtle changes to her brunette colour over the years, from caramel to honey-tinged highlights. She showed off her darker locks in 2013 – just four months after giving birth to Prince George – at the Sports Aid Ball. The significantly darker colour and gloss process was reported to have cost Kate up to £700 with famed hairstylist Rossano Ferretti.

Kate Middleton's fringe 

Everybody has experimented with a fringe at some point, and the Duchess of Cambridge is no exception. Celebrity stylist James Johnson said, "Something like this cut – a long bob – is very on trend right now.’ This wasn't the only time she sported a fringe; in the early days of her pregnancy with Prince George, she drew attention away from her bump by sporting a slight fringe and longer locks.

Duchess Catherine's short hair

Kate went for a curly shoulder length do, not long before the arrival of her youngest son, Prince Louis. She was said to have sent the chopped locks anonymously to the Little Princess Trust – a charity that helps make wigs for children going through chemotherapy or radiotherapy. A source revealed at the time, ‘It was sent using someone else’s name, so that the trust didn’t know it was from a royal source – they just thought it was from a female donor in the Kensington area.’ How sweet!

Kate Middleton's lockdown hair

While we're used to seeing her with a big, bouncy blow dry, the Duchess of Cambridge has been seen sporting a much straighter 'do for her Zoom calls. She also revealed that she's been cutting George, Louis and Charlotte's hair: "I've become a hairdresser this lockdown, much to my children's horror," she said during a virtual discussion with fellow parents in January. 

How to get Kate Middleton's blow dry at home

Kate Middleton taking part in preparations for a Commonwealth Big Lunch at St Luke's Community Centre on March 22, 2018

(Image credit: WPA Pool / Pool via Getty Images)

Of course, a professional blow dry is the best way to achieve a volume-packed style (Kate loves Chelsea's Richard Ward). But for those of us sadly without a weekly blow dry budget, a few clever tips and smart styling tools can help you achieve her style too. Read on to discover everything you need to care for, style and cover your greys like Kate.

  1. Apply a small amount of volumising mousse to damp hair and brush evenly through.
  2. Begin to rough dry the hair using your best hair dryer, lifting and heating roots with your fingers.
  3. Use a medium-size round bristle brush to blow dry the hair smooth and using a medium-sized tong, take sections of hair and wrap around the barrel, away from your face.
  4. Hold in place for a few seconds and release. 5. Finish off by lightly brushing through the locks.

What products does Kate Middleton use on her hair?

Rumour has it that the duchess's favourite shampoo and conditioner are by high-end brand Kérastase, specifically the Nutritive Bain Oleo Relax Smoothing Shampoo – which makes perfect sense given her thick locks may have a tendency to frizz. The importance of using the right shampoo should never be underestimated when styling your hair at home.

A good salon brand like Kérastase will totally clean your hair, removing all build-up to encourage shine without stripping it of the natural oils that help it hold a style, as well as providing natural gloss. Plus, this one smells divine.

Kérastase Bain Oleo-Relax Shampoo, $35, Sephora (UK £20.20, Lookfantastic)

Kérastase Bain Oleo-Relax Shampoo, $35, Sephora (UK £20.20, Lookfantastic)

Duchess Catherine's styling trick

Kate is known for her refreshingly hands-on approach to her beauty regime, famously doing her own make-up for her wedding to Prince William. 

Former Vogue Editor-In-Chief Alex Schulman revealed that the Duchess drove up on the day of her photoshoot for the magazine's centenary issue with rollers in her hair. As well as displaying her down-to-earth attitude to grooming, Kate's roller trick is a savvy styling move too. Hair that as been heat styled only sets into place when cooled completely, so leaving rollers in for as long as possible ensures those bouncy curls will stay put far longer.

Rollers may not be as trendy as styling irons, but they are just the thing for glamorous waves, and cost next to nothing. Superdrug's Large Self Grip Rollers will do the job nicely. Simply separate newly dried hair into sections, wind in, blast with heat again and leave to cool entirely.

Then, slowly unwind each section, shaking out with your fingers and misting with hairspray. If you can get away with keeping them in for a few hours, so much the better!

Superdrug Large Self Grip Rollers, £2.49, Superdrug

Superdrug Large Self Grip Rollers, £2.49, Superdrug

Duchess Catherine's hair colour secrets

Kate Middleton's hair colour is a perfect, natural mix of tones. It has a healthy chestnut base, with a bit of interest thrown in from a blend of different brunette tones, which together create an understated head of hair that is a thing of quiet luxury.

Fancy giving it a whirl? Chelsea hairdresser (and reportedly long-time stylist to Kate) Richard Ward revealed how to copy her colour to The Daily Mail. "‘Ask your stylist for three different shades of lowlights, one lighter than your natural base colour, one about the same and one slightly darker to create a multi-tonal affect in the same hues. Dyeing just a few strands of hair in each shade, as opposed to large sections, achieves a more natural look."

Duly noted!

Fiona McKim
Beauty Editor, womanandhome.com

 As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.