With award season once again upon us, we'll see plenty of breathtaking celebrity hair inspiration in the next few weeks, so I thought I'd debunk a few Hollywood hair myths and show you some easy ways to cheat the celebrity hair look at home.
Myth #1: The Myth of Freshly Washed Hair
Call it Hollywood's dirty little hair secret! Most women I know think that clean, just-shampooed hair is a prerequisite to having a good hair day, but that gorgeous hair you see on the red carpet? It's probably dirty. Stars are asked to show up for their Golden Globes or Oscar styling session with dry hair, preferably washed no sooner than the night before. Here's why: Dirty hair holds a style better than fresh, clean hair. And it's during the damp stage that style sets in anyway, meaning all that time you spend with the dryer and a brush styling dripping wet hair is a waste!
If you give up the myth of clean hair and allow yourself to wash it the night before and then just revive it in the morning, your hair will have more body and you'll have more time. To style dry hair, just dampen your brush and run it over the top layer of hair before you blow-dry and/or use products meant for styling dry hair, like dry texturizing spray, hair oil and dry shampoo, along with a straightening or curling iron (you've skipped the blow out step) to style your hair.
Myth # 2: The Myth of Red Carpet Curls
You'll never see frizzy curls on the red carpet, only perfectly defined, gorgeous waves or ringlets, even if the star's known for her naturally curly hair. What's the secret? First her hair stylist will blow hair straight to take the frizz out (kind of like ironing out the curls!) , then he'll go back in with a curling iron and put in precise waves or curls.
You can achieve a similar effect by applying frizz-fighting lotion or hair oil to wet or damp hair, then wrapping your hair tightly in a snail-like bun to sleeken the curl. Once dry, use a curling iron to give the curls more direction if needed.
Myth #3: The Myth of Superior Hair DNA
Not every celebrity has great hair. What they do have is great spirit... and hair confidence! To reference celebrity stylist Harry Josh's quote from my book, How To Look Expensive, "What's so great about Kate Moss's hair? It's medium-fine hair, cut to her shoulders. Nothing special. But we love it because we love the image she portrays. Attitude is everything when it comes to hair."
As Josh told me, "Own your hair. Even if you just pull it back, if you own it, it can look amazing." It's the 'fake it until you make it' theory... and believe me, it works. If you have hair confidence, you'll feel hair confident... and confident period!
The 'It's Real" Myth
You can often recognize a boob job in Hollywood, but fake hair? Tougher to catch. Stylists tell me with HD TV, you can see right through hair so they almost always have to pump it up with (invisible) extensions. Remember this as you watch stars on the red carpet and feel badly that you don't have their superior hair DNA (myth #4!).
There are plenty of extensions, the clip-on kind, on the mass market these days. I use them sometimes when I'm on TV and no one can tell. For a natural look you can buy some and even color them when you color your hair at home or give them to your hair stylist for a perfect match. Or you can thicken your own hair with the new volumizing powders. Got-2b, a drugstore beauty product, is my favorite. Apply to roots, massage in and your hair will look fuller instantly. For-real!
Myth #5: The Myth of The Award Show Ponytail
Those glammed up pony's you see every year walking the red carpet? I call them 'phony-tails' because even though they look like ponytails, there's nothing remotely resembling your 30 second at-home ponytail about them! These are sophisticated hair styles created by high-end, high-priced hair stylist who spends the time to first blow out, tease and curl a star's hair before pulling it back. Seriously. Celeb stylist Steven Dillon once gave me one of these dressy ponytails for an event and I sat in his chair for over an hour, a far cry from the 30 seconds it takes me to make a ponytail at home! One stylist I interviewed for my book told me he once pocketed $5000 (paid for by the movie studio of course) to make a film star's ponytail for her overseas movie premiere -- and that's not counting the cost of flying him to Europe first class and putting him up at the same chic boutique hotel as the star herself!
I've got some great ways to 'cheat' the time-consuming styling part and turn your own DIY ponytail into a red-carpet worthy hair style:
For a big messy celebrity ponytail, you can use a dry texturizing spray (Oribe's is my favorite) to 'tease' hair in seconds. Turn hair over your head and spritz the hell of it. Flip over your hair and pull it back, securing it with a bungee cord elastic so as not to squish the volume at the crown. For added volume, try Conair's Perfect Pony kit, which has a funky piece of plastic you place at the crown between layers of hair to create a bigger 'bump' in front of your elastic.
For a sleek ponytail, pull hair back sleek, apply some hair oil for shine, then go over the tail with a straight iron to smooth it out as if you'd blown it dry.
For a mix of the two styles, sleek front with a full tail, pull your hair into a sleek ponytail as described above, secure it with an elastic, then tease just the tail for a messy, sexy, red-carpet-worthy effect.
One more Hollywood ponytail trick: Always remember to take a piece of hair from the base of the ponytail and wrap it around the base of your ponytail to hide the elastic!