If you’ve ever tried to recreate anything from a basic ponytail to the sexy bedhead hair seen on celebs and runway models with less-than-stellar results, there’s a reason you can’t match the look—and it’s not your hairstyling skills. Our friends at Stylelist got the lowdown on five essential tools that are key to pulling off any hairstyle you want to create with ease. The good news is, you can find all of them at your local beauty supply store. And remember, attitude is key.
Photo: © Luca Cannonieri
“Confidence is the best tool or product we use. When the girls walk down the runway, they believe they look good, even if they hate the clothes, hair and makeup. If you’re trying a new look or product, own it!” says Rsession Tools co-founder and Fashion Week backstage fixture Kevin Ryan.
Ponytails look freshest when you finger comb strands into place, but the process of pulling the gathered hair through a regular elastic destroys the piece-y texture and flirtatious tail height of your pony. This is why celebrities and models opt instead for bungee elastics.
You simply wrap the elastic around your hair, and secure by hooking the ends together or on the surface of the elastic so as not to disturb the finish or volume of your hair.
“Regular elastics are sometimes too tight or too loose,” says Ryan. “Bungee elastics allow you to wrap the elastics around until they are a perfect fit.”
How do red carpet updos stay in place so beautifully, when your attempts to replicate result in strands slipping out of place and flattening in minutes? It’s actually not hairspray that’s the key, but a dry shampoo that stylists just about always use to prep roots before styling hair.
“These work by applying a layer of fine powder to the roots of the hair. It will absorb the hair oil, and when you brush it out a few minutes later, the hair will be fuller and dryer looking. It adds volume to limp, fine hair and gives great texture for updos, as hair that is too clean is slippery and hard to style,” says Ryan.
To apply, work through sections of hair separated by a pick comb, and spray powder in opposite direction of hair growth, at the root. Allow to absorb for a few minutes, and then brush out. Not only will your hair fall into different shapes more easily, but this is a great way to cheat more days out of a blowout.
Point-Tipped Straightening Iron
Straight hair on the red carpet always looks like freshly ironed sheets, while waves and curls capture long-lasting bounce. Yet the reason why your results are fleeting most likely has to do with the use of a too big or bulky-shaped flat iron.
“Don’t buy a big iron to save time, because it will be hard to manipulate, and you won’t be able to direct the hair. If the edges are beveled, you can create volume and movement in the hair without leaving the creases that sharp edges can,” says Ryan. “I like an iron that tapers to a point so that you can get to the hard-to-reach parts of hair, like bangs. Curved edges and a heated curved back are great for straightening and adding volume to the hair.”
Backcombing Brush Or Comb
While the ’80s may have given the art of hair teasing a bad name, a solid back comb is the crowning foundation for most hair styles you see sported on red carpets and runways. “When you want to create volume, you need a back comb. A regular brush or comb doesn’t have enough bristles or teeth. The more teeth and the closer they are placed together, the better,” says Ryan.
Grasping a section of hair, push a few smooth yet firm strokes down toward the root. Once you have a good base, continue the back-combing through to the ends, though using less pressure. Then spray a light workable hairspray for hold, making sure that the formula isn’t too sticky. “Don’t be afraid of too much volume—it’s easy to tame and remove,” says Ryan.
Once you’ve finished teasing, gently smooth down the exterior with a bamboo brush with both nylon and boar bristles for the sleekest results. And don’t get frustrated—rarely does anyone learn to back-comb the first few times they try. With some practice, you’ll be able to add the technique to your styling repertoire.
Ever wonder why your authentic bed hair never quite looks the same as the tousled, come-hither waves of Victoria’s Secret photo shoots and Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers? It’s all in the prep spray.
“This is a backstage staple, as it gives a rough lived-in look, but still gives volume. If you blow-dry it in, it gives a dry full texture. When used on curly hair, it gives a chunky, sexy look. I like to use a little cream on the ends to give definition,” says Ryan.
For texturized hair that sits with volume, spritz all over roots before blow-drying with a round brush. Or to add a piece-y lived-in look, finish your style with a few spritzes all over strands, and distribute with your fingers.
Try on celebrity hairstyles in the Makeover Studio!