The Best Hair Tips You Can Steal From Celebrity Stylists

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For Glamour, by Deanna Pai.

It’s awards season again. And while La La Land was good and all (or so we’re guessing from those seven Golden Globe wins), we’re also here for the celebrity hairstyles. So far, this year has delivered.

Forget the sleek, simple style of years past (or, you know, 2016). With two shows on the circuit now checked off, we’ve already seen a mixed bag of really cool looks. Example A: At the 2017 Golden Globes, Gal Gadot opted for a twisted ponytail, while Reese Witherspoon went with a modern chignon — which is wild, since she tends to play it safe on the red carpet. Example B: Blake Lively’s waves at the 2017 People’s Choice Awards (and, OK, really anywhere.)

The brains behind all these looks? The stylists, of course, since it takes more than a pair of scissors to make hair red-carpet-worthy. That’s why this awards season we’re asking top celebrity hairstylists to tell us their go-to red-carpet tricks that don’t require a master’s in glam-squad-ography. (Translation: Tips you can actually use in real life.) Stay tuned all season as we add more of their game-changing secrets to the list.

1. Go cordless when you’re traveling.

Janelle Monae’s hair for the Golden Globes (a dramatic teased updo with white accents) may have looked ethereal, but it didn’t take magic to create. Her hairstylist, Nikki Nelms (whose other clients include Solange Knowles and Kelly Rowland), counts on cordless tools to make it happen.

“I keep my cordless heating tools charged up and handy,” she explains. “With them, I can continue styling their hair even while someone is moving around and doing other things.” In this case, she used GVP Rechargeable Travel Styling Iron ($70). If you’ve ever tripped over the cord of your straightening iron — guilty as charged — or found yourself in an Airbnb with plugs in the weirdest spots, you’ll get why this might be valuable IRL too, glam squad or no glam squad.

2. If you have bangs, prep them first.

If you have blunt bangs like Lea Michele’s — a.k.a. the kind you can’t just sweep to the side — you need to start with them first. “When styling bangs, you have to do it right out of the shower,” says hairstylist Sarah Potempa, who counts Michele (and Victoria’s Secret Angels) among her clients. She suggests first working a little bit of mousse through damp, towel-dried bangs. Then lightly blow-dry them, aiming the nozzle of your hair-dryer downward and combing them with a brush like the Sarah Potempa Mini On Set Brush ($23). Then pin them to one side with a silver clip (layering a tissue between the clip and your hair to prevent a crease). After a few minutes, pull them to the other side and pin them again. “This gives your bangs the perfect amount of movement and natural bend,” explains Potempa. Noted.

3. Use hairspray before and after you curl your hair.

We didn't think we could love anything more than Gina Rodriguez's edgy undercut this summer. We were wrong. Before he started to work on those waves, Joico celebrity hairstylist Paul Norton took one-inch sections of Rodriguez's hair and sprayed each with Joico JoiShape Shaping & Finishing Spray ($17). "This gives her hair an extra 'shape-ability' so it adheres to what the curling iron gives you," he explains. Doing this step before you heat-style makes it easier to create neat, even waves. You could spray it on afterward too, but it'll only give your style staying power. More on that here.

4. Try hair wax (instead of styling creams) to hold down awkward pokey-out-y pieces.

We love an intricate (and Instagrammable) braid as much as the next girl, but Gadot's twisted ponytail was a refreshing change. Two things are key to making it work: Twisting each of the two sections of the ponytail in the same direction, which forces them to coil around and prevents them from untwisting, and keeping the rest of the hair sleek. For the latter, Suave Professionals celebrity stylist Jenny Cho dabbed a strong styling wax near Gadot's hairline and worked her way back. "I decided to use a soft wax instead of a cream because it has a stronger hold," says Cho. "If you have layers and don't want them poking out, it's a better choice for control than cream."

5. Add volume at the crown to make a stiff updo look softer.

Witherspoon is America’s sweetheart — and, like we said, she’s not exactly one to go for a dramatic, edgy look. A chignon is a classic, of course, but her hairstylist Adir Abergel added some unexpected drama with a deep side part and volume at the crown. “It creates a really beautiful modern shape,” he explains. “The height creates a more elegant shape to the updo.” He sprayed Virtue Create Finale Shaping Spray ($36), out next month, at the roots before combing the top to create a smooth, shiny finish.

6. Learn the “dotting” method.

When we think Blake Lively, we think sleek updos or glam waves, so this loose, textured look was out of the ordinary (in the best way). Once her hair had dried, Rod Ortega, who styled her hair using L’Oréal Paris, actually spritzed L’Oréal Paris Hair Expert Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo ($7) — which is intended for your roots — in dots onto the layers framing her face before working his way toward the back of her hair.

“A dry shampoo allows me to easily restructure her hair without it becoming too saturated,” explains Ortega. “The dot technique helps control the amount of product.” If he piles on too much, he risks her hair falling flat. (Although from what we can tell, Lively’s hair is immune to that.) It essentially adds texture and lift without weighing hair down.

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The Best Haircuts for Frizzy, Curly, Fried and Fine Hair