Secrets Every Master Hairstylist Learns

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It’s only natural that the hair-obsessed website Mane Addicts, brainchild of hairstylist Jen Atkin, also hosts
regular master classes with celebrity stylists to help spread the Gospel of Hair. And while normally it’s the pros who attend them—and shell out up to $630 to do so!—I scored my own spot at the most recent one, held at DreamDry in New York City, to see if a regular person like me could still pick up a couple of useful tips (spoiler: yes). The two pros leading the course were Harry Josh (a.k.a. Gisele’s BFF and the guy behind Victoria’s Secret models’ sexy waves) and Chris Appleton (Rita Ora’s main mane man). And both of them had a wealth of nonstop hair knowledge to share.

There’s no such thing as too much mousse. Your fear of mousse? Yeah, that’s got to go. Hairstylists use way more mousse than you think, but the end result is lots and lots of body and lift. Newer formulas are superlight, so they lend volume without the crunch. Josh says that he uses it in every single look he does, and his favorite by far is John Frieda’s Frizz-Ease Mousse because he can use it on wet or dry hair (he’s also a spokesperson for the brand). For most of the hairstyles I observed that day, the stylist would section out one-to-two-inch sections of hair and use a quarter-size glob of mousse for each section.

Get friendly with the cold-air button on your blow-dryer. “Cold air is important to freeze the hair in place,” says Josh. “If you only use hot air, your hair is going to fall flat again.” Section off the top area of your hair (Josh calls this the “Mohawk section”), and while it’s wet, use a small brush to lift a three-inch section up, starting from one side. Blast hot air, concentrating on the roots, for about 10 seconds, then follow with a shot of cold air for another five seconds.

When you’re using a curling iron, it’s all about the angle. “Where you keep your iron is everything to get the wave pattern right,” says Josh. To avoid Farah Fawcett hair, hold the iron horizontally. And the amount of hair you wrap around the iron at once matters, too: Do a one-inch section at a time, so you’re not trying to curl too much at once (which can result in a weak wave) or too little (which will give you springy curls). (Bonus: Check out this video Josh did for us demonstrating how to use a marcel iron.)

Damaged hair isn’t always a bad thing—really. Overbleached, fried hair can actually make for an easier styling process because it provides better grip. Silky hair is “nightmare hair” when it comes to styling, says Appleton, so a hairstylist will end up using tons of products to get texture and hold. We’re not saying that you should aspire to fried hair, but rest assured that you can still achieve beautiful styles if you do have it.

Even Rita Ora loves Olaplex. To help maintain Ora’s signature platinum-blonde shade, he keeps her hair in check by using Olaplex on her hair every two weeks.