8 Backstage Hair Cheats You Should Steal For Your Salon
Doesn't Every Client Want to Feel Like Miss Universe?
By Katie Harrington
The drama, the tears…the synthetic hair. When you’re a stylist at one of the largest beauty pageants in the world, things can get a little crazy backstage. Your 17-hour workday begins with a 7 a.m. call time and doesn’t end until the last piece of confetti hits the stadium floor. The day of the show, contestants fly in and out of your 2×2 station (you style about eight different girls three times throughout the day), and sometimes, you’ll have just three minutes to change long, flowing curls into an intricate, evening upstyle. But if you’ve ever dreamed of being a part of this backstage excitement…keep reading! BTC asked some top Miss Universe stylists from the CHI global styling team, who sponsored the event, their advice on how to make sure every Miss has crown-worthy hair all day long. Here are their top style, speed and technique tips that can be applied to a frantic day at the salon.
1. Fancy Finger Work
“When you do a show like Miss Universe, it’s all about speed,” says Lisa Marie Garcia, CHI Stylist and Vice President of Education. To create buns and ponytails as quickly as possible (think 32 bridesmaids in a day!), Lisa Marie recommends swapping your regular elastics for one of these three, faster (and more versatile!) methods of securing an updo.
• Attach two bobby pins to a rubber band, one on each side. Pin one in the hair, secure your updo with the band and criss-cross the two pins to hold it in place.
• Use a hair bungee (an elastic with a metal hook on each end), which allows you more control of the tightness and messiness of your pony, as well as speeds up styling time.
• Use thread as opposed to an elastic—it’s the easiest and fastest way to secure a ponytail. Simply twist around the hair and tie a knot!
2. Burn, Baby, Burn
Something that happens to every Miss Universe stylist at least once, says CHI Stylist Efrain Leiva, is they find out the hard way that a contestant is wearing synthetic extensions, which melt when styled with hot tools. “I didn’t know this the first time I did the event,” says Efrain. “I was flat ironing a contestant’s hair and noticed it was melting! Moral of the story? Always make sure to give a strand test!”
3. Turn up the Volume
Another way the Miss Universe contests are like our clients? They all want beautiful volume and shine. For perfect curls that last all day long, says Farouk Systems Platform Artist, Anna Cantu, make sure to smooth the hair before you curl—this includes polishing with hairspray and making sure to control flyaways. Then, for maximum lift, slightly overdirect and use a 1¼-inch iron to curl. “Make sure to bend and polish—put your hand on the hair and actually feel the heat with your hand,” says Anna. Let it sit for about 30 seconds, and voila! A+ curls, every time.
4. Keep it Bouncy
Have you ever noticed how when models walk down the runway, their hair seems to bounce as they move? There’s a reason for that, and your clients want that bounce, too! Pageant stylists know that to maintain elasticity in the hair, they can’t use any tension when blow-drying. “Hair has stretch to it,” says Farouk Systems Creative Director, Maurice Den Exter. “If you pull the hair, or straighten it with an iron, it automatically loses 10 percent of its elasticity.” To maintain that voluptuous bounce, make sure not to pull on the hair with your brush. Simply roll the brush in, blow-dry and release. Then when you use your curling iron, you’ll have amazing, runway-ready results.
5. Pin Drop
At a major show like Miss Universe, bobby pins are a stylist’s best friend. Yet somehow, these essential tools always manage to disappear into thin air! Never lose another pin by following this trick from Efrain. “I always keep my bobby pins on my badge,” he reveals. “I know I can never lose my badge, so I’ll never lose my pins!” Bonus! Keeping them around your neck or on your belt loop makes them quick and easy to grab—perfect for that three-minute updo.
6. Find Her Good Side
This tip is great for Miss Universe contestants, but can be applied to your salon clients as well! “If you stand back and look at each side of a contestant’s face, you’ll notice one side will be ‘smiling,’” says Farouk Systems Creative Director, Patrick Kalle. “Once you identify this side, you always want to part the hair (or sweep the bangs) the opposite way to accentuate the good side.
7. On Your Mark, Get Set
“One of the most important things I’ve learned is that if you can condense sections, so much the merrier,” says CHI Stylist Albert Luiz. “When I used to do training sessions for pageants back home, I used to time people, and if they could get a whole set on the head in eight minutes, they were good enough for a pageant. Being quick, efficient and having the ability to work with multiple tools is a must.”
8. Less is More
According to Lisa Marie, one of the biggest mistakes all stylists tend to make is using too much product. “If you use too much,” she warns, “the product will start working against you, and the hair will actually get flat.” Instead of piling on the product, Lisa Marie suggests using a flexible hold hairspray, such as the Miss Universe Work your Style Flexible Hair Spray, and a teasing brush to add all-day volume. “Backcomb with the teasing brush and then use a large rake comb to brush back through the hair, which will make the curls expand,” she notes. “This is a quick way to add volume—and doesn’t require too much product!”