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Last updated: September 01, 2020

Backstage Hair Tricks That Work IRL

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Today's finger waves. The Blonds by @hairbyeleven for Moroccanoil. / GIF by

SPOTTED: BTC backstage at the hottest shows of New York Fashion Week! Twice a year, major designers showcase new collections in New York, and not only is it the best place to see how trends are evolving—it’s also a great way to see smart hair cheats that will cut down client time in your chair. Keep reading to see the hair hacks we picked up after NYFW this season!


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Use nets plus heat to set styles

The top cheat we see backstage is definitely the use of nets to finish styles. From super-fine mesh to fabric with larger holes, hair leads use these when a style is almost complete to hold the style in place while they “bake” it with a Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer Professional Edition and the Diffuser Attachment. Once the hair is cooled, remove the net, or use the net to add tension for even more smoothing assistance.


Nets spotted backstage. Dion Lee by @eugenesouleiman for Wella Professionals. / GIF by


Get softly sculpted finger waves

We’re back in the Roaring ’20s—except now it’s 2020—and finger waves are making a reappearance! The difference in today’s waves versus the state board waves of your nightmares? The look today should feel more relaxed and shiny. 


When we saw the finger waves Moroccanoil® Artistic Director Kevin Hughes (@hairbyeleven) and his team were creating backstage at The Blonds, we had to get their trick for soft, workable waves without crunch. And guess what? It’s a cocktail! Combine Moroccanoil® Styling Gel with Moroccanoil® Smoothing Lotion for glossy finger waves without too much stiffness. 


Today's finger waves. The Blonds by @hairbyeleven for Moroccanoil. / GIF by


Cheat finger waves with this trick

For a lighter take on the finger wave trend, try this trick we saw at Nicole Miller. Oribe Principle Educator of Content & Training Kien Hoang (@kienhoang) and his team used tiny Hot Tools Marcel irons to create intentional ridges in the hair. Placing all the ridges around the head at the same intervals then lightly brushing through gives the appearance of brushed-out finger waves (but without waiting for a wet set to dry). Finish with Oribe Flash Form Finishing Wax for weightless separation and sheen.


Dry finger wave technique. Nicole Miller by @kienhoang for Oribe. / GIF by


Alternate hot and cold air to seal shine

How can you ensure long-lasting formal upstyles? We found the solution backstage at Brandon Maxwell, led by Bob Recine (@bobrecine) for Redken and Dyson: Seal styles by alternating hot and cold air. Let us explain…


This particular look was meant to be very sleek and shiny. Blow-drying product into the hair (Bob used Redken Full Frame 07 All-Over Volumizing Mousse) with high heat keeps it sleek, while hitting with the cold shot immediately cools the look down and sets the shine. Genius!


Achieve super sleek shine with lots of Redken Full Frame 07 Mousse. Brandon Maxwell by @bobrecine for Redken and Dyson. / Photo by


Smooth curly girls fast

Key hairdressers at fashion shows usually have MAX 2 hours to finish the hair of 30 or more models, so speed is CRUCIAL. That’s why we liked this trick we saw at the Sergio Hudson show, led by Wella Professionals Global Top Artist Aubrey Loots (@lootypics). The look was modeled after ’90s supermodel hair—voluminous with body, but not curl. To work smarter instead of harder, Aubrey’s team used the ghd glide hot brush to quickly work through curly hair instead of completing a full blow-out. The hot brush helped smooth the curls fast before the team set the hair into big bouncy waves.


Curly hair cheat. Sergio Hudson by @lootypics for Wella Professionals and ghd. / GIF by


Try this backcombing trick to build width

Since it’s #ONESHOT season, we had to share this smart editorial hair tip we picked up from amika Global Artistic Director Naeemah LaFond (@naeemahlafond) backstage at Christopher John Rogers. She explained how doing a “flat backcomb,” working row by row, helps achieve width versus height. The goal for this was topiary-inspired hair shapes, so she worked outwards and used liberal amounts of amika Vandal Volume Powder Spray to build the shape even bigger.


Flat backcomb technique. Christopher John Rogers by @naeemahlafond for amika. / GIF by


Get longer-lasting French twists

Are your French twists falling out? Check out this tip from @erickinvisible we found at Christian Cowan, with hair by Laurent Philippon (@laurentphilippon) for Bumble and bumble. Always start the technique by backcombing a section in the center-back of the head. This will create a pin cushion of texture to secure the twist into. First, gather the hair and use large pins to loosely anchor the twist into the backcombed section. After you’ve built the shape, then push the pins into the padded section to secure the updo.



lil bobby thing / naeem khan jon reyman aveda and dyson

Use this DIY doodad to secure chignons

A chic chignon is a timeless bridal style, so we were obsessed with this trick we saw at the Naeem Khan show led by Jon Reyman (@jonreymanhair) for Aveda and Dyson. Loop an elastic through two bobby pins:


Photo by


And use it to create a “fold” in a ponytail:


Insert one end of the bobby pin just above a sleek ponytail. / Photo by


Watch the entire IGTV video below for the how-to on this style!

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