“How are her S-shape waves so uniform?”, ”Which curling iron barrel size was used?”, “What’s keeping her hair frizz-free under that bucket hat?”… Those were just some of the questions racing through my mind as I binge-watched the first 10 episodes of Emily in Paris—and I had even more after watching the new season two.
Just like Emily Cooper’s (played by Lily Collins) divisive sense of fashion, her hair wasn’t exactly a picture of French nonchalance (a la Camille and Sylvie). It was a romanticised—but no less gorgeous—version of it. Her locks were mostly styled to perfection, with immaculate S-shape waves cascading down her back with extreme precision, a clear juxtaposition to the tousled, decidedly undone tresses of her Parisian friends. Her look did evolve as she picked up the language and a little more je ne sais quoi, but the appearance of looser waves still sat pretty perfectly underneath a side-tipped beret, in a magnificently coiled up-do, or elegantly half-tucked without a strand out of place.
Her secret? Celebrity hairstylist, Mike Desir: “The new season is full of surprises—we go from a voluminous ‘40s-inspired curls and classic ‘50s Grace Kelly waves, to a ‘60s-perfect high ponytail reminiscent of Brigitte Bardot. I also take advantage of the French fashion classic, the scarf bandana; the banana twist; and revisit braids in between episodes”.
The man behind those signature spirals spoke to Vogue, sharing his tips and techniques on exactly how to get Emily in Paris’ far-from-ringarde tresses.
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Invest in a variation of quality haircare
“The products you use at home are key to maintaining gorgeous hair. And it’s necessary to vary the rituals and benefits—be it for hydration, repair or colour preservation. I love Living Proof’s No Frizz Shampoo, Restore Conditioner and Restore Repair Mask. Pre-shampoo treatments such as oiling and massaging, too, improve blood circulation on the scalp, relax your muscles, boost shine and nourish the hair too. It helps restore moisture content, while replenishing hair’s natural regeneration and repair processes. The brand’s No Frizz Vanishing Oil delivers antioxidant-rich nourishment.”
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Tips to prep hair before styling
“If you want to recreate these Emily’s signature waves at home, always make sure your hair is completely dry before using a heat styling product, which is also another essential step to protect your hair from heat damage and breakage. I suggest applying a veil of Bumble and Bumble’s BB Mist across the hair before using the iron to style your waves—this also helps bring softness and lightness to your hair. I also spritz hairspray on each section of damp hair before drying it using Dyson’s Supersonic, which allowed me to dry and set my products on the hair surface to prevent any heat damage, control frizz and keep hair smooth and shiny.
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Hair sections determine the size of curls
“The smaller the section, the tighter the loop pattern, and the larger the section, the looser the waves. I recommend starting with sections of the same size as your curling iron—I use the one-inch ghd Curve.”
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Direction of your wand determines the shape of curls
“I always start from the back, with the curling iron held horizontally for more defined waves at the back before moving vertically for the sides. I also twist the hair before twirling each section around the curling iron (away from the face) to create more of a wave instead of a curl.”
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Products set and lock in curls
“I use pins and clips after using the curling iron on each section to cool and set the wave in place. My go-to styling products are Bumble and Bumble’s Spray de Mode hairspray and Schwarzkopf Professional’s Collagen Volume Boost Mousse for thinner hair types. For pronounced waves that frame the face, I favour the Bumble and Bumble’s Sumoclay that creates a good hair texture that’s malleable but locks in defined finger waves. For soft curls, however, I loosened them with a trusty wide comb.”
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The art of ultra-uniform S-shape waves
“I first used a large comb to brush out the curls so that they meld into waves, then I spray the comb with Bumble and Bumble’s Does It All to further define and hold their shape.”
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Products set and lock in curls
“I use pins and clips after using the curling iron on each section to cool and set the wave in place. My go-to styling products are Bumble and Bumble’s Does It All hairspray and Schwarzkopf Professional’s Collagen Volume Boost Mousse for thinner hair types. For pronounced waves that frame the face, I favour the Bumble and Bumble’s Sumoclay that creates a good hair texture that’s malleable but locks in defined finger waves. For soft curls, however, I loosened them with a trusty wide comb.”
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The secret to frizz-free hat hair
“To keep hair tidy and frizz free, I reach for a subtle texturising finish mist of Oribe’s Imperméable Anti Humidity Spray to do the trick.”
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Experiment with classic up-dos
“When Emily Cooper wasn’t wearing curls, one of my favourite looks seems very complicated but in reality is quite simple to execute. It is Emily’s look in the restaurant—a twisted knot up-do. To create this look you need to section your hair into three ponytails, the first at the crown, the second in the mid season, the last in line with the middle of your ear. Twist the ponytail and then pull the twisted hair into a knot, flatten it against the scalp and secure with bobby pins. Repeat the process for the other two ponytails. If you have long hair make sure that you tidy any remaining strands but pinning them into the knots; you can also mix those strands between each knot for added texture. The final touch for is to apply Living Proof’s Full Dry Volume Blast hairspray on your fingers and run your hands through the base of your scalp to create natural texture, definition and separation.”
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Take care of hair at home too
“Good haircare also extends to homecare—specifically how you sleep. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will help reduce hair friction and thus, hair breakage, and you won’t have to wake up with bed head anymore too.”
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Don’t forget to accessorise
“This season is super accessorised. As a nod to Brigitte Bardot, I used a By Dariia Day silk scarf as a head wrap for a chic ‘60s touch. I also used a pretty elastic ribbon for ponytails with a silk scrunchie to prevent leaving that unwanted bend or dent that regular hair ties can do; barrettes and hair jewellery to add a touch of colour or inject shine to up-dos.”
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Take inspiration from your surroundings—and rise to the occasion
“What inspires me to create? Life does—the curiosities, the observations, the emotions, the feelings, the people, the clothes… I have to match my hairstyle to the character of Emily. It’s all about teamwork—the Versailles look would not exist if the clothes did not give the “renaissance” atmosphere.”