Aubrey Plaza's Critics Choice Updo Was Inspired By '90s Supermodels

Her hairstylist give us all the details.

Aubrey plaza with blonde updo at critics choice

Getty Images

Awards season is officially in full swing as we move into the second major show of the year, the 2023 Critics' Choice Awards. The carpet was a treat, with celebs embracing more off-beat fashion choices than last week's Golden Globes. But the beauty looks also grabbed our attention, including Aubrey Plaza's simple yet chic updo.

Plaza, who was presenting at the awards, wore a custom Louis Vuitton sequin gown with layers of sunset-inspired mesh at the neckline. She wore minimal accessories, and her newly blonde hair was swept into a classic French twist, with some volume at the crown.

Aubrey Plaza getting ready for Critics Choice Awards

Mark Townsend

"I LOVE the custom Louis Vuitton gown Aubrey Plaza was wearing for Critics Choice Awards, and we were so inspired by '90s updos. I pulled photos of Claudia Schiffer and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, two of my favorite platinum blondes," Plaza's hairstylist Mark Townsend exclusively tells Byrdie. "I love that we are seeing a return to healthy, shiny, beautiful hair, so I wanted her French twist to be super, super shiny and wanted to keep her hair frizz-free on this rainy LA day.”

To create the twist, Townsend prepped Plaza's hair with the Sol de Janeiro Milky Leave-In Conditioner ($28) while her hair was damp to add hydration and protect it from heat styling. "I then moved onto blow drying her hair with the Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Hair Dryer ($110), which I love because I can control the heat setting and airflow," says Townsend. "I kept the airflow on high heat on low to quickly blow dry the hair while protecting her new color." He paired the dryer with the Nano Thermic Ceramic + Ion Round Thermal Brush ($20) to create volume at the root, and a smooth finish everywhere else, before going over it with the Titanium + Ion Flat Iron ($130) for extra sleekness.

Aubrey Plaza French Twist

Mark Townsend

“Then, I added a few pumps of the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Glossy Nourishing Hair Oil ($34) in my hands and raked the product through her hair from roots to ends to get tons of shine in the hair and ensure her hair stays frizz-free," says Townsend. "Next, I gathered her hair into a French twist in the back while leaving the ends loose and securing it with a dozen hairpins." He finished the look by smoothing a few more pumps of the oil over Plaza's hair and then smoothing with the Ceramic + Ion Supreme 100% Boar Brush ($30) over the sides and top for "unbelievable shine."

Aubrey Plaza at the Critics' Choice Awards

Mark Townsend

Plaza's makeup artist, Kathy Jeung, was also inspired by her gown when creating Plaza's look. “Picking up on the aubergine color of the sequins on Aubrey’s custom Louis Vuitton gown, we decided on a deep violet smokey eye and blushed cheeks and lip," says Jeung, who used all Charlotte Tilbury products. She started by prepping Plaza's skin with the Magic Cream ($100) and Magic Serum Crystal Elixir ($80) before applying the Beautiful Skin Foundation ($46) and Concealer ($33), and setting with Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder ($46). A dusting of the new Hollywood Glow Glide Face Architect Highlighter ($48) in Champagne Glow added a healthy glow. The purple smokey eyes were created using the Instant Eye Palette ($75) in Pillow Talk. A spritz of the Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray ($36)ensured Plaza looked glowing all night.

Related Stories