With glam teams at their finger tips and hordes of red carpets to attend, celebrities have the opportunity to experiment with more hairstyles than most. They can alter their look on a dime (often in the back of a car or minutes before their scheduled arrival), as well as plan them weeks in advance. Their hairstylists dream up these looks, taking inspiration from just about anything, and execute them with precision and an unbelievable amount of skill. Then, we get to see it all come to fruition on the carpet.
It's thrilling, really—especially when they're particularly creative, dreamy, or awe-inspiring. It's with that in mind I decided to go through all the hairstyles I've noticed this year, ticking off my favorites and researching all the went into each one.
Below, find my thoughts on each look and why it attracted me in the first place, as well as specific odes to the stylists behind them. I've taken note of the inspiration, the hero products used, and anything else that made the look especially cool. There are braids, buns, and floral accessories, along with some sparkles too, naturally. Can you tell I'm objectively hyped? You will be too, I promise. Keep scrolling to find out more.
Chloe Grace Moretz's Soft, Fluffy Waves
Celebrity hairstylist Gregory Russell created this wave look for Moretz and I've really fallen for it. Rather than the usual, run-of-the-mill blowout (you know the one—beach waves, etc.), Russel created something angelic, soft, and perfectly fluffy. It's more '70s-inspired than anything else, serving up Jerry Hall vibes in all the right places. I'm especially fond of the root, the way it's not bouncy or lifted (which is very characteristic of a present-day wave) but rather curved uniformly throughout starting at her brow bone.
It reminds me of the hairstyle showcased at Mansur Gavriel at their Spring 2019 presentation—wherein Laurent Philippon and the designers were inspired by virgin hair when they created the look. Instead of being caught up in keeping it natural, this style feels deliberate yet still relaxed.
Russell used IGK's Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray ($32) to help control fly-aways and blew out her hair with a two-inch boar’s hair round brush. Then, at her nape, he began taking one-inch sections and spraying them with Intern Flexible Hold Hairspray ($29) before undulating a one-inch iron back and forth to create the soft wave. "If your waves start looking too crimped," he recommends, "don’t hold the iron on as long and use a diffuser on low to stretch the lengths out while applying heat.
Kiki Layne's Bantu Knots
Kiki Layne hit the one out of the freaking park. I am in awe, truly. The way the flowers coordinate in color and shape with the pattern on the dress, as well as the shape and texture of her bantu knots—it's all so incredible. Celebrity hairstylist Marcia Hamilton styled the look ahead of her appearance at Essence's Women in Hollywood luncheon, but maintains it was Layne's vision. "Her wardrobe was 'tropical island glam with rich, earthy tones of gold, chocolate, and bits of silver. It made me think of classic Lauryn Hill," Hamilton explains.
She applied Hick's Edges Pomade ($15) to smooth Layne's hairline and sections while she braided in a bit of Kanekalon hair for volume, twisted each braid down to her scalp, and pinned for hold. Then, she secured each faux flower in place to add a pop of color to the look.
Rowan Blanchard's Faux Mullet
Rowan Blanchard is a connoisseur when it comes to turning out obsession-worthy beauty looks by the dozen. I've saved more of her Instagram photos than most of her of-age counterparts. She's an ace, and, in my humble opinion, a soon-to-be icon. Here, her long-time celebrity stylist Lacy Redway wanted to create something that was "Joan Jett meets the '70s punk scene in London"—another aesthetic I feel longingly connected to. It's piece-y, a little wet, and it absolutely rules.
"I removed the majority of the volume in her hair by flattening and tucking away the back and sides to give a more extreme mullet appearance," celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway explains. She adds, "Her pixie, cut by Laurie Heaps, is a bit rounder than this—but you can give a style a different look with the right products." Redway used Nexxus' Between Washes Beach Waves Tousled Texture Sea Salt Spray ($12) and Bedhead's Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray ($20) all over, and no-crease clips to keep her hair flat before diffusing.
Once her hair was completely dry, Redway removed the clips and applied Oribe's Fiber Groom Elastic Texture Hair Paste ($39) to make the ends piece-y.
Kate Bosworth's Chainlink Bun
Accessories have been making a ton of waves over the last year or so—showcasing pearls, crystals, and just about every '90s-inspired clip on the heads of Hollywood's most notable humans. It can be fun and whimsical, fancy and glamorous, and decidedly extra all at once. Needless to say, I'm into it. And, when I saw the back of Kate Bosworth's slicked-back bun, an intricately intertwined chain with tons of sparkle, I swooned. It wasn't precious, but bold and entirely beautiful. "The color and the beading on Kate's dress were quite special and striking," muses Bridget Brager, Bosworth's celebrity hairstylist. "I wanted the hair clean and back—I’m big on a profile—because, for me, the position and part are key. I her to look statuesque," she explains. Brager continues, "By pulling the hair up, you can change everything, your face included." As Lelet is one of her go-tos for anything custom and modern, Brager decided to include one of their hair accessories in the look. "I had an idea for single-string chains in a variation of tiny shapes and sizes," she shares. "Lelet was able to make the strands with Swarovski crystals and attach a delicate loop on each end, that way, I was able to anchor the jewels. I wrapped them around each section of hair (there were three) to make a herringbone pattern.
Brager prepped Bosworth's hair using IGK's Call Time Styling Primer ($27) which fights frizz and promotes shine. After securing the ponytail, she mixed Oribe's Gold Lust Hair Oil ($55) with Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste ($39), emulsified it between her hands, and used it to smoothed out the style around her face and part. "Mixing the two products adds shine and hold, but makes the look a bit matte—not to glitzy," she says. To finish it off, Brager hooked a tiny pin into the strand of crystal, anchored it into the base of the ponytail, and wrapped it around Bosworth's hair." See below for a closer look.
Lupita's Cornrows with Box Braids
Lupita Nyong'o's looks always catch my eye. She can do no wrong, in my opinion, but that doesn't stop her from serving up look after mind-blowing look. Her hair is always one of my favorites on the red carpet, courtesy of her long-time stylist Vernon François. This time around, it was the cornrow and box braid hybrid he created that stunned me. It's a long-lasting, protective hairstyle that looks chic, special, and undeniably cool all at the time same time. "My inspiration for this particular hairstyle was more about longevity, as Lupita was traveling to Sundance and her hair needed to hold well," notes François.
"So, I came up with cornrows with box braids. I teamed up with the amazing Marva Stokes, who brought my creative design idea to life," he shares. For the red carpet, François incorporated a few metal hair accessories.
He used Vernon François Mist~Nourishing Water ($18) and added a few pumps of Crème of Nature's Argan Oil Style and Shine Foaming Mousse ($9) to help set Nyong'o's hair. He finished it off with Scalp Nourish~ment Braids and Locs Spray ($24) and Got2b's Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel ($8) for the edges.
Lucy Boynton's Velvet Rope
I've already practically cooed about my obsession with Lucy Boynton's beauty looks this awards season. Each one was even better than the last. My personal favorite, though, was this piece-y, textured half-up confection, tied up with a pretty black bow. Celebrity hairstylist Jenna Cho is responsible for the look (and many of Boynton's knockouts), siting the inspiration as "retro goth mixed with '60s mod." It's a mood right?
To do it, Cho used Suave's Firm Control Boosting Mousse ($3) and Sleek Anti-Frizz Cream ($6). After blow-drying, she added a bend to the hair with a curling iron and set each section with Living Proof's Flex Shaping Hairspray ($26). For the velvet rope, instead of a traditional bow, Cho went with an origami tie.
Laura Harrier's Flower-Adorned Baby Hair
Hairstylist Nena Soul Fly specializes in adornments, so all her styles are particularly special. That being said, I audibly gasped when I saw this look she created on Laura Harrier. It's a slicked-back, off-center braided bun (simple, beautiful), with individual flowers placed around each baby hair. It's so delicate-looking, cool, and beyond intricate—while still, somehow, maintaining a minimalistic feel. I have fallen deeply in love with it and it's serious.
To recreate it, you can pick your own flowers (if you're really going for it) or purchase a few faux florals at your local craft store. Then, all you need is an elastic, some strong-hold gel (my favorite is Bumble and bumble's Bb. Sumogel, $29, because it's super shiny), and a glossy topcoat. I've been really into Ouai's Hair & Body Shine Mist ($32) for exactly that.