How to get Hollywood curls

Celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess shares her tips for her most sought-after Hollywood hairstyle.
lauren conradGetty Images

My overall aesthetic is like a hybrid: it’s not a matte texture, but it’s also not shiny like Old Hollywood waves. I try to find a way to marry the two. Jenna Dewan Tatum will say, “I want to get Essed!” It’s become my signature.

I always start a wavy look by applying leave-in conditioner on wet hair, from mid-length to ends, to give it a gleam and protect it during heat styling. After blow-drying and curling, I always use a beach-wave spray for more shine and to create that “girl who surfs” sort of texture.

My clients don’t like their hair to feel overstyled, especially Lucy Hale. So for a natural effect, I curl the top section from eyebrow-level down, and when I get to the ends, I smooth them out with an iron. After I’ve curled each section, I have a trick to loosen the wave—with my left hand I gently pull the curled piece and with my right hand I run my fingers up and down the hair to break up the wave pattern.

I think parting the hair in the centre gives the strongest look, plus it shows off your face. I did this to singer Kelsea Ballerini because her hair was so long, so I wanted that balance. I also did this look on Halle Berry because those cheekbones are like chiselled out of stone, so I felt like we had to show them off!

lauren conrad
(Credit: Getty Images)

If the curls aren’t perfect or you feel like you’ve gone overboard, pull the crown area into a half-up style. It’s a simple hairdo to pull off and looks good on any face shape. I’ve worked with Lauren Conrad, for what seems like 20 years now. Lauren usually prefers to go with a classic Brigitte Bardot–inspired silhouette with a tiny bit of tease. The tease also creates a bit of extra body and sexiness to the overall style.

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