Hair Secrets from 5 Top Stylists

What hair pros use to keep their own locks looking good

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Kiyah Wright, 40

Wright is an Emmy Award–winning stylist at the Warren-Tricomi Salon in Los Angeles. Her celebrity clients include Jennifer Hudson, Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson. She’s also a Clairol Professional spokesperson and the creator of Muze Hair products.

How To Look Good While Growing Out: “Currently I’m wearing a weave, just to grow out my hair. After about seven months, it’s a little past my shoulders. Sometimes I braid it. Ethnic hair likes braids; they aren’t damaging.”

Cath Riley

Shower Power

“I shampoo the new hair growth between the strands of my weave every week and a half, using L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hair-care  Total Repair 5 -Reconstructing Shampoo [$5; drugstores]; it prevents breakage. The weave is more like Caucasian hair, so I wash it with L’Oréal Professionnel Intense Repair Shampoo [$24;], which is hydrating.”

Courtesy of L’Oréal

Conditioner You Can Work With

“Unite 7 Seconds Condition Leave-In Detangler [$27;] is totally weightless. You can dry and style right after applying it.”

Courtesy of Unite

Straight Talk

“I use the Laila Ali Ceramic Straightener [$27;]. It’s a great flatiron and very affordable.”

Courtesy of Laila Ali

Her Holy Grail Hairspray

“I cannot live without my Muze Hair Last Look Hair Spray [$15;]. You can use it every day for five days straight, and it won’t build up or get sticky.”

Courtesy of Kiyah Wright

Her Natural Treat

“Extra-virgin olive oil is a great hydrating treatment; I use it once a month. For shoulder-length hair, I recommend four caps of oil: Pour it on the scalp, comb it through your hair, then cover with Saran Wrap and a scarf. Leave it on overnight and shampoo and rinse thoroughly in the morning.”


CPR For Breakage

“Wearing a weave or extensions can cause breakage along the hairline. I’ve been using Nioxin Diamax Thickening Xtra-fusion Treatment [$50;] to help treat and thicken hair at the root. Rogaine [$30 for a one-month supply; drugstores] is also good. I squirt it on any sparse, broken spots every night, and it helps the hair grow back. It works so well, I’ve even had to use Nair on my forehead!”

Courtesy of Nioxin

Rita Hazan, 39

Hazan works with well-coiffed stars such as Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry and Michelle Williams. She also owns a salon in New York City and has an eponymous product line.

Secret To Shiny Hair: “Hair is like skin: You must keep it hydrated. When my hair feels dry, I slather on an oil treatment like Phyto Subtil Elixir Intense Nutrition Shine Oil [$38;] before bed, then shampoo it out in the morning.”

Courtesy of Sephora

On The Fringes

“The key to smooth bangs is to blow-dry them when the hair is really wet, directing air downward, then side to side. Never blow bangs upward, though; that will make them puffy.”

Sharon Kennedy/

Color-Preserving Strategy

“Every other day I apply my own Rita Hazan Foaming Color Gloss [$26; rita​] in the shower after shampooing. It preserves my color, makes my hair shiny and keeps it from getting brassy.”

Courtesy of Rita Hazan

Smooth Moves

“I like to wear my hair straight, but it’s naturally curly and frizzy. So I use a flatiron daily. To minimize the damage, I run the iron once, quickly, down each section of hair.”

Courtesy of Rita Hazan

Reviving Day-Two Tresses

“After a good blowout, on day two, I spritz a little water on my hair to reactivate the styling products, then go over it with a round brush and my Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000 [$300;].”

Courtesy of Harry Josh Pro Tools

Jen Atkin, 33

Atkin is a stylist for the Wall Group in Los Angeles and a consultant for Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy. Her A-list clients include Heidi Klum, Penélope Cruz and Sofia Vergara.

A Laissez-Faire Approach: “People are surprised at how low-maintenance I am. I wash only every two or three days, at night, and quickly blow-dry until my hair is about 70 percent dry. I then sleep on it, which gets me pretty good body the next morning. I’ll only give myself a professional-level blowout or use a curling iron once a month; I am the last client I feel like seeing!”

On Not Making The Cut: “Long, messy hair is popular now, probably because it’s easy to maintain and we’re all so busy. I have long, messy layers. I call it off-duty-model hair, and thank goodness it is not going out of style.”

Cath Riley

Turning Up The Volume

“My hair is fine, but I have a lot of it. When I want to give it a little extra oomph, I use a salt spray. Kevin Murphy Hair Resort [$25;] creates the perfect tousled, sexy-beachy look.”

Courtesy of Kevin Murphy

Perfect-Hair Pair

“I can’t live without Clear Scalp & Hair Total Care Nourishing Daily Conditioner [$5; drugstores] and my Sheila Stotts Removal Brush [$28;]. I get tangles easily, and those two—conditioner plus brush—keep my hair from looking crazy.”

Courtesy of Sheila Stotts

Worth The Splurge

“I believe in investing in a good blow-dryer. I love mine, the Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000 [$300;]; it’s small yet powerful. I’d rather pony up the extra money for a dryer that works fast and efficiently; it saves me precious time, and it’s less damaging to the hair.”

Courtesy of Harry Josh Pro Tools

Going Native

“Everyone in Hawaii, my home state, uses coconut oil as a hair treatment. I get mine at Whole Foods and put it on my ends as a deep conditioner twice a month.”


Style Supplement

“I take BioSil [$34;] every day to strengthen my hair and nails. I cut my own hair every few months, and I believe this silicon supplement is why I don’t get split ends between trims.”

Courtesy of GNC

The Too-Busy-To-Wash Solution

“I give second-, third- or fourth-day hair a boost with Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray [$39;]. It’s as if hairspray and dry shampoo had a baby.”

Courtesy of Oribe

Her Hair-Saving Exercise

“For workouts, I wrap a Cyndibands elastic [$10 for six;] around my ponytail because it won’t leave a crease. Then, after I’m done exercising, I don’t have to wash and restyle. I just take out the band, flip my hair upside down while bending at the waist and spray the roots and ends with Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. The results are amazing.”

Courtesy of Cyndibands

Beth Minardi, 60

Minardi owns an eponymous salon in Manhattan, has been a celebrity colorist for almost 30 years and has worked for both Clairol and Redken. She was the first woman to have her own hair-color line (Beth Minardi Signature Shades).

Her Recipe For Red: “I color my gray roots sepia-brown every two to three weeks and refresh the lengths with a demi-glaze. Then, three or four times a year, I highlight and lowlight. Many colorists refresh faded color by applying the same color formula roots to ends. But I find this damaging. If you are very gray, the roots need permanent dye, but the rest should just be refreshed with a demi-permanent color, which revives the tone but is easier on the hair.”

Shade Selection: “As I age, I’ve found that it’s important to stay away from black, ultra-golden blonde or burgundy red. Those tones accent every line in the face.” 

Cath Riley

Sudsing Strategy

“Great style begins with shampoo. Hair that is still oily or coated with styling products does not take a new shape or hold style well, so what we do in the shower is critical. I wash my hair two or three days a week, and I make certain to saturate my hair with water prior to applying shampoo. Most women apply too much shampoo to hair that’s not sufficiently wet, and sometimes they do not rinse thoroughly enough. Without clean hair, nothing really looks its best.”

Piotr Marcinski/

Brush Up

"Every head of hair—whatever the length—needs a good brush. Three or four times a week, I bend over from the waist and brush from scalp to ends. This boosts circulation and brings the oil away from the scalp and down into the parched hair shaft. My favorite brush is the Denman 9 Row Volumizing Brush [$14;].”

Courtesy of Denman

Damage Control

“Hair must be conditioned after every shampoo. At home, I leave conditioner on for 90 seconds. My current favorite is my own line’s After Wash in Nourishing [$25;].”

Courtesy of Minardi Color

Sharon Dorram, 50

Dorram is a celebrity colorist who runs Manhattan’s Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon. Her clients include Christie Brinkley, Kate Hudson, Kate Winslet and Julia Roberts.

Her MVP: “My hair is too fine for gels and pomades; they make it go limp. And mousse is drying. But I swear by Sally Hershberger Supreme Lift Root Spray [$13; drugstores]. It works wonders!”

Cath Riley

Using Her Head

“To me, color is a simple way to look your best without getting injections or going under the knife. But it must be done correctly. Everyone needs some contrast; one allover shade not only ages you but also makes you look washed out.”

Busy Woman’s Best Bet “When I have no time, I pull my hair into a low pony with a tie-dyed elastic from”

Courtesy of Shopbop

Powder Up

“I use Dr. Hauschka Body Silk Powder [$35;] if I have dirty, second-day hair. I put it between my fingers and work it in just at the root to absorb any oil and refresh the hair. Baby powder can end up looking like dust, but this freshens up hair and looks natural.”


Vitamin E For Elasticity “I’m so busy, I rarely make time for a deep-conditioning treatment. Instead, I just use straight vitamin E oil—I run it through my dry hair before bed and leave it in overnight. It feeds the hair and restores elasticity.”

Courtesy of Dr. Hauschka

Heat Avoidance

“When I want a special, more polished look, I use Velcro rollers [such as Diane Self-Grip Rollers ($3 for four;]. I mist hairspray onto my [dry] hair, roll it, then spritz again. I wait 20 minutes, remove the rollers and fluff with my fingers.”

Courtesy of Rickys NYC

Pool Protection

“I swim once a week, so I apply Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil with Cocoa and Shea Butter [$4; drugstores] before I pull on my swim cap, then rinse as soon as I get out of the pool.” 

Next: 8 Must-Haves for Aging Hair

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Courtesy of Johnson's

First published in the February 2014 issue

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