When it comes to the art of sexy bedhead waves, hairstylist extraordinaire Serge Normant has that market cornered. The pro has worked with Julia Roberts for years and was the mastermind behind her gorgeous layers on our September cover, not to mention, he counts Sarah Jessica Parker, Blake Lively, and Julianne Moore among many other A-listers on his impressive client roster.
Normant's empire only continues to grow---in addition to his two New York city salons, he has an expansive product line of his own and recently added the Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray ($25; shopsergenormant.com) to the catalog. Eager to try our own hands at his tousled curls, we spoke to Normant to get all the details on creating his signature aesthetic, and to find out a little more about the man behind all the flawless manes we've spotted on the red carpet.
Where are you from?
I'm from France. I was born right outside of Paris, and then I moved to a suburb of Paris when I was 17.
Where are you based?
I've been based in New York since I was 22 years old, though I was back and forth between Paris and New York for a while. I did half and half for years, but I consider New York my home base, and still work between the U.S. and France.
What was your big break in hair styling?
I worked with Steven Meisel for a few Dolce & Gabbana campaigns and on a few covers, and when your name is suddenly mixed with such an iconic name like his, people come to know your work. Then, I worked with Herb Ritts on a cover with Julia Roberts, and that's where my relationship with Julia started---we really complemented each other.
You see so many major celebrities---do you ever get star-struck?
Early on in my career, I worked with an actress in France who was a favorite of both my grandmother and mother, so I was a little star-struck by her at the time! I was mad at myself for getting a little nervous and swore it would never happen again, so it hasn't since then. I always go in with a very open mind, and that's it!
Which beauty rule was made to be broken?
Thinking that you can only be stuck doing one thing, or wearing one kind of look. I grew up in an environment where, once people found their haircut, they stayed with it for a really long time---it was almost like a security blanket. Being daring is important. Even though I say that, women in America tend to be more daring with their hair than most places in the world, so it's great to see people being open to change.
What do you think will be the next big hair trend?
I'm not really someone who works with trends, so I'm not really sure what's next. I love to be surprised and I love to surprise myself, but it's never anything that's planned. Still, I love a looseness and sexiness to the hair---a little sex appeal without being overly-done.
Ready to create perfect bombshell waves of your own? Click through our gallery to shop each of Normant's picks for getting the effect, with pro tips on how to use each product.
1. Blow Dryer
A pro-quality blow dryer is the foundation of every bombshell style. "I love the one by Harry Josh ($300; dermstore.com)," says Normant. "It's the perfect size for me, and the settings work on all hair types, especially for frizzy textures-it helps to smooth everything over, but locks in moisture."
2. Volumizing Spray
Normant picks up his own Meta Lush Volumizer ($23; shopsergenormant.com) to give strands an extra boost. "I spray it on wet hair from root to tip, section by section," he says. "It's strong, but still has flexibility and feels really light."
If a spritz-on volumizer isn't your thing, opt for a mousse, but choose only one or the other. "If you need to use tons of products to create a hairstyle, then you're in trouble," says Normant. "It has to be done and used in a way that the product won't feel dry or crunchy." We especially love the Oribe Grandiose Mousse ($35; oribe.com), which imparts a major amount of body, sans the sticky, heavy feeling that comes with most traditional formulas.
4. Round Brush
"I always blow dry hair with a round brush before using a curling iron, and I love the one by Harry Josh ($50; dermstore.com)," Normant says. "It's really easy to use because it has a great handle, and the bristles aren't too hard, but still grab the hair in the right way."
5. Clipless Curling Wand
"I like to use a curling iron by Sedu ($120; folica.com) to add movement," says Normant. "You can wrap your hair around the length to make it look soft. Some professionals like curling irons with clips, but I feel that this one is easier to use."
6. Tail Comb
A tail comb, like this one by YS Park ($24; ysparkusa.com) is a must in Normant's kit for its ability to pump up the volume in specific areas. "I'll use it to tease the hair, and what I love about a tail comb is that you can use it to alter the height after you've finished teasing sections," he adds. "You can use the long end to lift up the roots slightly. I always have one with me."
7. Texturizing Spray
Don't sweat the technique-if you aren't sure how to backcomb your hair or how to anchor the height into place, a texturizing spray is your best bet. Normant recommends his brand-new Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray ($25; shopsergenormant.com), which also works to give shorter lengths a tousled, piecey texture. "It helps out a lot if you don't know how to backcomb your hair, and with securing the teasing," he says. "There is no powder deposit so you can brush through it, and I love how it gives off that second-day look without making the hair look or feel dirty."
8. Mason Pearson Brush
Though it costs a pretty penny, there isn't a hairbrush out there quite like Mason Pearson's ($230; barneys.com), and Normant especially loves how versatile the tool proves to be. "It does just about anything. It can give hair that is a little straighter some more volume, and sometimes I'll even use it to tease hair and give the bottom portion more width," he says. "I've always had one, and I always see new versions coming out, but I have to say, I'm really into the classic one. It's also really luxurious!"
9. Dry Oil
A touch of dry oil imparts a healthy shine while restoring any hydration lost to heat styling tools-we especially love Dove's version ($11; drugstore.com), which is infused with African macadamia oil. "I like shiny hair, but there's a fine line, I don't want it to look too glossy," says Normant. "I use a dry oil particularly on the ends to give it a sheen. It also helps to give a little separation and removes any bit of frizziness that may be left on the hair."
10. Hair Spray
Of course, no set of bombshell waves can be complete without a final veil of hairspray. We love Living Proof's Flex Shaping formula ($24; livingproof.com). "I add hairspray as the finishing product to secure the whole look," Normant tells us. "Find a medium-hold one that won't flake. It should be strong, but you need to be able to put your hands through the style without feeling like there is a lot of product in there."