Fact: Anh Co Tran's signature lived-in wave is so popular, the celebrity hairstylist had it trademarked. The effect is one you've probably re-pinned onto your Pinterest hair inspiration board, or double-tapped on Instagram and its undone, touchable appearance is coveted by cool girls everywhere---including Emily Ratajkowski, who coincidentally played Ben Affleck's "cool girl" love interest on Gone Girl.
During Tran's most recent trip to New York City, we caught up with him at Roman K Salon to find out his secrets to creating the perfect lived-in look. For starters, a solid blowout is a must. "I buffer the hair with Oribe's Balm D'Or ($43; oribe.com) to help smooth and protect fro the heat," he tells InStyle. "Depending on the hair texture and density, I rough dry the hair anywhere from 20 to 100 percent dry, and once that is complete, I smooth out the hair using a boar bristle round brush."
With wrist motions that challenge that of even Hermione Granger's swish-and-flick, the pro hairstylist demonstrated the method on his client Rachel Abzug as we watched closely and took detailed notes, and we especially love how the effortless texture seems to bring out the pale gold highlights created by Tran's business partner Johnny Ramirez. Keep reading to see Tran's work in action, and to find out exactly how to nail the look at home!
Once your hair is completely dry and smooth, separate the hair from ear to ear to section off the front and back areas, then pick up your curling iron. "Starting with the sides and working from the bottom upwards, I subsection the hair in horizontals, and curl toward the face," he tells us. "To alternate, the next section will be going away from the face." Keep winding each area in alternating directions to avoid forming that dreaded sausage curl effect, and make sure to leave the ends out.
"Follow the formula up to the top, with the last section curled away from the face," he says. Once Tran reached the hair at the back of Rachel's head, he worked in horizontal sections, alternating every curl. "If one is curled left, the next will be curled right, and your next section moving up will be the opposite of that."
With all of the ringlets in place, Tran turned to his arsenal of styling essentials. "I use a few different products to break up the wave and shape the hair depending on the hair type," he says. "First, use a serum like Oribe's Supershine or Split End Mender ($49 and $46; oribe.com) and work it from mid-shaft to ends. Follow up with a texturizer like Oribe's Apres Beach or Dry Texture Spray ($39 and $42; oribe.com) to finish, and shape the hair until the lived-in look is achieved."