9 Key Tips from Michelle Obama's Hairstylist
Tips from Mrs. Obama's Hairstylist
Michelle Obama has been in the White House for an entire year-and while the rest of the world has been lusting after her impeccable sense of style, the beauty editors among us have been marveling at her incredible range of hairstyles. Who's responsible for those tresses? Johnny Wright, the First Lady's exclusive hairstylist and artistic style director for SoftSheen-Carson. Not surprisingly, the Chicago native is similarly fashion-minded. "The hair is just like any other accessory," he told us. "You've really got to make it go with what you're wearing." We dished with Wright and got tips for pulling off styles that are downright presidential.
Get a Curly Cut
According to Wright, pulling off a curly look is all about having a cut that accentuates your natural texture. "Some styles are made for hair only when it's blown-out straight. You want a cut that's made for both curly and straight looks," he says. "If you're concerned with how your hair will look wavy, ask your stylist to cut it when it's curly, and then blow it out and fine tune when it's straight."
Invest in the Right Tools
"When it comes to textured hair, a ceramic round brush is key for keeping strands healthy and shiny, no matter how much you style it," says Wright. For finer hair, Wright likes a rubber-based Denman Brush. "It grips the hair a little and smooths the cuticle out," he says.
Try a Fake-Out Style
"I'm a big fan of what I call the up-tuck," says Wright. "It works very well with face-framing layers, which most people have. You pin-up all the hair in the back, and then let the front fall naturally. It's like you've gotten a haircut. You kind of fake them out a little bit, and it's a great way to add versatility to your look."
One upside to being constantly barraged by flashbulbs and photographers? The First Lady gets to show off her shiny, healthy hair. "People always think glossy hair is topical, but true luminous shine is achieved at the root," says Wright. "You should be deep conditioning to soften and nourish the hair shaft every time you shampoo. There is no such thing as too much deep conditioning." His favorite pick? SoftSheen-Carson Roots of Nature Reconstructing Deep Treatment, which strengthens hair with a blend of shea butter and green tea.
Give Your Hair a Day Off
"Even women with the healthiest hair need to minimize how often they style," says Wright. A general rule of thumb? "If your hair is heavily styled and loaded with product four times a week, keep it down on the fifth day." That one day will give your cuticles a chance to flatten and rebond to the hair shaft, resulting in stronger, shinier looks when you return to styling.
Rediscover the Ponytail
Call Wright old-fashioned, but the ponytail is one of his favorite looks. "I've always been a huge fan. It highlights the beauty of a woman's face," he says. And no, the ponytail is not just for the gym. "A ponytail can honestly be taken from day to night if it's done properly," says Wright. In the morning, make sure it's smooth and has a nice curve to it. "For the cocktail party, simply wrap a strand around the elastic and you've got an elegant look." Or, dress up the entire style by parting your hair on the side before gathering it at the base of your neck.
Protect Your Hair from Overstyling
Flat-irons, daily blow-outs, curling irons-most women can't make it through the day without at least one heated styling tool. Wright sees nothing wrong with that, as long as you use the right reinforcements. "Be sure you're using protective guards on your hair. Thermal protecting sprays create a barrier on the hair shaft, and keep the heat from penetrating into that inner core, which is what causes permanent damage," he says.
Choose the Right Elastic
Shh...Wright's got a little secret and it's nothing fancy. "I carry a range of Goody colored elastics in my kit," he says. "I always make sure that the band matches the hair color of the person I'm working with. It's an easy way to make a style look elegant." The stylist also prefers matching hair pins, too.
"I like updos that look very simple and natural," Wright said. "People try to make their hair a little too perfect with updos, and that's where it goes wrong. Honestly, the messier the better." The First Lady looked stunning in a half-updo with loose curls at the nape of her neck.