I Hated Holiday Hairstyles... Until I Discovered Gold Leafing
If you’ve been following my holiday content on InStyle.com, you might reckon me something of a Grinch. I’m all for bare minimum makeup the days surrounding December 25th, and this year, I’m leaving the glitter reserved for my shoes on NYE (if I don’t resort to an at-home spa night). Basically, I buck the expected traditions of holiday beauty for the most part, and the trend continues in regards to my feelings surrounding holiday hairstyles.
I’m 100 percent positive you’ll never see me with an updo adorned with a flower, or any topknot with a headband. But there is one hair trend that recently changed my mind about holiday hairstyles, and that is gold leafing. It’s a hit on Instagram and has been seen on the runway, as well as on celebrities like Rita Ora, and more recently, Dascha Polanco. All it really consists of is gold leaf, like the kind you can get at a crafts store, placed somewhere (that part is up to you) on your head.
I’ve seen it on the area of hair behind your temples, all over the head in a slicked back style, and simple along a middle or center part. I don’t know what happened to me, but it’s like Net-a-Porter was having its bi-annual sale or something. I needed to have all the gold leaf immediately and went to work on testing the trend for myself. And friends, it turned me into a holiday hairstyle convert.
The process is simple but definitely messy, so I recommend having a friend nearby who is willing to help out, or at least hold the leafing because things will get sticky and you'll regret your decision instantly if you're flying solo.
The first step, according to mizu senior stylist Judy McGuinness who helped me achieve this look, is to make sure you have somewhat clean hair. It can be a few days old, as long as you’re able to manipulate it and it’s not super oily. Next, find your part using a comb. We decided to go with a more drastic, super precise center part and place the gold leafing along it.
Next, we used an eyeshadow brush to apply Oribe Gold Pomade from the root to two inches down the hair shaft. This base created a texture which would allow the gold leafing to better stick to the hair, as well as left a gold sheen on my roots to intensify the look.
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The next step was to start applying the gold leafing. I bought mine at Michael's for about $10. You’ll need a strong hold gel to make the leafing stick. We used the same eyeshadow brush to paint Oribe’s Strong Hold Gel Serum on the areas we wanted gold leafing, and then immediately placed little pieces using tweezers and our hands. This it the part that takes time and patience, as the combination of the leafing (which flakes and falls apart easily) and gel can get sticky. If the pomade is placed two inches from the root, only concentrate the leafing about one inch from the root, explains McGuinness.
We decided to really go for it with the amount of leafing we used, but you can totally make this more subtle, or even place it further down on the hair shaft to make softer.
While I thought getting all the product and the leafing out of my hair was going to be a nightmare (I had a minor freakout to my stylist), it was incredibly easy. The leafing washed away no problem, and it was actually the gel that required more of a scrub down. McGuinness suggested thoroughly washing my hair twice with a clarifying shampoo, and it did the trick.
From start to finish, the process took an hour, and I thought it looked magical.
However, it’s not exactly super wearable. It’s the type of look you create for a party, right before you leave for the party, and it won’t last overnight. It is, indeed, a one night look. Or please don’t make it last overnight for the sake of your pillowcase.
If you like this year’s glitter roots trend, want to attempt at an out-of-the-box hairstyle, or just like shiny things, it’s worth a try. If this tells you anything, I’m now considering a little glitter shadow for NYE… So many it did put me in the holiday beauty spirit.