Beauty Secrets We Learned From Chris Appleton

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As far as we know, there’s almost no such thing as effortless beauty. From facial treatments that leave your complexion dewy and luminous to the perfect winged eyeliner, experts reveal their most-trusted, insider hacks for CR’s series, Beauty Secrets.

If you’ve ever wondered how Kim Kardashian pulls off her impeccably shiny, glass-like hair or Ariana Grande manages to achieve a flawless high pony time and time again, look no further than Chris Appleton. The hairstylist to the stars started doing hair when he was 13 years old in a salon, but his first-ever client was his mom when he was just eight years old. „I wanted [her] to look glamorous and to make her feel good,“ he tells CR. „I would slightly curl [her hair] and add extensions and say ‚Okay, now look in the mirror.‘ She saw a different side of herself. There’s a power with that, the ability of not just making someone look great, but feel amazing. For me, that was definitely the addiction. It doesn’t matter if it’s a model or celebrity or an everyday girl in the salon, it’s about making them feel great inside.“

After working his way to the top of the fashion industry, spanning from editorial to television and red carpet appearances, Appleton now finds himself curling the tresses of some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Christina Aguilera and J-Lo. Here, the hair savant shares his go-to products, his best tip for high ponytails, and his take on the bang trend for 2019.

Favorite hair products?
Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray. I love that, because it really adds a lot of texture to the hair. If you lock it in, water can’t get in and it’s a good waterproof product for humidity. I’m really into the glossy, shiny, glass hair that we did on Kim, so it’s a great product for that. My hair’s bleached and I recently cut it short, so Olaplex is really good at keeping it on my head basically. My next favorite product is Color Wow Color Security Shampoo. I only like to use sulfate-free just because I like to keep my hair strong, it’s got no nasty extras in it, and keeps my hair really healthy. I love a wax called Evo Box O‘ Bollox Texture Paste. It’s nice for short hair and weighing it down. I always use a Mason Pearson brush in my hair. Sometimes it gets crazy-looking, so I just lay it flat. Everyone needs a Mason brush in their life.“

What about skincare?
„I’m 35 now, so I think I really have to look after my skin. I love the sun, and every time I go to the dermatologist they’re like, ‚You can’t go in the sun as much.‘ One of my favorite products ever is the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. You put it on your face when you get out of the shower, and it just makes your skin look really bright and awake. I love the Skyn Iceland Cloud Cream. It’s fluffy when you put it on, but it’s really moisturizing and rich. I’m super into the Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gel Patches. Another product that is really nice is the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist. If I’m not really doing anything, I’ll just spray that on sometimes because it makes you look like you’ve got a little bit of a healthy, dewy glow. I also really like the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. You can just add that to your moisturizer, especially if you’re traveling a lot, and it helps you look less dull. If I’m doing something like on TV, I’ll put a drop of that in to give me a little glow.“

Favorite red carpet look you’ve done?
„One of my recent favorites was probably Kim from the Met Ball last year, just because I felt like everything was so right. She looked really pretty and it was the first time she pulled her hair off her face. With Kim, we’re kind of going backwards a bit, because we tend to always make the ends very sheer and very light, whereas this was thick-looking hair. It was luxurious, bouncy hair, which is something different for her. The hair snatched off the face just really opened up her eyes and it felt very rich. Kylie came up to me after and she was like ‚What did you use on Kim’s hair? because it did not move all night, it was just like perfect, super glued in place.‘ There’s a technique to getting hair like that, where it’s firm and beautiful. I also really loved J-Lo’s super long look, just because that was something very different.“

Best tip to create a high ponytail?
„Honestly, that whole ponytail situation, especially an Ariana Grande ponytail is all about the placement on the head. If you place it an inch backwards or an inch forward, it literally makes all the difference. A lot of people make a mistake when they’re trying to get their hair that high, because gravity pulls you backwards. By the time you’ve tied it, it might look a little bit lower. My tip is, when you’re doing it from the sideburn area, lift straight up from the cheekbone and directly into the ponytail. If that area looks saggy or not clean, that’s what makes it not look snatched and not look fierce. When that’s tight, it lifts the eyes and gives you that real dramatic finish. When it comes to the details, I’ll tuck a few braids or accessories, and then always add in a hairpiece. They can be as cheap as or as expensive as you want, but just adding in a bit of extra hair on top and wrapping it around really takes it from daytime to something that’s really major and stands out.“

So you should aim higher than you actually want?
„Aim for the sky. The sky is the limit. Higher is always better for a ponytail I feel. If you do a low ponytail, I feel like it’s so serious. A low ponytail is a serious girl. She’s always a worker, she’s an office girl. Mid-ponytail, like straight back, she’s kind of cute. She’s at the gym, she’s being a bit flirty, but when you go high, that’s like the bitch look. That’s snatched. The higher you go, that definitely gives more attitude and it’s a fierce look.“

Any hair trends you’re into?
„I’m really into putting bangs on people, like the shag, sexy, and undone. Think Kate Moss when she had bangs: layers, mid-length, and the hair is more relaxed, less forced. I’ve been working with a lot of clip-on bangs. They’re just such a quick way to transform the look, and no one will put bangs and have them permanently. Most women have bangs, and then a week later they’re like, I’m growing them out. In today’s day and age, it really does transform the look and the face, even if you do like a cute little top knot with a bang, like we’ve done on J-Lo recently. It’s so cute. Everyone loves it. It’s definitely a cute look for summer 2019.“

How do you get them to look as realistic as possible?
„It’s literally about the blending and the type of extension you use. You would use something like a Glam Seamless Hair Extension. They do a clip-on bang and it’s like a V-texture, and it’s very natural. The key is to not buy anything that’s too heavy or too thick-looking. Less is more. Get the bang cut so that it suits your face shape and you just have to have it tweaked before you clip it in. Usually I’ll blend it in. It’s easier if you have solid color hair rather than highlighted hair to blend in the root. It makes it look much more natural. Honestly, as long as you’ve got a bit of hair to cover it, they’re pretty easy to work with.“

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