Red carpet season is the best time of the year if you’re a hair lover—especially if you’re hoping to take inspiration from celebs to freshen up your own style. At the capstone event of the year on February 24, the stars turned it out and showed off everything from short, textured styles to headband-topped braids down the back.
There aren’t many hairstyles that are as high stakes as one worn on the red carpet. The celebrity donning the hairstyle needs to love it, it needs to look flawless from every angle, and (most importantly) it needs to last all night long. From the red carpet to the after-party (and even to the after after-party), celebrities need to have flawless hair through it all.
Keep reading to learn more about our favorite looks from stars like Kerry Washington, Danai Gurira, and Melissa McCarthy—then learn how to make a red carpet-worthy ‘do work for yourself. Whether you’re styling dark brown hair or fragile ash blonde, there’s a style for you.
The Best Red Carpet Hairstyles Of 2019
Danai Gurira’s Gold-Topped Braids
When it comes to event styling, actress Danai Gurira goes for full-on drama. For the star-spangled evening, Biolage artist Larry Sims created an African-inspired look that echoed the actress’s regal gold ballgown.
“Danai’s hairstyle was inspired by African princess royalty,” Sims explains. “I wanted to create something strong, regal, and elegant that complemented her dress along with her 1920s Fred Leighton headband so we went with gorgeous regal braids.”
If you’re in love with the look, Sims recommends applying Biolage BlowDry Glotion to damp hair before adding Texture Sap to your roots. Cornrow away from the face, and lock in the finished style with a very light application of Freeze Fix Hairspray.
Melissa McCarthy’s Faux-Hawk
Melissa McCarthy is known for her out-of-the-box sense of humor, so it makes sense that she wouldn’t want any old chignon on her big day. Instead, Biolage artist Richard Marin created a faux-hawk style with serious height. The ‘do balanced out McCarthy’s voluminous cape and statement trousers.
To create the style, Marin started by applying Biolage BlowDry Glotion and blow-drying the damp hair straight. He followed with a flat iron and a coat of Complete Control Fast Drying Hairspray before separating the topmost section of hair, pinning it out of the way until the last step. He created four buns along the back of the head to allude to the traditional mohawk style, then teased the top section for added drama. As a final step, he pinned the newly-created pompadour into the faux-hawk.
Priyanka Chopra’s ‘60s Updo
Stunner Priyanka Chopra isn’t just a newlywed, she’s also a fashion queen. At an after-party, Chopra turned to Matrix artist Renato Campora for a vintage-feeling ‘do that was just casual enough to complement her deep V neckline.
“We wanted her hair to have a '60s vibe to it with a modern take on a classic look full of texture,” Campora explains.
Like all retro styles, this one starts with a strong foundation. Campora created his by applying Matrix Smooth Setter Smoothing Cream to damp hair, following it up with the Volume Builder Mousse. Once Chopra’s hair was dry, he added a healthy coat of /s/hair-us/Texture Builder Messy Finishing Spray,.html divided the hair into two sections, then created a modern French twist with unmistakable mid-century undertones. Finally, he finished off the style using Volume Fixer Hairspray.
Kerry Washington’s Messy Pixie
Kerry Washington is what we lovingly refer to as a style chameleon. You name it—she’s done it on a red carpet with her hair. This year’s after-party look was inspired by classic Hollywood, according to Matrix stylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew.
“From the moment I saw Kerry’s couture dress, I felt it had a modern look of Hollywood glam. It has a 1950s feel to me. So I decided the hair should be short in a smooth cut and a little messy and undone,” she says.
To make this look yours at home (let’s be honest, it’s the easiest!), prep the hair with Matrix Keep Me Vivid Velvetizer before beginning to blow it out. Once it’s all dry, touch up any stray pieces with a flat iron and reapply Velvetizer. Before heading out the door, make like Sturdivant-Drew and apply Style Link Texture Builder Messy Finish Spray for a final touch.
How To Get Red Carpet-Worthy Hair
How do stylists create these long-lasting red carpet hairstyles? According to Michelle Patton, Pureology brand ambassador and celebrity stylist, it’s all about communication and the products they use.
Before she begins styling, Patton likes to talk with her celebrity client about what they’d like their hair to look like. Patton usually comes to the appointment with a few of her own ideas, having spent some time thinking about what would be appropriate for the event. Once she and the client agree on the style, Patton begins prepping the hair. These days, she’s using Pureology’s Style + Protect range for all of her styling needs.
On The Rise [Root-Lifting Mousse] is Pureology’s root lifter and that is a necessity because that is going to give me control over the style before I begin to style it.
Patton determines which products to use next based on which style she is about to create.
“If I’m going to do something sleek and smooth, I’m going to work towards Shine Bright [Taming Serum] because it’s a serum and it’s going to add a little bit of shine to her hair. It starts out as a cream and the more you start to emulsify it the more it’ll slip in your hands,” the stylist explains.
If it’s texture the clients after, Patton chooses between two different texturizing products.
“If she wants some texture, then I might use some Wind Tossed [Texture Finishing Spray]. It has the styling benefits of a hairspray and texturizer in one. I love it just to be able to pull hair apart and spray it just to widen it, it’s great for finer textures,” she explains. “Mess It Up [Texture Paste] is a texture paste and I think one of the misconceptions about a paste is that people assume paste is just for dry hair."
Patton notes that she likes to add the texture paste to wet hair and blow dry it in to give the hair tons of texture. While Patton is styling the hair, she lightly sets the style with Pureology’s Soft Finish Hair Spray. Because the hairspray does not dry stiffly, she can continue to style the hair as much as she pleases. Soft Finish Hair Spray also has thermal protection which helps protect the strands while they’re being styled.
The last step for any red carpet style is Lock It Down Hair Spray.
“This is the hairspray that’s the finish. When I’m done, I need nothing else,” the stylist says.
After Patton sets her clients' hair, they’re ready to hit the red carpet and party all night long knowing their hair will look stunning all night long. Just follow Patton’s simple steps and you’ll have red carpet-worthy hair every day!
Need a red carpet worthy hairstyle for your next big event? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.