How to Become a Hairstylist

Stylist Jeanie Syfu tells us about being a backstage hairstylist, and shares some major tips on how to have your best hair day yet.

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You're Never Too Young to Live Your Dream

"In high school, I loved creating new styles on friends," says Jeanie Syfu, lead stylist for Tresemmé. And she quickly found that working with hair was her favorite thing to do. "I had an obsession with London street style and the New Romantics' teased hair, and I found more amusement playing with my doll's hair than anything else growing up." It tends to be a good idea to do what you love for a living, and in the case of Syfu, a childhood hobby soon developed into a thriving career.

The stylist herself, Jeanie Syfu. Photograph courtesy of Tresemmé
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Styling Isn't Just About the Hair

Although fashion week's main focus is certainly the clothing, hair is one of the first things onlookers see when watching models go down the runway. "The most exciting part of fashion week for me is seeing a collaborative look between a designer and hairstylist that tells a complete story," Syfu says. "It takes many months of planning, and then the show is done in a flash, so it's always thrilling to see it come together."

The hair look for Rebecca Minkoff's spring 2017 show, as done by Tresemmé. Photograph courtesy of Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty Images

During those planning months, there's a lot of inspiration being thrown around. "Usually the designer has a mood board to use as a starting point, then I run with it," Syfu says. " I keep a hair file with lots of ideas, so I'm always searching through it and thinking of different ways to create looks."

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Here, Syfu shares some of the haircare wisdom she's picked up during her years as a backstage pro!

Always: Stock 3 Go-To Items

"My go-to backstage products are Tresemmé's hair spray, dry shampoo, and wave foam," Syfu says. "A light-hold aerosol allows the hair to move while styling, and a dry shampoo can refresh models' hair in between shows for a revived styling foundation." If you want to add or maintain texture, the wave foam is perfect. "It amplifies natural texture in hair to enhance the style," Syfu says.

Always: Prep Your Hair

The trick to getting perfect waves? A styling product and section clips. Photograph courtesy of Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty Images

"Hair will not hold its style without a good product foundation," Syfu says. "Products are necessary for your look to last, so I typically recommend prepping damp hair with a light-hold mousse to ensure your look lasts all day."

Always: Know What You Want

Embracing natural textures? Yes, please. Photograph courtesy of Colby Blount/Getty Images

One of the most dreaded situations is when you give your hairstylist specific direction, and your hair still doesn't turn out as you envisioned. Avoid that by giving the stylist as much guidance as possible. Don't be shy! "Always share as much info with them as you can, such as typical styling habits and current product regimen," Syfu says. "I also recommend bringing along pictures of styles and hair colors you prefer—language between stylist and client can sometimes be confusing, and photos can give real clarity as to what you want."

Last thing: Try not to alter your hair before an appointment. "It's really important to show up to your hair appointment with your hair in its natural state so your stylist can see what they're working with," she says. That way, your style will be tailored to your hair and complement your beauty even more charmingly.

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