Fashion Week Artists Solve Your Worst Hair Nightmares in a Flash!

The life of a Fashion Week artist may seem glamorous — and it is! — but there’s also a healthy dose of chaos behind the scenes that could make the most experienced of stylists want to pull their hair out! Shows run back to back for days on end. Models book multiple events in the same day. And as if hustling under a time crunch to achieve a very specific look isn’t stressful enough, these backstage artists aren’t always working with an ideal canvas. A model’s hair can be styled and restyled a number of times before she even sits in their chair, and they’ve got moments to deal with it before the world’s most influential eyes see it. Not exactly a piece of cake, right? I nearly broke out into a sweat just thinking about it!

So who better to tackle our most common hair-mergencies when we’re in a pinch than someone who’s used to working with unpredictable hair! I’ve tapped a few friends who happen to be Fashion Week pros to give you the lowdown on how to quick fix your crisis so you can look runway ready (even in the worst of circumstances) in no time flat!

This post features products from Mr. Smith, a young Aussie haircare brand that’s already developing a cult following in the states.

The glam squad

CLara Leonard

Clara is based in New York City. She works with fashion brands, magazines, celebrities, on set for music videos, photo shoots, commercials, and backstage at fashion week in New York, London, Milan, and Paris.

zakary nave

A recent Dallas transplant, Zakary splits his time working behind the chair, freelancing, and traveling across the country to educate salons on how to recreate current editorial and runway looks. He can be found behind the scenes at fashion weeks globally.

Favorite show you’ve worked on so far

CL: Assisting on a Louis Vuitton campaign in Japan.

ZN: I love working on Area NYC for NYFW. I love that it puts a modern and creative spin on really usable looks in the salon. It’s nice to have fantasy tie into hair that a salon professional could recreate for their clients. 

Dream show to work on

CL: Gucci and Chanel (which I have done) 

ZN: I’d say Victoria’s Secret or Alexander McQueen. I remember being really young and so excited for the VS show to come on and it always being hair goals for every woman I knew. I’m still just as enamored all these years later and still have women coming in and requesting VS Angel hair.  Being able to use my art form to help present McQueens vision and art, would have been a lifetime goal fulfilled. I still get sad that I will never get to work that show with Lee at the helm. 

Favorite Fashion Week moment

CL: Cutting Kevin’s hair from the Backstreet Boys before a surprise performance at a show.

ZN: I think my favorite will always be the first time I got to assist. Helping create those looks and then that moment where I got to watch the women walk the runway from backstage was truly sublime. I had to pinch myself to remind myself that it was actually happening and that I got to play a small role in it. A major goal was achieved and so many more were made in the same moment. 

Favorite way to style hair

CL: Strong side part and slicked back where it looks wet. 

ZN: I’m loving lived in, textured, cool girl looks these days. I love when hair looks real and believable. I always keep a gorgeous, bouncy and polished blowout in my back pocket though. I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t appreciate bounce and volume. 

Product you can’t live without

CL: Mr. Smith Leave In conditioner 

ZN: Hmmm, for myself, it’s Mr. Smith Paste. It’s the styling puck and scent I’ve been hunting for. I also love that I can whip it out and stretch some beach waves for a fresh look for the ladies.  For my clients, I cannot get enough Mr. Smith Foundation. The team at Mr. Smith really hit a home run with the Foundation. It gives every single clients hair, guts, grit and is so multi functional. Smooth and voluminous blowout, check. Textured beachy look, check. It’s everything. 

Crisis Situation

You woke up late, your hair is an oil slick, and you have no time to wash it. 

CL: Spray it with water, put some gel on it, and slick it back or to the side.

ZN: Dry Shampoo, Dry Shampoo, and Dry Shampoo. A fresh and light dry shampoo is crucial for quickie styling. Hit it at the roots and if you feel like you’ve overdone it, just hit it with a blowdryer and that powdery vibe is absorbed or blown off. It’ll make your hair look fresh and gives it a bit of texture while also protecting the longevity of your hair color by not over-shampooing. I also love a bit of Sea Salt Spray because, in a pinch, it’ll help accentuate your hair’s natural texture and wave, and it’s perfect for air drying. 

you get caught in the rain and Your hairstyle falls flat in the middle of the day.

CL: Either slick it back and into a low bun (wet looks are in right now!) or spray in some Sea Salt Spray and wear it beachy. I’m lucky, my hair naturally air-dries that way.

Your hair looks drier than the Sahara desert. 

CL: Apply water and Mr. Smith Leave In conditioner. Layer it on. If it needs it, I’ll throw some Mr. Smith Serum on as well. 

ZN: Get a really light and breathable Serum or a Leave In. Both approach different aspects of moisturizing hair but will make your hair look plump, shiny and never greasy when good product is used. Smooth and shiny, go for Serum…Moisture rich hair that is going to give you bounce and accentuate your curl or wave, go for Leave In

You slept on your hair wrong, and now it’s crunchy and weird.

ZN: Get a misting water bottle. A tiny bit of water can re-activate the styling product in your hair from yesterday. Also a good backcombing brush is crucial. You can easily hide parts of separation in the hair if you’re in a hurry. I love dry texture spray too. Sometimes working with that “slept-in” texture is the best bet. 

Now you have a few tricks to help you confidently tackle your hair woes! Have a hair struggle we didn’t cover in this post? Drop it in the comments for next time!