For those of you who share my same passion for Blake Lively’s locks, it was quite a treat to speak with the man responsible for some of the star’s best hair moments—celebrity hairstylist Rod Ortega. Not only are Blake’s strands voluminous and incredibly Pinterest-worthy, but they’re also admired by many because of the limitless styling options they have, many of which Ortega created. We caught up with the sought-after stylist to pick his brain about the actress’s hair and what goes on behind the scenes.
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NewBeauty: What is it like working with Blake? Any pro secrets you’ve shared with her?
Rod Ortega: I get acting tips from her and she gets hair tips from me. It’s an even exchange since she has no ambitions to be a hairdresser, and I have no plans to be an actor. Blake is more than a client, or even a friend; she is really a muse to me. She’s always open to new ideas and I’m inspired when I work with her. But, the secret of having “secrets” is not to reveal them too often. It ruins the magic, and magic is an important part of the process.
NB: What is her favorite hairstyle to wear?
RO: We have done a number of braids on Blake, and it’s always a great look. You want to evoke the grace and casual elegance of a ballerina—you never want the look to be too controlled. Blake has a spontaneous quality, and I try to mirror that in her hairstyles. And, braiding is a relaxing, bonding, creative activity for both of us.
NB: Do you have any tips for women with long hair like Blake’s?
RO: First, be good to it. Long hair can be more time-consuming to care for, but it also offers you many more options for style. Blake is very at home in her hair, and can wear it in a number of looks: up, down and in between. It’s not necessary or even recommended to wash your hair every day, and some of her best looks were done with day-old hair, as it’s called. The natural oils your body produces make it shiny and more malleable for styling.
NB: Which hair products do you use on her most frequently?
RO: L’Oréal Elnett Hairspray is a product I am never without. And my trusty T3 Micro dryer is a staple tool in my bag of tricks.
NB: How do you keep Blake’s voluminous curls and waves from falling flat?
RO: I use unwashed, day-old hair instead of freshly washed. You get much better results. Overwashing your hair strips out its natural benefits.