How to Recreate Madonna’s Most Iconic Looks, Straight From Her Long-Time Hairstylist

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This article first appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

“Come on girls, do you believe in love?” It’s hard to fathom it’s been three decades since Madonna rallied the troops in her feminist call to arms Express Yourself. Celebrity hairstylist Peter Savic takes a look back on the enduring styles he created with the chameleon-esque star and shares his expert tips on how to recreate them today.

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Don’t Go For Second Best
“I used to cut and color her hair, and we had just used this length in the Oh Father video,” the stylist says. She always loved wavy, curly hair. To get the curls, I used a regular curling iron with a one-inch barrel. I liked to put a little bit of conditioner in the ends of her hair to give it more texture and protect it from the heat.”

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Like a Queen on a Throne
“I designed this one for the Blonde Ambition tour” recalls Savic, of the infamous high pony. “It has a very ’60s retro vibe. I used a clip-on ponytail, set it very high up on her head and created a thick braid to wrap around the base. After she went on tour with it, I would go into the wig stores and see it everywhere. Everyone wanted it.”

Modern Manes
Today we see these same timeless ’dos making their way across red carpets with a fresh, new spin. Savic says getting it right is all in the technique.

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Make Waves
Savic says the retro curly bob is all about texture. To mimic the look like Jane Fonda did on the SAG red carpet, “use a mousse to create body before you curl,” he advises. “Use a little bit of conditioner, but not too much. You have to be careful, it can’t be emollient, and it has to be light so it doesn’t weigh the hair down.”

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Power Position
Jennifer Lopez has the iconic “higher than the heavens” ponytail down to a science. “How high you place it is most important,” adds the stylist. “It needs to be higher on the head. Then, braid loose hair extensions and wrap them around the base for a more polished look.”

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