Celebrity hair secrets

Lynnette Peck / 05 April 2016

Top hairdresser to the stars Paul Edmonds tells us how our favourite 50+ stars achieve their luscious locks, and how we can get the look at home.



Paul Edmonds has been a hairdresser for over 30 years and during that time he has tended the tresses of thousands of women including famous ones such as actresses Helen Mirren, Emma Thompson, Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and Julie Walters. Here he passes on his expert advice on how to have great hair at any age.

Paul Edmonds, Paul Edmonds London (www.pauledmonds.com)

“There are some common hair challenges that face us all over the decades. Grey hair, hair loss and volume, frizz and loss of gloss. So how do A-list celebrities manage to have such good looking hair? Below, I will take you through each celebrity look and show you ways to emulate their fabulous hair.”

Related: Hair care for the over-50s

Paul’s famous clients

Helen Mirren

“I first met Helen when she was about to start playing Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect. I cut her fine hair into a short hairstyle with longer layers on top and a short soft outline. She could run her hands through so it, so it could look hard and sleek at times and sexy and tousled when needed. The fine highlights help break up the colour. The whole look is easy to care for.

“Helen has been quoted as a minimum effort girl, so how does she look so good now with her jaw length bob? The secret is in the length, cut and colour. The bob shape is cut with textured gentle layers around the edge with a soft side fringe. This cut shows off her cheekbones and eyes. The volume in the layered bob is kept at the same height as her cheekbones and not on the jaw. The colour is kept close to her natural, but colour is subtly added for depth and contrast to her skin.

“Grey hair is also normally twinned with loss of colour in your skin, so one can end up looking faded and sallow. At Paul Edmonds London we would recommend either translucent colour all over or a mixture of blonde and beige micro lights, with the deeper tone around the sides of the face to give contour and to help define the face shape.”

How to get Helen Mirren’s look at home

I recommend volumising shampoos and conditioners such as Shu Uemura Muroto Volume (lookfantastic.com). Then a light volumiser, such as Tecni Art Pli Shaper (salonsecrets.co.uk) that will not weigh the hair down but will keep it looking healthy with movement.

Rough dry hair with fingers and finish with a medium round brush to smooth the hair cuticle. Avoid hairspray as it will give it a hard set look.

Related: Read our interview with Helen Mirren

Julie Walters

“I've been cutting Julie's hair for years and she has thick hair which I cut into a sculptured shape to emphasise her head shape, then I cut through it to give a choppy youthful feminine spirit. Her hairline is left soft and textured which allows it to be worn either forward and gamine or back and more edgy. I use Shu Uemura Kengo Feather (feelunique.com), a lightweight cream, to give texture and gloss.

“Julie recently decided to soften her naturally grey hair by adding pale blonde and creamy highlights to break up and enhance the grey but make it look glamorous.”

Related: Read our interview with Julie Walters

Emma Thompson

“Emma and I always work to ensure her hair is easy to manage and hassle free, so I cut a short outline shape with longer texted layers. This gives versatility and easy care casual to glamour. I use a touch of Shu Uemura Essence Absolue for shine, mixed together in the palm of my hand with Shu Uemura’s Clay Definer Pomade for structure, (both from feelunique.com) and then applied lightly at the ends.

“Her base colour is taken to a soft medium blonde then cream highlights are scattered through the top and front to emphasise Emma's eyes.

“Every four or five months after colour treatment I recommend a keratin treatment (available at Paul Edmonds London) as this smooth’s Emma’s hair and makes it easier to manage and keep it looking tousled, smooth and youthful. Hair that looks like you can put your hands through and touch always looks more youthful.”

Related: Read our interview with Emma Thompson

Celebrity looks

 Michelle Pfeiffer

“Michelle is always extraordinarily beautiful and her hair over the years has stayed on the longer side. But try not to get stuck in a look or style that suited at what we think was our optimum age. This is a danger as our face changes, as does fashion.

“What is good about Michelle is she has kept the hair long, just below the collar bone with long layers through it, but changes how it is styled. It is rarely over-finished whether smoothly dried or curled.

Michelle has quite fine hair and when wearing it at this length it could look straggly. If you don’t have a Hollywood hairdresser following you about I would recommend investing in hair extensions. They can be colour-matched and by using micro bonds no one need ever know about them. They add bulk and support the styling.

“Michelle’s colour is what we call a ‘root drag tint’ and ‘balayage’ has been applied mid length and an ‘ice glaze’ all over. This gives a natural Nordic sun-kissed look.”

How to get Michelle Pfeiffer’s look at home

“To achieve Michelle’s blonde and tousled locks I would recommend Kerastase Densifique Bain Densité then apply Kerastase Densifique Mousse Densimorphose (both available from lookfantastic.com) - these two products will give volume, yet keep the hair fluid and not stiff. Rough dry then either smooth with a large round bristle brush or use a heated wand taking random size sections to give a natural curl.

“Michelle lifts her fringe to one side and front hairline to show off her cheeks and brow. Now apply a gloss or serum - I love Shu Uemura Essence Absolue. Put a few drops in your hand rub your hands together then rub through mid lengths and ends. This keeps the hair informal and natural.”

 Julianne Moore

“Julianne Moore's hair is her crowning glory. When you think of her you immediately see her hair thick, smooth and gloriously red. If your own natural colour is or was red, as it begins to go grey, try a semi-permanent salon colour such as L’Oreal Professionnel Dia-Light to revitalise colour without the commitment.

“Red colours are more flattering if muted and softened, by either aiming for more golden or brown red setter reds. Also natural redheads often have coarser hair that can be inclined to look or feel frizz.

“A salon Nanokeratin treatment (semi-permanent blow dry) especially after a tint, will give hair a youthful gloss and stop it from looking dry and frizzy. Plus, it makes it easier to keep smooth at home.

“Julianne’s hair is usually cut just below the shoulder square in what we call the ‘median cut’, then cut through the ends to remove the weight so it can be worn straight and modern.”

How to get Julianne Moore’s look at home

“To get Julianne’s look use Kerastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste shampoo and conditioner followed by Kerastase Discipline Fluidissime Spray (leave in styling spray). Using a large round brush, blow down the hair shaft roots to ends. Together they reduce bulk and keep hair smooth and lustrous.”  

Cindy Crawford

“Cindy is lucky having great hair to start with and she has maintained the same structure and shape throughout the years. Her secret is gloss and shine making the hair look healthy, but the volume (especially in Cindy’s case) makes her hair look youthful. Her hair colour is applied with a contouring effect - an application of differing shades of colour around the face and ends - to enhance the facial features.

“Cindy is a natural brown but light brown shades are applied with balayage to contour the front to ends and the rest of the hair has ombré which is a segue from her darker hair at the root to lighter ends. Long layers are cut into the hair to reduce volume and add movement. She also has wavy hair so this helps, but if you don't have thick hair then add some permanent extensions which are invisible and colour-matched to get that Cindy glamour.”

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