A Star Is Born: Cinematic Hairstyles To Try At Home

Step into the spotlight with hairstyles inspired by screen sirens Anna May Wong and Marlene Dietrich — but with a decidedly updated twist


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Create a halo of braids, a choppy fringe or a slick bun in homage to these American heroines, with expert guidance from renowned hair stylist Matt Benns.

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SHE’S NO WALLFLOWER

It was a portrait of movie star Anna May Wong, captured by Edward Steichen, that inspired hair stylist Matt Benns to dream up the concept behind this graphic beauty shoot. For this pearl-wrapped headpiece look, Matt imagines Anna has “just come off stage, and she’s taken off her wig. Her hair is wig-wrapped. She has to go out for dinner, she has to meet a boy for a drink. So, she puts on her Jasmin Sparrow headpiece. Just gorgeous.” This freshwater- pearl headpiece by the New Zealand jeweller was secured in place using bobby pins.

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He used Bumble & Bumble Thickening Full Form Soft Mousse to prep Fabienne’s natural hair before sweeping it back off her face into a concealed bun. Bobby pins secure each hairpiece in place.

Photo / Pictvre

A STUDY IN SCARLET

One of Anna’s most memorable looks was a strong, blunt fringe, which Matt has recreated on model Sabina. “Her hair is quite short, so I used the R+Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray and a net to flatten her hair, then added a braided extension to create a bun. We added a fringe piece to create a different texture and a strength through the front.” Matt usually deconstructs or cuts hairpieces up before use. Bobby pins secure Sabina’s blunt fringe in place, but most hairpieces come with a clip to secure them to your natural hair. The finishing touch? A spritz of R+Co Neon Lights Dry Oil Spray for added sheen.

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SET THE SCENE

Love the look of a topknot but hair not thick (or long) enough to give the fullness you desire? Consider cushioning. It’s what Matt used to achieve this sky-high topknot, rolling it down on to Fabienne’s natural ponytail for density and plumpness. Try the trend yourself by searching for cushioning at selected pharmacies and salons — it looks like a scrunchie but sits on the inside of your hair instead of the outside. To create the knot visible at the front of Fabienne’s topknot, Matt twisted the hair and tucked loose ends in for a chic, polished finish.

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VIDEO VIXEN

This braided halo hairstyle references one of movie star Anna May Wong’s most iconic photos. It’s a dynamic up-do that sees two hairpieces braided and secured around the head. “This is a simple look you could do at home,” Matt says. “There are so many colours of braiding hair available and they’re affordable too. Packets of synthetic hair cost between $15-$20. It tangles easily but if you know what you’re doing you can make it work nicely,” says Matt, who pre-braided the hairpieces and wrapped them over one another to create a halo-like silhouette.

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Matt prefers to braid separate hairpieces rather than headbands of hair that come pre- braided. “It’s more malleable, you can move it into different shapes, twist it into a bun, use it as a halo for the head, or add wire and create shapes,” he says.

Photo / Pictvre


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