A Hairstylist's Runway Survival Guide


Evie Peterson, Redken/Tearsheet artist and Sam Villa ambassador, knows what it's like to be in the trenches backstage at fashion week. She's styled hair at the New York and Paris shows and beyond, and has picked up a few hair hacks and techniques to deliver runway-worthy looks under pressure and on a deadline. “It just takes practice, practice and more practice to build the confidence and technique,” says Peterson. Here, she shares three of her most vital techniques for backstage hairdressing.

  1. Condensed Hair Set “Condensed hair sets are a game-changer for when you need to speed up time in the hustle and bustle of fashion week,” she says. 

    A condensed set is used to create a Victoria’s Secret-type of romantic look, quickly. The entire head is completed with only eight curls—two deep sections on top, one on each side and four in the back. Use a a 1-inch curling iron, like the Sam Villa Signature Series Professional Curling Iron 1”, inserted close to the scalp and feed hair into the iron as it rolls on base. Remove the iron, clip the curl in place and allow to cool completely. Brush out with a a finishing brush, like the Sam Villa Artist Series Finishing Brush to smooth. 
  2. Anchor Braids “Your styles must be secure enough to withstand a model walking the runway," Peterson says. "A simple trick is using anchor braids as a foundation for pinning, especially when trying to make longer hair look short, building up styles or using forms."

    Take a 1- to 2-inch section from side to side across the nape of the head, braid into an S-pattern and secure to head with bobby pins. Now hair can be rolled up around a form or onto itself and hairpins can be inserted into the braid for a secure anchor. It requires minimal pins to lock in place, is very comfortable for the model and has major staying power.
  3. Ponytails “Placement is crucial for telling a story," she adds. "A high ponytail conveys youth and a whimsical feel, a mid-back ponytail is sporty, and a low ponytail is sophisticated and confident."

    Peterson relies on three primary ponytail fastening tools/techniques at every show: A butchers knot with a strip of corded elastic; Tearsheet Crystal Tech Elastic knotted into a circle with two bobby pins on each side; and Tearsheet Bungie, which allows hair to stay in perfect alignment and be secured in place with no lumps or bumps.Brush hair smoothly into the palm of hand.

    How to Secure a Bungie
    1. Close hand and make a fist.
    2. Hold fist full of hair securely against the head and don’t move at all.
    3. Hook the front end of the bungie into the base of the ponytail with free hand wrapping the cord until it is tight and then secure the back end of the bungie into the base of the ponytail. The tail will stay exactly in place without loosening or sagging.