“It makes women feel really girly, feminine, and it exudes a lot of sexiness,” said hairstylist Cesar Ramirez, Ciara’s go-to pro, who noted that the singer’s strands measure a whopping 38 inches. “The last project, we did really short hair and dyed it blond and it created a whole movement. But this time around we wanted to do something completely different.” Inspired by ’70s icons like Cher and Diana Ross, Ramirez created that “same vibe” by adding a “realistic amount” of extensions shortly before Ciara gave birth to her son. (Who needs a receiving blanket when you have your hair, right?) Natural, waist-grazing strands wouldn’t be lush all the way through, he explained, but “very fine at the ends.” Another thing to take into account, said Ramirez, is proportion: A 5’10” Ciara can carry off 38 inches, whereas a woman who’s not so statuesque might consider less than two feet of hair. With multiple celebrities going to extremes in terms of their tresses (many of them—Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Madonna—seen at yesterday’s news conference for Jay Z’s subscription streaming service, Tidal) and the trend picking up steam on the runway at Dior, we thought we’d consolidate Ramirez’s best tips for maintaining great lengths:
Handle with care. “My number one rule is to put my clients on a really good regimen,” said Ramirez. “You don’t want to skip out on a good shampoo and conditioner.” He recommends a duo from Shea Moisture, but advises not washing every single day. If you’re styling frequently (as is the case with celebs), always employ a heat protector. Try: Oribe Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray.
Stay away from silicone. “I’m not a really heavy product user—I like to keep the hair looking really natural,” said Ramirez. In the event that you need a little help, look for formulas free from or low in silicone. To remove any product buildup, switch from your regular regimen to a gentle clarifying shampoo (such as Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo) for a deeper clean.
Brush right. To avoid waking up to tangles, Ramirez suggests splitting your hair in half and crating two braids, or making one single plait. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase or wrapping your hair in a scarf also helps prevent breakage around the hairline. In the morning, loosen any knots by misting all over with a “restyler” (like Oribe Foundation Mist) and gently brush through your ends (his weapon of choice: the cult-classic paddle from Mason Pearson), then comb through the roots. “You don’t want to start from the top and rip through it,” he said. For blow-drying, Ramirez reaches for a brush from Japanese beauty brand Y.S. Park.
Pull it back. Don’t let superlong strands overwhelm an outfit. “I didn’t want the hair to compete with the jacket,” said Ramirez of pony-meets-fishtail-plait spotted on Ciara yesterday. “I always try to make it look like she did it herself.” Whether on the runway at Dior or the sidewalks of New York City, a Rapunzel-worthy tail is guaranteed to turn heads.
—Amber Kallor, Style.com