This Is How Trans Women Can Achieve Caitlyn Jenner-Worthy Hair
Celeb hair designer Andre Davis offers tips on getting the most natural-looking feminine mane possible, starting with putting hair in a healthy growth program.
Since Caitlyn Jenner debuted her bustier-clad body and voluminous, mid-length hair back in April, she has stepped out in equally feminine ensembles, including miniskirts and lace wrap dresses.
But the road from Bruce to Caitlyn has required more than just a few new frocks and even the surgeries. The hair and makeup (or Glam Squad, as referred to by the rest of Jenner’s brood) is a key component in creating a natural look, something celebrity hair designer Andre Davis knows all about.
In addition to his celeb clients Olivia Palermo, Garcelle Beauvais and Rosario Dawson, whom he coifs on set and at the Julien Farel Salon in New York City, Davis has been creating hairstyles and wigs for transgender women who are looking for a full and feminine mane.
Davis says that since Jenner went public as Caitlyn, he has seen a significant uptick in transgender women seeking his services.
"I’ve seen more trans clients since Caitlyn Jenner," says Davis. "It’s a sensitive thing, but I think more people are embracing it. When they see friends with great hair they make the leap, and [I want] to make anyone and everyone look fabulous."
From soft layers to putting hair on a healthy growth program, Davis demystifies the process for getting the most natural-looking feminine hair possible.
How did you gain a following of transgender clients?
I did a trans wedding four years ago, and the maid of honor was a transgender woman who was so pretty. I wanted to know everything — all of her secrets and techniques. I also worked with a trans client who was a singer and did her hair and wigs for her photo shoots. There weren’t as many trans women coming into the salon or coming to get their hair done four years ago. Since Caitlyn Jenner, I’ve gained about 10 new clients.
What are some of the biggest hair challenges for someone transitioning from male to female?
A lot don’t have the Glam Squad, so they do it themselves and not all know what looks good on them. They’ve been [living as] men their whole life. Some trans women trying to do it themselves come to me and their hair is in bad shape. It’s broken or over-processed.
What do you recommend for getting full, healthy and feminine hair?
My advice is to put your hair on a program. Most people don’t trim it and it gets scraggly and broken. Focus on healthy hair and trim it every two months so it doesn’t have any split ends. If you trim and shape it, the hair will grow faster and more beautifully. You can also get clip-in extensions until reaching the desired length. Some of my clients use Viviscal. It’s the only thing I’ve ever seen that makes the hair longer and thicker.
A lot of trans women have long hair, but then it’s never enough. We do extensions to make hair fuller or more feminine. Some have baldness, so then I design the wig.
Are more trans women wearing wigs in order to get their desired look?
Wigs are so popular now because they’re a bumped-up version of their normal hair. But you can’t have wigs looking like Dolly Parton. They have to look very natural. That’s what I do; I make them believable. It’s about streamlining them — the clothes, the makeup and hair all need to go together so she can go to the supermarket with jeans and a T-shirt. The hair needs to be soft and feminine. A custom wig made of 100 percent natural human hair takes about five to six weeks to construct. The hair color has to be spot-on, and I also match the texture of the wig exactly to the woman’s hair, whether that’s dry, coarse or curly.
What type of haircuts do you give in order to soften and feminize the face?
It’s all about making things softer. I do a lot of framing [of the face] and give a more textured look. I don’t usually do anything severe or straight. I bring more glamour and something soft but sexy. I push them to be more confident and sexy. It’s not that they’re not owning it; they may just not know how to execute the look they’re going for. Some come in and have no clue, and they want to trust that I know what looks best for them. It’s huge to me and I feel very blessed. Working with [trans women] brings a whole other level of gratification to my job.