Pret-a-Reporter

Mane Monday: Celeb Hairstylist Mark Townsend Returns to the Salon Chair

REX USA
Mark Townsend with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in 2010.

"The only time I'll cancel is for an Olsen," says the man behind Mary-Kate's and Ashley's signature messy waves of making his way back to the Sally Hershberger salon after a seven-year hiatus.

It was the bang (cut) felt around the world: Reese Witherspoon, newly divorced and looking stunning in a strapless, yellow Nina Ricci number, emerged on the Golden Globes red carpet in 2007 with effortless, eye-grazing fringe and perfectly tousled hair that balanced out the structure and sunshiny color of her dress.

Celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend was the man who gave Witherspoon her then-new look, and he’s continued to create globally beloved looks for a list of actresses ever since.

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He’s given Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen their signature, textured waves for 13 years, and Dakota Johnson is a more recent client who, like Witherspoon, sports those Jane Birkin-inspired bangs.

This month, after a seven-year absence from working in a salon, Townsend is returning to cut hair at the place where he started his career as Sally Hershberger’s assistant back in 1997.

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The celeb stylist will take a chair at Hershberger’s eponymous Los Angeles outpost starting May 20 and continuing on to June 10, 17 and 24, and July 1 and 29.

"I’m trying to do every other Wednesday," says Townsend about coordinating his salon time with the constant world traveling he does for his famous clientele. "I miss that camaraderie you get in a salon. And working next to Sally is so inspiring. The only time I’ll cancel is for an Olsen."

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Townsend also sees his salon time as a chance to impart some of the trendsetting styles he’s created for celebrities over the years to anyone interested. And apparently, there are plenty of people interested, particularly when it comes to getting those covetable third day-looking tresses with the perfect amount of messy texture that the Olsen sisters have made a signature. Hint: dry shampoo is definitely involved. For the rest of that recipe, book some time with Townsend at Hershberger’s L.A. salon.

"I’ve spent years traveling the world with these amazing people and creating these amazing techniques and trends and want to show people how to do it," he says of doing a few how-to’s salon side. "There’s nothing like doing shoots and runway shows where I get to be really creative and then get to show women how to create a trend or that texture in Mary-Kate and Ashley’s hair."

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Townsend claims his social media goes crazy most of the time an Olsen steps out on a red carpet. “I did a half up top knot for Ashley at the Met Ball and my social media was blowing up," he shares. "I want to show people how to make a hairstyle personal to them, taking into account their lifestyle, and help them learn how to make it right for them."

To book an appointment with Townsend, contact the Sally Hershberger Salon at 310-854-4922.

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