Pret-a-Reporter

Rachel McAdams' Hairstylist Breaks Down Her '90s-Meets-Old Hollywood Hair

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Rachel McAdams

Hair guru Mark Townsend gives us the scoop on the look.

"I'm an emo kid. The '90s will always be the height of fashion for me," says hairstylist Mark Townsend, who worked on best supporting actress nominee Rachel McAdam's mane for Sunday night's Oscars.

So it was fitting that he channeled a picture of supermodel Amber Valletta from a '90s Calvin Klein fashion show when creating the actress's Academy Awards hairstyle.

"That dress just looked like it was poured over her body," says Townsend of first seeing McAdams in the emerald green August Getty Atelier creation. "She had her hair pulled up into a knot for fitting and everything was perfect. I thought we had to get it all off her face and add some shine and texture."

Shine was the major component of the chignon (and that nod to the '90s, though this Oscar look was much more glam than greasy). Townsend started the look with four to five drops of Dove Hair Serum and Oil to seal the hair cuticles, and then used a GHD flat iron on McAdams' naturally curly hair. "I knew I wanted it to look almost wet, so I had to make sure it would stay straight after applying more product," he says.

To get even more sheen, Townsend raked John Masters Organic leave-in conditioner through her hair and then even more serum to make sure it stayed shiny.

"We thought it should be simple and clean, but Rachel also said there needed to be little bit of 'punch,'" says Townsend. To ensure that the bobby pins securing her bob-length hair in a chignon wouldn’t slip out due to the serum, Townsend laid all the pins on a towel and coated them with a serious dusting of dry shampoo so there would be some friction between the hair and pins, but without the mattifying effect of the product dusted on the entire head.

"This hairstyle was really my gut instinct," says Townsend, who also works with the Olsens and Dakota Johnson. "And what I love about my job — being influenced by Old Hollywood and adding something modern."

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