Rachel McAdams' Textured Golden Globes 'Do Is a Stunner

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Rachel McAdams

A-list stylist Mark Townsend tells all.

The inspiration for Rachel McAdams’ cool, tousled French twist–esque updo at the Golden Globes on Sunday was multilayered. First, her hairstylist Mark Townsend — who also works on all the Olsen girls and Dakota Johnson — says, “Kayleen McAdams, her makeup artist, kind of put the words 'English rose' into my head. I started thinking about the classic pale complexion with flushed cheeks, but what’s a really super modern way to interpret that hair.”

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What came next was a Marie Antoinette reference, which informed the texture that was so important to keeping the look contemporary. And then Townsend actually pulled photos of a ‘do he’d created for the actress years ago, the first time they worked together. "I did all these twists in her hair, and it’s forever been my favorite updo I’d ever done. It was kind of nice to use her as a reference for her hair," he tells Pret-a-Reporter.

McAdams is a dream to collaborate with, he says, adding that she is a risk-taker and likes trying new things. Volume is something she’s always a fan of, and Townsend used a lot of it for the style that he says referenced the detail in her "amazing" Lanvin dress. "The amazing detail spoke to me in a huge way about texture and I really wanted to overdo [it]," he says. The most critical product of the day: dry shampoo.

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To accomplish the look, Townsend first used Dove Regenerative Nourishment Serum in Oil — which he calls his secret weapon of the last year for shiny, smooth blow-dries — on McAdams’ clean, wet hair, along with a volumizer and mousse in her roots. Because she has curly hair, he blow-dried her hair with a round brush, then went back and created figure-eight waves with a double-barrel iron from R Session Pro Tools.

Then, Townsend says, "I liberally — I might have used a whole half-can — sprayed dry shampoo all over, continually scrunching with my hands, pulling the wave apart and then, to be quite honest, almost haphazardly grabbed sections and formed them into a twist.” He stepped back for a look before adding YS Park gold hairpins — the best, according to the super stylist — to "mess up the perfectness of her French twist." After all, Townsend says a major lesson learned from Sally Hershberger while working with her in the ‘90s was "you have to make hair perfect before you mess it up."

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While he used Dove Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo, which is packed with starch for excellent hold (and is great for getting volume while backcombing) on her hair before styling it, the mane man finished the look with Elizabeth & James dry shampoo, which he says gives great pieciness. Says Townsend, "I wanted some of her hair to clump together so you could see how much texture is in there and show the highlights vs lowlights."


A photo posted by Mark Townsend (@marktownsend1) on