Only a quick scroll through Christian Wood’s Instagram account makes it pretty clear that he’s a very big deal. Almost every post is of one his countless celebrity hair creations, with the likes of Sophie Turner, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Lily Aldridge, and Emily Ratajkowski making regular appearances. Turner’s wedding ‘do and Huntington-Whiteley’s Met Gala chignon? All Wood.
To uncover the secrets behind the gorgeous hair of these A-listers, Savoir Flair’s Beauty Editor sat down with the hair legend to find out which products he can’t live without, his top haircare tips, and the trends he thinks you should definitely steer clear of. Here’s what she uncovered.
It’s so hot and humid! How can I fix my har?
The number one thing that’s going to fix your hair is a Brazilian blow-dry or relaxing treatment. It will help blow-dries last longer, and keeps hair smoother and softer. Outside of that, there’s no miracle product that’s going to withstand that type of heat and humidity – especially in the Middle East! But I think rather than forcing it and wearing your hair down, wear it up! Try a snatched ponytail or a chic updo – whatever fits your style. Take the time to put it up properly, and then it will last you all day.
What’s the biggest mistake women make with their hair?
There are so many, but I’d say the biggest one is hair length. I’m a big believer in women looking however they want to look, in them feeling good. If you’re 80 years old and you want to have waist-length hair, have it! Likewise, if you want to have short hair, go short. But it’s about having a length that you can manage. If you love long hair, but are going to spend zero time looking after it, then it’s not going to look great 90 percent of the time. It’s a big investment! The same goes for really short hair – having a bob requires a lot of work to get it looking good every day. So, unless you have that 20 minutes to style it, it might not be the best idea.
There’s been a big trend at the moment for that one-length bob, that Kim Kardashian vibe. But if you don’t have time to iron that every day, it’s not going to look good. Or, if your hair can’t handle being ironed and styled every day, it won’t either! So maybe it’s about having it three or four inches longer so it looks great when you leave it to dry and when you have time you can properly style it.
No one whose hair I want to style is alive! I’m obsessed with Old Hollywood.
What’s the best way to get lift and volume?
Freshly cleaned hair is number one and, if you can’t wash it, dry shampoo – as we all know – is a miracle! Old-school techniques like teasing are the only way to get lift and height and that Kate Moss effect. Just tease the crown a little bit, spray it with some hairspray, and then use a Mason Pearson brush over it. That will give you volume that lasts all day, whereas a product will only last an hour or two before it drops.
I’m also a massive fan of hair extensions and working with celebrities, a lot of it is tricks of the trade. Most of the time, the only way you’ll get volume that really lasts is with one or two rows of extensions. I use clip-ins because I want them out at the end of the day. Put two at the front of your hair, right underneath your parting, and that completely changes your hair. I use The Hair Shop, and Great Lengths also have really good ones.
Is there anyone whose hair you’d love to style, but haven’t?
No one whose hair I want to style is alive! I’m obsessed with Old Hollywood. My dream person would be Elizabeth Taylor in the 60s and 70s, when she had those crazy updos and braids and flowers in her hair and tiaras – they’re on every reference board I’ve ever had and so iconic. She wasn’t afraid to be ‘out there’, but always looked elegant and sophisticated. So, I’d say her and also Joan Crawford. But I’d be terrified to do their hair! I’d love to be in a room and listen to their stories and see how crazy they really were.
I’ve kind of worked with all of the girls I love and have wanted to work with. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is one of my clients, and she’s one of my closest friends now. Before meeting her, she was my ultimate hair icon. Every mood board was her. It’s so funny, every job I go on now – I guarantee you – there are pictures of work I’ve done on her as the reference, which is so rewarding!
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What’s your favorite hair look?
I’ve always loved that 60s Brigitte Bardot vibe, middle parting with a bit of height on the crown, that sexy but undone vibe. It works on every single woman.
How can I achieve that “undone done” beachy wave?
If you’re actually at the beach, use the Wella ‘Luminous Oil’ in the morning and tie your hair into a loose braid or topknot. When you’re going in and out of the water all day, your hair will naturally get that texture. You can also scrunch in a little bit of salt spray. If you’re somewhere like the Middle East, where you have that humidity, it will really give you that type of wave.
When you’re creating it from scratch, start with freshly washed hair. Then use a mixture of surf/salt spray and oil. I find that if you just use a salt spray, your hair feels dry and crunchy, so the oil gives that natural shine you get from being in the ocean. Apply that to the hair, use a diffuser, and try and get as much natural volume as you can. Then you have to use a curling iron. My favorite is the GHD ‘Soft Curl Tong’. Take big sections of hair, wrap it around, and hold it for two or three seconds. I like to leave the ends a bit straighter because if you’re on holiday and leave your hair to dry naturally, the ends are always a bit straighter. If you wrap it too much at the bottom, it’s going to look more “dolly” and glamorous, so leave the ends out. I also like to finish with a dry shampoo or texture spray. Tip the head upside down, spray it through, then you’re done!
It works on every single woman.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a hairstylist?
We all see ourselves differently in the mirror to how we actually look, so I think it’s really important that when someone steps out of my chair, they look how they want to look. You have to understand that everyone sees themselves differently to how you see them, so it’s very important to ask lots of questions and understand their body language and how they feel. You can always tell if a woman feels great when you’ve done her hair because she’ll be flipping it around or taking selfies – or whatever it is people do these days! That’s the biggest challenge; making sure someone feels as good with their hair as you feel doing it.
Debunk the biggest hair myth you’ve heard.
I honestly think it’s face shapes. Like when you see those face charts in magazines that say, “If you’ve got a heart-shaped face, then you should have bangs this length.” It’s absolute rubbish! It’s the biggest myth ever, and you should throw those magazines out. You can have anything you want; it just has to be altered to you. Everything is always possible, it’s just about taking the time with your hairstylist to see what works best.
Oh, and another one? Not washing your hair! It’s the number one thing I hear: “If you don’t wash your hair, it gets healthier.” It’s so untrue! Number one, it’s unhygienic. Number two, it actually makes coloring hair harder because it doesn’t lift the same way. I mean a day or two is fine, but when you have that residue of products and pollution, it’s not healthy. I think if you have to wash your hair every day, wash your hair every day. It’s a total myth that it damages it. Just make sure you’re using a good conditioner and a mask once or twice a week.
Speaking of masks, do DIY remedies actually work?
Absolutely! But if you have super chemically processed hair and it’s white blonde and on its last legs, you’re going to have to treat it with chemical-based products. But I think if your hair is generally in good shape, natural things work really well. Almond oil is amazing for the hair, and you can actually add a few drops to your conditioner to help make hair more manageable and give it that sheen. You can also make hair masks with a paste of avocado and almond oil. They’re never going to be as good chemical ones, though.
What is the best way to wash your hair?
It depends on your hair. I don’t recommend using an anti-dandruff shampoo if you have a dry scalp or dandruff – you should use a proper scalp treatment. And actually do them! There’s no point spending the money on it and not doing it properly. Wash your hair once, but give it a good shampoo, and make sure you rinse it properly. I’m not a big believer in two shampoos unless your hair is particularly dirty. Just make sure you rinse it really well, and never with hot water. It should always be warm. I could never wash my hair with cold water, so I wouldn’t ask anyone else to. Like, how miserable! Who’s washing their hair cold water? Warm water is fine.
Also, never apply conditioner to the roots. Most people find that impossible to do, so always have a scrunchie in your shower. Wash your hair, put it into a ponytail with the scrunchie, then only apply your conditioner or treatment to the ends. Leave it on for as long as you can, while you wash your body or shave your legs – whatever it is that you do – then take out the scrunchie and rinse the ends. It’s the only way you can really separate the root from the ends of the hair. Spend a good 30 seconds rinsing it. That will get rid of all the residue and stop hair from feeling so heavy.
Even though the trend comes and goes, I love seeing girls with pink or gray hair.
What’s your favorite hair trend at the moment?
As it’s summer, I love colored hair. Even though the trend comes and goes and it’s a bit passé now, I love seeing girls with pink or gray hair. It’s so good to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I think bangs come in and out of fashion, but are definitely having a moment. I recently gave Sophie Turner some fake bangs, which became this big phenomenon! We have so many tools now that we didn’t have a few years ago. There are amazing extensions and clip-in bangs, so you can really alter your look without having to commit. Bangs are a great trend because you can instantly change up your hair without having to chop it off or dye it.
Is there one hair trend you wish you could banish forever?
I’d have to say waist-length extensions. There was a moment when I loved it – I’ve always been obsessed with Naomi Campbell, and her walking down the runway with that long hair was like, “Wow.” Kim Kardashian rocked it when she did it. I worked with Kim way before she did the long hair thing. She asked me what I’d love to try on her, and I said, “Naomi Campbell hair!” So, when I saw her actually do it, I was so happy because she looked amazing and she can really pull it off.
But then again, she has the best hairdressers in the world. Chris Appleton, who does her hair, is a genius. He makes it look flawless, and you can’t see where the extensions start. But unfortunately, that trend drips down. I’ll walk down the street and see a girl with hair past her bottom, and you can see the bob over the top, and it’s so bad. I’m like pleaseeee cut your hair or have normal length extensions! That’s my number one, and I see it everywhere I go.
What do you think will be big in the hair world next year?
I personally would love to see more curls. I love those 60s and 70s glamorous curls, and they’re so easy to do. Just add some mousse, tip your hair upside down, and diffuse it. I think that could be a big trend. But to be honest, I’m not a massive believer in trends. I think everyone makes their own. Go for it, don’t be afraid – do what you love.
Have you ever picked up any tips from your celebrity clients?
Actually, yes! Rosie told me about the ‘Beachwaver’. It’s like a curling iron, and you put your hair in and click a button that says ‘left’, and it curls your hair to the left. Then you put it on the right side, and it curls your hair to the right, so you get that beautiful away from the face wave. I’d always see her and be like, “Did you curl your hair yourself or go to a salon?” And she’d always say, “No, I did it myself!” And then she told me about this tool, so it’s one thing I really recommend to everyone. She has amazing hair, but it’s hard work – she doesn’t just get out of bed and it looks like that! But she has learned how to do it with this one tool.
You’ll do the 10 Korean skincare steps before bed, but no one thinks about their hair.
What’s your ultimate hair tip?
My biggest thing is a good nighttime routine because most damage is caused while you sleep. You wake up and your hair’s like a bird’s nest, and you try and pull a brush through it and it’s a disaster! You’ll do the 10 Korean skincare steps before bed, but no one thinks about their hair. I’m obsessed with the Slip silk pillowcases; I’ll only sleep on those. Once you start, it’s life-changing! I even have the travel one that I take on the plane. I never, ever sleep on a cotton pillow now. And I know I have a shaved head, but it’s also better for your skin!
Brush your hair before bed, apply a few drops of the Wella oil, brush again, and then put your hair in a low knot with a silk scrunchy. Your hair will be so different when you wake up. The oil is essential because what you’re trying to do is avoid friction. When you sleep, the oil tames frizz and makes it easier for your hair to slide across the silk pillowcase, so you’ll get less breakage and damage. Now when I feel a cotton pillow, I’m like, “Ah, this is so scratchy!” Also, use a Mason Pearson hairbrush! They’re so old-school, but they’re the best. Just invest in one and you’ll have it forever.
Complete the sentence: To me, great hair is….
Wearing it with confidence and owning the look. Whether it’s beachy waves, crazy color, or over the top styling, confidence always shines through.