Princess Diana’s Legendary Hairstylist Sam McKnight on His Favorite Hair Products of All Time

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Trunk Archive

Books about hair don’t usually make me cry, but Hair by Sam McKnight ($55, sure did. Filled with gorgeous photos, charming anecdotes, like the time the stylist played a butler in a short film for Chanel, and insider tidbits—he declares Gisele Bündchen the best photo-shoot hair flipper—the book also includes a moving section devoted to McKnight’s relationship with Princess Diana. An accompanying exhibition is on view at Somerset House, in London (November 2 through March 12, 2017). If you go, you might consider bringing a hankie. It’s about time McKnight had such a moment–he’s been in the hair business for 30 years. Here, the legendary hairstylist offers up a list of his favorite products that he relies on both backstage and on set.

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Gisele Bündchen, the best photoshoot hair-flipper, according to hair expert Sam McKnight.


John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Touch Up Crème, $7, I recently used this as the DSquared AW’16 show. We applied it through the hair, section by section, to give natural body and movement.


L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Shower Shine Lacquer Shine Spray, $24, This product gives great texture and shine. I used it at the Balmain Autumn/Winter 2016 show from the mid lengths of the hair through to the ends to add more of a gritty textured finish.


Moroccan Oil Hydrating Styling Crème, $34, This is great for calming flyaways and to create soft, clean texture to hair. Perfect for creating a smooth look.


Kiehl’s Creme with Silk Groom, $24, This is another one of my go-to products at shows. It helps to create a soft texture and reduces flyaways without being overly heavy.


Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, $44, Like dry shampoo but with more guts, this spray is brilliant for when you’re building a graphic hairstyle. And it stays in place until it’s washed out.


Fudge Salt Spray, $14, Salt spray is another hair styist’s fashion show staple. This one provides great texture which is buildable, but easy to brush out– which is essential when models are going from show to show.


Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish, $31, Great for creating a full, airy finish. I use it a lot on shows to create light volume.


Magic Move, $20, Three different tubs of creme and clays here. White is the lightest styling creme that gives hair definition and a lived-in quality; Yellow is a crème-clay mix, drier in texture and more matte in finish. Red, being clay, has the driest texture and finish. These are my go-to pomades for short hair and men’s, but they’re also great worked into hair for varying degrees of texture.


Cock Grease Hair Pomade, $8, Adds definition, great to control flyaways and hair around the hairline, works beautifully on afros and coarser hair types. Effectively aids braiding. It’s a product that keeps giving.


L’Oréal Professionnel Homme Gel Strong, $19, lt’s difficult to find good gel that’s invisible on the hair, but this is brilliant when combed through from the roots as it will ensure the hair lays flat to the head. Fantastic for slicked-back styles.


L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Volume Envy Extra Strong Hold Volume Mousse, $24, This gives a great foundation to the hair. Needs to be applied to damp hair, starting from the roots and worked through to the ends, then blow dry the hair with a round or flat brush according to style preference and this will give you serious hold.