“Where have you been all my life?”
Have you ever uttered these words softly in front of the mirror, not to yourself but to your new haircut? Have you ever whispered this question to the blowout that brought you back to confidence after a week of hellish bad-hair days?
No stranger to this sort of reaction is the celebrity hairstylist Adir Abergel. He has created droves of memorable hair looks for Hollywood’s most talented artists, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, Saoirse Ronan, Jennifer Garner, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, and more. On steady par with his talent is Abergel’s refreshing sense of humility. “I care about my clients. I care about helping the celebrated artists I get to work with every day create an aesthetic. My job is to be of service, and I genuinely feel very lucky to have this opportunity.”
The Israeli-born hair whiz also happens to be a bit of a Renaissance man. Before working under the apprenticeship of legendary celebrity stylist Arthur John, he spent his early teen years as a ballet dancer in New York City. One of Abergel’s latest ventures is serving as creative director at Virtue Labs, a cruelty-free line of products dedicated to repairing and revitalizing hair.
Recently, W spoke with the hair authority. He offered insight into his inspirations, as as his guidelines for beautiful hair.
What have been the most defining moments of your career so far?
It's hard to pick one, but a few of my favorite defining moments include when Anne Hathaway hosted the Oscars in 2011. She had the pixie cut. It was beautiful, memorable and so incredibly special for me. More recently, I’d say cutting Charlize Theron's hair into a modern bowl cut. Another moment for me was earlier this year, when being honored with the Hair Stylist of The Year Award at the 2019 InStyle Awards. My long-time friend and client Jennifer Garner presented it to me, which made the memory even more special.
Of all the hair looks you’ve created, which ones stand out, in particular?
There are many that are incredibly important to me. The 2012 Oscars with Gwyneth Paltrow is one. She wore this amazing sleek white Tom Ford dress with this amazing cape. It was all about simplicity and we went for a glossy and gorgeous low ponytail. Also, transforming Charlize Theron into a brunette bob for the 2019 Oscars, and later in the year giving her a modern bowl cut. When I saw the beautiful light indigo fabric on her Dior dress for the Oscars, I immediately knew I wanted to create a dramatic contrast with her hair color and cut. I created a classic rich brunette bob inspired by the 1970’s and updated it with a modern twist. Again, Anne Hathaway’s short pixie is another look that I loved working on. Saoirse Ronan’s bob for the 2018 Oscars was another. The night before the Oscars, we cut Saoirse’s hair into a choppy, linear bob, which was elevated by high-shine. I pulled references from 90’s books, where glamour was sophisticated and effortless. Rooney Mara’s deconstructed braided updo for the 2016 Golden Globes played with soft texture and hard parting. Kristen Stewart at the 2019 Met Ball was also a look that stands out in my mind. She had multidimensional colored hair, parted in the center, with red, pale yellow blond and dark brown shades. The style merged the 90’s heartthrob floppy look with a nod to the 70’s glam of David Bowie. From mid-shaft to ends, the hair was dyed into a Classic Chanel Red hue.
Is there a specific fashion moment in history that inspires you?
Anything from Steven Meisel, particularly in the 90's. I am also inspired by Irving Penn portraits, Richard Avedon’s Harper’s Bazaar covers and any of Helmut Newton’s portrayals of strong women.
Let’s move into hair care. How often do you encourage your clients to get a deep conditioning treatment to maintain the health of their hair? Do you have a favorite hair treatment?
I recommend a weekly mask. As we head into winter, hair can get very dry from temperature changes. Being cold outside and then going into heated rooms can affect the quality of your hair. On top of that, many women are blow drying and coloring hair. My favorite mask is by far Virtuelabs.com Restorative Treatment Mask. The key ingredient that makes this the most powerful hydrating and reparative mask is something called Alpha Keratin 60ku, it’s an ethically sourced human keratin protein. Its molecule is the same exact size as our own, making it instantly recognizable by our bodies, working to seamlessly fill in and repair any damage in each strand of hair. It is a lightweight, extremely hydrating formula that will allow even the finest of hair to absorb this product without ever weighing it down. In prep for a big day or just general maintenance, use it once a week to every other day.
Please give our readers the best blowout tips. And, please: how do we keep it sleek, afterwards?
It’s all about building the right foundation and using the right products. I always prep the hair with some kind of a primer. This will help keep memory in the hair specifically in the roots. My go-to is a product I helped create called Virtue Volumizing Primer. I spray Virtue Volumizing Primer at the root, and then dry with cold air until about 50% before transferring to heat to smoothen. If you have problem with frizz, then use a cream to help with hydration. Also, to upkeep your blowouts, try sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase. I recommend clients use a dry shampoo in between wash days as well.
Tell us about your hair styling tools of choice. Are there any you can't live without?
My favorite blow dryer at the moment is Elchim. On set I use a Dafni Allure cordless heated brush. For brushes my go to is Mason Pearson.
Hair trends may come and go, but are there any at this moment you are really loving?
I am really loving structured cuts. Think: Vidal Sassoon and the supermodels of the 90’s, shot by Peter Lindbergh
Hair care is constantly evolving with new treatments to make our hair regimens less time consuming. Are you a fan of treatments such as Keratin? Are there any new treatments you are particularly fond of?
I think Keratin treatments that help you to manage your hair are great. But just like hair coloring processes, they can be damaging. Treatments like this can break down the building blocks of hair and lessen moisture, so the hair is more brittle and has less elasticity. It’s important to rebuild your hair by using products that will repair and mend, as well as add moisture, shine and elasticity. You also have to use products that are free of sulfates and parabens. And, the truth is that just about everything we do to our hair can be damaging. Harsh shampoos, chlorine in water, even simply brushing it. The biggest stressors are most likely heat styling and chemical processing. That’s why finding products to keep your hair, your greatest accessory, healthy are so important.
Women are inundated with hair dos and don’ts. Are there any misconceptions about hair regimens that you might want to address?
I think that a lot of women think there is a specific amount of times per week that one should wash one's hair. This is a big misconception because everyone’s hair is different. For example, if you have fine hair that gets quite oily you may have to wash your hair daily and you may have to use conditioner from mid shaft to ends. If your hair is dry with texture, you might have to wash your hair twice a week and use a conditioner closer to the roots because you don’t produce enough natural oils. Most people have a combination of both and should probably shampoo three times a week and use a conditioner from mid shaft to ends so you don’t weigh down the hair. But most importantly with shampoo and conditioner: less is more. A little can go a long way!