Blake Lively's Met Ball Hair Prep Will Blow You Away

The fashion at this year’s Met Gala far eclipsed what celebs brought to the reserved Oscars. And along with super-fierce fashion came stepped-up beauty looks. A particular standout? Blake Lively’s bright lips and intricate updo, which was so delicately executed, we wondered if the Manus x Machina-themed look had been done by a robot. (And if so, how do we get our hands on said robot?)

It turns out that hairstylist and longtime Lively collaborator Rod Ortega played the role of the magic man behind the look. Even better, the stylist shared a behind-the-scenes play-by-play of how he and Blake prepare for red-carpet domination. Ahead, his Met Gala beauty diary.
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Photo: Courtesy of Rod Ortega.
"Most people don’t realize the amount of prep work that goes into creating a look. For any big red carpet, I always prepare at least four different looks because you never know if a dress or silhouette is going to change. I start preparing about two weeks in advance. I’ll receive a sketch of the dress, then start to look through my library of 2,000 fashion, architecture, design, and beauty books for inspiration.

"For this Burberry Couture look, I was inspired by Diana Vreeland, the woman who started the Gala. I created this inspiration board, which centers on the late '60s to late '70s and incorporates Veruschka, Bardot, Hepburn, and Avedon. Blake will also do research and send me images she finds. For this look, we actually sent each other the same picture early in the process!"
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Photo: Courtesy of Rod Ortega.
"You never know if your checked luggage will make it to your destination, so I make sure to pack styling essentials in my carry-on. I always use Blake’s own hair, but I do carry on some hairpieces that I color and exactly match to her hair color, just in case we need a little filler. And for this look, we ended up using some to fill out the bun.

"The 9 Heads book is full of fashion illustrations, and I use it to help inspire shape and angles. I like to pull a book from my library to travel with. The last time I traveled, we did press for The Shallows. I kickstarted with the Diana Vreeland red book [Ed note: titled Diana Vreeland: An Illustrated Biography]. When you’re in a hotel and miss your dogs and family, it’s nice to bring a little piece from home. Of course, it’s also inspiring and helps get you in the mode of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to execute it."
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Photo: Courtesy of Rod Ortega.
"Once I land in New York, I always stop by Ricky’s NYC, my go-to for last-minute goodies..."
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Photo: Courtesy of Rod Ortega.
"I ended up using the bun-shaper by cutting it in half and wrapping twisted sections of hair around [it] and anchoring with pins. The key is not to be too perfect.”
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"Not pictured: fabulous food, including bacon burgers, and the sounds of Beyoncé. We love the Queen B... Blake’s friends were all there, and we’ve all known each other for a long time. We have a little party and talk about fashion and hair. We help pick out jewelry together. It’s all very collaborative.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Rod Ortega.
“I used the T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i dryer to rough-dry the hair as a first step. Once finger-dried, I used the T3 Vent Brush and smoothed the hair in pieces here and there, keeping some texture. We wanted to have body even though the hair was pulled back. I also waved big sections of hair using the T3 Whirl convertible styling wand just to give a little bit of movement — this gave the hair a bit of bend, which made it easier to twist."
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“The theme of this year’s Ball looked to the future. But for me, what’s old is new again. Silhouettes always go in and out of style, but you make it new by modernizing it. If you look at old pictures, you can always see the hairstyle projecting from all sides and see that shape even if you were straight on. We gave that concept a modernity by wrapping twisting sections of the hair together and pinning it into the bun, which gave the look...shape and texture.”
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Photo: Getty Images.
The final look!
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