These L.A. Hairstyle Trends Are Going To Be Huge — & Are Easy To Copy

Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
Laura Polko is one of the hottest up-and-coming hairstylists to watch in Hollywood. Collaborating almost exclusively alongside some of the top makeup artists of the moment — and swiftly adding to an already impressive client list — she's making her mark on the L.A. beauty zeitgeist.

As a SoCal transplant, she isn't taking these opportunities in the hair spotlight for granted; she's churning out tons of killer styles that demand double-taps on social media and write-ups on the biggest sites. Think: sexy, messy ponytails for Kim Kardashian; enviably soft waves for Olivia Munn; sultry bedhead for Ashley Benson; and artful adornment for Chrissy Teigen.

Of course, her days haven't always been filled with the Kardashians of the world: Ohio-born and raised, she flew the coop for New York after beauty school. She started working at a salon, parlayed that into catalogue work, then called in sick from work for her first big break: assisting on a humble Fanta commercial. Then, through a friend, she got an opportunity to work with Benson — and the rest is history. "The click-over was no joke. [Benson] posted one picture and I went from, like, 3,000 followers to around 10,000 on Instagram," Polko recalls. Shortly after, she packed her bags for L.A.

We're not the only ones to notice. Today, drugstore hair-care brand Aussie announced Polko as its new ambassador. This is a major coup, and one that Polko says is a natural fit, thanks to her desire to make her work (and the products she uses) approachable and fuss-free. To celebrate, we tapped the hairstylist to walk us through some of her raddest recent looks.

Ahead, Polko shares the products she relies on, the styles her clients are requesting the most, and the clever techniques she's loving now.
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Layer in gel and mousse.

Scoring slicked-back hair with hold and shape, without a hard finish or megawatt shine, requires strategic product-layering. "The hair has to be damp, but not wet, then you layer gel into the root, working it in in small sections," Polko explains. For fine or thin hair, repeat with mousse; thick hair can opt out of the second step.

Then section the hair — working quickly to prevent the hair from air-drying — and blowdry small sections back with a round brush, starting at the crown and ending at the hairline. Hit the ends with a flat iron to finish the look. Try Aussie's gel and smoothing mousse for this look.
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Try the braid, iron, and shake.

"Ashley arrived this day and said, 'I want my hair to look like yours!'" Polko says. "Of course, what I had done was put my hair in a side-braid before going to hot yoga, and then I didn't have time to wash it after."

The cheat? Create four to six medium-sized braids, starting a few inches down from the roots. Spray with hairspray, then hit 'em with a flat iron to create the bends. Allow the braids to cool, then just shake them out and go, Polko says.
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Hit up the craft store.

"This is actually ribbon that I bought from a craft store," Polko says about the modern elastic cover you see here. It's easy to copy: Create your ponytail — Polko used a bungee elastic for a tight finish and a hair piece for extra volume through the pony — then simply wrap the ribbon around the elastic, trim, and glue in place. Polko used extension glue, but any strong-hold formula will work. (You may want to enlist a friend to help with this look.)
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Run your hands over your style as the last step.

A mussed-up, sexy, frizz-meets-flyaway look — notably found in the J.Crew catalogue each season — comes to life on Olivia Munn here. The imperfect hair balances the vampy, precise makeup and plunging neckline. Bonus? It's easy to soften an updo or braid without messing up your hair work if you follow Polko's advice.

"Use the palm of your hand, not your fingers, to loosen the hair," Polko says. "If you use your fingers to pull chunks of the hair, you'll end up with a few long strands hanging out." Instead, as the last step in styling, run your hands against the direction of the hair, going in little circles, until little pieces start falling out and a halo of fuzzies appear. C'est chic!
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Spray your fingers with hairspray before braiding — not your hair.

Want your braids to hold while still looking and feeling soft and natural? Don't even think about misting your hair directly with hairspray. "I spray hairspray onto my fingers before I braid," Polko says. "This ensures that the hair gets extra grit and hold, but isn't sticky, [which makes it so] I can't separate the hair as I braid." Polko keeps a travel-size of her favorite hairspray, Mega Hairspray, on hand.
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Layer beach spray into wet hair before blowdrying.

It takes work to look like you just rolled out of bed. In fact, scoring dry, messy texture, especially when working with very curly or very fine hair, takes work. Here, Polko layered beach spray into Kardashian's locks before blowdrying to score this enviable body.

Tip:
She gave Kim K.'s style added bends using a flat iron, not a curling iron, to keep it more "wild."
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Cage that pony!

Polko has given Chrissy Teigen more than one artful style using stretchy cord she picked up at a craft store. Here, she used the material to make a low pony ultra-cool and modern.

Polko created a classic low pony, then knotted the end of a piece of cord around the hair elastic holding the pony. The rest is simple: Just wrap, wrap, and wrap some more, knotting the ends after the entire look feels secure. Add a few bobby pins for even more interest. (See the side, here.)
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: The looser the fishtail, the closer to sexy.

This hybrid look is part braid, part low pony — and 100% soft and romantic. Create a smooth, low ponytail and secure with a clear elastic. Then loosely create a fishtail and secure. Short and sweet.
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Load in conditioner or oil — but don't rinse.

High-shine finishes require product that will look shiny and glossy, but not greasy. To score this look, Polko suggests coating hair with a very light amount of a mask or treatment, like coconut oil. "As long as your hair is long enough to pull it all back, and you don't have a lot of pieces that are going to fall out, you can use 3 Minute Miracle Moist as a styling product," Polko says. The idea isn't new, but it is a miraculous move for adding health to your hair.
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Wrap, don't curl.

"This was more of a structured bend that was meant to look like it was from the day before," Polko says about the look she gave Munn here.
"Olivia's hair needs a lot of prep because it's so healthy, so it doesn't hold as well, so I layered in texture spray to bulk it up, then round-brushed it to get a little lift." Then, she wrapped random sections around an iron, going away from the face. "Randomly do a few pieces going forward so it doesn't all turn into a retro wave," she advises.
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Photo: Courtesy of Laura Polko.
The Trick: Don't curl your ends.

Polko reminds us of a trick we often take for granted: Don't curl your ends, she says. "Barrel curls start looking like prom curls when you curl the ends," she jokes. Instead, stop the bends or curls an inch or two from your ends for a modern, lived-in finish.
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Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images.
The Trick: Don't go cheap with clip-in bangs.

"Fake bangs are always fun — but the problem is getting them to match," Polko explains. The secret is obvious: "You really have to match the color." Munn's hair is dark and shiny, which makes them easier to match, but those with dimension should consider going big. "When I did Chrissy's [fake bangs], I had to have them highlighted to match, but once you do, you can have them for years," she says.

More tips to master faux bangs, here.
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