4 Models Spill Their Secrets For Crazy-Pretty Hair

Many of modeling's most iconic moments have taken place during hair advertisements: Think the luscious locks of Breck girls, that classic "Does she...or doesn’t she?" Clairol campaign, and the (ahem) effusive reactions of the gals in Herbal Essences commercials. And, anyone who’s recently flipped through a fashion magazine has, no doubt, come face-to-face with a model whose locks seem so impossibly long, shiny, and voluminous that it’s clear she doesn’t even know the meaning of "bad hair day." Right?
Not quite. Hair models may be #blessed, but that doesn’t mean their strands sprouted glossy and mermaid-like from their scalps. Just like us normals spend (probably too much) time and energy getting our hair to look right, those gorgeous, photogenic women employ a host of methods, products, and experts to maintain their moneymakers.
Read on to find out how some of the industry’s top tress talent gets, and stays, camera ready.
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Photo: Courtesy of Adam Franzino; illustrated by Shawna Huang.
Ubah Hassan
Agency: Supreme Management

Somalia-born Ubah Hassan has modeled for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, and Gucci. But, one of her favorite on-the-job stories involves a hair-color brand.

"I shot a Dark and Lovely hair campaign and was told the pictures would be used in Paris, London, and maybe Africa," Hassan says. "About a year later, I went to Kenya with Oxfam America for a charity trip, and when I was driving from the airport to my hotel, I saw more than 10 billboards of the campaign. I thought I was too jet-lagged; this can’t be. When my driver asked me if I was the girl on the billboards, I told him no!"

Hair Type: "My natural hair is super dry. I’ve learned that I need to style it with very low heat and no products while blowdrying or straightening. I use products afterward for styling only."

The Daily 'Do: "Since I wash my hair almost every day, I’m huge on conditioner and oily products — I do a lot of hair masks. Fekkai Technician Conditioner is one of my favorites; it’s great for detangling. I also love all of the Oribe products. They smell amazing, and every product does exactly what the bottle says! Phyto has great creams for dry hair — their products are amazing and very nurturing."
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Illustrated by Shawna Huang.
Tress Tricks & Tips: "I admit that I could be better about this routine, but when I’m not too jet-lagged or tired, I use a scarf to keep my hair together during sleep. It definitely works to keep it nice and smooth. When I do this, I usually take a selfie in the morning with the caption, 'I woke up like this!' I’ve never slept on a silk or satin pillow, but I’m told I should all the time."

Shoot Prep: "When I’m working with someone new, I make sure to arrive on set with strong and clean hair. I also try to eat as much salmon and avocados as possible, as well as nuts, sweet potato, and eggs. I'm not a huge fan of supplements: I tend to eat foods that are good for my hair and skin."

On-Set Dish: "I worked with Bruce Weber for an Italian Vogue shoot a few years ago. The story was called 'Soul Kitchen,' so I wore this huge Afro, and after three days of shooting everyone on set tried the Afro wig, even Bruce! It was so fun."

Coiff Confession: "I know it’s not the best idea to wash your hair as often as I do, but when I go out to dance, I have to wash my hair before bed — I can't go to bed with it smelling like an ashtray. Or, after working out — I can’t go to lunch with my hair all sweaty. I make up for all of the washing by air-drying it, so I don’t damage it too much with heat."
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Photo: Courtesy of Alex John Beck; illustrated by Shawna Huang.
Hana Mayeda
Agency: Marilyn

Hana Mayeda was born to a Japanese-American father and a mother of English, Scottish, and German descent. This unique combination resulted in a gorgeous mane of wavy, dark hair that has landed her campaigns with some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Sephora, H&M, and Pantene.

But, even Pantene girls deal with a love-hate relationship with their strands. "I used to be so resistant to my hair texture — I straightened it daily," admits Mayeda. "But, when I started modeling, I learned that natural was better in all aspects."

Hair Type: "Wavy and on the drier side."

The Daily 'Do: "Every time I wash my hair, I rinse with cold water to seal the cuticles. If it's feeling dry or tangled, I'll throw in a little leave-in conditioner. When I'm on the road, I'll use a wide-tooth comb to brush through tangles. At home, I swear by my Mason Pearson brush, which glides through the most unruly 'do. As far as products go, I love to use organic coconut oil. It's natural, smells great, and is an incredibly moisturizing hair and scalp mask. I do this a few days before a big shoot or after a big trip, when my hair needs a little extra TLC. I go to Lena Ott at Suite Caroline in NYC."
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Illustrated by Shawna Huang.
Tress Tricks & Tips: "Fish, fresh vegetables, green juices, and good fat, like avocado, and olive and coconut oils, are all a part of my diet and are great for strong, healthy hair. I try to get most of my nutrients from food, but I always take probiotics, omegas, and a multi-vitamin.

“When my hair or nails are feeling weak, I'll throw some BioSil into the mix. I've really learned to be kind to my hair and appreciate it a bit more. I used to brush it aggressively, twist and scissor split ends, used lemon as a lightener, and wash with whatever hotel soap was provided. Now, I invest in products and tools."

Shoot Prep: "A week before a shoot, I eat clean and do a few extra yoga classes, so I feel great. The day before, I try to get a good night’s sleep. If the call time isn't too crazy, I'll do yoga, journal, and meditate that morning so I can walk onto the set energized and with a clear mind."

On-Set Dish: "Recently, I shot a campaign for Pantene Pro-V. I flew straight from Haiti to the shoot. In Haiti, the water is hard and the sun is hot! On top of that, I was using Dr. Bronner’s as both shampoo and laundry soap. This combination made my hair crunchy, straw-like, and downright unruly. So, I went straight from the airport to the salon, where Pantene hairstylists worked their magic: They glazed and conditioned my hair, so the following morning I had miraculously healthy strands."

Coiff Confession: "I'm not a fan of hairspray, but it's probably because there's so much of it flying around on set. As much as I love a beachy wave, I leave that look for when I'm by the ocean. The bottled salt spray is too drying for my hair. And, it'd probably be great to sleep on a satin pillowcase, but right now, I sleep on whatever sheets are clean!"
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Photo: Courtesy of Rose Bertram; illustrated by Shawna Huang.
Rose Bertram
Agency: Marilyn

Rose Bertram has the type of naturally bouncy curls most women would die for, but she didn’t always embrace her natural locks. "When I was younger, I used to hate my curls — I always asked myself why I wasn't born with straight hair,” admits Bertram. “One day, in class, I saw a picture of a haircut and went home and cut my own hair to look like the picture — it was terrible! But, now that I'm older, I love my curly hair."

The Belgian-born, Paris-dwelling model keeps her routine simple by eating healthy and prepping her hair before shoots. "Every shoot is a new experience for me, because every hairstylist has a different way of working with your hair," says Bertram. "I think the most important thing to do is to protect your hair before the shoot starts."

Hair Type: "Curly."

The Daily 'Do: "After I wash my hair, I put oil and some conditioner on the ends to keep it healthy. I love the Moroccanoil line, because it works on most types of hair — curly and straight — and I love the way it smells and nourishes my hair. I prefer to wash my hair every day: I just feel like when I wake up and don't wash my hair, the definition of my curls doesn't look as good. But, I try to wash it every other day."
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Illustrated by Shawna Huang.
Tress Tricks & Tips: "Before I go to bed, I apply a mask to my hair. I try to do this at least three times a week and rinse it out the following morning. This routine helps keep my hair healthy. On the nights I skip the mask, I sleep without tying my hair back to let it breathe. I also try to drink a lot of water and eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. I think this way of living is good for everything, including hair."

Shoot Prep: "The day before a big shoot, I use a hair mask and let it soak in for the whole night. This process makes it easier for the hairstylist to work with my hair the following day, because it makes it softer. It also creates definition in my curls and makes them look shinier."

On-Set Dish: "I recently shot a Pureology campaign, which was really fun because they dyed my hair brown and created two different hairstyles. It’s amazing to see how different I can look, because I'm used to my curls."

Coiff Confession: "To be honest, I hate cutting or coloring my hair — some people just don't know how to cut curly hair. It's always too short or not the right shape. I don't have a specific stylist I go to, because I'm always in a different city for my job. But, if I do go in Paris, I go to Franck Provost — it has a whole department for people with African-American hair."
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Photo: Courtesy of Nuru Kimondo; illustrated by Shawna Huang.
Melissa Wood
Agency: Next Models

Melissa Wood has built a career as a successful model and health-and-wellness coach — and she believes that beauty, health, and wellness are intrinsically linked, especially when it comes to hair. "I cannot stress how important eating a healthy diet of mostly fruits and vegetables is for healthy hair," says Wood, who says she mostly eats plant-based foods. She recommends eating avocado, flax oil and powder, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, and wild salmon for gorgeous, healthy hair.

"Eating a clean diet keeps my hair healthier, stronger, and more beautiful than it’s ever been," she says — which helps her stay away from chemical hair products. "The wiser I get about the least amount of products with chemicals I put in my hair, the better it looks over time."

Hair Type: "I have a lot of fine hair. It's coarse and on the normal-to-oily side, with a natural wave."

The Daily 'Do: "My hair-care regimen is quite simple, actually. I believe that the fewer products and fuss you put into your hair, the better. I prefer to wash my hair in the evening, about an hour before bed, so it’s slightly damp when I fall asleep. My choice of shampoo and conditioner is a sensitive-skin line called Free & Clear, which is free of dyes, lanolin, fragrances, parabens, formaldehyde, and other preservatives. It’s also sulfate and gluten-free.

“After shampooing, I add a small amount of conditioner to the ends of my hair about two days a week. This regimen gives it a lot of natural volume, without overloading on products. I love to wear my hair very naturally, with a slight wave, so I use the Sultra Bombshell curling iron because it’s ceramic, and doesn’t fry or damage your hair like most. I go to Victoria van Bakergem at Warren-Tricomi for natural highlights and a gloss treatment twice a year."
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Illustrated by Shawna Huang.
Tress Tricks & Tips: "Coconut oil is one of my ultimate hair-care secrets. It helps repair damage by adding in natural moisture. It leaves your hair looking extremely shiny and healthy, and also helps with hair growth. I love Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo. It refreshes, revives, and rejuvenates in a matter of minutes without water or a blowdryer.

"I also use Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream. It’s a leave-in product that eliminates frizz, and adds shine and definition to your hair. RegeneMax thickens and strengthens hair, 
 chlorophyll is great for glowing hair, skin, and nails."

Shoot Prep: "I prep for a shoot by doing a coconut-oil hair mask in the steamed-up shower a few days before. This leaves my hair looking extremely shiny and healthy before anyone else puts their hands on it."

On-Set Dish: "I recently shot with a famous artist for a painting to be displayed at an art show. The final look on my hair was so wrong, I had to speak up and say how much I hated it. I knew if I didn't speak up, I would regret it because it's going to be for sale in an art show this year. I've never done this before, but I was so happy I had the courage to do so. If you're not comfortable with your look, especially your hair, it shows in the photos."

Coiff Confession: "I add a tablespoon of baking soda to my shampoo. (Yes, baking soda!) It cleans out excess impurities from product overload. It’s an extremely inexpensive way to absorb excess oils, and it could even act as a dry shampoo."
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