Developing an iconic, signature hair look doesn't just happen by accident — at least not in Hollywood. In the case of Gwen Stefani, it's been 20 years in the making, all thanks to one man who's been behind the scenes since the beginning: Danilo Dixon, or just Danilo, for short.
Danilo's been the driving force behind some of Stefani's most iconic phases: slicked back pompadours, blunt bangs, neon-dipped ends, and everything in-between. He also colors her hair every single Monday with a bleach-free formula he developed just for her — and now we know why she never has roots — and crafts the countless can't-look-away styles that she wears on The Voice every week.
As the former VP and creative director of Oribe, and longtime spokesperson for Pantene, there's a good chance the products in your shower were influenced by him, too. His film career is just as diverse: He transformed Rooney Mara into her character for Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, for one. He also dreamt up the cartoon-inspired bouffants in Mars Attacks!
And he gives back. Danilo has spent two decades as the hairstylist for Vienna's Life Ball, the biggest HIV/AIDS fundraiser in the world. The boundary-pushing event kicks off it's 24th year tomorrow. "We have 500 people we're getting ready this year," he told us. "And I'm actually hands-on responsible for 250 of them. It's going to be amazing this time; you can follow along and get involved at LifePlus.org."
We recently sat down with the icon to chat all things hair. Of course, we couldn't let him leave the room without talking tips, tricks, trends, and so much more — all of which you'll find below. Ready for some major hair secrets? Keep on scrollin'...
How He Keeps Gwen So Blond — Without Bleach
“We color her hair every Monday, before we film The Voice. Gwen’s an Italian girl with wavy brown hair — if you look at the video for Cool, we did her in her natural shade, maybe a little darker — so I developed a high lift formula for her. I learned that I could get to a place of achieving the blond that I want, and the quality of hair that we need and want, by using a new product, as opposed to just bleach. People are like 'that's not natural' and I say, ‘Of course it is — it's supernatural’."
The One Product He Uses Most
“Leave-in conditioners — that's really the secret. So many people are blow drying and using hot tools, which is where most of the damage happens — so I'm always telling people to learn how to work with leave-in conditioning at every stage of styling.
"I use the Moisture Leave In Creme from Pantene on almost everyone; it’s a wonderful cream that leaves the hair moisturized. I mist it onto clean, dry hair to start, then I put in my volumizers, and maybe mousse, depending on the hair. I dry them in with a mixed-bristle brush, always blowing in the direction of my style. And then I'll go back in with my tools, using cream on small sections throughout. You can reapply it over and over on set and it doesn’t get greasy."
The Secret To Gwen's Color-Dipped Hair
"I use makeup, but for some people I do permanent color. I also use hair pieces. Sometimes I make the color very linear, but I often like a 'tassel finish,' which is great when the cut is very blunt — it allows it to swing. I can make the color very hardcore and crisp and clean, but I tend for it to look a little more tie-dyed, a little blurred on the edges and blended out. It has a cooler, softer, contemporary finish to it. It's all about expression."
The Trends That Are About To Pop
"I'm a big believer in summer being half up, half down. You take away your face framing pieces and pull that into a ponytail, or a top knot, and you let your length hang down back.
"There's a big movement and celebration of curls right now. It's been pushed through fashion and I see women realizing they can let their hair be curly — and enjoy it!
"Outside of that: ponytails. I'm a big fan of putting your hair away. To get the slick look just groom your hair with a conditioner, pull it up, and give it a treatment the whole night or the whole day. It's very European to me."
The Product You'll Have In Your Shower By September
"New treatments for your scalp are going to be huge, because people are realizing how important it is for the production of your hair. Hair is not a very glamorous thing, for all the money we spend on it..."
How He Constantly Comes Up With New Ideas For Gwen
"Of course I walk in with inspirations, but I want to see what you're wearing, I want to know about the event, I want to know your responsibilities, I want to figure out what camera's involved — all of it. [I ask] "What are you feeling tonight?" It's about you wearing it, not it wearing you, even though it can be completely over the top. I have an extraordinary Barbie doll and she happens to be a good friend, human being, and entertainer — and she looks good."