Revealed! The secrets of Hollywood hair

We’ve definitely been trawling Netflix even more than usual – as has celebrity colourist John Clark, colour director at Nicola Clarke at John Frieda. We got him to spill some of his favourite facts about famous hair ‘dos in the biz

John knows better than most what it takes to create and maintain iconic celebrity looks. Like Nicola, he’s making a name for himself with incredible looks for the likes of Villanelle herself, Jodie Comer. Grab your popcorn and dive in – how many of these insights did you know?

Elvis Presley

“The King is as famous for his jet black hairstyle as much as his music. But did you know he was naturally a mousy blonde? He coloured his hair raven black because he thought it would make his blue eyes stand out and make him look striking – and it certainly worked. He used to use Miss Clairol Velvet Black or L’Oréal Starry Night for that blue-black hue. He was that obsessed with the colour that he made Priscilla dye her hair the same shade for their wedding.”

Jean Harlow

“Ever wonder where the term ‘blonde bombshell’ or ‘platinum blonde’ comes from? Well this is the lady who started it all! She was one of the first Hollywood stars to have her hair bleached almost white-blonde and sadly it was a painful process. Her hairdresser used to mix ammonia, clorox, peroxide and Lux flakes to bleach her hair. Overtime this caused her hair to fall out and she had to resort to wearing wigs!”

Debbie Harry

“Known for her bleach blonde hair, she started out colouring it at a very young age whilst she was still at school. Lying to her parents that the sun was the reason her hair was getting lighter – she loved being rebellious! But what makes the look truly iconic is how she kept it dark underneath at the back. Ever wondered why? She famously said it was because she couldn’t reach the back, implying she did it herself.” 

Julia Roberts

“Often mistakenly thought of as a natural redhead, she’s naturally a light brunette. It wasn’t until Pretty Woman that her hair was turned the famous spicy shade we all remember. One of my favourite fun facts is, when she was filming the scene where she is singing in the bathtub of the hotel, they needed to use such strong detergent to keep the bubbles around long enough to film that it faded the red dye right out of Julia’s hair and she had to have it re-coloured that night for filming the next day!”

Audrey Hepburn

“Talk about an icon. But did you know she’s also behind a truly iconic hair product? Movie stars and celebrities are constantly getting their hair heat styled, coloured and damaged, which is why in 1974 Audrey was at a loss at what to do with her overly processed, dry hair. She approached a hairdresser about creating a deep conditioning mask together that would restore her hair. That was Philip Kingsley, who produced the famous Elasticizer, which is still winning awards all these years later.” 

Milla Jovovich

The beautiful actress and model was filming the sci-fi movie The Fifth Element and the make-up department bleached and dyed her hair yellow and orange for her iconic look. But this was so damaging on her locks that after a few weeks it caused her hair to completely break off. They then had to make her a wig to match the look so they could prevent any further damage. If you look closely at the scenes you can see where it changes from her hair to the wig!

Jennifer Aniston

Her “Rachel” haircut became a ’90s cultural phenomenon when it debuted on a 1995 episode of Friends. The creator of the style was Chris McMillan, who originally did it to make her look a “bit different”. In reality she couldn’t style it herself and he had to spend hours before filming straightening and blow-drying it. For a few years after she had the cut she grew to loathe it. But that didn’t stop millions of women the world over going to their hairdresser with a picture of Rachel Green torn out of magazines begging for the style!

Fancy transforming into a Hollywood heroine with John? Book in with him (after lockdown of course) here.