She’s played with Lily Allen’s locks and styled backstage for Anna Sui, but you may know Jeanie Syfu best as the hairstylist on Project Runway
. Now, Syfu leads up the Tresemme beauty crew on The Fashion Show
, sending out perfectly-coiffed looks in five minutes flat. We caught up with the glam-rock loving stylist to find out she handles the pressure—and in the process learned how sunscreen can double as pomade.You usually work behind the scenes—is it weird watching yourself on TV?
I’ve gotten used to it. I was a little uncomfortable with Project Runway
, but I’m enjoying it now. Which is more stressful: styling hair for TV, for award shows, or for fashion shows?
They’re all so different. When you do a [fashion] show, it’s more about getting everything consistent; if you have 20 models, it needs to be executed. With TV, time is short, but it’s one model. Celebrity work I really enjoy, because it’s more personal.In what ways does hair styling affect the overall look of an outfit?
It can totally change your look; a pair of jeans and a T-shirt can look completely different by how you wear your hair. But real life versus the runway is so different. Runway has a wow factor. Most people don’t want to fuss that much with their hair and, quite honestly, I don’t think a lot of people have the time to do the looks on the runway. But I’ve been seeing a lot of tousled looks that are pretty easy to do. I did the Richie Rich fashion show this year, and it’s like a costume, a fantasy. There’s a way of taking that look and turning it down a notch. In real life, what do you suggest doing if you’ve only got five minutes to do something with your hair?
Find a really good product to enhance your natural texture, and work with what you’ve got. Or splurge on a really good haircut, so your cut is styling your hair on its own. Or just a loose, tousled bun. We’ve been doing tons of that [on the show] because we really didn’t have that much time. I also did a lot of it during Fashion Week. It’s easy and works in every day life.Did you always love playing with hair?
Always. It’s weird, I have this bag with tassels on it and I’m always playing with the tassels. It’s something I do with my hair all the time. My friend has this fuzzy rug and I was at her house, lying on it and stroking it. Even as a child, I remember I had this doll with a big head, and I’d put in rollers and would be so excited to take them out and see what the hair looked like. What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?
There were two. I was really obsessed with Madonna, during her "Lucky Star" era. I permed my hair, and it was so trashed. I remember reading an article about her saying she never brushed her hair, so I just always dressed it up with laced ribbon. And then I got sick of that and shaved off half of it, like Cyndi Lauper That was so bad, too. Who is your hair icon right now?
I’m really a ‘70s girl, I’m into glam rock. I enjoyed watching everyone rocking a shag in the ’70, like Freddie Mercury or David Bowie. I have a shag too, it’s my favorite thing.When you travel, what beauty products do you always bring with you?
I’m a sucker for products. I’m a big lotion freak; I really like the Kiehl’s Crème de Corp lotion, and the Jasmine lotion from Bath and Body Works. It’s funny, if I can’t pack pomade, I sometimes put lotion in my hair. Or if I’m in the sun and I’m using something with sunscreen, I’ll use the leftover lotion in my hair. And then I don’t need to pack pomade! What’s your big beauty secret?
I always like to come up with my own looks, and do a lot of research watching movies. It’s what I usually like to do. I’m really stuck in the ‘70s, and watch a lot of old movies, because I see a lot of things that work now. I’m really obsessed with Klute
with Jane Fonda. She has an amazing shag. [Doing research], that’s how you develop personal style.
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