Michael Shaun Corby at Miss California

By Maggie Mulhern | 12/09/2009 2:27:51 PM


Anyone who has ever done hair behind the scenes at a pageant knows that chaos comes with the territory. Space is normally tight and power is usually weak. Imagine what it was like for Michael Shaun Corby, Global Creative Director for Alterna, when he and 12 Alterna Style Team members found they had to do a lot more than just "touch up" 200 contestants at the Miss California USA Pageant! We had to know....

What was the biggest challenge for you doing the hair for this pageant?
Definitely the number of contestants. We were told there would be 200 contestants who would arrive camera-ready, and would only need touch-ups. There would be a few people needing completely new looks, but most of the contestants would only need some hair spray. Then we would be working with the top 15 contestants later in the pageant, and spending more time with them, giving them fresh new looks. Well, as soon as the 200 contestants arrived into the hair and makeup room, they all wanted much more than hair spray! We were very busy. Another challenge was timing. Once the contestants were narrowed down to the top 15, they had literally 3 minutes to change into their evening looks. They were supposed to get hair and makeup time, but we had to work while they got dressed! So we were working on their hair while someone else was applying lip gloss and another person was zipping up their dress. It was hectic.

Which was the most requested look?
99.9% of the contestants asked for sexy waves. Most of the girls had long hair, there were a few contestants with edgy shorter cuts, but for the most part they had gorgeous long locks.

What steps did you take to create the look?
We used large barrel curling irons to get the waves. We sprayed dry hair with Alterna's Caviar Styling Tonic to refresh the hair then curled each section. After each curl, we kept the shape of the curl and pinned the hair in place. Then we sprayed each curl with Alterna's new Caviar Extra Hold Hair Spray. After the entire head was finished, we unpinned each curl and used our fingers to lightly separate each curl into a soft wave. The look was finished with another spray of hair spray and Alterna's Hemp Spray Shine for a glossy finish.

How long did it take to create each look?

At the beginning we had much more time with each contestant than we did as the pageant progressed. It also depended on each girl, but in general the team spent about 10 minutes with each contestant. I spent more time with the 2 celebrity hosts- actress Shanna Moakler and host of The Insider, Chris Jacobs. I also spent more time with the 2009 Miss California USA and 2009 Miss USA.  Not to mention all the other pageant winners- past Miss California USA winners, past Miss Venezuela, etc!

What tips do you have for other hairstylists in creating this look?
When trying to achieve that sexy, soft wavy look, it's very important that your iron isn't too small and that your sections aren't too large. Make sure your sections are the same size as your iron and roll everything away from the face. This ensures a voluminous modern look rather than a dated "big hair" style. Make sure your hair spray is safe to use while curling the hair—some hair sprays can actually burn the hair when used with a curling iron. Alterna's Caviar Extra Hold Hair Spray gives you all the hold you need yet acts like a leave-in conditioning treatment for the hair—and is of course safe to use with an iron.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maggie Mulhern

Maggie Mulhern is the Beauty & Fashion Director at Modern Salon magazine.


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