Monday, June 24, 2024

Olivia Rodrigo Hairstyle Step By Step Tutorial

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Nothing stokes a wave of Y2K nostalgia quite like a trip down Olivia Rodrigo’s discography, but it’s her accompanying hairstyles that are the retro exclamation point. Baby bangs! Space buns! Colorful barrettes, butterfly clips, and other whimsical accoutrements! All evoke the early millennia, and all come courtesy of Clayton Hawkins, the star’s longtime hairstylist.

My own aesthetic in the early aughts (and much to my parents’ disdain) leaned more Avril Lavigne from “Sk8er Boi” — as in, heavy eyeliner, yes; so much as brushing my hair? No — so last place I expected to find myself was in Hawkins chair, kindly requesting the Olivia Rodrigo special from the man behind all her looks. When in Rome or whatever.

To bring me into my “Guts” era, I asked him to recreate the pop star’s signature hairstyle: soft waves and face-framing baby braids (as seen in Rodrigo’s “Obsessed” music video below). It wouldn’t be easy, considering my hair is currently lobbed at bob length and I haven’t gotten braids since the first stop in my family cruise vacation at 12 years old. Luckily, Hawkins was up for the task and, ever the consummate professional, goes nowhere without an extra set of extensions.

Keep reading for the step-by-step breakdown of my Olivia Rodrigo makeover, with a few hair tips along the way.

Experts Featured in This Article

Clayton Hawkins is a Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist specializing in wigs and extensions. His clients include Olivia Rodrigo, Jenna Ortega, Dove Cameron, among others.

Olivia Rodrigo Hairstyle Inspiration

Olivia Rodrigo Hairstyle Tutorial

Step 1: Clean Up

If you already have butt-grazing hair, well, Good 4 U. In order for me to get the full effect of Rodrigo’s signature look, however, I needed length.

Before we could get there, though, we needed a fresh slate. (Hawkins says it’s better to install clip-in extensions on clean, dry hair; that way you don’t have to worry about them slipping off from oil or buildup.) We shampooed and conditioned as usual and then finished with the Dove 10-in-1 Bond Strength Serum Mask ($10), a 60-second treatment that helps repair the hair.

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Step 2: Add Length

Now, onto the fun part: hair extensions. Hawkins sectioned off the top half of my hair so he could get started on the bottom. He also separated two one-inch sections of hair on either side of my face with a purple, diamond-encrusted clip — after all, “barrettes are very Olivia coded,” he says — and then got started.

Before and during hair extensionsBefore and during hair extensions
Jimmy Wilson for Dove

First, he braided the bottom layer of my hair to help camouflage my shorter cut. “If we left it as is, there would be weird ends poking out of the extensions and the fantasy would be destroyed,” Hawkins says. “The fantasy is very important.”

Then, he took the Babe Hair 18-Inch Clip-In Extensions (available for professional use only) and snapped them into place, section by section. As he worked his way up each layer, from left to right, he back-combed the areas with less (or finer) hair with a teasing brush to aid in the attachment process.

Clayton Hawkins trimming hair extensions for Olivia Rodrigo makeoverClayton Hawkins trimming hair extensions for Olivia Rodrigo makeover
Jimmy Wilson for Dove

He also trimmed the extensions with sheers as he went to help blend the longer length with the rest of my natural hair.

Step 3: Make Waves

Any fan worth their weight in driver’s licenses knows that there is no Olivia Rodrigo hairstyle without her signature loose, undone curls. Hawkins says the key to those “soft and relaxed” waves she’s known for is to use a small curling iron, leaving the hair on the rod for just a few seconds at a time. On me, he used the GHD Curve Classic Curl Iron 1 ($209) and worked his way in one-inch sections.

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Adding the finishing touches to the Olivia Rodrigo hairstyleAdding the finishing touches to the Olivia Rodrigo hairstyle
Jimmy Wilson for Dove

For the pieces around the face, Hawkins uses a “swoop-up” technique (admitting full well he needs to think of a better name for it), which means after he clamps the hair he moves the wand in an upward, then downward motion. “That’s what will give you that impactful texture,” he says.

Step 4: Braid the Front Pieces

Next, it’s the part I was most nervous about: braids. The trick to not looking like a 5 year old with face-framing baby braids? Keep it grunge everywhere else, says Hawkins. Take a 1-inch section on either side of your face and weave the plaits into a tight braid. To get the full Olivia Rodrigo effect, don’t braid the full length of the hair; instead, stop as you hit the area above your collarbone so the better part of your ends are left out. Secure with a clear elastic.

Step 5: Add Some Shine

Finally, the finishing touch. “We’re going to use this [Dove Beauty Bond Shield Leave-In Silk Hair Serum ($11)] to make the hair super shiny, because that’s what Olivia is really known for and what her fans are always asking me: how do you make her hair look so glossy?”

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Hawkins rubbed two pumps of the serum into his hands and lightly worked it from the midshaft of my hair to the ends. “This,” he says, “is the answer.”

Final results of Olivia Rodrigo hairstyle makeoverFinal results of Olivia Rodrigo hairstyle makeover
Jimmy Wilson for Dove

Kelsey Castañon is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and content strategist with more than 13 years of experience in publishing. She is currently the senior content director at POPSUGAR, where you can find her stockpiling (and reporting on) everything from skin care to wine. Previously, she has worked with the teams at Refinery29, Seventeen, Shape, Allure, and Teen Vogue, and has appeared on TV segments on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Good Morning America.”

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