While the rest of us were holed up being cozy (er, freezing) all weekend, Lena Dunham was out and about at the Sundance Film Festival—with awesome hair. Her dual-braided look, a sort of French-braid-but-cooler situation, seemed like a near-miraculous feat for someone with such short hair. It’s also a genius style that’ll hold up well through gusty winter winds. Dunham, too, was enamored with the look: “Are you Rumpelstiltskin? Because you spun my hair into gold,” she remarked to hairstylist Matt Fugate, who created it. He let me in on how he pulled it off, plus how to DIY this look at home (even if you don’t happen to have magical hair powers).
“I wanted something fashion-y but not too harsh,” says Fugate. “Lena told me she wants her long hair back, and this sort of had the effect of a style you can do with long hair.” He started by prepping Dunham’s hair with a bit of smoothing cream, then blow-dried it upward, creating volume and lift at the roots. Then Fugate created a deep side part over Dunham’s left eye, and began the first braid—a reverse French braid, meaning he pulled each strand under—at the crown, weaving it across the top of her head. “I just really grabbed what I could. You’re just keeping the braid as close to the scalp as you can,” he says. He secured the first braid with a small elastic, then misted hair spray over it and hit it with a blow-dryer on low heat and speed. “This helped the hair harden so it set in place,” Fugate explains.
The second braid (a proper French braid, with the strands woven over) also began at the crown. “The second one was a French braid with a lot more sections—the top one was like five or six pieces, but the bottom one had a lot of little slices to create a really fine line coming around the base of her head,” says Fugate. He worked it along the base of her head, toward her hairline, and then back again in a horseshoe shape. Once he wove the second braid all the way back to meet the first, Fugate secured them together with an elastic, then folded the hair up and looped it through—think the old-school topsy-tail you used to do in the ’90s. This hid the tail (which was supershort) to create a smooth, seamless effect. He followed with more hair spray and the blow-dryer, then pulled some pieces out on one side for asymmetrical softness.
The key to re-creating this look yourself at home, according to Fugate? “Try to build as much body into your hair as possible; try to get it standing up, because if it’s flat, that’s going to make it hard to scoop up extra hair.” He also suggests using smoothing cream, but sparingly. “You don’t want to get it too sticky, because then you’ll start losing control of your sections,” he says.
For pretty makeup inspiration, watch: