The Hunger Games Hair: Behind-the-Scenes Secrets

Linda Flowers, the lead hair designer for the hit book-turned-movie reveals how she perfected everything from Katniss' side braid to Effie's Capitol-friendly dye job.

Linda Flowers, the lead hair designer for the hit book-turned-movie reveals how she perfected everything from Katniss' side braid to Effie's Capitol-friendly dye job.
1 of 8
Murray Close
Effie Trinket
Anyone who read the young-adult trilogy, has been anticipating two things for the big-screen adaptation: How the hell are they going to show kids killing kids in a reality TV fight-to-the-death competition, and how bizarre are the citizens of the Capitol going to look? Enter Effie Trinket. "Because this movie is set in the future, we didn't have real guidelines," Flowers says. "It's not like doing a period piece from the '30s or '40s where styles have already been worn. Instead we took the history of hair and moved it into what we think it might have evolved into."

Flowers decided that the inhabitants of the Capitol would all have the foundation of a classic shape that resonated Old Hollywood and wealth that was well-cut and had a definitive structure. "Effie was very much constructed like this — a lot of emphasis on a classic finger-waved bob — but with features and wild colors that brought it into the future."

However, for the Reaping, in which the character came to the poverty-stricken District 12 to choose tributes for the Hunger Games, Flowers wanted her look to be a bit more solemn, if that's even possible. "In the book, her hair was pink, but you can get 20 shades of pink," Flowers notes. "We chose a very light, soft, pastel palette for Effie to start. We couldn't be too happy and too bright at the Reaping or the audience wouldn't take it seriously. This was the first time they'd see anyone from the Capitol."
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
2 of 8
Murray Close
Effie Trinket
But Effie — like all the wealthy citizens of the Capitol — got much brighter once she returned home. What Flowers focused on most was that juxtaposition between the contemporary-classic style of the hair and the ultra-modern hues and textures. "We incorporated curly afro hair between finger waves and fuzzy hair that was back-brushed to give an all-around intriguing look," she says. "We wanted viewers to see how strange these people were but we also wanted them to believe it and take it seriously, so it couldn't be out of Star Trek. Everything had to look couture. Like in the real world, these men and women were classic but would sometimes intermix other periods and incorporate different trends into their style."
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
3 of 8
Murray Close
Katniss Everdeen
Interestingly, it was one of the simplest of hairstyles that managed to trump the kooky Capitol looks in being the hair moment of the movie: the side braid.

The main impetus for keeping the look true to the book was because it made the most sense. "For her character, it was the most functional style she could have," Flowers says. "The braid is designed to stay very tight around her neck so that she reached back for an arrow in her quiver, it wouldn't get caught." To get the look, she styled the hair by starting from the left of the ear and did a reverse French braid, where the braid's on top. Then, she looped it all the way around, cupping her nape as it emerges on the right. "It really hugs her head, giving her maximum control."
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
4 of 8
Murray Close
Katniss Everdeen
Although Katniss stayed true to her braid for most of the film, as the "Girl on Fire" during the parade of tributes, she had some serious helmut hair, in a good way. "For the chariot ride, I made a helmut out of hair so that it looks like an almost Gladiator-like headpiece," Flowers notes of the headdress of assorted braids, including French braids, basket weaving, and plaiting. "There were 10 different braids in there."
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
5 of 8
Murray Close
The Tributes
Katniss wasn't the only character who's hairstyle was created by necessity. The other 11 female tributes got the same function-over-fashion treatment from Flowers. "There was no loose, flowing hair," she says. "You wouldn't wear that kind of hair to a gym, so why would you wear it like that in the arena or in the practices? You'd have it contained."

Still, she made sure to keep the girls, including Clove and Glimmer, memorable. "I tried to make each one look individual. I think it comes across well."
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
6 of 8
Murray Close
Ceasar Flickerman
One of the most time-consuming tasks for Flowers was getting just the right shade of blue for Ceasar, the official Ryan Seacrest-like MC of the Hunger Games. The blue color of his hair was mentioned in the book, but everyone — including director Gary Ross and costume designer Judianna Makovsky — consulted with Flowers on the final look. And what they came up with was something any fashion fan will recognize: the Karl Lagerfeld ponytail.

"Gary wanted the height, too, so we photoshopped Stanley Tucci's face with all these different Karl Lagerfeld ponytails," she says. "That was the inspiration." As for color, they tried a lot of looks. "White hair with a blue streak, powder blue, medium blue, royal blue. Dark navy blue looked best on him. It was the darkest. It took us a week to convince him to be that dark."
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
7 of 8
Murray Close
Haymitch Abernathy
The hairstyle that might have raised the most eyebrows was that of Woody Harrelson's booze-loving mentor, Haymitch. The actor specifically requested that he have the hairstyle of his real-life brother Brett. "He sent me a photo, and we loved that look for Haymitch," Flowers says, who preferred putting Harrelson in a wig rather than having him sans hair. "It helps give the character a push and hep tell the story. It's kind of disheveled, not well-maintained, not shampooed recently. It's easier to express his state if you have hair you can make look bed-heady and grungy."

She adds that it actually fits the period. "The District 12 people have a '30s-period haircut, and it looks like that but just really grown out."
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
8 of 8
Murray Close
Cinna
Even before Lenny Kravitz was cast as Cinna, the assigned stylist to Katniss, fans were abuzz about the character's look. For Flowers, one of her best decisions was to step away and put the wigs down. "We tried a few things at first, like gold pomade that looks like gold shimmer on the hair," she says. "He's probably going to wear it at his concert, but it wasn't right. After a few attempts, it was obvious: Keep the hair simple." The only adornment was a brush of gold eyeliner, which Flowers says was perfect for the serious character.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Hair