5 Cool-Girl Holiday Hair Tips from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's Hairstylist

Put down the bejeweled hair brooch.

mary kate and ashley
(Image credit: Design by Betsy Farrell)

When it comes to holiday hair, there are two types of women: There are the ones that are coiffed to perfection with an updo sprayed in place with a can's worth of Elnett (perhaps with a bejeweled hair accessory for extra flair), and then there are the Olsens, who waltz into a room with dreamy bedhead like it's nothing.

If looking utterly effortless à la Mary-Kate and Ashley is your party vibe, it's all in the cool-girl bends. Here, their hairstylist Mark Townsend breaks down precisely how to do holiday hair—Olsen style.

1. Use mousse—yes mousse—all over. Mousse and soft, shiny hair are no longer mutually exclusive. Start by putting mousse, like Dove's Curls Defining Mousse, into wet hair then either let it dry naturally or blow it out rough with your hands. Finish by going over it with a flat iron for definition.

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(Image credit: Marie Claire)

2. Create uneven bends with a flat iron. "I love using a flat iron to create uneven bends," explains Townsend. "It's great for avoiding that barrel curl look we saw five or ten years ago. Nobody wants that texture anymore. You want to mimic a real wave, as if your hair was set in braids." To do so, take alternate 1-inch and 3-inch sections, bend the hair into an old school S-wave pattern, and gently clamp down over each curve. For volume and natural-looking unevenness, alternate the directions of the bends as well.

hair style

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

3. Make the hair touchable. "I think all hair should be touchable," he says. "The more you touch hair, the better it gets. I've learned from so many years on photo shoots. When a model or an actress sits in my chair and she's got perfectly clean hair and we do the blowout, it looks great. But the hair really starts to look good an hour or two in. The natural oils we have on our hands is great for texture."

4. Get your shine on. "Shine is great," says Townsend. "Shine equates to healthy hair. When the hair cuticle is closed up nice and tight, it reflects light and that's where shine comes from. If the cuticles doesn't close, hair looks really dull."

Creating bends with the flat iron will naturally seal the cuticle. You can also add oomph with a glossy serum like Dove's Style + Care Cream Serum.

Olsen twins hairstyle

(Image credit: Getty Images)

5. Follow Mary-Kate and Ashley's bobby pin rules. "Mary-Kate has a philosophy that if it takes more than five hairpins, it's too done," explains Townsend. "So out of necessity, I've learned how to really make every one count." (For extra hold, he sprays them with dry shampoo.)

However, the Olsens aren't opposed to exposed bobby pins, either. "I was going to use them on Ashley at the Met Ball two years ago and she was like, why are you hiding them like they're really cool? So, we purposely placed the hair pins where we could see them. It gives the eyes something to look at. I mean, it's a 99 cent hair accessory!"

olsen twins hairstyles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.