Serge Normant dispenses sage advice from controlling frizz during the warmer months to achieving iconic style à la Brigitte Bardot
Interview by Emily Matson
Summer is upon us, and so is the oppressive heat and humidity that goes hand in hand with the hottest months of the year. The weather takes its merciless toll on us all in one way or another, and beauty maintenance undoubtedly suffers as a result. But why should it have to? In an effort to thwart the forthcoming season, we tapped legendary hairstylist Serge Normant for his expertise on all things volume control, summer style and how to really take care of your hair.
Serge Normant is more than just coiffeur to the stars; he is a visionary in his field, using hair as a transformative medium to create something closer to art than fashion. He has worked his magic on the tresses of some of the world’s most iconic beauties: Sarah Jessica Parker, Gisele Bundchen and Christy Turlington to name a few. But Serge’s work goes beyond his impressive clientele; one can regularly spot his talents in an array of editorial spreads or as a fixture on the red carpet of the Met Gala, where he is most celebrated for his masterful, couture-inspired work on Sarah Jessica Parker year after year.
CLIMATE CONTROL: GETTING RID OF FRIZZ
Frizz is one of the most unpleasant side effects of a humid climate. Whether coping with coastal breezes or sticky city streets, there seems to be no escape from unwanted volume—or so we thought. Serge reassured us that the key is taking care of your mane year-round: “healthy hair is glamorous hair.” It is essential to treat your hair with the same TLC that you would your skin. Just as it’s a no-brainer to routinely cleanse, tone and moisturize the face, Serge said it’s important to “use treatments and get trims regularly—leave-in conditioners will also help the hair stay hydrated and prevent breakage.” More specifically, he says that dry oil is crucial in combatting frizz and pesky flyaways and, above all, “to look for product that has UV protection,” since it’s easy to forget that the scalp is equally susceptible to the sun’s rays.
SUMMER STYLE: PRODUCTS AND TECHNIQUES
When the hair suffers, everything suffers, so it goes without saying that summertime has the ability bring out the worst in all of us. Before tossing in the towel, there are indeed easy solutions to revive your tresses from the burdensome heat. As far as seasonal styling goes, Serge adheres to a “less is more” philosophy: “I like simple options for the summer. Trying to utilize your own hair’s texture when possible is always a good option. You don’t need to use a lot of products—in fact, overload makes the hair look worse.” However, he suggests asking your stylist for two or three essential products that they recommend, and from there, “Work with them lightly and use a classic headband at the hairline, then follow that up by heating the hair a bit with a blow dryer. Don’t leave it on long so the hair doesn’t get too flat.” As for the perennially-coveted beach-y look (because we all wish our hair actually looked that way after a day in the water), Serge advises wrapping strands of damp hair around a tube of chapstick: “this will give you a fancy wave without the damaging effects of a curling iron.”
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HIGH VOLUME: MAINTAINING BODY
We also asked Serge how best to salvage hair with minimal effort after a long day out and about, especially when heat and humidity are at play. “At the end of the day, dry shampoo, volumizing sprays or hair texturizers are great options. The quick trick is to always focus on what you see first, meaning the front and crown of your hair. These are the parts to boost – even a little teasing will give enough volume that will make you feel and look put together.” The same works to effectively pull yourself together in a few minutes before heading out the door in the morning.
HOW TO WASH YOUR HAIR
Particularly in warmer weather, there seems to be a myriad of myths surrounding the “appropriate” frequency of hair-washing. “You have to understand your hair to avoid major mistakes. Learn how to use products and look for the ones that are appropriate for your needs. A hairstylist recommendation is always a great help and sulfate-free shampoos are wonderful, especially for daily use.” As Serge advises, it comes down to knowing your own hair and how it reacts to seasonal changes. The one major “don’t” that Serge mentions: “gel on air-dried curly hair – it will make your hair look crunchy.”
FOUR TIPS FOR CHIC & EASY SUMMER STYLE
1. Get Inspired
“Fashion shows and red carpets can be a great source of inspiration – do your own interpretations of these looks”. But most importantly, Serge stresses to “have fun with your hair!”
2. Try An Updated Sixties Look
“Brigitte Bardot has always been a great inspiration and still is.” Serge also cites Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin among his timeless influences. In the spirit of summer, he suggests using headbands à la Bardot while keeping great texture in the back (or with a ponytail or messy French twist) for an effortless look that can easily go from day to night.
3. Keep It Classic
Serge proposes the tried-and-true ponytail as a quick fix for unruly locks. To elevate the look, he encourages using “great rubber bands and mixing textures while keeping the front sleek and shiny”. He adds that “braids are great too, as long as done loosely to keep it feminine and sexy. Finish by securing the ends with leather, lace or Emi-Jay rubber bands” in order to make it fresh and uniquely yours.
4. Let Loose
“Lastly, of course the messy bun—low or high—is a classic. You can never go wrong!”