I have friends who tune in to HBO’s “Girls” every Sunday for the witty banter,the amusing scenarios, the at times cringeworthy drama, and the eclectic outfits. But for me, “Girls” is all about the hair. Who doesn’t want Jessa’s always-changing bohemian looks or Marnie’s beachy waves? I tracked down Sherry Heart, the show’s hair designer, to find out how she comes up with such unique looks for different personality types, her go-to styling products, and what it’s like working with Lena Dunham. Generously, Heart also created an exclusive video—watch along so you can do your hair just like Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna.
Related: The Evolution of Girls Beauty
Yahoo Beauty: The four characters all have such varied personalities. How do their hairstyles reflect that?
Sherry Heart: Hannah is a bookworm. I imagine that she can’t be bothered to do anything complicated with her hair other than maybe sticking a barrette in her bangs to get them out of her face. Marnie wants to appear to the world as if she has herself all put together perfectly, so I try to keep her hair looking done up and finished. Jessa is the gypsy of the group with a bohemian style. Her character would treat her hair as a work of art, so she gets lots of different fun hairdos. Shoshanna is the quirky and studious one who has quite the knack for emulating hairdos she finds in the pages of fashion magazines.
YB: What is your thought process to make each hairstyle feel really authentic to the characters?
SH: I have three questions that I stick to when doing the girls’ hair: What are they wearing? How do I do the hair to make it look like they did it themselves? (Taking into account if the character could or couldn’t do a good job with her hair.) And, what is the character’s action? Of course, I also have to take into account what Lena wants the character to look like.
Photo: Jessica Miglio/HBO
YB: Where do you get inspiration?
SH: I find hair inspiration everywhere—from the streets of Brooklyn to Instagram. I follow quite a few hairstylists on Instagram and that probably is my biggest inspiration these days.
YB: The actresses all have such unique individual styles off-screen. Do you ever ask or allow for their input for their hair looks on the show?
SH: I always ask the actress what she thinks and I welcome all of their input. Occasionally, they have great ideas for a hairstyle or an element of a hairstyle they saw or that they love and I try to work it in.
YB: There was much to-do about Shoshanna’s donut bun. When do you decide to take a big risk like that?
SH: At the time it was done, we did not think it was going to be a big deal. You know, it’s just another quirky hairdo for our quirky Shoshanna. But then it became viral and people were blogging about it. Even Saturday Night Live parodied it; so, then we thought, “Wow, this hairdo will be remembered!”
YB: When Hannah cut her own hair on the show was that her idea? How did that come about?
SH: The idea for Hannah to cut her own hair came out of Lena’s idea to show how much of a mental breakdown Hannah was experiencing. Lena told me at the beginning of the season that she was thinking about writing into the script a scene in which Hannah would cut her own hair. I was all for it! I thought it was an appropriate demonstration of where Hannah was at mentally.
YB: What has been one of your favorite hair looks you’ve done in the past on the show?
SH: My favorite episode for hair looks for all the girls has to be from Season 3—Hannah’s Birthday Party. They all had fun, creative hair, from Jemima’s tousled braids on top of her head to Shoshanna’s four messy pony buns. The creativity was just coming to me, one idea after the other.
YB: Did you try anything different this season that you especially loved?
SH: This season we decided to leave them a bit more undone. Shoshanna’s look is one of my favorites this season. I did her with a bit of a vintage flare, using some really cute barrette’s pulling the side back. Since she’s getting out into the job market I thought a more mature look would be suitable.
YB: What advice do you have for girls in a hair rut who are seeking something new?
SH: Two things that always work for me when I’m tired of my hair are to color it or add extensions. If your hair is too thick then cut it in a fun, spiky style. Go for a style that you can change with just a few products.
YB: We love your use of hair accessories on the show, but they can be hard to pull off. Any tips on making them look cool?
SH: There are so many fun hair accessories that you can add to your hairdo to give it a bit of pop, such as the Scunci Barrettes ($4) or Bendable Headband ($3) I used quite a few hair accessories on Shoshanna’s character this season and she’s cuter than ever!
YB: What are your hero products when styling?
SH: I can never go into any season of “Girls” without my three reliable standbys. Sea salt spray for the beachy waves that I do on Marnie. Dry hhampoo to clean the hair right up in case it’s dirty. And, the Scunci Knotted Ponytailer ($5) for when I need to pull the hair back in a pinch. When you take it out it doesn’t rip the hair. A must for what I do!