A veteran of the industry, Matthew Monzon has been styling hair for more than 20 years—most of it spent as a freelance artist doing runway, catalog and editorial looks for the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Alicia Keys, Julianna Moore, Kate Winslet and a bevy of other celebrities and brands too numerous to name. We asked the New York stylist how to best tame our tresses for the summer season—and look great while doing it.
What looks are trending this summer?
Almost anywhere you are from coast to coast, it’s really hot, so women with long hair especially are fighting the frizzies. In the summertime, a braid is very cool—it could be a fishtail braid or just two simple braids on top of your head like Heidi. At one point, braids would have been a little bit silly, but I feel it’s sort of taken a turn, and you see them on everyone from hipster kids to celebrities. No one wants to have a beautiful blowout and go outside and have it melt. The elements take control, and as much as you’d like to fight them, generally Mother Nature wins.
Utilizing your hair’s natural texture is important for dealing with the summertime. Lots of people have waves in the front and straight in the back—it depends on each person, but use products that work with your hair texture. Davines has OI Milk, which is fantastic—you can put it in curly or straight hair, and it coats and gives great separation. It gives you that cool, messy look that’s done but not quite done.
How can women protect their hair from the elements in the summer?
You can use an oil or even a nourishing hair mask like the Davines SU nourishing replenishing mask: Put it in your hair and throw it into a cool topknot before you leave for the beach or the pool. It looks great but it’s also actually doing really good things for hair, like protecting it from salt or chlorine. It’s important to take care of your hair in the summer because the elements can wreak havoc on it, especially color-treated hair. You know how if you’re in and out of the pool or the ocean and you don’t wash your hair after, it feels like a bale of straw the next day? Davines is launching a whole new OI system that’s great protection from what the elements can put your hair through.
But even if you do everything, and you’re wearing a hat to protect your hair and face, your skin and hair are subject to all the elements. Every girl who has long hair wants the hair to look lush and beautiful, and you see those girls with 4 or 5 inches that should come off, but they just can’t let go and get the hair cut because they want it down to their waist. You should trim off those damaged ends and use a nourishing mask once a week.
Treat yourself to a hair mask and put some cucumbers on your eyes—just take a moment to relax and let everything work. It’s important to replenish because all the elements are combining together to deplete your hair and skin and leave you dry and brittle. Everyone’s bottom line is to look the best they can possibly look.
How is preparing a look for the runway different from daily wear?
For a big red-carpet event, it’s important for it to be current. I draw my inspiration from living in New York City. You see the whole gamut whether you’re in the West Village or East Village or up at Bergdorf’s. Sometimes you’ll see young girls wearing a look that’s a reincarnated throwback from the ’30s and it’s modified a little bit so it becomes something new. I remember learning how to do French braids in beauty school in the ’90s and messing around with wraparound braids. Now it’s 20 years later, and it’s come back around.
When it’s red carpet, you want something to look fresh and cool, but it has a lot to do with the structure of the garment. Everything has to work cohesively together, and sometimes you have everybody trying to stand out, with the hair and the makeup and the dress. Sometimes you have to pull it back: If you’re going to play up the eyes, maybe pull the hair into a simple, sleek low ponytail. Keep one simpler than the other. Think of it as a whole picture.