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Blond Hair Secrets Of Legally Blonde Film


Reese Witherspoon at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'Monsters Vs. Aliens'. Gibson 3-22-09 All Rights Reserved.

Did you love the "Legally Blonde" movie which was released in 2001 and wonder how those amazing blond hair hues were created for Reese Witherspoon and Ali Larter?

Of course I definitely wondered and even took the time to watch the credits at the end of the movie to see who did the hair color on the film.

Shortly after the Legally Blonde movie was first released a celebrity hair colorist told me Joy Zapata was the department head hair designer for the film. Joy was working at the time at Frédéric Fekkai.

Joy asked two of her Fekkai team members to help create the gorgeous blond hues for the "modern Marilyns" in the hit film. Helping her was colorists Nancy Braun and Dawn Ellinwood.

Nancy Braun shared some of the blonding secrets of the hit film which triggered a new blonde hair movement as well as changing the way colorists thought about creating blonde hues for years to come.

Nancy Braun shared she was "nervous, but excited" when she got the chance to help create the hair color and styles for Reese and Ali.

Listed below are how the "Legally Blonde" hair and colorist team worked to create all the amazing blonde hues in the film:

1. Platinum Prep:

Before the blonde stars arrived at the shampoo bowls, Head Hairdresser Joy met with the film's director, production designer, costumer and head designer.

The team discussed the movie's set colors, lighting design, and wardrobe which are all key considerations for choosing the perfect blonde tress tone.

Reese Witherspoon Legally Blonde 2001

MGM All Rights Reserved.

Joy also read the script to decide how to match a shade to a character's personality (platinum projects sexy, honey hollers hometown).

The hair colorists and hairstylists became storytellers, using hair hues to round out characters and reveal their intentions and desires.

Create haircolor for the roles in the movie made the team realize how much haircolorists help regular clients create the roles they play in real life.

2. Character Building:

One distinction we wanted to make was the difference between LA and New York blondes.

With Ali Larter, we created a different blonde look to balance out Reese Witherspoon's malls-to-ivied-walls blonde character.

We used balayage for golden honey-blonde highlights, with a few baby-blonde pieces around her face for focal points, and finished with a light golden blonde glaze.

Believe me, she could blend in anywhere on Manhattan - with Upper East Side Pomeranian-walkers, or Downtown literati. Either way, very East Coast in comparison to Reese's Sunset Strip locks (which were done at Art Luna).

The toughest job was transforming Jennifer Coolidge's manicurist character into a bad blonde, complete with dark roots, orange highlights, and leopard spots.

Dawn reported Jennifer's blonde tresses took the longest to complete because the horrible blonding techniques she had to use went against everything god haircolorists practice.

Reese Witherspoon at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'Monsters Vs. Aliens'. Gibson 3-22-09 All Rights Reserved.

3. Roots to The End:

The blonde hues created on Reese, Ali, Jennifer and other actresses in the film were not a one shot deal. It wasn't a see-you-in-six-weeks for these hair colors and styles.

The actual film was shot during a three-month period, and hair had to look the same from day to day. Which means the same blonde hues had to be maintained throughout the entire period of filming time.

In the movie biz, that's called continuity, and it's hard to maintain.

Every day, hot rollers and dryers fade and fry actors' manes. On set, blazing lights oxidize locks. Add to that normal hair growth, and the speedy sprouting of natural roots - and you can see that our work was never done.

At least once a week, Joy called from the set ahead of time to alert the hair team to block out time to update an actor's hues.

One tool the team used was a folder for each blonde. It contained a "before" shot of the look when they first walked into the salon, and an "after" of the style we would have to keep consistent for the whole film.

Visit Reese Witherpoon's Hairstyle Gallery here at


In addition they had actual strands of the actor's hair, a list of the colors used, and a record of adjustments made to any of their blonde formulas.

The team put in a lot of hours keeping all of the stars at their required blonde hues but after it was all said and done the team felt the hours put in were definitely worth it. Of course they were thrilled to see their hair hues and designs on screen.

Indeed, the blonde hues in Legally Blonde were spectacular.

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Original Publication Date: 12/20/09 - Revised Publication Date: 12/20/09

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Please follow us on Twitter at: I look forward to meeting new people from all walks of Twitter and learning from their Tweets.

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