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Commander In Chief: Presidential Hair


Every new Fall Television series I get down to serious business gorging myself on all the new series. Honestly, where do you think I get inspiration for so many of my new celebrity hair articles? Well TV of course.

This year was no exception. My Tivo was all programmed and ready to go. For each new premiere I sat glued on my couch with my remote on one side and my notepad on the other. With every new series I frantically scribbled notes about the hair and makeup of each star. Unfortunately my rating system for hair and make-up doesn't always mesh with my opinion of the shows.

While I was definitely waiting for the return of some of my all time favorite shows such as Ellen, Veronica Mars, NCIS, Medium, Desperate Housewives and CSI, I was most psyched about ABC's new Commander In Chief (CIC).

Why? Not only do I adore Geena Davis, who is absolutely a fiercely spectacular actress, my dear friend Robert Hallowell is the head hairdresser for the show. Robert has been working with Geena as her personal hairdresser for many years and "was very excited at the opportunity to work with Geena on this groundbreaking series that puts a woman in the presidency of the United States for the first time".

Although like all major network hairdressers, he is bound by strict set confidentiality, he did share some tidbits about Geena's hair.

Robert explained that as "department head" for Commander In Chief, he is totally "responsible for designing the entire hair look of the show".

(Image of Geena Davis - Commander In Chief - Photo: Peter "Hopper" Stone/ABC 2005 ABC) Robert has been frantically busy for the past several months developing the styles that honor the political theme of the show. A few times I inadvertently woke Robert when I called him after marathon styling sessions that stretched into the wee hours of the morning.

It was absolutely no surprise that Geena looked absolutely perfectly coiffed as the President of the United States. She is not only gorgeous, she is intelligent (Mensa Member), strong and has Robert, who is one of the best celebrity hairdressers, doing her hair.

(Image of Geena Davis - Commander In Chief - Photo: Kent Eanes/ABC 2005 ABC)

Wearing a sleek power hairdo with a very slight flip, her sinfully rich auburn tresses perfectly portrayed her calm, cool, kick-butt character portrayal. When you think about it, could there be any other actress so perfect for the part? I seriously doubt it. And I know that no other hairdresser could have created such a spectacular array of politically correct coifs.

For the actual Commander In Chief pilot Robert coiffed Geena as well as "Ever Carridine, Donald Sutherland, Mary Page Keller, Julie Ann Emery, Kristen Shaw and lots of day players". Whew. How did he do that? "Working 18 and 20 hour days doing nonstop hair".

Geena's Hair Style

Although Geena has naturally curly hair (yes, I swear its true), she prefers to wear her hair sleek and straight. As a result of her desire to wear her hair straight, Robert "always uses a flat iron to create the super sleek finished look she wears for the show".

(Image of Geena Davis - Commander In Chief - Photo: Kent Eanes/ABC 2005 ABC)

For Red Carpet events or other personal appearances, Robert will alternate her look by using various sizes of curling irons or hot rollers.

Explaining that the goal for the Commander show was to create "a very professional power look with a hint of softness" Robert cut Geena's hair into a shoulder skimming side-swept modified bob with razored edges. Applying a one process color to her brunette locks, he created the ravishing rich auburn hue that brings out Geena's eyes and gives her a softly elegant, yet strong image.

In a few of the scenes her beautiful face and eyes are framed with side swept strands that play up her eyes but blend beautifully into a slight edgy flip. In other scenes she wears her hair with lots of volume at the roots.

Steal Her Style

To recreate Geena's look on straight tresses follow these steps graciously provided by Robert: 1. Shampoo and condition with products designed for your type, texture, condition and length of hair.

(Image of Geena Davis - Commander In Chief - Photo: Danny Feld/ABC 2005 ABC) Robert confided that Geena loves his Robert Hallowell Prawduct - shine booster shampoo and his Prawduct - shine booster conditioner (Currently available at & at fine salons & spas).

2. Finish with a cool/cold rinse to crank up shine and close the cuticle.

3. Towel blot to remove excess moisture.

4. Apply an egg sized puff of mousse or a quarter sized blob of gel, styling cream or similar styling product. Make sure that whatever product you use is completely distributed throughout damp strands from the roots to the ends.

Because she likes volume for her strands, Geena loves Robert's Prawduct - super volumizing tonic. For adding texture to her hair, she prefers his rawhold gel and his dream cream!. (Available at The volumizing tonic can be applied to the roots and the rawhold gel and/or dream cream can be distributed through the rest of the strands.

5. Blow dry individual sections straight using a large boar's head bristle paddle brush, which Robert uses on Geena's hair to "cover the most possible hair surface area".

(Image of Geena Davis - Commander In Chief - Photo: Danny Feld/ABC 2005 ABC) Note: To add root lift and overall volume, use a round brush around the crown area and direct the blow dryer air flow "up" the hair shaft from the ends to the roots to add overall fullness.

6. When hair is 100% dry, separate hair into 1-2" sections and use a medium sized flat iron (1 to 1 1/2") on each section working around the head from side to side.

7. Hold the iron in place 8-10 seconds. Remove the iron and let the section cool while working around the head repeating these steps.

8. When the entire head has been flat ironed, use a medium barrel curling iron and work around the entire perimeter of the head to slightly turn the ends up in a slight flip.

(Image of Geena Davis - Commander In Chief - Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC 2005 ABC) 9. When hair is completely cool, spritz with Robert Hallowell Prawduct - rawhold hairspray which Robert has used on Geena. 10. Gently rake the entire style with fingers. Arrange front and sides. Robert suggested that a boar's bristle brush or similar can be used very lightly to even out the style.

11. Finish with a spritz of Robert's love that shine spray.


Geena Davis is spectacular as President Mackenzie "Mac" Allen and the fans agree. Commander in Chief won its time period grabbing more than 16 million people.

Catch Commander In Chief on Tuesdays at 9:00 - 10:00 pm ET on ABC. If you missed the Premiere Episode, never fear, it will be rebroadcast on Saturday, October 1st from 10:00-11:00 pm ET. Don't forget to set your Tivos.

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