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Delta Burke's Hair & Beauty Secrets

Introduction All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

On October 25, 2006, The Museum Of Television And Radio (MTR) presented a special reunion of TV's Designing Women which starred four women.

The show ran from 1986 until 1993 although Dixie Carter left the show in 1991, two years before the end of the series.

All of the cast was present and accounted for including Dixie Carter, Jean Smart, Annie Potts and Delta Burke.

In some circles, Designing Women has been noted as one of the television shows that helped to influence other all women cast ensembles that came behind it in years that followed.

Of course one of the most famous all women shows that came after Designing Women was Sex And The City with it's four famous female characters. Another show thought to be built around the successful four woman concept was 2005's Related which included four women playing sisters.

This elegant style combines a long ponytail with a sensuously twisted rope braid. This gorgeous style is glammed up with gold braided wrapped around the base and end of the ponytail for a stellar finish.

Delta Burke is best known for her portrayal as Suzanne Sugarbaker in CBS' "Designing Women" (1986), which ran for five seasons and for which she received two Emmy nominations for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. When a teenager she represented Florida in the Miss America Pageant, and won a talent scholarship, which she used to attend a two-year study program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She got her first television role within a month of her arrival in Los Angeles. She starred in the TV movie The Seekers (1979) (TV) and the series "The Chisholms" (1980). She had the leading role in "Filthy Rich" (1982) and a starring role in HBO's first weekly series, "1st & Ten" (1984). Through her own production company, Perseverance, Inc., Delta produced and starred in the ABC television series "Delta" (1992). She actually sang in the series and dyed her dark hair blonde for the role. She was reunited with "Designing Women" (1986) creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason when she starred in and produced "Women of the House" (1995), in which she reprised her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker. Much of Delta's time now is spent designing clothing and managing her New York company, Delta Burke Design, which is becoming very successful. She is married to actor Gerald McRaney. They live in New Orleans when not working or traveling.

The key to styling success with this style is to have long shiny hair that extends to the middle of the back or longer.

Note: If your own hair is short or medium, you can copy this look by using a clip on ponytail or braid.

Should you decide to stretch your own strands, it is important to have a clip-on pony or braid available before you start to create the style. If you desire a romantic, elegant look, select a clip on hairpiece in a hue that is one to shades lighter or darker than your natural hair. If you wish to funk up the look, go with any color you desire, including selecting hues that match your evening gown or dress.

Getting Started Notes

Nichole, the model for this style, has long fine tresses in a spectacular deep cherry hue with some subtle highlights.

Her naturally wavy hair falls a few inches below the middle of her back. Although Nichole has fine hair, she has a lot of it, which makes it ideal for this braided pony style. This style could be modified to work with medium to thick tresses that range from a few inches below the shoulder to a few inches above the waist. Shorter hair lengths as well as very thin or super fine follicles might be transformed into this style through hair extensions or the temporary use of clip-on tresses.

The stylist designed Nichole’s style without a fringe or any part to show off her gorgeous eyes and to flatter Nichole’s oval shaped face. A variety of parts and bangs could easily be incorporated into a customized version, if desired.

This style was created on previously washed, dried hair that was “aged” so that the hair’s natural oils had time to build up slightly. Natural hair oils help the updo hold tighter and last longer.

Keep in mind that freshly washed hair may be overly soft and slippery, making it challenging to style. If you prefer to work with newly washed hair limit your use of conditioners or other products that make strands slippery soft.

Be sure to always use good styling creams, gels, sprays or similar products to give hair instant texture and stylability. While less may be more, when it comes to creating solid updo styles, too little may not be enough.

This style might be easily accomplished at home with the help of some talented friends or family members. When in doubt, ask your stylist to craft the style for you or walk you through a practice run.

If you do decide to do the style at home be sure to have several practice runs before the night of the big hair event.

Instructions - Step To Create

  1. Begin by using a soft boar’s head brush or similar natural bristle brush to make sure that all knots and tangles are completely removed from all strands.

  2. Since Nicole’s hair is naturally wavy it was straightened it before creating the ponytail. Working from side to side, the strands were separated into 1 to 2 inch sections and then flat ironed.

Note: Use Robert Hallowell’s Super Volumizing Tonic and spray each individual section lightly. Then run a traditional or ceramic barreled flat iron through the tresses to straighten. After you run the iron through each section the “hair will get sort of crunchy and flat, flat, flat” according to Robert.

If you elevate each piece high above the ears while ironing it you will achieve a super straight effect with lots of volume on the ends, which is one of Robert’s straightening secrets that he uses on his many celebrity clients.

Super Volumizing Tonic is actually very good for your hair because it contains no alcohol and lots of Vitamin B. It also adds instant shine and manageability.

3. Add a dab of paste, wax or gel and massage into the palms of the hands. Lightly run the hands across the front section of the hair near the hairline to help hold the strands neatly into place.

4. Using your hands in conjunction with the brush, gather the back section of hair up into a tight ponytail that rests in the middle of the back of the head. Secure the ponytail with a “hair friendly” Blax, Bungee or other elastic band. The gathered base of the ponytail should rest approximately 6-8" up from the base of the neck. Note: Be sure to tighten the ponytail and smooth all loose strands. Adjust the base of the ponytail up or down the back of the head to allow for how high you wish the style to sit.

For longer hair move the base of the pony up closer to the middle of the head to allow for extra bulkiness of the hair. For medium hair, position the base of the pony so that is sits lower.

5. Separate approximately 1 to 1 ” inches of hair from the outside of the pony. Holding the strand at the bas with one hand, use the opposite hand to twist the strand completely around the based of the ponytail over the bungee or elastic band.

6. Once the strand is completely wrapped around the ponytail, smooth it and use small bobby pins the same color as the hair to firmly anchor the strand around the ponytail’s base. Arrange the bobby pins so that they are pinned near the base of the ponytail so they are not obvious.

7. Brush the ponytail to smooth all the strands.

8. Starting at the top, use your fingers to separate the ponytail into two equal sized strands.

9. Twist each individual strand into a clockwise “roped” section. Note: The key to this look is to have a tightly pulled back crown hair and uniformity in the braided sections. Strive to make all braided sections approximately the same size.

10. Starting at the top, near the base of the ponytail, create a simple two-strand braid making sure to keep the sections twisted as you braid. Cross the strands over each other until you run out of hair at the bottom of the tail.

Note: Be sure to stop and tighten each new section of the braid.

11. Hold the finished braid in one hand and gently shake it to loosen the tightness of the braid. Shake the braid maintaining the twisted strands but allowing them to relax into a soft formation.

12. Use a bungee, Blax or other elastic band in the same color as your hair to tie off the bottom of the ponytail.

13. Apply a drop or two of a shine serum like Phyto's PhyoLisse, Rene Furterer's Spray Gloss or Robert Hallowell's Love That Shine Drops to the palms of your hands. Rub the serum into the palms and then lightly glide over the top of the style to add instant shimmer and shine.

14. Spray well with hairspray like Phytolaque or Jessica Simpson’s favorite Phytolaque Soie made with real silk. For a stronger hold spray with a firm hold hairspray like Rawhold Hairspray from Robert Hallowell.

15. Use heavy gold ribbon or twine and wrap around the base of the ponytail and the bottom of the tail. You may wish to use tiny hairpins to anchor the gold ties. Note: Change up the style by leaving the long face line strands floating free. Or you can add a front fringe that covers the forehead or is worn slightly parted.

Finishing Touches

This style exudes sophistication. If you wish to decorate the style with any additional accessories, go with one very small-jeweled clip or hairpin that will not draw attention away from the braid.

Keep in mind that when this hairstyle is created according to the instructions, it is a simple but elegant style that can work well with either a decorative or simple gown.


With a little advance planning and some careful thought every groom can be virtually guaranteed a great wedding hair day.

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