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Katharine McPhee Long Luscious Tresses


Katharine McPhee American Idol - Season 5Costume June 2006

American Idol finalist Katharine McPhee is living her dreams Somewhere Over The Rainbow. While her many fans were over the moon because of her voice, talent and incredible beauty, when the final vote was tallied, she came in second to silver hair fox, Taylor Hicks.

Many of her Idol fans were outspoken about Katharine's long and luscious rich brunette tresses which she wore long, full and with beautiful waves.

It is common knowledge that as the Idol contestants progress through the competition, that at a certain point they are assigned the assistance of stylists, hair and make-up experts.

As the show progressed the 22 year old brunette beauty did achieve a more finished and elegant look, but for the most part she showed off her long tresses by wearing them down around her beautiful face.

Image Does Count

Katharine McPhee American Idol - Season 5Costume June 2006

Over the past five seasons of American Idol there has been a lot of controversy about the hair of the various contestants. Watching the show from beginning to end will often identify how the tresses and hairstyles of the finalists have changed dramatically through the season.

In an interview the resident American Idol hairdresser pointed out that image is everything in the world of singing stars. Yes, talent plays a part but to really be successful you have to have the whole package which includes hairstyle, hair color, hair length, type and texture.

In the non-Idol world, performers ranging from Ashlee Simpson to Mariah Carey are constantly changing their hair length, color and styles. It signals a part of their evolution as performance artists.

One question that popped up on various chats was whether or not the lovely Katharine had hair enhancements. Of course these days it is impossible to say for sure, but regardless, her strands looked healthy, shiny and perfectly coiffed, especially at the end of the contest.

Stealing Katharine's Style

Katharine McPhee American Idol - Season 5 June 2006

Katharine's long and lovely style works best for hair that is a few inches below shoulder length or longer and medium in texture.

Although this soft sexy style might be difficult to recreate on ultra curly hair, it would work well on strands that are straight, pre-straightened or with slight waves and curls.

One of the best ways to re-create this style is using traditional rag rollers. If your hair is waist length or longer, rag rollers would be the best way to create the soft tousled waves and curls.

Before you start make sure that you have all the proper tools including plenty of rag curlers, a good brush and comb.

The instructions below involve the use of home made rag curlers. If hair is exceptionally long there is a chance that the strands will be too long for traditional sponge, hook & latch or Conair rag rollers. In that case it will be necessary to make your own rag curlers from clean rags.

Making Rag Rollers

Depending on the thickness and ultimate length of your hair, plan to make 40-60 rag rollers before you begin to curl your

Use clean old sheets which make perfect rag strips. The softer the sheets, the better the results.

The standard rule of thumb is to cut or rip the sheets into 6" long by 1" wide strips. If your hair is exceptionally long you may want to make a few "test" strips to make sure that your hair will roll completely around the curlers. Adjust the size of your rag strips accordingly.

Keep in mind that rag rollers are tied off at the scalp to hold them snugly against the head. Allow plenty of "tail ends" for this purpose.

Step By Step Instructions

Katharine McPhee American Idol - Season 5 June 2006

To copy the luscious long curls and waves that Katharine McPhee is wearing in this article, perform the following steps:

1. Begin by washing hair with shampoo designed for your type, texture and current condition of hair.

If your hair tends to be dry, select a super moisturizing shampoo formula like Robert Hallowell's Shine Booster Shampoo which celebrity hairdresser Robert actually uses on many of his celebrity clients.

Other formulas you might try include Phytojoba or one designed for colored hair like Phytocitrus. For ultra dry or super fragile strands, use the dry hair formulas and dilute the shampoo for extra gentleness.

Note: If your hair is long or prone to damage, consider either washing hair with conditioner only, or diluting the shampoo formula to save wear and tear on your strands.

2. For hair that is dry, damaged or chemically treated, follow the shampoo with a rinse-out conditioning treatment.

Apply your favorite rinse-out conditioning product. Robert Hallowell's Prawduct - shine booster conditioner is an excellent rinse out conditioner for all hair types.

Final 3 on American Idol Season Five L-R: Elliott Yamin, Katharine McPhee & Taylor Hicks.

2006 - Ray Mickshaw/FOX - All Rights Reserved.

3. Be sure to match the product to your hair type, texture and condition. Work the conditioner into the driest parts of your hair. Leave on for up to five minutes. Rinse well. Finish with a cool to cold water rinse.

4. Towel blot hair (do not rub) and gently squeeze excess moisture.

5. Detangle hair with fingers or a smooth detangling comb and create desired front part.

6. Apply a cocktail of leave-in conditioner and anti-frizz products. For soft hold, apply a mousse. For extra hold apply a gel or gel/mousse product. Distribute well from roots to the ends.

7. Let hair air dry until 80-90% dry. If you wish, sit under a hood dryer or use a blow dryer on low speed, cool air to remove excess moisture.

8. Work from one side of the head to the other. Use a wide tooth comb or hair pick and separate hair into 1-2 inch sections.

9. Starting at the end of the hair section, roll the hair around the strip of your prepared rag curlers. With rag curlers you can make the hair sections as large or small as you wish as long as your strip of rag is long enough to completely encase your hair.

Final 2 on American Idol Season Five L-R: Taylor Hicks & Katharine McPhee

2006 - Ray Mickshaw/FOX - All Rights Reserved.

10. Roll the section of hair up from the ends to your scalp. The tighter you roll the rag curler, the tighter the resulting curl. You can either secure the rag curlers with bobby pins or you can tie them at the ends to hold them in place against the scalp.

11. When your entire head has been put in rollers, either go to bed for the evening, or sit under a hood dryer on medium heat to get the curls to "set".

12. When removing the rollers, unwind one section at a time. After all the curls have been unwound, spray your entire head with a soft hold hairspray.

Ones to try: Rene Furterer Instant Hold Finishing Spray, Robert Hallowell's Rawhold Hairspray. 13. Use fingers or wide tooth hair pick to gently arrange the curls that cascade freely down towards the top of the shoulder.

Katharine McPhee American Idol - Season 5 June 2006

14. For extra shimmer, 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.

15. Spray well with hairspray like Phytolaque or Jessica Simpson’s favorite Phytolaque Soie made with real silk to give an extra glossy look to the style.

16. Attach any desired hair accessory to the finished style. Because this is such a unkempt style, if accessories are added, they should be small to avoid detracting from the style’s ultimate design.

Note: Remember to always attach accessories last after all styling products have been applied to avoid damaging delicate accessories.

17. Feel beautiful. A beautiful woman is just as much about self-confidence as the way that she wears her hair.


The variations on this lovely slightly tousled long hairstyle are endless. Instead of wearing curls and waves loose, you have the option to sweep the sides up and softly capture them at the back of the crown. Or you can wear one side in front and the other pulled back behind one ear.

Katharine's style can also be worn stick straight by utilizing a flat iron or by using a paddle brush and straightening gels to get a straight look.

fun with this style and experiment with randomly pinning up alternate strands in the back allowing others to hang precariously to give that free Katharine McPhee American Idol look.

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