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PhytoPeople: Yolanda Toussieng - A True Hollywood Story


Those of us who've spent anytime at the movies in the last two decades certainly know Yolanda Toussieng's work. Yolanda's credits include an impressive line up of Hollywood blockbusters, such as: Bicentennial Man, Edward Scissorhands, Man on the Moon, Batman and Robin, Sixteen Candles, The Rock, Armageddon, the list goes on. She is a two-time Academy Award winner, for her work on Mrs. Doubtfire and Ed Wood. Yolanda also received an Emmy for Pee Wee's Playhouse. For her Pearl Harbor movie project which starred Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Alec Baldwin and James King, Yolanda partnered up with Phyto hair care products to give the cast an authentic 1940's look.

The makings of an Academy Award winner…

Like many Hollywood stars, Yolanda's success didn't happen over night. She started her career working in a salon, but after eight years she became unsatisfied. "I started looking to the Studio for a renewed passion for hairdressing."

In 1978, Yolanda began working for NBC where she did the Sunday Show with Kelly Lang. Her weekend schedule enabled her, not only to support her daughter, but also to pursue a film career.

Yolanda got her break when she was hired to work in the wig room at Universal Studios. Here, she reminisces about how the studios were run when she began her career 22 years ago:

"At that time all the studios had wig departments, as well as big make-up and hair departments…Heads supervised the training of the new hairstylists and make-up artists." Yolanda considers herself fortunate to have been part of a dieing tradition of old studio practices. "The make-up departments all closed by the mid 1980's. And sadly all that training was gone. My time spent in the wig room was invaluable training. I worked with the wig makers cleaning and styling wigs, learning their little tricks that are now no longer there to get."

The big time........

Phyto - Phytodefrisant - Relaxing Baum - 3.3 fl oz (100ml)Set amidst the dramatic events that lead to the United States entering WWII, Pearl Harbor is a story about two friends (Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett) who find themselves passionately in love with the same woman (Kate Beckinsale - the luckiest girl in the world!).

(Image of Phytodefrisant from - all rights reserved). Produced by both Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, and directed by Michael Bay, this epic film was shot on location in Hawaii. Yolanda, who worked with both Bruckheimer and Bay on Armageddon, describes her responsibilities and some of the challenges she faced while filming.

"On the movie Pearl Harbor I was the Department Head and responsible for the period look of the movie. That involves the principle actors as well as the many extras in the movie. On a daily basis we cut as many as two hundred men a day in period haircuts. The women had late 1938-1941 hairstyles. At that time women did not change their hairstyles from year to year, the way they do now. Different looks had to be established between the times they were in the night club and at war, as nurses."

Yolanda attributes some of her success to Phytodfrisant.

"I used it on Kate Beckinsale's wig. It made the wig shinny and kept the frizz out, as we worked in Hawaii and were constantly challenged by the humidity…Phytodfrisant helped me recreate the wet set look of the 1940's. We were not afforded the time to actually wet set the extras' hair. Nor were there enough hooded hair dryers to do that in the workspace needed for 20 hairdressers, which would have to move to a new location every day.

So Marcel irons (very old fashioned curling irons that allow you to curl hair from the root - they create a totally different look than modern electric curling irons) were used to iron their hair very tight.

The hair was combed out in finger waves or hairstyles with flat crowns, small heads with small curls around the edges. Phytodfrisant was used before ironing and finishing…Phytodfrisant gave the hairstyles that shiny look that wet sets get when dried under the hair dryers.

Phyto - Phytolaque Hair SprayThe comb-outs were finished with Phytolaque hairspray. The hairspray helped keep the curl and allowed me to re-comb their hair all day long, as our days were 15 hours long.

Using the Phyto product before and after styling really made the difference for me."

Summary in conjunction with the great folks at Phyto would like to express our gratitude to Yolanda for sharing her Phyto hair product use story with us. We wish her the best of luck and much success in the future.

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