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The Real Hairdresser for the Real Housewives of the OC

By: Kelly Taggart for Health Beauty Life
Hair: Victor Paul
The Living Room Salon – Costa Mesa, CA
Make up: Gretchen Rossi
Photos: Allen Carrasco

The Real Hairdresser for the Real Housewives of OCVictor Paul of The Living Room Salon in Costa Mesa, California has been doing Gretchen Rossi’s (of The Real Housewives of OC) hair for about a year now. He was originally called in as a session stylist by Bravo to work alongside a makeup artist friend, helping mainly with hair. While on set, everything just clicked. He and Gretchen formed a personal friendship and he has done her hair ever since.

At some point, Victor has done hair as well as makeup for almost all of the women on the now infamous show. In addition to working with both conventional and airbrush makeup, he is a haircut, color and extension specialist with 27 years of extensive experience under his belt. In his time behind the chair, he has also mastered the art of customer service, which coupled with his warm personality brings a natural charisma to his session work. When asked what it’s like on set for the Real Housewives of Orange County, Victor laughs, hesitates slightly and then replies with a smile, “It really is a great cast and everybody is very personable, despite the drama you sometimes see on the show. Imagine a room full of strong, beautiful and confident women, many of which are Type A personalities, and you understand what my day is like. Everybody wants and needs a piece of my time to help them look their absolute best, and each woman knows exactly what she likes and wants. It makes for a very busy but rewarding day and I’m quite exhausted by the end of it all!”

Session work differs greatly from doing hair behind the chair as you have to give 100% of yourself to it. It’s much more detailed and you have to be a strong finisher, or forget it. As a session artist, you need to know how to read the situation, to know when to jump in and how. There’s actually a specific etiquette to it and there is definitely no room for ego. Working on set is not necessarily about what you like or want to do as a salon professional, but about keeping the director and/or producer happy. Above all, you have to be able to listen, take direction well, play well with others and be open to criticism. Although very rewarding, it’s an extremely demanding field.

The Looks

HBL Texture & Styling Cream, HBL Hydrating Shampoo,
HBL Hydrating Conditioner
(From Left to Right)

Slade Smiley 

For Slade, Victor used ENJOY® Hairdresser Power Haircolor and applied two parts 6AA and one part 6N using Demi-Gel Developer. The double ash series also controls red and the Demi-Gel Developer imparts a softer, more translucent color for a very realistic finish. It’s not harsh, dyed-yourself color, but instead a slight wash over the top to soften the grey versus cover it. Victor started the application at the sides because that is where most of Slade’s grey resides, and then he worked around the back to the top finishing with the very front.

He processed for 15-20 minutes at room temperature and then rinsed, shampooed and conditioned using HBL Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner and then styled. According to Victor, doing this sort of color for male clients is quick, as men typically don’t like to sit around in the salon while processing. It lets them get in, get the color on, process quickly and then move onward so they are back out of the door in no time. Once Slade’s hair was rinsed out, Victor blow-dried and worked a bit of HBL Texture & Styling Cream through to add a polished finish. The end result is shiny, healthy-looking hair with a youthful, revitalized finish.

Gretchen Rossi

Gretchen Rossi

Gretchen has beautiful, full hair but a very tender scalp. Color needs to be gentle and styling must be kept light-handed. Victor Paul lightened her color slightly using equal parts of 9N and 9BV with 30-volume developer. After processing, rinsing and shampooing off the color, Victor highlighted with ENJOY Lightener and 10-volume developer, which was processed with low heat for 15-20 minutes. For Gretchen, it was the first time trying the exclusive HBL line and she was very excited about it. After her color was done, she was shampooed with HBL Hydrating Shampoo and conditioned with HBL Hair Masque to soothe her porous strands. A small amount of HBL Leave-In Conditioner was applied to towel dried hair and combed through to detangle the length. HBL Spray Mousse was misted onto the root before blowing her hair dry with a very large round brush. Victor pulled up on top for lift from the root and then rolled the brush several times while hitting the section with a blow dryer creating a large bend. He flipped the hair the other direction on the brush as he neared the ends, leaving Gretchen’s signature swoop across to one side.

Making Up

Gretchen Rossi of the Real Housewives of Orange County is venturing out on her own in many ways. She works tirelessly on the reality show and spends a fair amount of time with the Gretchen Project, which educates women about how to look and feel their best. She is also very involved with charity work for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, something she holds very dear to her heart.

Most recently, Gretchen has launched her own line of makeup called Gretchen Christine Beaute. Since the original introduction online, the high-end makeup line has seen record sales. Gretchen is very hands-on with her pet project and finds herself constantly refining the brand and developing new products and trends.

“I am always being asked how I do my makeup and what products I use. So I came out with my own signature line. I unveil new products and colors on my website all of the time and even offer beauty advice through my blog.”

She adds, “For this shoot, I did my own makeup and used some of my personal favorites. These are my ‘go to’ products for my everyday, classic ‘Gretchen’ look.”

Gretchen Rossi

Getting the Gretchen

For this everyday look, Flawless Complexion Gel, a foundation primer, can be used as needed for lighter coverage or for a quick fix. Perfect Liquid Foundation with SPF 15 or Anti-Aging Foundation, Balanced offers more complete coverage. Depending on wardrobe, Gretchen picks from Blush Envy, Attract or Stare or from the You Make Me Blush series, she alternates between Believe, Fabulous and Copper Tulip. For overall bronzer, she goes for Swirls of Color in either Sandy Beaches or Vegas Desert.

Lip and Eye primer is applied prior to makeup application to help set Gretchen’s lips and eye makeup.This long-lasting, waterproof formula helps prevent creasing and feathering while neutralizing color. For eyes, Golden Girl Color Palette is a favorite but Gretchen also changes things up, depending on wardrobe, using Creamy Eye shadow for a bold pop in Pink Frosting. For eyeliner, her lower lashes are done with Gel Eyeliner in Brownie, Prune or Smolder and the upper lashes in Eggplant, Attract or Masquerade. She often goes over her eyeliner with Red Wood or Brownie Eye Shadow for added drama. Gretchen finishes off her eyes using Curling Lash Mascara or Ultimate Mascara in Black and then fills in her eyebrows using Blondi Brow Pencil. Wild Mauve Automatic Lip Liner starts off Gretchen’s perky pout and then Pearly Lips in Re Bound is used to fill in with Titillate Lip Plumper smoothed on over the top for extra juicy lips.

To finish off her beautiful look, Gretchen applies Oil-Free Pressed Power using a brush, which leaves her skin looking even and flawless. While finalizing her makeup and primping for her shoot, Gretchen politely invites us to visit her online at www.gretchenchristine.com, where she is proud to showcase her line and talk about all things beauty.

Posted in: Beauty & FashionSeptember 2010
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