Major, full-on-sexy hair is something Jennifer Scruby thought she could never achieve. But it’s in Miami hair guru Oribe’s wheelhouse—and it’s not, he insists, just for special occasions.
It’s been said that as long as your hair and shoes are good, you can wear almost anything and look chic. But no matter how good my shoes get, my hair—fine, straight and as limp as overcooked noodles—refuses to cooperate. I’ve spent my entire life compensating with a messy updo—and I’d managed to accept it. Then I moved to Miami. The city boasts, simultaneously, the world’s worst humidity, sexiest women and biggest hair (yes, the hair in Miami is bigger than in Dallas), making my sad little pouf even…sadder and smaller. So the prospect of a lesson in bombshell hair with legendary hairstylist Oribe—he’s given tumbling, enormous, crazy-sexy hair to practically every supermodel on earth, not to mention Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lopez and Eva Mendes—is irresistible.
I arrive at his South Beach salon, a temple to bombshell hair if ever there was one, around noon. Right on cue, a stunning model floats out in shorts, high wedge heels and a headful of voluptuous, shiny layers—the sort of look that typically lasts on me for less than a minute. Oribe ushers me into the back courtyard; we sit down to make a plan. I deliberately haven’t done anything to my shoulder-length hair, so he’s seeing it in its natural, lifeless state. Oribe, in contrast, looks like a dapper Latin film star. "What’s bombshell hair for you?" he wants to know. "Big? Straight? Wavy? Curly?"
"Big and wavy," I say. "Like J.Lo or a Victoria’s Secret model—the opposite of mine."
He pulls out his phone, scrolling through photos of models he’s styled on recent fashion shoots: all with radically different hairstyles; all sexy; all, I must agree, bombshell material. "Bombshell hair isn’t necessarily big," he says. "It could be short or long—or small—and frame your face perfectly.
"It’s not about hating your texture or fighting it, because you’re stuck with it, you know?" he continues. His theory: "There’s something wonderful about what nature had in mind for you. And when you exaggerate that—make it softer, shinier, fuller or smaller—you make it much sexier."
In my case, he sees a Lauren Hutton–in-the-’70s vibe: "There’s a softness about your hair that’s very youthful." That means shampooing and conditioning (focusing the latter on the ponytail down but smoothing any conditioner that’s left on my hands at the top; the new formulas for fine hair won’t weigh me down) with an eye toward smooth, touchable texture. From there, I get a normal blowout with a round brush, a few large Velcro rollers wrapped away from my face for extra lift and a tangerine-size dollop of Oribe’s Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse. ("It softens as it thickens, so your hair will still move the way it does," Oribe says. "A little movement is important.") After brushing my hair out with a vent brush, his assistant combs it into place. Much to my surprise, the newly minted waves stay put.
The key to bombshell hair, it turns out, is volume at the crown of the head: That conjured-up roundness is one reason Hollywood stars always look glamorous. "Your hair’s so fine, it’s hard to tease," Oribe admits. A few blasts of his Dry Texturizing Spray at the roots make it significantly easier. "Backcomb hair at the crown to create a subtle bump—that way, it never looks retro," he explains. "It doesn’t need to be a big pouf back there—you want it to blend." From that point, he says, "just spray it lightly with an anti-humidity spray and a plumping mist that beefs up wispy strands. Then run your fingers through it and let it be. That’s bombshell hair for you."
By the final mirror check, I have bouncy, soft waves that look shiny and touchable, possibly even hot. On the street, I notice people checking me out, in a good way, and the style lasts for three blissful days without deflating. Yet when the reckoning comes and I attempt to re-create the effect at home, I can’t pull it off. My hair still feels semi-limp; my backcombing somehow comes out pointy and lopsided. I pore over my notes: No help there. Then I remember that Oribe posts how-tos online, so I click on his Dry Texturizing Spray video (47,000 hits and counting on YouTube).
After watching him blast the product onto a model’s head with missionary zeal, for nearly four minutes straight, I realize I’ve missed a critical part of the bombshell equation. A hairspray-phobe, I’ve always shut my eyes tight and held my breath whenever an aerosol can came near. Which means I’ve never known how much spray—volumizing or otherwise—I should use, or even what kind. And the answer is a ton, and this kind, because it vastly improves the texture of my hair. Invisible, brushable and seemingly impossible to overuse? By the next attempt, I have the styling almost down.
Once the process—complete with intensive hairspray session—becomes routine, it actually takes less time, because I don’t have to keep trying for lift. And the real secret of bombshell hair is the way, as promised, it really does make anything you wear look better. Part of it is feeling sexier and more confident, certainly—and maybe it’s because you are, in fact, standing a little taller.