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Bravoleb-Loved Hairstylist Julius Michael on How to Wear Extensions Like a Pro
The hairstylist behind Lisa Rinna's super-long strands and Stassi Schroeder's faux lob, Julius Michael, breaks down how to wear extensions like a pro, even if you're a first-timer.
When you’re in charge of creating some of reality TV's most iconic hairstyles, your job might be glamorous, but it comes with some serious responsibility. Just ask Julius Michael, hairstylist behind some of the most iconic Bravolebrity and Real Housewives' hairstyles you can name — from Adriana Madix’s beachy waves to Tamra Judge’s faux lob.
"Whenever a Bravolebrity reaches out to me, my first reaction is, ‘How am I going to change her look?’” Michael told The Lookbook — and the answer usually comes down to lots of creative flair and one pro trick. “I always use extensions,” he said — something that holds true whether he’s adding inches of length, sexy volume, or even going shorter for the night. “Actually, the biggest payoff I get from extensions is when I do my signature faux lob, which you’ve seen on Tamra Judge, Stassi Schroeder, and Ramona Singer,” he said.
That said, extensions can be a little daunting for first-timers, and Michael gets it: “I think at first women get intimidated because it’s scary clipping in hair and worrying if they look natural, will they fall out… ? But once you put your first set of extensions on you’ll never not wear them,” he said. “They bring you a new level of confidence.”
Still worried they’re tougher to get right IRL than on TV? Just follow Michael's three golden rules:
1: To make them look luxe: “Good hair makes a huge difference. That’s why I only use extensions I make myself by hand or Hidden Crown Extensions.”
2: To make them blend in: “Almost all extensions need a little layering done to make them blend better, so have your hair stylist cut them for you. Then get a ‘beach waver’ — sexy waves hide everything!”
3: To make sure they don’t fall out: “I always tease the root of the hair where I’m about to add the extension — I like when the clip has something to hold on to! Then just section off your hair, snap a set in, and you're good to go!”
Ahead, three different looks Michael created for Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules cast members.
BRITTANY CARTWRIGHT’S PONYTAIL:
“When Brittany was going on Watch What Happens Live her first time without [fiancé] Jax [Taylor], I wanted her to stand out and be the sex-kitten I love. Her natural hair is long but it’s fine. For this super-sexy pony I added Hidden Crown hair extensions with highlights so it wouldn’t be a drab, dark ponytail. I wanted it to have life and stand out. The extensions gave her hair more pop and so much fullness.” (Watch the video above for a step-by-step of how Michael created the look.)
LISA RINNA’S LENGTH:
"My iconic Lisa Rinna long hair. I did Lisa for Fashion Week and we joked about me giving her extensions for WWHL — so when she was making her appearance we decided to go for it! I actually didn’t cut the extensions and I gave her a faux bang because I wanted to create a femme fatale look. It worked! This hair went completely viral for days."
ARIANA MADIX’S MERMAID WAVES:
“I love Ariana and I love her short hair but when she was going on WWHL last season I was tired of the lob and wanted to give her mermaid hair extensions. I razor cut each extension so it would blend perfectly with her short hair. I also used two different levels of colored extensions for a more blended look.”
STASSI SCHROEDER'S FAUX LOB:
“My best trick I can give you is to use extensions for a short hair look — most women are afraid to go short so do it with extensions and keep your long hair,” he says.