Tips From Celebrity Hair Stylist Charles Baker Strahan

charlesbaker(My writer Samantha with Charles Baker Strahan)

I had the amazing opportunity to meet with Charles Baker Strahan, a celebrity hair stylist who is behind the beautiful locks sported by Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Jessica Szhor, and many other celebrities. I met him in downtown Manhattan at the posh salon Rare, to get some styling tips and to hear about how he teamed up with Herbal Essences.

Charles was really sweet and down-to-Earth, and even offered to trim and blow-dry my hair so I could really experience the products. I generally associate the salon experience with an interesting smell and expensive shampoo. I constantly switch from expensive hair product to the next, and I feel a bit silly about that now. I have the tendency to expect more from shampoos that cost more or have fancy bottles. Having been in an upscale salon with a shampoo and conditioner that does not exceed $4.99 retail, I found Herbal Essences to be surprisingly great.


My dry hair had moisture afterward, was significantly softer, shinier, and smelled delightful. Perhaps my favorite product was the Tousle Me Softly Spray Gel. As opposed to most spray gels, this leaves the hair feeling soft instead of stiff. I was able to use this successfully on my hair flyaways, because the product comes out misty and covers the area evenly and softly. Although the name implies a tousled look, Tousle Me Softly is great for slept-in and sleek looks alike. Charles gave me wonderful hair to leave with that felt and looked healthier, and he also sent me with some styling tips to share.

Knotted Updo: This series of knots tied upon each other creates an extravagant look for every day glamour and beauty.

  • The romantic elements of this look come from texture in the hair. Start by prepping wet hair with Tousle Me Softly Spray Gel. If you have wavy/curly hair, embrace the natural texture by letting hair air dry. Otherwise, curl sections with a curling iron to build more texture
  • Split hair into three horizontal sections: top/crown, middle, base/nape of the neck
  • Split the bottom section into two pieces and use to tie into a knot at the center of your head. Repeat two more times, tying knots on top of one other
  • Gather the loose ends and secure them with pins over the knots
  • Continue the same movement working up the head, finishing with the top section
  • This style looks better when it is lived-in, so be sure to embrace any pieces that fall out and keep strands loose around the face
  • Finish the style with Tousle Me Softly Hairspray

Straight, Sleek Ponytail: This is a simple style that is easy to create, but has a high-fashion appeal.

  • Once hair is fully dry, flat iron hair before pulling it back for extra sleek sophistication.
  • Smooth a Long Term Relationship Leave-in Split End Protector through strands to tame flyaways and smooth the ends
  • Create a center part with a rattail comb to make sure it is perfectly straight and secure hair back with a hair bungee (hair elastic with the two hooks on the end). This makes it easier to secure the ponytail exactly where you want it and will help prevent it from falling throughout the night
  • In terms of placement, putting your ponytail in the middle of the head creates an easygoing style, while lower on the head is more elegant. A higher ponytail has a high-fashion feel, but will be harder to achieve with a center part
  • Spray Set Me Up Hairspray on a makeup brush and lightly brush over the hair to smooth any frizzies and lock in the style

Voluminous Half-Up Style: A half-up look is a style any girl can achieve and a beautiful way to open up the face.

  • After washing, apply Body Envy Mousse to sopping wet hair
  • Separate hair into large sections, twisting each as you go. Flip hair over and use a diffuser to boost the volume at the roots, embracing the natural texture of the hair
  • Create even more volume than you think is necessary, as this will help to hold the hair throughout the night. Backcomb the top layer, concentrating from the ears to the rise of the head to create more volume for additional hold
  • Control the height of the hair by pulling sections back from the ears to the back of the head, securing by criss-crossing bobby pins and keeping the top section of hair loose
  • Pull the top section of the hair back, keeping the volume at the back of the head, and secure with a hairpin to conceal the bobby-pins
  • To keep the volume from falling, use Body Envy Hairspray to set the style

Written by Samantha

Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.