Chris Appleton Is the Coolest Hairstylist in Hollywood: Here's Why

Meet the Hollywood's most boundary-pushing hair pro, responsible for Kim Kardashian's pierced cornrows and more

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Hollywood has a new “It” hairstylist, and his name is Chris Appleton. The British pro happens to be the mastermind behind this year’s most buzzed-about mane moments such as Katy Perry’s sculptural beehive at the Met Gala, Shay Mitchell’s faux bob and all those oh-so-cool pierced braids on Christina Aguilera, Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian West. So we had to talk to him to get inside the mind of the guy behind the most out-of-the-box hairstyling techniques that are currently blowing up your Instagram. Here’s what you have to know:

He got his first salon job at age 13
“I’ve always been fascinated with hair. It started at the age of five or six. Then at age 13 I got my first job at a salon. My mom was actually the one who suggested it because I’d been doing her hair. At the salon, I remember the energy was amazing. I loved it and I thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’ And I haven’t thought of doing anything else since.”

He’s an award-winning stylist
“I entered a TV show [contest] in London called Hairdresser of the Year [on BBC3], which is a bit like America’s Next Top Model, but for hair, and I won! The same year I won Eastern Hairdresser of the Year and Most Wanted IT Boy. And suddenly it was like, everyone’s watching. But I just always wanted to be the best.”

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He’s Hollywood’s go-to pro, and he’s only been stateside about a year
“I had been working with Rita Ora for a few years before I moved to L.A. in December. We would always do something different — we just killed it together — and I think people took notice, so when I got here, I started working with all of the people that I’ve always wanted to work with, I think because they wanted to try different things with their hair.”

His beauty motto: Go big, but don’t go overboard
“I like to set trends, not follow them. I’m always excited to push boundaries. I try to keep my work edgy and inspirational but still wearable and beautiful. Sometimes people go overboard, but they don’t have to; it’s all about balance and proportion.”

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That Met Gala look had him holed up in a hotel room for two days
“At the end of the day, you’ve only got one chance to kill a look. And none of us are perfect, so I never start a style without practicing it first. I always try it before and see what it looks like from different angles. For Katy [Perry]’s futuristic beehive at the Met Gala in May, I locked myself in a hotel room for two days to create a strong and iconic style that was comfortable, and not heavy. She ended up loving it and told me I was an artist.”

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He’s never without these three products
“I love to prep hair with Bed Head by TIGI’s Superstar Queen for a Day Thickening Spray because it gives the hair texture that makes it playable. It’s wonderful. I also love the Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray, which creates that right off the beacu vibe, but it also gives the hair grip, which is great for keeping hair accessories in place. And then Jen Atkin’s Ouai Hair Oil is really beautiful. No matter what hair type you have, it just gives the hair life.”

He believes anything can be a hair accessory…
“Get creative — there’s no right or wrong way to do it! [I’ve] even wrapped gold shoelaces around Lea [Michele]’s hair. She had a slicked back ponytail, and I was like, ‘how can we upgrade it and add a little bit of sparkle?’ Then I added those. You can use anything to accessorize your hair. That’s the point. I love going to craft stores to find things. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to get the look.”

…hence, his signature earring-pierced braids
About two years ago I put hoops in Rita [Ora]’s hair because I’d created braids and wanted to give them an attitude. I think it was one of those things where people thought, ‘Oh, that’s cool!’ and now my clients request them. On Ariana, I used them to update her half-up ponytail, and she liked it. I also put rings in Christina [Aguilera]’s hair and she was like, ‘I want more!’”

He wants you to take risks, too
“Always try to think outside of the box — but make it kind of right for each occasion. And nowadays you don’t have to commit to a haircut. When I started working with Shay [Mitchell], she’d really only worn wavy looks. But in August I gave her a faux bob. She’s trying different things now because she’s [built up] the confidence to do so. I believe that whatever you do to your hair, own it, and be happy.”

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken with your tresses? Share below!

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