April 14, 2014 11:16 PM

AKM-GSI; David Tonnessen/JS/Pacific Coast News; Co

We may tease stars’ Coachella style (out of love, we swear) but we admit — they somehow pull off so-sexy tousled braids, buns and waves better than the rest of us. But short of going out to the desert with our own stylist (or going several days cultivating that ideal mix of dust, sweat and poolwater for the perfect braid), we didn’t know how to go about getting that look ourselves. Enter Charles Baker Strahan, celebrity stylist for Herbal Essences, who was able to give us advice on pulling the look off at home — no tents, jorts or EDM music required.

Clockwise from top left…
Nicky Hilton in a braided bun: “Even though it looks like Nicky could have done it on slightly second day hair, the hair itself doesn’t look matted or dirty,” Strahan says. “Dry shampoo is the key component.” He likes the style for keeping hair off your neck, but cautions against going too tight, which will show wear sooner. “With Nicky, she has the reverse braid as opposed to a French braid which pops it out a bit. And the parting goes from ear to ear over the crown of her head. Where her hair splits and goes back, she’s got a little volume that softens the chin, ccentuates the length of the neck. If you are being photographed, it does look quite nice.”

Jessica Lowndes in a fishtail braid: Strahan loves braids of every variety for an event like Coachella. “Braided styles build texture into the hair, which is great for day-to-night. If it’s really hot, it’s a nice way to do that day look that isn’t affected by the elements overall,” he says. “But then you have cool nights out. You can let your hair down, let the braid build that disheveled wave quality into your hair — it’s just a few quick turns of the curling iron and dry shampoo to build the body back in.”

He likes Lowndes’s braid because of the volume of the crown and slightly messy texture. “You’re going to a situation has wind, dirt, dust,” he says. “It’s those little tricks to keep a little bit of the glamour in the overall look. It’s a slight little difference that makes you look like a lady and not like a Girl Scout. It’s that freedom and whimsy that keeps it fun and romantic.”

RELATED PHOTOS: The style questions that we must have answered about Coachella.

Julianne Hough in a headscarf: “I quite like this, she looks adorable,” Strahan says. “The little scarf is a great way to keep the hair in place if you’re out dancing and having fun — it’s dressed up in a sweet, softer kind of way.” For balance, he likes the “sweeping fringe across the forehead, plus the body and volume of the crown and the sense of ease that comes with it.”

If you’ve got short hair like Julianne, Strahan recommends a good mousse (he likes Herbal Essences Volumizing Soufflé), which he works into damp (not soaking) hair. “If you were out on the weekend and wanted to do as little as possible, you can put the mousse in and it airdries quickly,” he says. “When it’s 90 percent dry, after you’ve done your makeup, whip out the blowdryer or use your fingers to build body in those areas.” Adding a scarf keeps hair out of your face and gives it a little extra visual interest.

Sarah Hyland in a flower crown: So you’ve seen these crowns everywhere and you’re wondering how to get them right? The key to hair is plenty of volume so the crown has balance. He loves the line’s Naked dry shampoo to build up texture at the roots (spray it there, then comb it through). Then he decides on the hairstyle based on the crown itself. “Something smaller, like daisies, you could do a sleeker style, but for Sarah’s fuller flowers, you need a good bit of body and volume to keep the softness of the original look.” He then spritzes in the line’s Sheer Shine Mist for a little refresh.

Strahan points out that it’s not just the hair, but also the outfit, that must be properly thought-out for a flower crown to work. “The idea is that you don’t want it to override everything — the eyes still have to have the ability to travel,” he says. “If you want to have it as a statement piece, make sure there’s balance so that it’s not so huge that it’s distracting from the whole overall look.”

Ready to try this on your own? Strahan would send you into the desert with dry shampoo, mousse, shine mist, cleansing conditioner and an ultralight hairspray (all Herbal Essences of course) as well as some bobby pins (a damp topknot can become beautiful waves) and all the wacky hair accessories you could ever want. If you give one of these looks a shot, be sure to share it with us on Twitter!

Which “festie” look is most you? What’s your go-to hot weather hairstyle?

–Alex Apatoff

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