The mane pro gives his best tress tips for sporting event styles

By Jackie Fields
Updated September 04, 2015 07:52 PM
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The U.S. Open tennis tournament is in full swing! And even though players have their game faces on for the Grand Slam, PEOPLE got the scoop on where they get a little R, R&R — that would be rest, relaxation, and rejuvenated hair! Not only that, the event’s official hairstylist, Julien Farel, gave us his tips on to ace your spectator style.


Courtesy Julien Farel Salon; Desiree Navarro/Wirei

For a few weeks a year, Julien Farel is pretty much master of mane ceremonies at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where his pop-up salon near Arthur Ashe stadium serves up cuts (and other services) to top players including Victoria Azarenka, Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic and Rafael Nadal. “We have all the players coming by except one or two,” says Farel. “It’s an exciting time of year — and a crazy time! But I think we’ve been building a very great and special history here.”

While a many players swoop in for a wash-and-go (“Most of the time the girls leave without a blow-dry because they’re going to train and they don’t want a Park Avenue blow-out,” Farel explains), sometimes the pros have more extravagant requests. “A few years ago, Marat Safin came with really long hair and he said, ‘I want a crew cut.’ He had really great hair. Do you know how painful that was? I was like, ‘oh no!’ But we cut his hair short — and he lost the game!

Luckily not every major chop has resulted in a player’s loss, says Farel. “In 2010 I cut Nadal’s long hair short and he won the tournament. So that one was a winner!”


Courtesy Julien Farel Salons

Not only can players make major hair changes, they can also get a little pampering in the form of manicures, pedicures and facials using Natura Bissé (a.k.a the best of the best) skincare. Sadly, visitors to the grounds can’t get their hair game in check at this salon (for the safety of the players, you super fans). But if you’re looking for advice on how to style your hair when visiting the tournament, Farel says to look no further than a pretty plait. “It’s such a tennis look,” he says.

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The type of braid is entirely up to you, says Farel. “I love a fishtail braid, but what will look best depends on the person.” Need inspo? Farel says googling Blake Lively and the Williams sisters braids will never steer you in the wrong direction.

A plait also serves a practical purpose. “It’s going to be humid, this way you’re not going to have all that frizz,” Farel explains. Start your style by applying a sun protection product on your hair from scalp to ends first (try Farel’s Calm Elixir). He also suggests bringing extra bobby pins so you can refresh your style between sessions. If you’re a cloth headband fan “bring a backup in case you sweat through the first one,” he advises. Lastly ladies, pack a hat. No, you won’t obstruct the view of those behind you, unless you go all out Kentucky Derby style. “If you are going for a more elegant look, try a chic straw hat, but if you like the sporty look, use a visor with a high ponytail or braid.”

What’s your go-to hairdo for sporting events? Tell us in the comments below.

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–Jackie Fields