'Sweet as, bro' for celebrity hairdresser

21:23, Aug 19 2014
 	 Richard Kavanagh, hairdresser
HAIR EXPERT: Richard Kavanagh teases the tresses of stars.

Kiwi hairdresser Richard Kavanagh has a little icebreaker he likes to use on some of his American celebrity clients.

‘‘I teach them how to say, ’sweet as, bro’. They can’t really get their heads around that – they think I’m talking about their butt,’’ he jokes.

Now based in Sydney, the creative director for Rodney Wayne cut his teeth in New Zealand, where he undertook his hairdressing apprenticeship and first became involved in the fashion industry.

He now works with international stars such as Kelly Osbourne, Natalie Imbruglia, Dannii Minogue and Adrien Brody, as well as our own chart-topper, Lorde.

‘‘The fact the industry is really small here ...  it grounds you for when you get those great opportunities to work for big designers or for magazines like Vogue or Harper’s, or working for some of the big international celebrities,’’ he says.

‘‘I think people like ordinary Kiwis, because nothing’s too much of a problem and you do whatever needs to be done to do the job and do it with a smile.’’ 


Using the Kiwi charm has resulted in a few high-profile friendships for Kavanagh. He says he keeps in regular contact with Kelly Osbourne, and calls Adrien Brody a ‘‘mate’’.

He also has a real soft spot for fellow countrywoman Lorde.

‘‘I’m super, super proud of Lorde. I’ve only done her hair a few times when we’ve been in the same city. She’s an amazing young woman, a real example of what powerful, creatives can do in the world.’’ 

Kavanagh says while doing celebrity hair is usually the same as if it was a normal person going to a salon, it does come with its own set of challenges.

‘‘You have to be careful you don’t give them something that somebody else wore last week or two months ago, especially not someone in the same peer group as them.’’ But it also has highlights – such as being recognised by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton for a hairdo he created for Kelly Osbourne.

‘‘I was really stoked, [he] wrote a blog post about how obsessed he was with it, which I thought was a kind of fistpump moment for me.

‘‘It was an Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, beehive kind of ’do. It was one of those fun things, quick and easy, and she got so many comments on it. One interview she went to on a panel show in Australia, she was doing a live cross and the first thing they said was, ’wow, your hair looks amazing’.’’ Kavanagh says he feels lucky to be paid to do what he loves.

‘‘I never really feel like I’m working, to be honest, I always feel like I’m hanging out with people playing with their hair.’’

How to get Lorde’s look:

Are you a fan of Lorde’s locks? Kavanagh says to recreate the singing star’s look, you’re first of all going to need ‘‘a lot of hair’’.

‘‘Her hair is pretty spectacular ...  when you see her perform she really throws that hair around.’’ Kavanagh says you’ll need to bring out the curls by taking a tiny curling wand the size of your little finger and wrapping small sections of hair around it. Then, shake it all out.

Spring/Summer hair trends:

Kavanagh says we’re going to be seeing a subtle nod to the 90s ‘‘with a flavour of the 70s’’ in the upcoming season. ‘‘Think a modern Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface, or a modern version of a disco queen. Fluffy, curly, beautiful hair.’’  The on-trend length for this season will be hair sitting at the decolletage, with an ‘‘effortlessly luxurious’’ texture.

‘‘Imagine a texture like a girl has slept on a silk pillow for the night with freshly washed hair, and has gotten up and given it a brush.’’