It’s the most unworkable and unreasonable thing I can possibly think of.
Publish date:
August 9, 2013
hair styles, diy beauty, gold, fashion week, gold leaf

You guys, it’s less than a month until Fashion Week. You know what that means, every beauty writer is going to be grabbing onto this year’s most impractical runway beauty looks and showing you how you can recreate the look at home! UGH. Like, as if we can’t figure out how to do some edgy eyeliner or Ruffian nails on our own. Just because these looks are outlandish doesn’t mean they’re hard to do!

But who am I kidding? I’ll probably be doing the same thing. And FRANKLY, the more impossible, the better! Bring on the challenges. Also, they haven’t officially announced this little detail yet, so consider this an xoJane exclusive: This year, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week has been planned right over my birthday! That’s right! This year’s Fashion Week is one big tribute to ME. I’m so excited.

Not being from New York, I can’t shmooze my way into the tents and see the shows as they happen. Usually, I see them minutes later as they go up on the Internet in slideshow form. Just as good, right? Wrong. But it will have to do.

The trouble with not seeing everything up close (seated front row, next to Anna Wintour, my rightful place) is that, while I can see and pretend to like all of the new shit coming down the runways, I have to wait for the beauty roundups to really see what everyone wore on their face, hair and nails. That’s a bummer. But lucky for us, Instagram is changing all of that. Now, all of those awful beauty publicists can brag about what shows are using their products and rub it in our faces as it happens.

But I am off topic.

Three hundred words later, the point that I am trying to make is that we all know that runway beauty is unrealistic for the day to day, but there are always ways to interpret the looks for your everyday life. But today, I am not here to interpret.

Since you asked, my favorite runway beauty look is GOLD LEAFED HAIR.

I mean, come on. This has shown up in a couple of shows, most notably Topshop’s during London Fashion Week in 2011. Gold leafed hair. It’s the most unworkable and unreasonable thing I can possibly think of. But my LOVE for this look far outweighs my hatred for it. This is one of those things that I really can’t help but just die for -- it is the Summer Of Gold, after all.

So I had to try it for myself.

Oh, for starters, I changed my hair.

It’s less like Katy’s and more like My Little Pony’s or a cupcake or something else ridiculous. I sort of just let my hairstylist do whatever he wants to my hair, with the explicit promise that he will be able to change it back in a moment’s notice, if I need to like, pass as a normally functioning member of society.

I threw my hair into a pompadour to start off with. I figured that hairstyle would be the best to cover with gold because it’s short on the sides, but big and poofy on top. A good pompadour, like any good hairstyle, involves a lot of product, a lot of patience, and a lot of backcombing.

First, I needed to get my hair good and sticky so the gold leaf would have something to cling on to, so I rubbed some pomade through my hair. This is humiliating, but I used pomade from AXE.

I know AXE is the most obnoxious and “alpha male” product ever, but -- in my defense -- AXE hair products are actually some of the best in the drugstore. I wouldn’t be embarrassing myself like this if they weren’t. And also, I wasn’t trying to use up my best stuff if I was just slapping gold all over my head, but ANYWAY if you’re a chick that uses pomade, give this a try.


I grabbed 5.5 inch square sheets of gold leaf -- any craft store should have them. Make sure you grab the sheets, not flakes. Have you ever used gold leaf?! I had no idea how thin it was!

As soon as I slipped a sheet out of its package, I knew that this was bound to be quite an operation. I decided to start with the side of my head, right above my sideburns, where my hair was the shortest.

This was the point where I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing?” It dawned on me, too late I might add, that every time I see the gold leaf LOOK on a runway, there has been a team of hairstylists perfecting the look through weeks of trial and error, ensuring that the final outcome will be flawless, and then applying it to the model’s heads. The models are not, as I was, doing it on their knees in front of a full-length mirror on the living room floor of their new apartment.


The gold leaf stuck to my head pretty well, but as I applied, some of the pomade would rub off onto my fingers, which made the gold leaf stick to them as well. It was sort of a game of trial and error, me patting the sides of my head, gently twisting and scooting my fingers around enough that the gold would come off my fingers and adhere to my hair, but not so much that it would tear the sheet into little flakes. There was a lot of tearing of the gold sheets, but that was for the best, so it didn’t look like I had a big gold square on the side of my head.

Things got a little trickier as I moved from the side of my head up the pomp of my pompadour. I decided to take a break, take a breath, and wash my hands. Once my hands were free of hair product, I started again and had a much easier time.

When I got all of the gold in place, I sealed the style with none other than AQUANET!

Did you know that Aquanet got a new look?!

It went from this:


The trusty hairspray helped glue everything together and keep it all in place.

Here’s what it looked like when I was all said and done.

It’s not shellacked to my head like it is in all of the photos I drool over, but again, I was doing it myself. I LOVE IT. Do you love it? It’s the worst, I know. I’m not sure I could get away with rocking this look for an entire night, I feel like the fragile gold leaf would blow off after a couple hours.

BUT, I have seen some hairstyles that incorporate gold leaf more subtly, and really make it work!

So I tried THAT too. I don’t go for subtlety often.

Now THIS I like! And this I could do on the regular!

Is this too beyond, or could you try it? Sidenote: Everything in my apartment is now accidentally gold leafed. My phone, my bathroom sink, my wood floors. WORTH IT. Tell me what you think in the comments.

Tynan is thinking up his next bad idea on Twitter: @TynanBuck.