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Until now, I thought the world-traveling, gormandizing, and oft-boozing Anthony Bourdain had the best job on earth. But after talking to hairstylist and groomer-to-the-stars Losi, I’m pretty sure she wins.
Based out of the tony Martial Vivot salon in Manhattan, Losi — yes, just Losi, like Madonna or Zendaya — has cut, styled, and groomed the coifs, beards, and ‘staches of many of the internet’s boyfriends, including Zachary Quinto, Gabriel Macht of Suits, Ethan Hawke, Orlando Bloom, Oscar Isaac, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
As with most dream professions, Losi kind of fell into hers. She started her career assisting Oribe in the early ’80s, and eventually transitioned to styling dudes exclusively. “He said, ‘You know what? Why don't you do the men and I just do women, and this way we have the whole industry?’” Losi remembers.
By 1993, Losi had stopped taking on female clients entirely. “It is less stressful,” she says. “It's more fun. The guys — they're entertaining. It's nice to be around guys.” Especially top client Jake Gyllenhaal — and his glorious hair and lush beard — whom she recently styled for dual (triple, really) roles: bantering with co-star Ryan Reynolds while promoting their movie Life, and playing two characters in Broadway’s hit revival of Sunday in the Park With George.
To play late 19th century post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat in the show’s first act and a modern-day artist in the second, Gyllenhaal needed a versatile beard that could easily transition from a “pointy, tight-at-the-sides” Van Dyke to a fuller, more rounded contemporary look. So Losi cut and trimmed his beard to allow for the actor to complete the period-to-today transformation on his own during the show’s 15-minute intermission.
“Hair is hair,” Losi says. “We put product in his beard so he has more control, so it's not just this fluffy thing. Basically, what you put in your hair, you can put in your beard.” Losi instructed Gyllenhaal to use Martial Vivot’s aloe-based hair paste on his luxuriant beard so he could “nip and tuck” as needed during the show.
The longtime stylist discovered the multitasking quality of hair paste on an editorial shoot a couple years ago. “They were using these models with the long hair, the beards and the tattoos — just at the beginning of the Williamsburg [trend]. You know, that look that they have,” she says. “And I would just use the paste because [their facial hair] was so unruly and they didn't want to clean up their beards.” Oh, hipsters.
Losi is also a proponent of beard oil, which packs benefits beyond taming coarse, unruly facial fuzz. “Sometimes the skin underneath the beard gets all dry. I don't know if you’ve noticed men just scratching their faces — that's dry skin,” she explains. “So you just use the beard oil and that lubricates and moisturizes the skin underneath, and it also gives the beard a nice, soft feel to it.”
As for how to properly wash a beard — because, guys, please, clean them regularly — Losi suggests extending the use of facial cleanser (never soap). Then work in the oil, which is like sneaking in an extra skincare step. “Put three drops on your beard and put it all over your face. It’s absorbed into your skin because there are no plastics or polymers, there's nothing artificial in there. It's the purest of all our products. The plant oils just go right into your skin.”
Regular trimming is also important, she adds, but it’s not as complicated as most guys think. “The first thing [men] ask is, they're not quite sure how to style and trim the beard,” Losi says. She’ll work with clients to figure out the best length for the clippers, and show them how to “not make too much of a line down the cheek,” which looks severe.
“Just clean that up a little bit, but without the line,” she advises for those looking to get that classic Ethan Hawke scruff. “When you look in the mirror, you shouldn't really see too much hair going down your neck. It gives it a dirty look. Just have a gradual fade from the neck to under the chin.” As for longer, fuller growth, she suggests using a mustache comb and a beard brush to refine and tame flyaways. “Don't get too crazy. Once you decide on the shape of the beard you want, then you just keep that shape,” she says.
When it comes to styling the hair on your head, Losi also offers a proven and straightforward strategy — especially those blessed with full, lush manes, like Gyllenhaal. “He has beautiful hair,” Losi says. “But he has a lot.” The top concern for follicularly endowed gentlemen? “They don't like it when it gets big on the sides toward the back.”
To avoid that, Losi concocts the right mix of products, which she perfected back in her Oribe days, when options weren’t as plentiful (if overwhelming) as they are today. “We were basically using a mix of cream and gel, and I have never really walked away from that,” she says. But the trick is to create the proper ratio, depending on the client’s hair type: “The cream prevents the gel from getting stiff and sticky, and the gel prevents the cream from being too greasy or wimpy,” she explains. “It's customized for every single person.”
She cautions clients from just haphazardly glopping the product in all at once — there’s a process. “Lift up your hair, put some product in, let some hair fall, put some product in — like layers. Because when you just put it in [all at once], you're only covering the outer layers of the hair,” she says. “You have to get underneath. And with Jake, it's more about keeping it down. It's putting in cream to soften the hair, and then adding the gel.”
Of course, Gyllenhaal is like the Robert De Niro of hairstyles, changing up his coif (and facial scruff) to immerse himself in his roles. While the hairstylists on movie sets are in charge of his cuts and upkeep on set, Gyllenhaal does discuss his look for each film in advance with Losi — like the slicked-back undercut he got for his role as Detective Loki in 2014’s Prisoners.
“[Prisoners] was set in this little rural town in Georgia,” Losi says, “and that look really set a tone for the character because he was supposed to be an outsider — and he was definitely an outsider with that hair.”
Losi also works with celebrity clients for editorial shoots — like hunky character actor Oscar Isaac, who was photographed snuggling with a puppy for the June 2016 cover of Rolling Stone. “He also has beautiful hair, but it’s different. It's really in between wavy and curly — not a really tight curl, but he definitely has a curl,” Losi says. “With his hair, less is more. Again, it's the cream and the gel, but there's no blow-drying. You just spray it very quickly with the water bottle, put the product in, comb it through with fingers, and that's it. That way, you have a smoother look.”
Readying Hollywood’s leading men for red carpet appearances is also part of Losi’s job; she’s groomed everyone from Matt Bomer to Chris Hemsworth to Adrian Grenier. She estimates the prep time for a red carpet runs between 30 and 45 minutes — which is pretty damn speedy, especially since the session also includes makeup. Although, “as I'm putting makeup on my guys, I'm always saying, ‘my men don't wear makeup,’” she laughs.
“It's mainly prepping the skin,” Losi clarifies. First, she uses a sterile gauze pad to cleanse the face with Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water and tone with Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Refining Toner. “If there is any stubble at all, [the pads] will not leave ‘lint’ behind,” she explains. She then dabs on some Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer and ultra-luxe La Mer lip balm for good measure.
Next, to prevent faux-pas facial shine during the photo ops, Losi layers on Givenchy Mister Mat Mattifying Foundation Primer before applying moisturizer. “Why would I put a moisturizer on that makes you shiny, and then put powder on you to cover the shine?” she asks rhetorically. She does keep MAC Pressed Blot Powder on hand for touch-ups, just in case, and she’ll sparingly dab MAC concealer under the eyes. “I don't want them to be all flat,” Losi explains. “I like to leave a little character in the face, but get rid of the tired look.”
“Sometimes they have been working and they're not in the sun, so maybe I add a little color to the face,” she continues. Instead of bronzer, she likes to use MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation for a light, natural glow.
Then, she’ll do any last-minute facial hair touchups, paying special attention to the brows. “It’s not so much about tweezing — that's the icing on the cake — but taking away all those long hairs on their eyebrows. That's important. And ear hairs. You really just clean 'em up before they go out the door.” Seems even the dreamiest of men need a little help getting ready sometimes.