We Talked To Celebrity Hairstylist Sarah Potempa About Red Carpet Hair Secrets

We Talked To Celebrity Hairstylist Sarah Potempa About Red Carpet Hair Secrets

Julianne Ishler

In case you weren’t stalking celebrities on Instagram all summer, beach waves are the hottest hair trend in Hollywood right now. From Gigi Hadid to Cara Delevingne, everyone is opting for the tousled, effortless look. The best thing about beach waves are that no matter if your hair is short or long, naturally straight or curly, anyone can pull them off with killer style.

And if you weren’t blessed with mermaid hair, there’s hope for you, too. Celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa—who has worked with A-list clientele including Kendall Jenner, Selena Gomez and Reese Witherspoon—invented a life-changing tool called the Beachwaver. Just as it sounds, the amazing tool will transform your hair into red carpet-worthy waves.

We spoke with Sarah on everything from styling stars at the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, on-the-go hairstyles, pro-tips, and how her hard work paid off to get to where she is now.

Dose:

What’s the number one mistake people make with hair care?

Sarah Potempa:

People tend to grab whatever products are available without doing their research. You need to find the right product for your hair type. You also might need to change up your products based on the seasons based on how the elements can affect your hair.

Dose:

What are some of your favorite everyday hairstyling tips?

Sarah Potempa:

Having the right tools makes a huge difference. The Beachwaver is the perfect tool to prep for any hairstyle. With the Beachwaver, you can create a great foundation with waves that last up to three days. I like to start out with simple beach waves on day one and then change it up by adding a ponytail, braids, etc. for the next few days!

Instagram: sarahpotempa

Dose:

What’s a surprisingly easy hairstyle that looks complicated?

Sarah Potempa:

A half-up pancaked braid and beachwaves. A simple tip is to create a regular tight french braid and then gently tug at the edges (pancaking) to add a lot of texture and volume. Curling your hair can seem really complicated to figure out which direction to curl. The Beachwaver rotates in both directions to make it easy to curl your own hair!

Instagram: sarahpotempa

Dose:

How did you come up with the idea of the Beachwaver?

Sarah Potempa:

My “aha” moment came when I was on the phone with a beauty editor describing how to get gorgeous, red carpet-worthy waves at home. I explained to the editor, as I had done many times on TV segments, how-to videos, and beauty articles, how you had to hold the curling iron upside down and wrap the hair backwards. She said it was too confusing to write “upside down and backwards” and sounded difficult to do on your own hair. As soon as we got off the phone, I sketched out the idea for the Beachwaver— a curling iron that you hold upright that curls for you with the press of a button! I saw a need for a curling iron that all women could use on themselves. Over time, we found hairdressers love it, too!

Dose:

What was the most interesting thing that happened working with the models at the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show?

I loved seeing their reactions to the Beachwaver! It was incredible how many surprised faces there were when they realized how easy it is to use. Some of the reactions from models Josephine Skriver, Kendall Jenner and Sui He were my favorite. It was so much fun because they were all so into social media and talking to us about the Beachwaver. When I was styling Kendall Jenner’s hair, all the photographers rushed over. I was taking over Mane Addicts snapchat and we were making videos, which everyone loved. One photo of us ended up in the side by side “swap the differences” in the back of a weekly magazine!

YouTube: TheBeachwaver Co.

Dose:

What’s the hottest hair style on the red carpet now?

Beachwaves with braids is one of the hottest hairstyles right now. After doing #365daysofbraids on my Instagram @sarahpotempa, many of my celebrity clients wanted to recreate those looks on the red carpet. A combination of fun fishtails and relaxed beach waves is a summery look that a lot of celebrities are going for!

Instagram: sarahpotempa

Dose:

What’s one of the weirdest things that happened when you were styling somebody?

Sarah Potempa:

Once in New York I was styling hair for Rachel Zoe and she needed models for a TV segment. She unexpectedly asked me and her assistant to model. She styled me in a fur vest, bangles and all these fun clothes—I was a hairdresser turned model for the day!

Dose:

If you could only live with three beauty products, what would they be?

Sarah Potempa:

The Beachwaver curling iron, On Set Styling Brush and a bright pink lip color.

Dose:

What hair trends are going to be big this fall?

Sarah Potempa:

I think bigger, looser beach waves are going to be big this fall. Curls for the fall and holiday season are usually more polished with a larger curling iron like the Beachwaver S1.25.

Instagram: sarahpotempa

Dose:

What’s one of your favorite looks you’ve ever created?

Sarah Potempa:

There are so many looks that I love, but usually anything that incorporates braids and beach waves tends to be my favorite. I think that a beachy double fishtail braid with a hair accessory is such a beautiful look, along with the fishtail/beach wave looks that I styled on Reese Witherspoon and Hailee Steinfeld.

Instagram: sarahpotempa

Dose:

Red carpet hair secrets?

Sarah Potempa:

Once my celebrity clients are styled, I give them a mini on-set styling brush because it’s small enough to fit in a clutch. It’s important to have one to smooth their hair so that their neckline is clean and there aren’t any stray hairs or fly-aways on the red carpet! If their hair is up I give them a mini-kit of bobby pins and hair pins and tell them to look in the mirror before going on the red carpet to make sure all the hair is still in place. If they are wearing all of their hair down and I’ve curled it with the Beachwaver, I show them how to slightly twist the front pieces of hair away from their face and then lift the hair at the root for a boost of volume before they are photographed.

Dose:

What’s been the most challenging or difficult thing about your job and how did you overcome it?

Sarah Potempa:

Making a name for yourself is challenging because it takes patience, time and hard work. There’s room for everybody to succeed, but you have to work hard, be creative and constantly focus on the art of doing hair. I constantly tried to create innovative braids and good styles and by doing that opportunities started to come!

Dose:

What’s next for you?

Sarah Potempa:

In the next few weeks I’ll be traveling to Japan on a press tour, Los Angeles for some television appearances and Europe with a celebrity client in the fall. I’m so excited to continue styling for fashion shows, my celebrity clients and more amazing events; but most importantly, I’m going to try to enjoy every moment and take it all in! You can follow my journey on Instagram @sarahpotempa to see where I go!