In My Words: Katharine McPhee

February 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm , by

Latest role. In Smash I play a girl from Iowa who dreams of being on Broadway. It’s the perfect part: Growing up, my mother always took me to see musical theater; plus, the series is produced by Steven Spielberg. Anything he’s involved with grabsmy attention.

Moving from Los Angeles to New York City, where the NBC show is filmed. My New York apartment is so much smaller. I was like, Where do I put all my shoes? So I bought all these bins, filled them with shoes and shoved them under my bed.

My dream collaboration.  I would love to work with Adele. Of course, I only say that in my dreams because I don’t believe it will ever happen!

How I give back. I started McPhee Outreach, which helps children in need. We built a preschool in a small country in West Africa called Burkina Faso. I wasn’t able to be at the opening ceremony, but I watched a video of the people there talking about what the chool meant to them. I was like, Wow, I helped make this happen.

Best advice I ever got. Keep one or two voices in your life, meaning one or two people you can trust. And don’t stray too far from those voices because this business is stressful!

Guilty pleasure. Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Khloe is my favorite—she’ll say exactly what she thinks, then follows it up with, “I’m only telling you things other people say behind your back.” Love that about her!

Before this current hairstyle, McPhee’s hair was cropped and platinum blond. “I get tired of the same old thing.” Check out this slideshow of McPhee’s best hairstyles.

How to Wear It: Not Your Mother’s Ponytail

September 12, 2011 at 11:42 am , by

Stocking up on new school supplies—from shiny pens and mechanical pencils to completely revamped wardrobes—has become a Fall right of passage for children. But, why should the kiddies have all of the back-to-school fun? While you’re working on overhauling your own autumn wardrobe (FYI: peplum blazers, mustard hues, and polka dots are all the rage), don’t forget about your hair. Here is a grown-up ponytail style from celeb stylist David Lopez (his clients include the Glee cast—Heather Morris, Lea Michelle, and Diana Agron) to add to your autumn repertoire.

STEP 1: Prep your strands beforehand by applying a texture spray or mousse to the hair line and blowdry completely.  ”Don’t forget to blow dry the hair around the nape of your neck upwards towards the base,” says Lopez.

STEP 2: Gather all of your hair into a ponytail with a large paddle brush.  Use the top of your cheekbones as a guide to line the ponytail up and follow diagonally towards the crown.  ”I like to use a ‘wrap’ style ponytail holder but a snag free holder works just as well,” adds Lopez.  After securing your ponytail take a one inch section of hair and firmly wrap it around the base of the ponytail to hide the elastic. This trick makes an otherwise sporty style look a bit more glam.

STEP 3: Use a large barrel curling iron and wrap large one inch sections to give the pony some bounce. A ponytail showcases the ends of your hair so smooth them with a light oil like Amika Obliphica Pure Oil too boost shine and definition.

Three Ways To… Look Your Best for the Super Bowl

January 31, 2011 at 9:30 am , by

ss_101361509[1] Being from Boston, I stay true to the New England Patriots, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be kicking back this Sunday to watch the most important football game of the year. Whether you’re cheering on your favorite team or just watching for the fun of it all, Super Bowl events require a different, more casual, beauty preparation. Here are three ways to sport a great look for the big game:

If you’re a fan, represent! Use eye liner to show your pride by wearing team’s colors. Bright yellow and emerald green might look silly as an eye shadow, so keep your makeup from looking garish with a slick of colored eyeliner across the upper lash. Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes, $17, has a fantastic assortment of shades. You’ll feel festive and fellow fans will appreciate the statement.

Any occasion taking place around the television shouldn’t involve too much work. It’s better to go for a more relaxed look and pull back your hair. Hair ties and headbands are effortless. Differentiate this style from your gym ponytail by using a curling iron to create loose waves, or go super-sleek with a flat iron.

Keep your lips simple. Traditional football cuisine can get messy. Rather than constantly wiping and re-applying, wear a gloss that’s easy to smooth on without missing a moment. With a variety to choose from, Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer, $5, works as lipstick and balm in one by both coloring and moisturizing lips.

    Beauty Coach: Play Hair Salon on Wii

    October 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm , by

    The last time I played hair salon, I gave my Barbie a tragic bob. In retrospect, my technique was doomed from the start. Just picture it: an impatient seven-year-old yanking Barbie’s hair back with a rubber band and using safety scissors to slice through her ponytail. Needless to say, Ken soon lost interest in Barbie and so did my aspirations for professional hair styling.

    When I heard about Redken‘s Busy Scissors, $20, a new hairstyling game for Nintendo Wii and DS, I got to wondering whether things would have ended differently with Barbie if I had practiced some basic styling skills first. This box art alone makes me want to give her some blunt bangs.

    In the game, you shampoo, cut, color, perm and style the heads of a demanding Hollywood clientele to advance your career. It sounds a both fun and exhausting, right?

    Now I’m dying to pull a Quantum Leap. You know, I’ll play the game for a couple of few days and get my confidence back up. Then I’ll get my hands on a Barbie and nice sharp scissors and finally give her a trim that she deserves. I just have a feeling Ken would appreciate it this time around.

    A Curly Girl’s Best Friend

    August 12, 2010 at 12:02 pm , by

    My general method of styling my kinda-curly, kinda-wavy, straight-in-random-spots hair is to throw in some mousse, scrunch and go. I know I should diffuse it or use more products or do something more involved than washing it and sleeping on it, but I just don’t know where to start. (That’s me at right, with my “before” curls – sorta frizzy, kinda fluffy, a bit long and generally meh.) So when I got the chance to take a lesson in curly-hair CIMG1370management from the masters at the Ouidad salon in NYC, I was stoked. Most every other cut I’ve gotten has ended with a time-consuming and ultimately pointless blow-dry, in which the helpless stylist expends maximum effort getting my stubborn hair to lie flat and succeeds until I leave the salon, when it shrinks up until back to its normal state of pouf. But my talented and super-friendly stylist, Mirsada, styled my hair in glossy, bouncy swirls after the cut and taught me how to recreate the look at home, on my own (see the “after” by clicking on Read More, below). Ouidad’s philosophy is that you shouldn’t fight your curls, and I appreciated the lesson in curl-styling since no one’s actually done it that way before! (Aside from the hairdo I got for my prom, when I instructed the stylist to go curly and I left resembling Marie Antoinette.) Mirsada also sent me on my way with a step-by-step styling guide (complete with illustrations, in case I was really challenged) that all clients at Ouidad get, too. The process:

    1. Wash (with gentle shampoo, since my curls aren’t coarse) and condition (with a daily conditioner). Easy!

    2. Spray with botanical leave-in conditioner, so curls don’t frizz or tangle.

    3. Apply frizz-busting gel to hair in four separate sections, one in back, one on each side of my head and one on top. Mirsada taught me the Ouidad rake-and-shake technique, which basically consists of coating the hair with gel, dividing it up with your fingers and wiggling it till the natural curl of your hair takes shape. (Check out the much-better description, with pictures, here.)

    4. Scrunch hair with towel and air-dry naturally or use a diffuser to speed it up.

    5. The next day (Ouidad recommends shampooing 2 to 3 times per week), refresh curls with leave-in spray.

    Click through for the results…

    Read more

    Beauty Coach: Hate Your Haircut?

    February 18, 2010 at 8:42 pm , by

    photo by Fernando Milani

    Have you ever left the hair salon looking worse than when you first walked in? (I know I certainly have, and more times than I’d care to admit.) It’s certainly cathartic to curse out the stylist in your head, but here’s the thing: a bad haircut isn’t entirely the fault of the person wielding the scissors. It’s yours, too. Okay, now before you throw your heaviest tube of styling gel at me, let me explain why that’s a good thing. You–yes, you in the chair–have some control of the situation. The more ownership you take, the better your chances of getting the cut you want. The times I’ve been most disappointed over my haircut are usually when I was impulsive or didn’t communicate my expectations.

    This story is a good example:

    A friend of mine, we’ll call her Ann, needs a haircut and wants a change of scene from her regular salon. Ann decides to try the salon her friend Beth goes to and shows up there in person, asking for an appointment with Beth’s regular stylist.

    Unfortunately, Beth’s stylist is out that day so Ann agrees to see the next available stylist–let’s call him Random Dude. During her consultation with Random Dude, Ann says that she doesn’t mind going shorter, as long as the new cut is easy to style. 40 minutes later, a remorseful Ann walks out of the salon with a shaggy, layered bob that just doesn’t feel like her and also turns out to be anything but easy to style.

    For the next few days Ann struggles to style her new cut, buying new products, headbands and even an expensive flat iron. After a week of frustration, Ann just wants to fix her hair and considers everything from getting a new haircut to fix the layers, long hair extensions like Kate Gosselin’s to a Brazilian straightening treatment so she won’t have to spend 30 minutes every morning smoothing out her strands.

    Where did Ann go wrong? Let me know what you think! And what do you think she should do next? I advised her to call the salon and ask for a free styling lesson before she does anything drastic.

    Photo by Fernando Milani

    Cheat Sheet: 5 Things You Missed While Living Your Life

    October 9, 2009 at 5:04 pm , by

    GourmetMagazineMasthead1. Gourmet magazine will be shut down – and so will 3 others at Conde Nast Publications.

    Are you a fan of the epic food magazine? Conde Nast reported losses in the company and announced that it’s closing Gourmet, Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride magazines. Foodies everywhere were shocked and dismayed, especially on Twitter – where Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Riechl herself even tweeted, “We’re all stunned, sad.”

    2. President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    The internet is in a flurry over deciding whether or not he deserves it – the supporters are filled with pride and the nay-sayers think he really hasn’t done enough in office (or even had the time to do enough) – to get the prize. What do you think?

    3. …And then we bombed the moon.

    4. Marge Simpson is going to be on the cover of Playboy.

    Cute, funny…or just plain creepy? TV’s favorite cartoon mom will be gracing the nudie mag’s November issue cover, and will even have a “sexy” spread of pictures inside. We’re sure Simpsons fans will rejoice, but it sort of freaks us out.

    5. And finally, a site with tons of hairstyles.

    We know how much our readers love hair stories — but this site won’t show you how to get gorgeous styles. But just for laughs, you need to head over to to check out the craziest, most hilarious do’s you’ve ever seen — faux-hawks, mohawks, mullets — and even something called “The Hermit Crab.”