Celebrity Hairstylist Marc Mena On Styling For The Emmys & What Inspires Him To Create A New Look

Photo Credit: Marc Mena

There aren’t too many leading ladies in Hollywood whose tresses celebrity hairstylist Marc Mena hasn’t tended to.

From Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), Madelaine Petsch (Riverdale) and Chrissy Metz (This Is Us) to Neve Campbell, Mindy Kaling, Mary-Louise Parker, Christina Ricci and Jordana Brewster, Mena is often referred to as the Hair Extension King of New York.

Photo Credit: Marc Mena

The lead stylist for “Project Runway” created a signature look for Chrissy Metz called “Pacific Ocean Hair” at this year’s Emmy awards and transitioned Natalia Dyer’s tresses from a perm for the hit Netflix show to long, luscious locks with Great Lengths Bonded Extensions to add dimension.

Mena revealed how he created Metz’ beautiful look for this year’s Emmy awards. Both Mena and Metz wanted her hair to complement her glamorous liquid silver custom Christian Siriano mermaid silhouette dress (like she had emerged from the ocean, with a little bit of LA attitude). To create this look, he applied mousse on dry hair from scalp to ends to create shape, set a deep side part and lift hair around the hairline. From there, he re-blew her hair straight to keep the hair extra dry but still voluminous. After, he used a flatiron to create a wave from shaft to end using an up and down motion to give the hair texture and to shape it around her face and hairline.

Then he used gel to slick back the right side of her hair behind her ear and pinned it in place. He pinned the rest of the hairline to give lift and shape. Next, he used hairspray around her whole head and used a diffuser to dry the wet gel and hairspray. He finished it off using Moroccan Oil Spray on all of her hair to achieve the wet look and used Got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Hairspray to lock in the look, fight frizz and beat the LA heat.

Photo Credit: Marc Mena

We caught up recently with Mena to find out what inspires him to create a new look and how hair extensions have changed the beauty industry.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in the hair industry?
My younger sister had alopecia and I used to help her by creating different hairstyles to cover up her bald spots. I soon realized that I loved doing hair, so I pursued it by cutting and styling my sisters and local girls in my neighborhood.

Tell us about your first big break and when you knew it would lead you to where you are today.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a “big break,” I’ve always worked really hard in both the salon and with editorial. It’s through this work that I have built up my career steadily.

What are the essential beauty tools every stylist should have?
A Mason Pearson brush, and a great pair of scissors are my go-to’s for almost anything.

Who or what inspires you to come up with a new look?
I am very inspired by what’s happening in fashion. Even more importantly, I take cues from the person I am working with – their own individual style and personality.

Photo Credit: Marc Mena

Best hairstyle now?
I created a “Clavicle Bob” on Ashley Benson, which is fun, playful, sexy and all around chic. It’s the perfect transitional length from summer to fall.

Do you think hair extensions have changed the beauty industry?
Absolutely! Hair extensions give women versatility, the safety to go from long to short and let women have fun with their hair.

Best advice for those obsessed with hair extensions?
Be very careful choosing your technician. Do your research and make sure that you love their work.

What is the biggest styling mistake you have seen and do you have any advice how to correct it?
There is no styling mistake as long as you feel great about how you look. If you don’t like how you’re hair has turned out, take a breath and try again!

Which celebrities would you like to work with whom you haven’t yet had the opportunity?
I am so inspired by Michelle Obama; I would love the opportunity to work with her and her stunning hair one day.