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July 28 2014

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Blake Lively Reveals the Man Who Made Her “Desperate,” Her Hot-Tool-Free Secret to Beachy Waves, and Her Ultimate Summer Side Dish

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It’s hard to imagine any man playing games with Blake Lively’s heart—the bombshell blond is like a modern Veronica Lake who has the power to instantly capture an audience’s attention, male or female, with a singular whip of her beachy waves. But the infamous Backstreet Boys’ song was the example the star and beauty icon used to describe her relationship with a certain gentleman—and no, she wasn’t referring to husband Ryan Reynolds. Here, the self-proclaimed foodie and sex symbol with undeniable Southern charm reveals the boy who kept her waiting, the hot-tool-free secret to her tousled strands, her go-to summer side dish, and her biggest beauty blunder. (Hint: It involves Cyndi Lauper and The Goonies.)

What is the secret to getting your signature waves?
Well, it depends on which waves you see me with. Sometimes at my house they’re not so cute. [laughs] But I normally just dry my hair almost all the way—I leave it 3 percent wet so that it has a nice little hold. And then I’ll sometimes put the tiniest bit of mousse in it, and then I put it up in a ballerina bun so that when I do take it out, it has a deep, wide wave. Just a slight one—it gives it a little more bounce so it doesn’t dry flat. But my hair has a slight natural wave to it, so it will hold that.

Do you have a go-to mousse?
Honestly, I kind of just use whatever’s in my house. My sister has this red mousse because she has red hair, and I used that once, which is not advisable. Don’t use red mousse if you’re a blond!

What did that little mishap look like exactly?
Not so great. I looked a little like Cyndi Lauper in The Goonies.

What did your sister say when she discovered you borrowed her beauty products?
I don’t know. She just leaves her stuff at my house. But that’s the thing—when you have sisters, you’re just like all kind of wearing each other’s stuff, whether it be mousse or a bra. You’re like, “Where did I get this bra?!” And it’s, you know, my sister’s.

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How do you maintain your golden blond?
I went a little blonder for the Met [Gala] after coming off a film where it was a little darker, but I really like not having blond to the root. It’s not as far as ombré, but I just like having a more natural base and then having the blond start a little later—you know, like how it looks in autumn. That’s a nice way to keep your blond up and keep it really natural rather than having stripy blond streaks all the way to the root—you kind of just start them a little lower on the head.

Are there any treatments that you use to keep your color looking its best?
Not necessarily for the blond, but I’m always trying to keep my hair thick and full and healthy. L’Oréal makes an amazing shampoo called [Elvive] Fibrology [Thickening Shampoo], which is great because I got to spend time in the lab. And you think, OK, I see these commercials and they do these fancy Spider-Man graphics, but does that really work? You’re sitting with these people in these lab coats who are showing you the before and afters and it’s really, really incredible. So all the [women] in my family are now on this shampoo and we all use it and all swear by it.

If you had to have one must-have hair tool, what would it be?
I don’t really use hair tools. I like to air-dry. I don’t know, because tools are used on my hair enough through work, so I really like to preserve the health of my hair [when I'm off]. I’ve also seen that YouTube video too many times where the girl teaches you how to curl your hair. [laughs] You know, the one with the 12-year-old girl? Oh, my God. It’s amazing. It’s really, really amazing.

Without hot tools at your disposal, how do you get those beachy waves we so often see you wear?
I did this thing that was probably really stupid, but it worked. My hair is always better in California than it is in New York, so I got a big water jug and I filled it with ocean, which is probably a really bad idea, but I would put it on my hair, and actually, it worked. It’s salt and it’s water and it makes your hair a little crunchier and holds it a little better. I mean, I don’t necessarily spray it; I just kind of put it in my hands. But I think if you mix salt and water…I don’t know, I’m giving you formulas that I’ve never made before! People’s hair is going to fall off and I’m going to get a lot of crap for this.

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I’m pretty sure women would try anything to emulate your hair. After you go to the beach, or after you put the salt water in it, is there anything that you do in particular to keep your hair soft and avoid split ends?
Coconut oil is actually really great. That is actually a beauty tip that my mom taught me. She’d always put oil on her hair before shampooing it because you only want to get the oil out of the roots. That’s where your scalp is secreting oil and sweat, but you don’t want to dry out the rest of the hair because that needs [moisture]. So she’d put oil from her ears down and just shampoo the head. The oil would naturally wash out in the shower because the shampoo trickles down, but you’re not drying out the hair. That was a pretty good trick.

Speaking of formulas and creating your own recipes, I know you love to cook. What is your favorite thing to make in the summer?
Well, I normally go for lighter foods because it’s summertime. [I don't gravitate toward] mac and cheese and the heavy foods of winter, or the pies that are more comforting. In the summer I like anything that has brighter flavors. So more greens, more fruit, things that have a little pop or kick. I tend to lean toward that. I just had these great kale chips the other day at Lilette in New Orleans. They prepare them two ways: In the winter, they bake them and put Parmesan cheese on them; in the summer, they keep them brighter with a sort of citrus flavor, and I just thought that was neat how they interpret different times.

What’s your summer drink of choice?
Hmm, I really like a mint tea. A good, Moroccan mint tea. Yeah! You can dilute it so it’s not too strong. Coming from a Southern family, I want to say lemonade, but it can be overpowering. But a nice, light mint tea—it’s pretty good. Cafe Gitane in New York City makes the best.

Do you grill or does Ryan?
He’s definitely more of the grill man-er than I am. I like making the sides. Because with grilling, you have to stand there and it takes forever…but the sides, that’s where you get to put all the flavors in and all that good stuff.

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Is there a side dish you specialize in?
I make this corn soufflé that’s pretty amazing. I’m always doing different takes on it. And it works anytime of the year, so I’ll do it at Thanksgiving and it’s a little heavier and you put some butter on it, or summer because it’s a bright summer flavor as well. But I made it recently at the Lilette—they let me come in and cook for the evening. It was really cool, and I made the staff a meal and [the chef] actually put my things on the menu for the night. He served some of my [dishes] to some of the special guests, which made me feel good, because he’s a tough one. For, like, five years I’ve been stalking this chef. “Please! Let me work in your kitchen! I’ll just clean! Just please let me in there!” And he would never let me in, chef John Harris. And I was just, oh my gosh, so desperate! And he played it so cool—it was like a Backstreet Boys song, “Quit Playing Games With My Heart.” And then finally after four years, he’s like, “You can come in our kitchen this weekend.” And then he handed me chef’s robes with my name embroidered on them. And I said, “You took the time to have my name embroidered on these chef’s robes?! How long did that take? You’ve been telling me no!” So that was pretty cool, and I made my corn pudding there. But I did it as a dessert, so I added some sugar and did a basil ice cream with it and a truffle whipped cream at the top to add a little odd, savory twist.

What is Ryan’s favorite meal that you make?
He’s kind of biased. He kind of likes a lot of it. He’s a good liar. It’s a good way to stay fed all the time. He’s like, “Oh, this is wonderful!” I’m like, “Oh, wonderful. Positive feedback. I will feed you more!” All my family does that—they ooh and ahh and you learn very quickly that if you ooh and ahh over food or over presents at Christmas, you get more. They’ve learned the system very well.

What is your ultimate comfort food?
Anytime? Oh, boy. My mama’s Thanksgiving meal. I don’t know what she does because I almost don’t want to know. It’s so great that only she knows how to make it and only she can replicate it, so it’s kind of a sacred thing. But she makes this thing called chicken n’ dressin’, which she just calls “Southern poor people food,” because what they would do is take all the leftovers—it’s kind of like stuffing, I guess, but just so much better—but you take all the leftovers from the chicken and the bread and the corn, just everything, and you make a casserole out of it. I mean, it sounds just like mush, but it’s the most delicious thing you will ever eat. It’s an emotional experience.

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After a big dinner—especially one laced with tryptophan—what’s your idea of the perfect night in?
Just a good homemade meal and watching some TCM [Turner Classic Movies]. That’s a pretty good night in.

Do you have a favorite TCM movie?
What’s so great about watching TCM is that you not only get to experience the film, but you get to experience the backstory of the actors and the making of it. Robert Osborne is a national treasure. And then hearing other icons speak to how different actors influence them, and I’m exposed to people I’ve never heard of—it’s really neat because you get that well-rounded experience in a way that you don’t get when you just watch the film.

Photos: Getty

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