Sure, many hairstylists have mastered the art of the chignon on others, but nobody has perfected the DIY quite like the ballet community (a collective often affectionately referred to as bunheads). So it makes sense that Kérastase enlisted one of the world’s premier principal dancers, Diana Vishneva, as the new face (and hair) of its latest product line and in-salon treatment, Discipline (a collection specifically designed for unruly strands). A native of St. Petersburg, Vishneva performs with both the Mariinsky Ballet in Russia and American Ballet Theatre in New York. And even getting a glimpse of her during rehearsals for her starring role in Giselle at the Metropolitan Opera House was nothing short of a moving experience. She glides across the floor with such emotion that even those in the cheap seats can undoubtedly feel her passion for the two-timing Albrecht (played by her longtime partner, Marcelo Gomes). Here, the prima ballerina spills her secrets for a budge-proof bun (and the politics of its placement), how she lets loose, and the key to overcoming stage fright.
What are the steps to creating the perfect chignon?
Brush the hair to make it smooth. Gather the hair into a ponytail, making sure that no stray hairs are left out. The position of the ponytail determines where you will have your bun. Secure the ponytail with an elastic band. Twist the ponytail tightly into a rope, this part is crucial, and wrap it around the base, then fix with hair spray or bobby pins. A hairnet may be also used to cover the bun to make it firmer. Finish with hairspray.
Who taught you how to create a chignon? And how long have you been doing it yourself?
My teachers at ballet school (the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet); they insisted on the importance of always keeping your head neat and tidy. When I was a student, we were never allowed to walk about the school with unfastened hair. I started doing the bun on my own when I was 11 years old. Of course, at the beginning, they were pretty awkward, but gradually you learn to do it well and also define your ideal height. Little ballerinas have their buns almost on top of their heads, but as you grow up, the bun tends to move lower. Having a small, neat, beautifully outlined head contributes to your overall proportions—with time, young ballerinas really begin to understand this, and it becomes not only a matter of image but also of professionalism.
How do you keep your bun in place when you’re dancing?
In addition to securing hair with elastics and hairpins, we mostly use hair sprays and gels. I like Laque Couture and Laque Noire from the Kérastase Couture Styling range—they are also useful when you need to smooth down occasional small stray hairs. In some ballets, we have to change our hairdo radically; for instance, you may need your hair loose in the first act and gathered in a bun for the second.
Do you find that always having your hair tightly pulled back leads to a lot of damage?
Since I was a kid, they used to frighten me with stories of ballerinas’ hair getting damaged because they are subject to so much stress. Fortunately, this was not the case for me, even though I tend to be quite tough on my thick and unruly hair. For instance, I use really strong elastics—otherwise they just won’t hold.
How do you care for your hair after a performance?
It’s important to remove and brush out the gel and hair spray with a good shampoo. I really like the Kérastase Elixir Ultime range, which cleanses and makes my hair shiny. I also take a steam bath. It was actually my mother who taught me about the importance of haircare. At times when special haircare products weren’t available [in Russia], she used traditional natural methods like burdock oil or oatmeal.
What does a steam bath entail, exactly?
To me, a good steam bath is the number-one treatment; you can take it with honey, oranges, or milk. Honey [which has antibacterial properties] is probably the best option. You [soak] in the water with honey, then you go to the steam room. Going to the sea is another thing that is necessary for me to recover.
Since dancers’ feet often take a beating, do you have any favorite foot products?
To me, the best remedy is a massage done by a good specialist. Then again, it depends on the country: In Japan or Korea, I would go for acupuncture; in the U.S., they use hot pads to warm up the muscles before massaging. And of course, good creams and oils are a must.
And when you’re not rehearsing or performing, how do you style your hair?
I allow my hair and skin to take a rest: minimal makeup, loose hair—no bun for sure!
Besides hair spray and bobby pins, what other beauty products do you keep in your dance bag?
All my bags are full of beauty products, and as soon as I hear about the one that is “even better,” I go for it. Currently, I find Homeoplasmine particularly helpful; you apply it before going to bed, and in the morning every cell of your face feels alive.
What types of food or snacks do you eat to stay energized?
I need to start my day with a full breakfast; it will keep me going through hours of rehearsals. The energizing foods I eat include oatmeal, eggs, and chocolate.
Do you eat anything in between rehearsals?
During the day I just drink, or maybe have some fruit or an egg, because when you practice [too much food] is too heavy. I eat a lot when I have dinner. A lot! Sometimes my mother says, “Can you stop!”
Aside from ballet, do you take any other types of fitness classes?
Instead of traditional stretching or warm-up exercises, I regularly do a special kind of gymnastics that was originally developed for the dancers of William Forsythe’s company. It’s aimed at balancing your body, and it has a strengthening effect on the muscles. Even though we try to exercise both legs while dancing, the load is never distributed evenly, therefore the bodies of ballet dancers have various “professional deformations.” So what we need is not fitness but balancing gymnastics that aids the dancers and prepares their bodies for work. It could be Pilates, Gyrotonics, this [version] of gymnastics, or yoga.
How long does it take for you to warm up before a show?
About half an hour. Basically, it’s all about stretches. You should be like an elastic band, so your muscles will breathe and work correctly.
How do you mentally prepare for a performance? Do you meditate or envision the choreography?
It depends on the situation; whether it’s my company or I am a guest dancer. There are moments when you have to dance through a trauma, through pain—sometimes you just pass it through your head, and the pain weakens, and you go onstage. And, of course, anxiety before the performance is a standard situation. To overcome it, you start reasoning with yourself, or try certain movements, then the performance starts, and in five to 10 minutes your agitation fades away. Professionalism overpowers fear. As for meditation, this is something that happens during each rehearsal. Your muscles, your exercises, the movement of your hand, the beauty of this movement—everything becomes the subject of meditation. If you are mindful about what you do, it is already a meditation. It’s a constant dialogue with your own body. You never just mechanically repeat the movements you have learned: Every day you rebuild yourself and re-create your role.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from ballet?
The ballet and everything related has shaped my personality. The words about sacrificing yourself for art hold true. But to me, sacrificing is not about suffering; it’s sharing, giving the best of myself. Dancing is much more than simply enjoying the work I do; it’s my way of growing and evolving.
And the bride wore bangs. OK, so we haven’t exactly confirmed that fact, as it’s hard to tell from the aerial shots of Behati Prinsloo’s recent nuptials to Adam Levine in Los Cabos, Mexico, but judging by these images from Net-a-Porter’s The Edit, going for a pre-wedding chop might not have been a bad idea. Her covetable set of long (and likely faux) bangs channeled the style of both the Pre-Fall pieces in the story and a seventies Stevie Nicks (who is rumored to have performed at the reception, along with Prinsloo, who took to the mic to serenade her new husband). If the recent wave of models and celebs with bangs (Joan Smalls, Karen Elson, Jessica Chastain, and Emma Stone) foretell anything about the next big beauty trend, freshening up for fall is as easy as snipping a sophisticated set of eyebrow-grazing fringe.
The model-turned-skincare entrepreneur is not a new category. In fact, it has, over the years produced some of our favorite collections: Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics, Josie Maran’s eponymous line, and Christy Turlington’s all-natural Sundari. The latest model skincare impresario on our radar is Julia Lemigova. The former Miss USSR (and Miss Universe runner-up) first opened a popular well-being center in Paris in the early aughts before launching Russie Blanche in 2009. “I started Russie Blanche because I wanted to combine the Russian beauty secrets from my childhood with the tricks I picked up from my years spent living in Paris,” she shares. The luxury brand does that by relying on a host of ingredients with Russian origins (like Golden Root and Siberian Ginseng); we were officially wooed after the release of last year’s Cellular Youth collection. Here, Lemigova, a recent Miami transplant, shares some of her beauty and style musts.
THE HAIR GURU: David Mallet
“I’ve been going to David Mallet in Paris for years. I make an appointment every time I’m in town. I was just there for the French Open and he was able to squeeze me in. His cuts are classic and I love that the salon feels like an apartment.”
THE SPA ESCAPE: The Spa at the Hoshinoya Karuizawa
“The setting is beautiful, natural, and totally luxurious. It’s near the Hoshino Hot Spring in Japan. They have a new style of Toji, which is a Japanese therapeutic bath created for stress relief and relaxation. I love that it’s so far away from everything.”
THE SHOPPING ADDRESS: Portobello Market
“Nothing beats London’s Portobello Market on Saturday mornings. I was just there for Wimbledon and picked up some amazing pieces.”
THE PRODUCT ROSTER
“For hair, Oribe’s products are fantastic. For makeup, I use Bare Minerals powder, YSL mascara and lip gloss. For my skin I start off with the Russie Blanche Cellular Youth Serum, then Cellular Youth Cream. And when I’m feeling a bit stressed, I drop half a capful of the Russie Blanche De-Stress Bath and Shower Oil into a bath and grab a book to just chill out for 20 minutes. It has bergamot, ginger, vetiver, and lavender aromatherapy oils, and it’s a lifesaver with all the travel I’m doing.”
THE SIGNATURE SCENT
“I tend to stick with one or two classic fragrances rather than go for the newest thing. I alternate between Noa Cacharel, which has been around forever and reminds me of the summer in Paris during my modeling days, and Feminite Du Bois by Serge Lutens. His fragrances are truly special and artisanal.”
THE RESTAURANT: Sardinia
“I just moved to Miami and am having a blast discovering all the different food options. I went to Sardinia and had the most indulgent Italian dinner.”
THE ESSENTIAL EXTRAS
“Jewelry designer Loree Rodkin is a great friend of mine. Her style always inspires me to be a bit more edgy, which is why I love how her pieces are a mix of modern and old world. And for lingerie, I love the classic silhouettes of La Perla, but mixed with something a bit more playful, like Agent Provocateur.”
THE WORKOUT: The Dailey Method
“There are studios in Paris, but this barre class originally started in California. It’s so, so good! It helps my posture and gives my legs amazing length.”
THE HOMETOWN FAVORITE: Russian Bolshoi Ballet
“I go home to Moscow a couple times a year to see my family. Whenever I’m there, I have to see a performance of the Bolshoi Ballet. It always revitalizes my heart to see the talent and beauty in their art.”
When it comes to wearing makeup during the dogs of summer, we always think less is more. This week, we’re loving the look of bold lips paired with one statement accessory—be it a cool chapeau or sophisticated sunglasses. Take a cue from chanteuse Lauryn Hill and let a vibrant violet pout peek out from beneath a wide-brim hat, or make like Taylor Swift and contrast black Wayfarers with a loud fuchsia mouth. (Either way, you won’t have to worry about perfecting a smoky eye or producing a bump-free band of liquid liner.) These two singers may differ in terms of musical style, but they’re definitely riding the same beauty wave. Consider us on board.
We’re always game for some all-natural beauty—especially if we can make it ourselves—but it’s rare we come across a product we can actually eat. Laila Gohar, a NYC-based chef, founder of Sunday Supper catering, and quite possibly the most style savvy girl at the farmer’s market, shared her favorite edible beauty concoction with the Huffington Post: a water-and-orange-blossom-flower face spritz. It’s more than just a refreshing toner: “Traditionally, it’s used for Middle Eastern desserts like baklava,” she explained. Consider it your simple, two-ingredient solution for the hot and humid weekend ahead.