Hair Department Jobs

The Hair Department may seem like a simple part of film but on the contrary, it is quite intricate. A good Hairstylist will see a stray hair out of place or be able to make a perfectly well slept actor look like they just rolled out of bed.

In the same breath, in film everyone is asked to recreate periods of time or elements that take you out of your comfort zone. A well-trained hairstylist will know exactly how to create a hairdo from the 12th Century to the unseen styles of the distant, and only imagined, future. It takes tremendous skill and precision to create an unbelievable hairstyle. In addition to simply “styling” hair, an actor with a full head of hair can be made bald or gray by either caps or the craft of a good visionary. Often an entire wig can be designed specifically for them. Hair is not limited to pretty or simple. Much like makeup or prosthetics, hair is crucial in conveying story. A film like Being John Malcovich used a hairstyle on Cameron Diaz to create a character that appeared scatterbrained and unhygienic and a little crazy. In the same breath if not for the remarkable styling in Elizabeth, the power behind Cate Blanchette’s character wouldn’t have been as cold and depictive and epic.

Working in the Hair Department on set requires that you also work collectively with both Makeup and Wardrobe departments. One cannot succeed without the support, creativity, and vision of the other. The hairstylist on a film crew should have a wide range of training and while not required, has more leverage if they have a license to do hair or at least training to do hair specifically for film. Having a cosmetology license isn’t required as mentioned but it can protect you in the event you are called on to cut hair or color hair.

“When I worked in film, I remember having to recreate a scene from the late 1970s. The original stylists and makeup artists were let go and in a last-minute attempt to re-shoot an entire act of a short film, I was hired to come in. With no photos to use for continuity, I had to listen carefully to the Director and Crew tell me what they remembered. Thankfully, I was able to recreate the look down to the last shade of glossy lipstick and it was exciting to be trusted to help them see their vision come to full fruition. I typically do makeup but have a license to do hair and it really was fun to see the look come together. BUT – and it’s an emphatic but – in the typical world of film, I rely on working with the Hair and Wardrobe Departments to collectively bring an idea to life. I wouldn’t be able to do my job to the best of my ability without them.” – Makeup Artist, Hairstylist Dawn Garcia.

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