If you’ve ever wondered how celebrities like Kim Kardashian achieve seamless and stunning hair transformations, Chris Appleton is your answer. The celebrity hairstylist and Color Wow global creative director has been a key player on Kardashian’s glam team for years and is also on speed dial for Jennifer Lopez (remember J.Lo’s bombshell hair at the 2020 Super Bowl?) and other A-listers.
From snatched ponytails to sleek middle parts, Appleton has helped establish some of today’s biggest hair trends. For summer, the stylist is loving a more undone look with the resurgence of the Pam Anderson-inspired ’90s updo. “This retro-inspired look is so chic for summer to keep you cool but classy,” Appleton says.
Another go-to style for the season is the middle-part bun, which is great for keeping “your effortless glam on point while looking put-together, with little time or effort required,” he says. “Whether slicked back and polished or low-key messy, this cool-girl look is an elevated take on the basic updo.”
In order to master these hairstyles, Appleton has a trusted arsenal of products he keeps on hand. Here, the stylist shares his top 10 favorite Color Wow hair products and tools for the silkiest, healthiest hair.
“This is my secret to creating ‘glass hair.’ It delivers incredibly silky, smooth, glossy results that are completely humidity-proof, so the hair won’t frizz or get puffy regardless of the weather,” Appleton says of this anti-frizz treatment.
“More than anything, I’m about gorgeous texture,” the hairstylist says. “That’s the foundation — always. I won’t even attempt to create a look before I completely nail that rich-looking glossiness first.” To achieve this, Appleton created an ultra-nourishing hair mask that helps strengthen and repair the hair. “It instantly dials up the glam factor. That’s why I’m constantly urging my clients to keep up with their conditioning treatments and Money Masque is what I call one-step prep. “
$399 at Gama Professional and Amazon
“This hair dryer has so much power, it dries the hair seven times faster than other hair dryers and helps to achieve the ultimate blowout,” Appleton says. “It is ultra-lightweight and the attachments are so easy to use.”
$16 at Ulta
A favorite hair brush among professional hairstylists, Tangle Teezer’s Ultimate Styler works through dry hair without tugging or pulling. “This brush is a go-to for dry-styling. I use it to add volume and texture or a sleek, smooth finish to any look,” says Appleton, adding, “The best part is, it’s super gentle so it doesn’t break the hair.”
This hairspray is one of the secrets behind the sleek ponytails seen on Appleton’s clients, including Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez. “Totally clear and super lightweight, I typically spray it on a brush and smooth over sections to create hold and to build the style,” Appleton says. “No stiffness, stickiness or yellowing! It gives a long-lasting style that moves naturally.”
“No style is complete without this Shine Spray,” Appleton shares. “It gives the hair that EXTRA mirror-like, reflective shine. It’s lightweight and not at all greasy, which is key.”
$240 at Amazon
A hair styling staple, the Mason Pearson boar bristle and nylon brush is an investment that many professional stylists say is worth it — Appleton included. “This timeless tool is a classic and great for brushing out waves and curls,” he says. “It expands the volume when you brush it through the hair, giving a nice fluffy finish. It’s also great for ponytails as it keeps the hair close to the scalp when snatching back.”
Appleton says that the wrong shampoo — one that leaves residue — can prevent super glossy locks. To avoid dullness, he uses this Color Wow option. “This is my go-to shampoo for everyone and all hair types, because it’s sulfate-free and residue-free — meaning it doesn’t leave any silicones or ingredients behind which can weigh the hair down and cause dulling,” Appleton explains.
The hairstylist calls this perfecting powder “the ultimate real-life retoucher.” The multi-dimensional temporary color comes in eight shades and is a must-have according to Appleton. “You can use it anytime, anywhere and it will tide you over until your next trip to the salon,” he says. “Waterproof and sweatproof, this is your go-to to fill in highlights, thinning or sparse areas along the hairline.”
For added shine, this protective serum gives a glossy finish while also defending the hair against heat and UV rays. “I love using it on ponytails or even sleek looks because it helps to control flyaways while still being super weightless, so the hair doesn’t look weighed down or greasy,” he explains.