L’Oréal Paris Elnett is the gold standard for red carpet moments, fashion shows, cover shoots—and Zoom calls.
It’s hard to feel glamorous when we’re working from home. But even if we’re not having lunch with colleagues or meeting friends for drinks after work, L’Oréal Paris’ hair artist and expert Brennen Demelo says we can still feel like the old us, even if that means simply looking more polished on video calls. The trick: style your hair with Elnett. Here, he explains why the legendary French hairspray, which marks its 60th anniversary this year, is in every hairstylist’s kit, and shares his tips for looking—and feeling—pulled together no matter what you’re wearing (sweatpants ftw) or where your day takes you.
If Zoom has its secret filter that makes our skin and makeup look more polished for video calls, consider Elnett a filter for your hair, smoothing frizz and rogue strands, says Demelo. “For flyaways, spray some Elnett over your hair, and then use the hairspray’s bottle to press them down into place.” Demelo suggests keeping a can by your computer for touch-ups between work and holiday parties. “It also adds great shine on the hair,” he says, which will pick up light on your next FaceTime call. And if you’d prefer to log off rather than spend your time celebrating online this holiday season, a whiff of Elnett can transport you to festive parties past, just as it does for Pretty Iconic author and beauty expert Sali Hughes, who says its powdery scent always reminds her of “great nights out.”
Past and present
After Elnett hit shelves in 1960 in Europe (along with pharmacies, it was also sold in perfumeries) word quickly spread to North America, and hairstylists here would procure cases from friends travelling abroad, or would smuggle bottles back themselves. When it finally launched in Canada in 2009, you could almost hear hairstylists across the country cheering. Despite being around for more than half a century, Elnett’s cult status has never waned because of what makes it different from other hairsprays. Before Elnett, hairsprays were like obsolete tech—heavy, inefficient and inflexible. Elnett broke the mold because of its micro-diffusion technology: its super-fine and lightweight mist made of flexible polymers doesn’t make hair dull, sticky or stiff. Because of this, Elnett can be used for everything from complicated updos to relaxed, everyday looks more befitting of this holiday season when we’ll be at home. For instance, wearing a braided ponytail (wrap your hair around the elastic and spray with Elnett, says Demelo) or adding a little volume to your usual hair texture (Demelo suggests misting from far “for a softer effect”) are chic and easy ways to feel comfortable and festive.
If the red carpet were a scent it would be eau de Elnett. The hairspray, recognizable by its iconic tall gold can, perfumes award shows and film premieres because the celebrity hairstylists hired to get their clients ready for these high-wattage events swear by it, carrying multiple cans of Elnett around during awards season. Even the celebrities themselves have their own on hand, like Jennifer Lopez, who stashes a mini bottle in her handbag. Hairspray is key to supporting, shaping and smoothing celebrities’ hair so it holds up from the moment they step out onto the red carpet, to the very last after party. But no one wants a helmet finish. “Elnett still gives you hold but you can brush it out,” says Demelo, which is why it’s the MVP behind some of the most memorable A-list looks at the Oscars and Golden Globes, from messy chignons to sleek bobs. And of course, those classic high-glamour old Hollywood waves, “a look Elnett is known for,” says Demelo, who cites Jane Fonda’s short silver crop as one of his favourite looks from the 2020 Academy Awards.
Along with red carpets and fashion shows, Elnett is also a staple behind the scenes at photo shoots. Even photographers know the power of Elnett. Just ask London-based hairstylist Luke Hersheson, who wrote about his first encounter with the hairspray in his book Great Hair Days. “… I worked with a very famous photographer on a shoot. He’s the kind of photographer who really knows hair—he’s obsessed by it,” Hersheson writes. When this photographer saw that Hersheson, a then young and up-and-coming hairstylist, wasn’t using Elnett, he promptly took the brand he was using out of Hersheson’s hands and tossed it. “He told me I should go through a can of Elnett a day. I now use at least a can a day when I’m working on set.” Demelo agrees that Elnett is indispensable when it comes to styling models’ hair for editorial shoots, and achieving a range of different looks and finishes, where the styles “need to tell a story, and evolve during the shoot.” For instance, if you want a “sleek, wet look, you can spray it closer to hair,” he says. And this is all while allowing the stylist to keep the model’s hair flexible enough to change looks quickly in the fast-paced, high-pressure environment like a photo shoot.