A Conversation with

Candice Birns

With a list of clients that includes Foster the People, Bastille, Cults, Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris, Rita Ora, Neon Trees and Haim, Candice Birns is the go-to hairstylist for many of the music industry抯 leading talents. Candice gave us an inside scoop to her latest shoot with musical sister act Haim for V Magazine, plus shared some insights about working with musicians.

What抯 it like to work with the Haim sisters? How did you style them for this shoot?
I really love their look and who they are. Their hair is really easy and beautiful. We enhanced Este抯 natural wave with braids, dried it out and brushed it out for a bigger look. For Danielle, we just made her look cool by finger-teasing her hair to create piecey-ness, body and good flyaway. With Alana, her hair can tend to get too pretty so we roughed it up a bit and dulled it out. I wanted them to be sophisticated and a bit rock 憂抮oll but still themselves.

What Oribe products do they like?
Apr鑣 Beach and Dry Texturizing Spray are perfect for their hair. Apr鑣 Beach is great on Este and Alana because it抯 not too wet, gives shine and creates a great beachy look. Dry gives them the body, volume and ethereal look we抮e going for. Danielle, the lead singer and guitarist, and Este, the bassist, can抰 go without Gel S閞um, which gives loads of body and lift for blowouts.

Who are some other musicians you work with?
Calvin Harris is an artist who抯 look I changed entirely by giving him a super sexy crop. I also work with Foster the People, Cults桵addy the vocalist has got beautiful hair梐nd Guards, another band with long, beautiful hair. I抳e worked a lot recently with the band Bastille. Dan, the lead vocalist, and I always have a blast together. I抳e done all of their US videos and their recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. I love working with those boys. They have very stylized haircuts. Dan is obsessed with Superfine Strong. I also work with actresses Sasha Grey and Kelli Garner. I couldn抰 ask for a better rotation of people I抳e been blessed to work with.

What抯 fun or different about working with musicians?
It抯 really funny because Haim didn抰 even have a hairdresser when they first came to me. Each of them has a different haircut that I created for them based on a system of layering. As far as working with male musicians, they let you do more. I get to change their looks a lot. I抳e taken Mark of Foster the People from a Euro-mullet look to a super sexy Marlon Brando 50s style. What抯 fun about those boys is that they have ideas for what they want to look like for each record. Musicians are very inspired, so you become more inspired when you work with them. You want to work 150 times harder; you want to be on their level and match their creativity. When you抮e a stylist, you get to pamper and take care of people. There抯 a bit of a mom vibe. With musicians, you抮e really working with them on their aesthetic and their confidence.

How did you get started working with musicians?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. When you抮e a kid in LA, you end up working in the entertainment industry somehow. I would get haircuts from famous hairdressers when I was a child, and I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser too.

I抳e lived in Silver Lake for the past seven years. When I first moved there, it was still a bit of a starving artist community. I would go out and meet local bands that started to explode. You start going to shows and word of mouth happens. It happened naturally for me, but I also busted my butt. I went to the shows and did the legwork to meet the musicians. And it抯 loads of fun.

What musicians do you think have great hair?
I will always go back to the classics like Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger, for sure. I love Mick when he started to get really weird in the late 60s/early 70s. David Bowie was always my favorite. You抳e got to love Joan Jett, and Rickie Lee Jones has the most beautiful head of hair. Then, of course, there抯 Stevie Nicks and her iconic fringe and long wavy hair. Depeche Mode is one of my all-time favorite bands. Dave Gahan, the lead singer, has never gone through a bad phase in my opinion. They are all gorgeous.

Do you like to listen to music when you抮e on set? What do you listen to?
I always listen to music. The type of music depends on whom I抦 working with. I definitely listen to Bastille and the Haim ladies. But sometimes I抦 like, 揕et抯 do Nina Simone or Tina Turner.

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