Chris Appleton: The hair hero making A-list waves

Styling superstar Chris Appleton tells Alice Robertson how he creates his moment-making dos…

Kim Kardashian
‘Making her hair blonde was really special,’ says Chris of Kim Kardashian’s surprise new colour. Image: Wenn

You’ve styled some of the world’s most famous celebrities. What are your favourite looks?

When I made Kim Kardashian blonde in 2017 [above] that was really special. Everyone was surprised that it wasn’t a wig. Jennifer Lopez at the 2020 Super Bowl half-time show was another favourite. I love the way her hair kept its curl and kept bouncing back into position. I also loved Kim at the 2018 Met Gala, wearing a gold Versace dress with her hair pulled up. It was super glossy and looked really high-end. I remember Katy Perry asking me, ‘What did you put on her hair?’ It looked as though it was superglued into place because it stayed perfect for the whole night.

So what did you put on Kim’s hair?

It was Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray (see below).

color wow
Dream Coat Supernatural Spray, £26,

And how do you get a style to hold all night?

What’s most important is to prep the hair. I like to build up products like scaffolding, because, naturally, anyone’s style won’t last the night. I’m not a heavy hairspray kind of guy – that can look crispy. So many people go straight into drying hair and then apply loads of hairspray, but a good foundation will help hold the style in place.

How did you get started as a hairstylist?

I began doing my mum’s hair when I was nine. She’d look in the mirror and feel good about herself. That was empowering. Then I started working at a salon at 13. I’ve never lost my philosophy of wanting to make people look and feel great. It doesn’t matter if I’m working with J.Lo or Mrs Jones.

J Lo
Chris on J.Lo’s Superbowl look: ‘I love how her hair kept its curl’. Image: Rex/Shutterstock

What styles are you best known for?

Probably the super-shiny glossy finish. I like to work with products to manipulate the hair into something that looks beautiful, even if it’s not in the best condition.

Has anything ever gone badly wrong?

I was on a job with Kim and my luggage was stolen at the airport. It had all her hairpieces inside and my whole kit. But you just make stuff happen, don’t you? I had to ring round to beg for help!

Chris Appleton and Kim kardashian
Chris with Kim: her super-glossy locks are his trademark style. Image: @chrisappleton1

What’s the best trip you’ve been on with a client?

The Brando Island [in French Polynesia] with Kim for her 40th birthday was cool – she hired the whole island.

Do you get to have fun on a work trip or are you on duty 24/7?

Have you seen my Instagram? I make the most of every minute. It’s not just about existing – I could have fun in a paper bag!