The Tress Tamer

Sought-after stylist Kristen Moshiek finds a red-carpet-worthy ’do to flatter each bride.

Wedding Hair Stylist Kristen Moshiek

Photograph by Jared Leeds

Kristen Moshiek spent 15 years styling Boston’s beau monde at Beaucage before she decided to take her show on the road, leaving her cushy salon job to spend weekends making brides all over New England beautiful. “I started creating updos in my parents’ bathroom mirror at the age of 12,” says the Tiverton, Rhode Island–based hairstylist. “It’s my passion and where my heart is.” So besides brides’ propensity for teased bangs, what’s changed in wedding hair since then? “These days, having your hair done is part of the entire wedding experience. Getting ready and pampered with your girls is a big deal.”

Is a prewedding trial a must? 

Yes! I like to get my hands on the bride’s hair so I know exactly what I’ll be working with. I want to be sure that the style she wants is realistic given the texture of her hair. We also need a backup plan, in case she chooses a style that won’t hold up in bad weather.

Should the bride bring a friend?

It’s nice for a bride to have reassurance that she looks great, especially if the style we decide on isn’t exactly what she initially planned. However, it’s important that she not ask everyone’s opinion, because they’ll all have a different answer. Having one trusted person and sticking with what you love usually guarantees a good result.

Do brides show you inspiration photographs? 

It always helps to see a picture. But I always ask what in the photo she’s drawn to. It could be the way the hair swoops across the forehead, a stray wisp, or some other detail. Sometimes she just wants to look like the girl; it’s not about the hair at all.

Who are the popular celebrities when it comes to hairstyles? 

I see a lot of photos of Jessica Alba with a messy bun and braid along the side of her head. Also, Mila Kunis wearing finger waves and a soft, smooth bun. It is very elegant, and definitely a newer look.

Do you wash, dry, and style everyone the day of the wedding?

Well, it depends on the texture of the hair. Usually I ask that everyone wash and dry her hair the night before. However, if a bride or an attendant has long hair that she’s wearing down, in a style like Kate Middleton’s wedding-day look, then yes. I blow-dry it smooth, with volume at the roots, and softly curl the ends. If she’s wearing it up, then I advise—in the interest of time—that she wash and dry her hair before seeing me.

You mentioned devising a backup plan for bad weather. What’s an example of a hairstyle that just won’t hold up?

A lot of brides want a half-up/half-down style with gentle waves, but if it’s a misty or rainy day, fine hair most likely won’t hold a curl, no matter how much product I use.

What style can brave the elements?

I always recommend putting the hair up. It’s important for the bride to look polished throughout the day, and to prevent hair from falling in her face. A more-structured style, rather than a loose one, is best. It certainly doesn’t have to be a tall or fancy updo—it can be low in the back—but it should be off the face.

Any tricks for working with fine hair? 

If a bride has thin hair, or just wants a very lush look, I use foam fillers when I create buns or French twists. After teasing the hair, I layer strands over the foam, covering it until it’s completely invisible. The difference it makes is incredible.

Do you recommend extensions?

Hair extensions are big right now. They stay in for up to six months, so they’ll look great on the honeymoon, too. If they’re too expensive, I suggest clip-in extensions made of real hair, which I can incorporate into an updo for the day.

What do you predict we’ll see next season? 

The trend is moving away from the messy twist with lots of entwined braids. Thank goodness, because I can’t do one more braid! Updos are becoming smoother and more polished. We’ll see 1920s-era, Great Gatsby styles that are relaxed but elegant, with deep side parts and loose finger waves. And French twists are being updated with more texture and a big swoop of bangs in the front.

Speaking of Great Gatsby, are brides using hair accessories these days?

Hair jewelry is definitely getting more popular. Brides have been wearing combs with sparkly crystals. Now I’m seeing more headbands with crystals and feathers. I saw crowns on the runways, though I haven’t had a client wear a crown yet.

How do you use real flowers in hairstyles?

I ask that the florist wire the blooms so I can place it right into the hair. I do a great curly updo with a bunch of tiny roses that’s gorgeous.

Do you ever steer a bride away from a look? 

If she has something in mind that’s outdated, I might tweak it, though I don’t necessarily say that’s what I’m doing. Sometimes a client might want a look that’s not right for her face, or isn’t ideal given her hair type, but I try to make it work if she’s insistent. I once had to do a huge J. Lo–style bun on the top of a bride’s head. She had long, fine hair, and not the best hairline for this look. It looked okay in the end, but I didn’t love it.

Any bridal-hair horror stories?

I had a bride who insisted on using her bridesmaid’s hair extensions even though they didn’t match her hair. Another time I did a bride’s hair in an elaborate updo, just as we had done in the trial. Then, after staring at herself in the mirror, she insisted I dismantle it and create the half-up/half-down style she saw on one of her bridesmaids. It was a real challenge to smooth it. And then there was the bride who drank too much the night before, showered, and fell into bed without blow-drying. She had a ton of hair, so once we rewashed it, it took two and a half hours to blow-dry and finish the updo. I was sweating bullets to finish in time for the photographs.

Kristen Moshiek,


Kristen Moshiek’s secrets for beating wedding-day heat.

Use an oil-based elixir.

Prone to frizz? Apply this to freshly washed hair the night before your nuptials.

Blow-dry thoroughly.

Ridding your hair of all moisture is crucial to preventing frizz.

Keep hair spray handy.

Tame flyaways around the ears or the nape of the neck by spraying your fingers or a fine-tooth comb and pushing the strands back into your updo.

Try dry shampoo.

Hair falling flat? Use a bit of this at the roots to add texture and lift. Baby powder works in a pinch, too.

Go with a faux bob.

This style doesn’t touch the neck and gives the illusion of a soft, short look. 

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