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Just 19 Fascinating Things About The Hair & Makeup On "GLOW"

The glitter got EVERYWHERE.

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FYI, this post contains *minor* plot descriptions/spoiler-ish photos from the first season of GLOW.

1. Ruth’s hairstyle was inspired by 1980s Sigourney Weaver.

Erica Parise / Netflix / 20th Century Fox

Hairstylist Theraesa Rivers (who previously worked on Mad Men) told BuzzFeed that before filming, Alison Brie’s hair was “down to the middle of her back,” but that Brie was “gung ho” about the shag razor cut and perm that Rivers gave her.

2. One of the biggest challenges was making sure the wrestlers' makeup didn’t look too professional.

Erica Parise / Netflix

“The original [GLOW] show was very homemade,” makeup artist Lana Grossman (who also worked on Mad Men) told BuzzFeed. “We were trying to stay true to that." It also had to look like something a bunch of out-of-work actresses could feasibly afford and do themselves. "Our instinct [as makeup artists] is, We’re here to make this perfect,” Grossman said. But they had to get comfortable leaving the makeup a little uneven, not perfectly blended, etc.

3. Once exception to that? Debbie.

Erica Parise / Netflix

Unlike the other wrestlers, Debbie (Betty Gilpin) had actually worked as an actress — on a soap opera, no less — so Grossman said it made sense for her character to have a more polished look. “She spent a lot of time on a soap, learned some tricks,” Grossman said of their thought process when designing Debbie's look. “She just seemed like that sort of girl who was super put together all the time.”

Gilpin was given a slight perm to add a little texture to her naturally straight hair, and Rivers said they used mousse and “a lot of banana clips” to get her glam 80s looks. “There’s a lot of power in the comb and teasing,” she said.

4. Rivers and Grossman care deeply about historical accuracy and paid close attention to details when creating each look.

Erica Parise / Netflix

"In our trailer, there were tons of reference photos and books," Rivers said. And her team mainly used the tools and products that would have been available in the '80s: gel, mousse, and hairspray. “In the trailer, you wouldn’t find flatirons,” Rivers said. "You don’t want the hair to be teased too smoothly. The teasing wasn’t like what we do now. It was ratty.”

5. The actresses were told to stop doing their 2017 body hair maintenance.

Erica Parise / Netflix

“People weren’t as waxed back then,” Grossman said. That meant growing out eyebrows and not tending to body hair quite as carefully.

6. Chris Lowell’s Bash got his amazing ‘80s hairdo thanks in part to a curling iron.

Netflix

Lowell’s hair is naturally straight, and they told him to stop cutting it after he got the part. Rivers said that when Lowell first saw the curling iron in the trailer, he asked her, “What are you gonna do with that?” and she replied, “I’m gonna curl your hair!!!”

“I would put a ton of mousse in, we’d blow it out, and then curl it with a curling iron to give it movement,” Rivers said.

7. If the actresses got bruises while filming, Grossman wouldn’t cover them...and, in fact, sometimes recreated the real bruises with makeup after they’d faded for the sake of continuity.

Erica Parise / Netflix

But she did cover up the bruises they got during their early training — because, in theory, their characters wouldn’t have many bruises yet if they hadn’t really started wrestling.

8. The beads in Cherry Bang (Sydelle Noel)'s hair were coordinated to match her outfits.

Netflix

And her overall look was based on a reference photo of Donna Summer from the late 1970s.

9. Kia Stevens’ Welfare Queen ‘do was inspired by Jackée Harry’s feathery hairstyle on 227.

NBC / Netflix

“The way that black women styled their hair back then was so different than it is now,” Rivers said. When they wore weaves, she said, the texture was very different — and considerably less silky — than you’d typically see in 2017. “It took a little bit off effort to find the correct hair texture” she said.

10. The hardest look to nail down was Sheila the She-Wolf (Gayle Rankin), whose hair and makeup are a big part of her character’s arc.

Erica Parise / Netflix

“We had to keep it to something that we knew she could do,” Grossman said, especially because at one point, you actually see her doing it. “Every time, it made her look more editorial than like a weirdo.”

11. Rivers made Sheila’s wig herself.

Netflix

“It’s actually a pretty straight silky wig that I teased a lot,” she said. She wanted to make it look like it had ears, but still make it seem like something an amateur could DIY. One version of it had braids, but they decided those looked a little too polished and not feral enough.

Netflix

A lot of viewers thought that’s what she was painting on her teeth, but Grossman clarified that it’s a tooth decay special effect (similar to this) that you could find at a Halloween store. (Remember, it had to be something that the character could feasibly buy herself.)

13. And Bash and Sam (Marc Maron) got spray tans after their characters spent a weekend in Palm Springs.

Netflix

The actresses got regular spray tans, too; Grossman did them all at her home each week. They had to look like California girls, after all.

14. Britannica (Kate Nash) has what Rivers called “the classic mall bang.”

Erica Parise / Netflix

Even though the character was living out of her car, Rivers said they felt like she would still work her bangs, maybe with one of the butane curling irons that were big in the ‘80s. “I’m sure she bought herself a little butane lighter and went into some bathroom somewhere [to do her hair],” Rivers said.

15. The actresses got manicures every week, but Kia Stevens was the only one who wore fake nails.

Erica Parise / Netflix

Even though acrylics were popular in the ‘80s, wearing them while wrestling presented safety challenges. But Stevens is a real-life wrestler and had plenty of experience wearing them while doing combat moves. “She was like, ‘I got this, I do it all the time’” Grossman said.

16. Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin’s stunt doubles wore wigs that Rivers made herself.

Erica Parise / Netflix

“They needed to be really good matches,” she said, because a lot of the shots with the doubles were close-ups. She said that when she was watching the show and couldn’t spot the doubles, she knew she’d done a good job.

And the wigs weren’t sewn on — just “professionally pinned.”

“I’m proud to say we never lost a wig!” Rivers said. “Or had one fly off.”

17. Sweat was always an issue.

Netflix

“When they’re actually wrestling, they’re sweating — they’re getting sweatier and sweatier,” Grossman said. Which, in some cases, makes it look realistic...but it also made their hair deflate (which isn’t very ‘80s).

“We had many blow dryers and did a lot of resetting,” Rivers said. “You definitely had to pay attention.”

18. Another challenge? All of the glitter they used for the characters’ final looks.

Netflix

As anyone who has brought glitter into their home knows, it tends to stick around. Grossman said that they tried to shoot scenes with glitter on Friday nights, or at least in the evenings.

(BTW, if you are desperately trying to remove glitter from your face/clothes, Grossman recommends a lint roller.)

19. Because glitter is so difficult to get off, they basically had to get the shot where Bash puts on the glitter eye shadow in one take.

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