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As the US Open's official hair guru, you've also styled some pretty major off-court stars: Kate Moss, Salma Hayek and more. What's the biggest difference between styling a celeb and prepping a tennis player? Is one more challenging than the other?

Your hair is your costar in life, no matter who you are! There is no real difference between styling a celeb's hair and a tennis player's, because our mission is to give everyone their competitive edge—to help them become the best version of who they are. I feel privileged that I’ve had the chance to style famous tresses because it's an incredible feeling to see a client leaving feeling beautiful, and beauty derived from confidence is the most sexy. As for female tennis players, their hair is generally more stressed from all the sun, sweat and tight ponytails. Their look must incorporate style and performance to survive the fierce tennis matches. It’s about giving players that “power look” that suits their personality.

In addition to working at the US Open, you've also got two salons in Manhattan. During these busy few weeks, what does a typical day look like for you, work-wise?

It’s one of the busiest times of the year! I will often travel back and forth multiple times a day. But I still make time to get my morning run in! Before anyone is awake, I run six to nine miles along the West Side every morning at 5:30 am. It allows me time to enjoy the quiet in New York City and gives me the energy to be charged for my multi-hour day.

How did you get your start styling the US Open players' hair? Who was the first player to come to you as a client?

We’d had an ongoing relationship with the USTA for many years before the on-site salon came to life. We pitched the idea and for the past seven years, since 2007, we’ve been the official courtside salon at the US Open, where the players come to get styled and glammed up before they go on court. We created the pop-up Julien Farel Salon at the Open as a means of offering “player's perks.” Players come through up to two or three times a day to relax, get a foot massage, manicure, haircut and more. One of the first players I styled at the Open was Rafael Nadal. I’ve also had the honor of styling other talented, recognized players like Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic.

Rumor has it that when you cut Rafael Nadal's hair several years ago, people swiped the trimmings to keep as souvenirs! Are there any other funny fan-related stories you can share from your experience styling these stars?

Not that I can share!

The Braided Ponytail is your go-to style for the Open—you update it each year. Can you walk us through how to create the 2013 version, step by step?

Yes, we do! We create a version of the braid each year, but update the look to make it more high-fashion and on-trend with what we’ve seen on the runway. You can get my version of the Sporty Braid in five easy steps. I created something similar to this for Victoria Azarenka at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami this year. It’s a classic, feminine yet sporty look.

Step 1: Comb the hair out and apply a styling product such as my Flexible Gel ($23) on top of the head and both sides to really straighten the hair and add sophistication.

Step 2: Make a central line and create a nice tight ponytail. 

Step 3: Comb out the ponytail and begin braiding the hair in the ponytail. Secure with an elastic. (You can also keep some of the hair out of the braid and wrap it around the elastic at the end to add some style to the look.)

Step 4: Secure any loose hair with bobby pins.

Step 5: Lastly, finish with a smoothing crème like my Vitamin Smooth ($23) to secure your hair in place. Add just a hint of hairspray to hold.

Expert Tip: To accentuate the style or take your look from on-court to off-court, accessorize with a headband or bright elastic.

In addition to the braided ponytail, what other styles work especially well on the court?

Simple ponytails, fishtail braids, buns, etc. The most important thing is that the style is secure enough to withstand the hot weather and tennis competition. The looks I created for this year’s tournament all point to chic, sophisticated, “power” athletic looks. We’ve even road-tested them to make sure they hold up!

Do you play tennis yourself?

Here and there! I play in the city and the Hamptons. Maybe one day I will play against Nadal and he'll cut my hair if I win!

For girls who aren't tennis superstars but who are active—either playing sports or going to the gym—what are a few helpful styling and haircare tips you can offer for keeping hair looking great even mid-workout?

Styling products are key! If you are active like me, some of my essential styling tools for keeping the hair in place are headbands, flexible hair ties, bobby pins, gels and glosses.

  • If you are going for a run outside, I recommend using Julien Farel Haircare Vitamin Calm because it has Vitamin E to keep your scalp protected against the sun’s harmful UV rays. It comforts and nourishes, offering anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits.
  • For a daily pick-me-up or mid-workout fix, use Julien Farel Haircare Vitamin Smooth. It’s a smoothing crème that works for all hair types and keeps hair moisturized and manageable. It polishes hair with an ultra-light, smooth finish and tames flyways and split ends. It’s small enough to throw in your purse and evening bag if you are going straight from the gym to cocktails. Just refresh and go!
  • The #1 product I recommend to the players and all my active clients is my all-star product, Restore, a twice-a-week, anti-aging treatment that replaces shampoo and conditioner on its day of use. The results are immediate—healthier, shinier hair! It's available in three hair type categories: Vitamin, for color- and chemically-treated hair (by far the top seller); Hydrate, for fine or normal hair (great for men and kids); and Zero Frizz, for all types of frizzy hair.