The Must Have Hair Kit For Working Backstage


As a celebrity and editorial hairdresser, in a very evolving industry, I’m exposed to all the newest tools, products, accessories and gadgets that seem to come out on a daily basis. That’s why the number one question faced by me and asked by clients, friends and hair lovers is “what’s in your kit?”. For a hairstylist, building a kit is so personal: assembling a collection of tools and products that have been tested and approved by the hairdresser themselves, while considering the needs of their clients and what they like to use during editorials. 

But before I start divulging all my secrets let me tell you a little bit about myself and how I got started working at the best job in the world.

When I was two, I got one of those mannequin heads with blonde hair that you could style...  A year later there was a little girl in my neighbourhood with curly red hair, she would let me brush and blow dry it and from then on I was fixated. I dreaded my hair in elementary school, stained it with kool-ade in middle school, and cut it all off in high school. I did anything I could think of to my own hair which had my friends start letting me do theirs and from then I knew that this was my passion.

I was working in a salon in NYC called Bumble and Bumble for several years. A hairdresser asked me to assist them on set on an editorial for a magazine, that's when I realized this is where the fun happened. I had worked my way up backstage and was having tons of fun every season. Eventually, I became a first assistant to an amazing hairdresser named James Pecis. I worked with him for three years and then struck out on my own. I've been doing celebrities and editorials ever since, leaving me with one foot in the door working with celebrities and the other focused on Fashion. It's a great place to be, but I need everything in my kit every day. Every day I have to be prepared for anything to happen. 

1) Products

I’m not currently a brand ambassador or sponsor so I have a lot of different brands in my kit.

Favourite Shampoo and Conditioner: I need something in my kit that will work for any hair type so I carry Bumble and Bumble Gentle Shampoo and Super Rich conditioner.

Hairspray: Aveda Air Control; this hairspray has a super fine mist and medium hold so it is enough to use a little or layer it for extra holding power.

Wax: I have several different pomades and waxes in my kit but the one I reach for the most is the R+Co Continental this is a great finishing pomade to add moisture, subtle shine and weight to the style.

Serum: I'm currently using Leonor Greyl Nourishing and Protective Styling Serum. It's great for detangling and it prevents frizz all day.

Volumizing spray: I always use Tigi Queen. You can spray it in wet or dry, blow dry it in and it gives you great volume.

Texturizing spray: Amika dry texture spray. This product is great to add a second day feel to the hair or to “fatten” it up a bit.

Wave spray: Ouai wave spray. this product is genius. You can spray it on wet or dry and it instantly gives you texture and waves.

Sea salt spray: Sachajuan ocean mist for when I need “salty just came out of the ocean” hair.

Oil: For oil, I use Playa ritual hair oil. This oil is weightless and adds a beautiful natural shine.

2) Extensions

I have every single colour of extensions in my kit, after all, I have to be prepared for any shade!

The extensions range from clip ins, tape ins, full uncut wefts used to wrap ponies, falls to hidden crown extensions. I'm currently trying out all different brands from Luxy hair to Hidden crown. I also get a lot of my extensions from Mane Beauty in NYC.

3) Wigs

I have a large bag of wigs that I bring with me everywhere every day. I mostly use wigs for editorials or for girls who already use wigs and like to switch it up. I get a lot of my wigs by scouring the internet for really good-looking ones or from Mane Beauty.

4) Tools

I like to keep my irons and tools super fresh. My favourite curling iron is the Babyliss Pro Ceramic Curling Iron - I use the marcel. I love this iron because it's super lightweight and when you’re holding up a curling iron for a few hours a day this makes a huge difference. I also love the new Hot Tools Black curling irons that just came out. I’ve been using the gold ones for a long time but the black ones look sleeker and match my Babyliss ones... which keeps my set up looking dialled in :)

I'm also currently using the AMIKA X VALERA blow dryer, it's amazing, its super powerful and lightweight with a rotating cord so it never gets tangled which makes it so genius!

I have a tiny flat iron that I use often and I always have my Pressing comb with me to smooth the edges for my afro-textured hair girls.

5) Accessories

For accessories, I'm currently loving Scrunchies. I get them in every colour. I always bring my Kanel Denmark accessories along with me in my kit in case it’s time for a chic accessory moment. I’ve also got beads, glitter, feathers, leather wrap, giant gold safety pins and hair combs. There is a huge variety of accessories and art supplies that I bring with me every day.

6) Brushes

My all-time number one favourite brush is the Aveda flat brush. This is great when you want a brushed out texture with zero frizz. For all the girls out there who need to brush their hair but don’t want to promote frizz - try this brush! I also have a few of the child size Mason Pearsons because they are super cute and practical. several pic tail combs for updos and a toothbrush to smooth the edges of a perfectly sleek look.

7) Inspiration

I usually bring along a vintage magazine for everyone to look at for inspiration and fun. The hair and makeup in the 70s and 80s French Vogues in legendary.

8) Pins

I have a very large pin box filled with pins in blond black and brown, in every size and type. It's in this box that I keep a few other random knick knacks like vintage pins and elastics.

7) Scissors

And of course, my hair cutting scissors. I love cutting hair and I somehow find myself cutting a head a day even though I no longer work in the salon. I try to keep up with it so that the talent never fades from me.

So there you have it!

Everything I need to do hair from red carpet to magazine cover!

HairHolly Mills