Lesley Stahl: My Hair Is Sprayed With Cement!

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We asked Lesley Stahl, Mary Wells, Jane Wagner and Sheila Nevins about their hair, its care and feeding.

LESLEY: When I get up and do my hair, I spray it so completely — with cement — that if you called me at five o’clock it would still be cement. I’d be able to run out.

MARY: It doesn’t look that way.

JANE: No, Lesley, your hair looks gorgeous all the time. It looks layered and so thick.

LESLEY: This business of just getting it in place and not having a hair move started when I was covering the White House for CBS. I could be called on to be on camera at any second. No time to play around, not even, really, time to put lipstick on. So you had to be ready at any point during the day. Cement was the solution I came to and it worked. And so I just keep doing that.

SHEILA: You don’t have to have it done by anyone? You can do it all by yourself?

LESLEY: Well, you have to learn to do that.

SHEILA: I can’t. I can’t. I can’t learn to do my own hair.

JANE: I sometimes use a root-lifter spray, but what good is it if your roots stay up but the rest of your hair falls down limp? Why shouldn’t you use the root lifter all the way up?

SHEILA: Well, it depends how I want to look. If I want to just go to work and schlump around I can do it. But if I want to look good, I have to be primped up by someone else. I can’t primp up. I can’t use a blow-dryer. I can’t do any of those things properly. I don’t know how people do it. You actually blow-dry your own hair?


SHEILA: I am just hateful. I mean, it always looks good because I work on it outside the house. But inside its very hard to — I’ve tried. People always ask me what’s wrong with my hair when I do it by myself.

JANE: The secret is a good haircut, but I’ve never had one in my life. In fact, my bad hair days are usually when I’ve been to the beauty salon and had my hair cut.

SHEILA: No, no, but it also depends on whether you have straight or curly hair. You see, I have curly hair. But I have the affect of straight hair. So I’ve been fighting whatever it is I was born with my whole life, you know, by either putting rollers on when I was a kid and sitting with that big blossomy hair-dryer, or finding the cheapest place to blow-dry my hair. Hair is a major issue in my life because I can’t just jump up and go, because I don’t know how to do it.

MARY: When I have something really important to do, I have a man who comes in and does my hair, and then I look like somebody you know. But most of the time I don’t do that and I have a secret, which is that I don’t look at my hair until I get my eyes made up. When I get my eyes made up they take up half my head. Then everything else falls into place. I don’t see my hair. I mean, it’s impossible to see anything except my eyes.

JANE: That’s a good idea. But I have more trouble doing my eyes than I have doing my hair. When I try to make them look big, it looks like I’m trying to make them look big.

SHEILA: What’s wrong with that?

MARY: But your hair always looks great.

JANE: I’ve had three good hair days in my life. I have fine hair, so that’s one thing that’s bad. But I do blow-dry my hair upside down, like that old trick, and that always helps. And I can do it on my right side, but my left side … I look like “before” on one side and “after” on the other.

SHEILA: Me too! I can do it on my left side, Jane, so maybe we should get together. Because I’m a lefty.

MARY: Europe’s No. 1 hair product at the moment is the hair-shine sprays. And they’re very delicate. They’re not like stay sprays. They’re very delicate but they give you a delicate shine and a little bit of hold. They make your hair look very healthy.

SHEILA: Did you ever have your hair crunched? You know, when they take your hair and they crunch it, or you do it yourself?

LESLEY: What is that?

SHEILA: You look like a Brillo Pad. But some women at work do it and they come out perfectly beautiful. They’re like little Shirley Temple ringlets that they seem to have been born with. But when I do it, it looks like I have Brillo Pads on my head. At least it takes much less time for me than when I was younger, because it’s less important. And I figure I’m not being hired for what I look like. I’m really there because I can think it out — and that’s inside my head, not on the outside.

JANE: Do you ever have the trouble of leaving the house fairly good-looking, and then you wilt — your looks just dissolve overnight.

SHEILA: Oh, yes. I have a doorman who, when I leave quickly in the morning and I’ve done that sort of crunch, that horrifying thing, he always asks me if I’m sick. In other words, he says, “Are you OK, Sheila?” And I say, “Yes, I’m OK. I just don’t have any makeup on and I didn’t do my hair.” But I’ve gotten comfortable with whichever is the horrible part and I just push it forward.

JANE: I’ve literally been so insecure … well not really insecure. I’m past that point now. But I know that I’m not right — at least on the left side, I’m not right. So I just try not to look at myself on that side for the rest of the day. But thank God I’m not that vain. As Sheila said, you reach the point where you’re wise enough to know looks are not that important.

SHEILA: What about a beret? A beret that you can tilt?

MARY: Somebody was trying to teach me how to do it and they said that the solution, if you can’t do it, is to get some of those curlers that are fuzzy and they stick, and you don’t have to have pins.

SHEILA: I have those. They don’t work. I used to sleep in rollers when I was a teenager, and I was miserable all night long.

LESLEY: Absolutely. I slept in them for years.

SHEILA: I’d wake up in the morning and I’d have rollers, like, under my rump and I’d have to pull them out.

MARY: I think the new hairpieces are wonderful.

JANE: So beautiful. I know.

SHEILA: A piece, or is it a wig?

MARY: Well, it’s … piecing. It’s not a whole head.

JANE: It just make your hair look a little thicker with no effort.

MARY: That’s right. They’re new. I can remember when they first came out years ago and they were very obvious.

JANE: Right. Now it’s very refined.

MARY: And men use them all the time.

JANE: Exactly. I think Ted Danson might have one.

SHEILA: What about Anna Wintour’s hair? It never moves. It looks perfect all the time.

LESLEY: Mine never moved. It’s cement.

SHEILA: What cement are you using? Can you send it this way?

JANE: Lesley, your hair looks good all the time.

LESLEY: It’s called Biolage, but seriously, when I worked at the White House, the hairspray I used was called Cement. It actually was called Cement. And if any little hair ever flew out, I ran and got the thing and sprayed it on. I was like Margaret Thatcher! Remember her?

MARY: Oh, my. But, you know, she used to move around. I mean Anna Wintour doesn’t move. She doesn’t move. She moves her whole body. She doesn’t swing her head.

SHEILA: That’s true.

MARY: And if you move your whole body you don’t move a hair.

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