At last, the secret’s out! After a season of admiring Steve Harrington’s luscious locks on Stranger Things and the long wait to see them again in season two — unless you follow Joe Keery on Instagram, as you should — we finally know how he achieves that big, tousled head of hair. During a bonding experience with his new pal Dustin, he reveals to the pre-teen (who possesses an equally enviable, curly mane) his retro regimen:
Step 1: “Fabergé Organics. Use the shampoo and conditioner.”
Step 2: “And when your hair is damp — it’s not wet, okay? it’s damp — do four puffs of the Farrah Fawcett spray.”
Step 3: Tell no one, except Dustin.
Step 4: Flaunt that feathered mullet like a goddamn boss.
In real life, Keery tells Vulture his hair is actually quite low-maintenance. (“It’s just my genetics. I don’t do anything different than any other person. I would say, truly, it’s just my parents’ heads.”) But Steve is a man who takes his hair care seriously and appreciates that vanity requires effort. And because Stranger Things is devoted to recreating the ’80s down to the littlest strand of hair, Steve takes all his inspiration from the woman who cornered the hair market of that era: Farrah Fawcett.
Back in 1977, Fawcett capitalized on her sought-after look by signing a contract with Fabergé Organics worth millions that gave her an entire branded line of hair products and fragrances. Unsurprisingly, the brand was a hit, with both the shampoo and hairspray becoming best-sellers because who doesn’t desire bouncy but not unruly tresses? (Steve may name only the hairspray, but we bet he uses her whole line.)
But nearly 40 years after those products were once mass produced, it’s nearly impossible to find a trace of the hairspray. Fabergé went out of business in 1984 — the same year Stranger Things 2 is set — taking its Fawcett collaboration to the grave with it. There are some relics from the brand still available online, priced with some hefty inflation. But Fawcett’s line — especially that hairspray — are now holy-grail status. There’s one bottle going for more than $60 on eBay, while someone was willing to pay $17.10 for just the packaging. (We’re not not saying it wasn’t us … )
It’s such a hard find that even the minds behind Stranger Things couldn’t get their hands on it for the show. In the season finale, Dustin uses what looks like that vintage Fawcett hairspray to transform into a mini-Steve for a school dance, but it’s not the real deal. Still, accuracy demanded it: The Duffer Brothers consulted the show’s hairstylist, Sarah Hindsgaul, for era-accurate recommendations, and she told them Steve would have absolutely used the Fawcett spray. “Steve is so vain that he doesn’t care it’s a woman’s spray,” she tells Vulture.
Hindsgaul and Keery also had conversations about how to evolve Steve’s hair, with Keery requesting that there be more of it. “We were watching A-ha music videos and decided it needed to be longer in the back and looser, since Steve has changed so much from this uptight, preppy guy in season one,” she says. “He’s much more in touch with himself and his emotions. He’s cooler, more laid-back. So a slight mullet is happening.”
The Duffers also wanted to use one of Fawcett’s commercials for Fabergé, but even that proved impossible. “Sometimes we try to get the rights to something and we don’t, and that was a heartbreaking one,” Matt Duffer tells Vulture’s Jen Chaney during their ongoing conversation about Stranger Things 2. “We wanted Eleven to see a Farrah Fawcett hair commercial early on when she was watching TV, but we just couldn’t nail down the rights to it. Usually we can get it, but that one was one where we failed to lock it down.”
Without the legit Fawcett spray available, Hindsgaul ultimately improvised with Keery’s hair, substituting it with the more modern Kevin Murphy Night Rider texture paste and Rene Fruter mousse. But the real star of the show is excessive blow drying. (Hindsgaul used a Dyson, but Steve probably wasn’t so fancy.) “It takes about 20 to 25 minutes in the morning to get it up and down and a little more messy. Joe’s hair is very straight and it needs movement. It just sticks out like an angry cat, to all sides, if you don’t style it,” she says. “It’s amazing hair to work with. I spoke with his parents who said they always told him to cut it off because they didn’t wanna deal with it. It’s uncontrollable. But we tried.” Her routine to achieve the Steve look: Blow dry the sides back, blow dry it up in the back to show off the mullet, and then blow-dry a few pieces down in the front. And how did she recreate the style for Dustin? “Very, very heavy gel.”