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Playing the most complex character on one of TV’s biggest hit series isn’t an easy task. Riverdale‘s Lili Reinhart would know. She’s on her fourth consecutive year of depicting Betty Cooper, a whip-smart teenage pseudo-detective living in a small and deceptively seedy town full of drug-laced candy, mysterious deaths, and almost zero parental supervision. This season alone, she’s off solving the town’s crimes as usual while maintaining a long-term relationship, coping with a whole lot of family drama, and not to mention doing homework and applying for colleges… maybe, we think.
All of this is directly reflected in her signature ponytail, which she’s rarely seen without. It’s practical, polished, and fast — well, it looks fast to achieve to the show’s viewers, though that’s not at all the case in reality. “This ponytail causes me stress,” Reinhart tells Allure at event to promote her new partnership with American Express. “It takes a long time [to style], longer than you’d think, and it’s really annoying and very frustrating.”
Though most people assume the pony is stressful to wear because it’s too tight, Reinhart insists it isn’t. “It’s just the fact that it’s really hard to get it perfect… That’s my biggest struggle,” she says. “Being on camera, you can’t have flyaways, so I’m looking at my head probably 70 times a day to make sure that my hair is in place. I hate that it’s very high maintenance.”
That maintenance doesn’t just take up a lot of Reinhart’s time — it takes a toll on her hair, too. Until recently, the Riverdale stylists had been curling her hair with heat tools before tying it up every day; now, they apply extensions to ease the damage Reinhart has faced due to heat and the consistent highlighting she undergoes to maintain Betty’s cool platinum blonde (she’s naturally darker, dirty blonde).
“My hair is damaged as hell from being on my show and just from heat styling in general,” Reinhart says. “So I try to take really good care of my hair.” For that, she relies on an arsenal of hydrating and reparative hair products to ensure her hair’s getting the love it needs between filming days. “I use a lot of Kérastase. I really like the brand.”
That, she says, and Shu Uemera’s Ultimate Reset Mask Treatment. “It’s so good for your hair.”
Then comes her ultimate damage repair weapon: Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3, a $28 salon-strength hair treatment that can be used after or in place of conditioner. “That’s my go-to hair situation. I definitely sleep in that one. I’ll put it in my hair when I go to the beach because for some reason I feel like the sun will penetrate into my hair.”
Hair stress aside, the chances Reinhart will ever experiment with other, less-damaging hair colors are pretty low. “I kind of promised myself if I were offered a role where they said I need to be a redhead [or] I need to be a brunette that I would have to wear a wig because my hair has been through so much,” she says.
The good news is she hasn’t felt the urge to explore her dark side just yet. “I don’t want to dye my whole hair brown just to have to go back to blonde, especially when I’m filming Riverdale. I think I would just keep it [blonde],” Reinhart says when asked whether or not she’d dye her hair if given the option. After a tumultuous four seasons, her on-screen counterpart Better Cooper would likely agree.
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