[Editor’s Note: The following contains light spoilers for Season 2 of “Stranger Things.”]
In Hawkins, Indiana, the ‘80s weren’t just a time for creepy mind-flaying monsters and nougat-eating creatures whose faces open up. It also had great hair, at least according to “Stranger Things.”
Series stylist Sarah Hindsgaul spoke to IndieWire in anticipation of the upcoming Season 3. Although the exact time period and which characters might be returning is under wraps, she did give a general idea of which direction hairstyles will be going, and that direction is curly.
“More perms,” Hindsgaul said. “We’re already planning how we’re gonna get all these backgrounds through the hair schools to perm hundreds of people.”
The show will be building off some of the ‘80s hairstyles that were introduced in Season 2, which takes place in 1984. That includes mullets, some shorter hair on top, and lots of bangs. And although Hindsgaul is the head of the hair department, she also has a collaborative process of deciding on styles with the actors.
“I’m already sending [them] photos already. And I’m like, ‘This is so what we’re doing next season,’” she said. “We’re always talking about [their] hair. It is not just up to me. They know their characters so well, so there’s things that I would love to do and we figure out how they feel about their character, you know, where they are at.”
Check out more insights into some of the most iconic hairstyles from Season 2 below:
Eleven: From Robber’s Daughter to Badass
Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven had two new looks this season, after having spent Season 1 with a shaved head. This year, she was allowed to grow out her hair into her naturally curly mop, which was inspired stylistically by the main character on the cover of the Astrid Lindgren children’s novel “Ronia the Robber’s Daughter.”
“It’s about a little girl living in the forest, and it has this amazing book cover that just stuck in my head since I was a kid,” said Hindsgaul. “I sent the book to Millie when we were four months out. I was like, I think we need something really natural, really like a wild child. I love animals. I’m all about animals, and I actually think it was really funny, at first, that kind of at the same time as we’re making the reference to it. And this character is a bit of an animal character. So Matt and Ross [Duffer] loved it. They were like, ‘Wow! I can’t believe that this is all coming together, this animal Swedish fantasy being all in one.’”
Hindsgaul kept as much length as possible, only trimming it so that it wouldn’t look like a mullet. “Millie has very curly hair, so we just poofed it up a little bit and let her go,” she said. “That’s all natural, and she looks like a little [roly-poly]. It was also really important that she still looks like a child. Which is hard because her features are getting a little stronger. She’s less pudgy than last year. So we wanted to round her up a little bit. So we buried her in a little mop of hair.”
As for the makeover Eleven gets when she hangs out with the gang in Chicago, there was no clear influence or inspiration for the look.
“She had to come back and face the world again, so we needed it to … see all of her acting skills in there. Take all her hair away, mimic a little bit of what we got from last year. We need to go back and she would go and kick ass. We wanted it to look more badass, so away [from her face] and wet.”
Steve: Taming the A-Ha
Steve truly embraced his follicular glory this season, which showcased actor Joe Keery’s naturally full head of hair.
“When we started last year, we had him very very perfected and very groomed and we wanted him to loosen up a little more this year,” said Hindsgaul. “We had looked at a lot of pictures of [Norwegian ‘80s synth-pop band] A-ha. I think he’s a big A-ha fan. So we’re going a little more in that direction. This year, we had a lot more texture.”
Taming the copious amounts of hair takes work though, and Keery’s own mother even advised against growing it out because she was familiar with its unruliness. But Hindsgaul was determined, and even though the Farrah Fawcett spray that Steve uses on the show isn’t available now, modern technology and product helps.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we just try? I think it’s gonna be good. I think we can get it there,’” she said. “It’s a lot, a lot of hair. It’s still blow-dried for 25 minutes with a lot of mousse in it just to keep it back because otherwise it will be all in his face. It has a mind of its own. And now he loves it! I love that he’s rocking his crazy ’80s look at every single premiere, and he’s the only one who’s not in a hurry to cut it off. That makes me very happy.”