Finally the 3rd season of Stranger Things has been released by Netflix. The new season was packed with nostalgia, Steve in a sailor suit, gross disintegrating rats, a heartbreaking loss, and some excellent hair. In the recent times, characters’ hairstyles can show more about the character than initially might meet the eye. Lets go into a little deeper dive into what exactly a certain look might mean.
Stranger Things hairstylist Sarah Hindsgaul talked to Glamour about how she created the hairstyles for Eleven, Max, Nancy, and Joyce this season—and where she drew inspiration from for her ’80s looks. Let’s take a look.
Max (Sadie Sink)
Mad Max debuted in the second season of Stranger Things. Her family moved to Hawkins from California and she did not bold with El right off the bat. However in the third season they became best friends who love to shop at the mall and talk about the boys. Like her friend, Max is growing up and taking more interest in her appearance.
“When Max arrived in Hawkins she was very skater, very relaxed, very tomboy, middle-parted [hair], very ‘I don’t care at all,'” Hindsgaul says. “But this year they are figuring out boys and all that comes with that, looking yourself in the mirror a little bit.” That’s why she decided to change up Max’s style, keeping her loose and casual, but using mousse to scrunch up her natural curls and add texture.
“They’re still too young to be getting perms,” she says, “but we still wanted to have that summer vibe of what the hair does in humidity when you just run around outside. There’s still that kid aspect [to their lives].” Though she did cut Sadie’s hair shorter and add layers to give the look more movement, along with a bit of a flip to one side. “I think it’s super cute, and it makes sense for that year,” she says. “It’s more styled and a little cooler, without being done.”
Naturally Max has a technicolor scrunchie collection to match her colorful wardrobe. “We found some greens and yellows that look beautiful in hair,” Hindsgaul says. “It’s the most stunning hair, ever.”
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)
Undoubtedly El has gone through the biggest transformation on the show. In the first season, her head was shaved and she hadn’t been exposed to the world. But in season 3 she’s a full-blown teenager having sleepovers with Max, romancing with Mike and having arguments with her new dad Hopper.
Millie and Hindsgaul discussed about the length of her hair for this season early on because they wanted to make sure it shows how much time had passed within the series. She gave the actress a really blunt cut so that there was a thick bottom layer to show off her natural curls. She also gave her some highlights to show the season’s summertime setting and indicate that Eleven was spending a lot of time outside.
Hindsgaul used Max’s character to inform what style she wanted to try with Eleven. “Max has obviously been out more,” she explains. “She’s more worldly, so when they become friends, Max is the one who shows her the way.” The stylist describes their similar looks as “girlfriend styles,” which makes a lot of sense: We all looked to our friends for ideas at that age. But her hair looks different at home in the cabin with Hopper than when she’s out with friends. “We had fun playing that up,” Hindsgaul says. “She plays a little more innocent at home, and then she sparks it up a bit.”
Nancy (Natalia Dyer)
Nancy is going through a new phase in her life in season three as she takes a job at the local newspaper. She’s working hard to find out a story, but she constantly finds herself being ridiculed by her male bosses, who called her “Nancy Drew” and think she’s only good for picking up coffee and sandwich orders.
“Nancy’s story is quite heartbreaking,” says Hindsgaul. “She did very well in school, a straight-A girl. She works super hard to get herself ready for this job, to be taken seriously. I mean, obviously she still has a boyfriend and maybe wakes up a little bit late, but she’s in a panic about it, and she definitely has her hair permed. She blows the perm out. It’s a whole set, and her hair is very done.”
Natalia permed her own hair for the look—though they also used a hairpiece on top for a little more volume and control while shooting all those action scenes in the humid weather of Atlanta.
Robin (Maya Hawke)
Robin is first introduced to us in season 3 as Steve’s snarky coworker at Scoops Ahoy inside the Starcourt Mall. She got this cool self-confidence, mixed with a little bit of nerd which is instantly endearing. Also she’s not afraid to rib Steve about all his “children” friends. Hindsgaul takked about how she approached introducing this new character into Hawkins.
“We started very, very small, with Matt and Ross saying she should be tomboyish. She should not be too girly or polished,” she says. “They wanted something natural and cute but endearing. I think she has a very endearing personality, and then I met Maya and she is just this bubble of joy. She is so fun.”
Hindsgaul gave Hawke a blunt cut with only a very few layers in it, and then she used a big waving iron on it to create some movement and some volume in her roots. “That cut is interesting, because it works in the period and also works right now,” Hindsgaul says, who says she really wanted people to be able to relate to Robin.
Joyce Byer (Winona Ryder)
Joyce has been in the middle of a trauma or recovering from one in first two seasons of the show. But Hindsgaul and Ryder opted to have Joyce’s hair a bit longer this season, as a reflection of just how much taking care of things like a haircut isn’t top of mind for her right now.
“That woman has given up,” Hindsgaul says. “She’s just shoving her pain off.” She also points out that the whole Byers family is rocking a very similar cut with all of their bangs, which shows that how everyone at Byers house is very “done.” “When we first met her in season one, she pretty right on with the ’80s with a little bit of a mullet feel to it” she says. “But now she doesn’t even realize. She can’t focus on stuff like that because she’s been through so much.” Joyce would trim up the front purely out of necessity so she could see—and not bother so much with the rest.
Hindsgaul also revealed to Glamour that the team used about 250 Zotos Professional perms on background actors, where she felt like she could get more playful with the ’80s hair.
However Hindsgaul was always mindful of creating styles for the main characters that were appropriate for the period and also still relatable to young people today. For example she styled the Russian bad guy after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator. For the Evil Russian guy, the Duffer Brothers gave Hindsguard a photo of Karl Vreski, one of the villains in Die Hard, and she ran with it.
Will there by any clues hidden in the hair in Season 4, Hindsgaul wouldn’t say-but we can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.