Zendaya, wearing August Getty Atelier, attends the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Photo: Christopher Polk (Getty Images for MTV)

“Whenever I’m doing Zendaya’s hair, it’s always a collaborative effort between her, her stylist Law Roach and myself,” says celebrity hairstylist (and The Glow Up fave) Ursula Stephen. The hair aficionado has made a name for herself teasing the tresses of some of the best-known beauties around, including Rihanna, Kerry Washington, Nia Long, Laverne Cox and, most recently, Zendaya, who has become red-carpet royalty with the help of her incredible glam squad and an ongoing array of head-turning looks.

So we love it when Stephen gives us the scoop on her superstar client’s latest look, as she did after Monday night’s 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards. Zendaya—fondly called “Z” by Stephen—appeared on the red carpet looking, according to her own Instagram post, “like a fine ass unwrapped, caramel filled Hershey’s kiss.”

Stephen says, “After seeing her killer leather dress, we decided on a slick look with a deep side part. We had to add our own twist by keeping her natural texture in the back.”

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As usual, Stephen gives The Glow Up a detailed rundown on how she made Zendaya’s wet-looking hair look so effortlessly chic (hint: It wasn’t exactly a wash-and-go). And as usual, we were impressed by the Unilever brand ambassador’s high-low approach to creating Hollywood-worthy hairstyles.

Prep and Protect

“I began by running a quarter-sized amount of Suave Professionals Avocado & Olive Oil Smoothing Leave-In Conditioning Cream [$3.99] throughout [Zendaya’s] damp hair, followed by a generous spritz of Dove Style+Care Smooth & Shine Heat Protection Spray [$4.99] all over to help smooth the hair and combat frizz while adding a layer of heat protection,” Stephen tells us.

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Play Your Part

“Once hair was prepped, I parted her hair to the side and began working Oribe Rock Hard Gel [$42] from roots to midlength in small sections to ensure each strand was coated before combing it down and behind her ears,” Stephen says.

Lock It Down

“When I got the hair where I wanted it, I went in with my GHD Air hair dryer [$199] with the concentrator nozzle attachment and locked the slick look in by blowing heat down the hair shaft to ensure it was totally smooth and in place,” Stephen says.

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Turn Up the Texture

“Next, I focused my attention on the back of her hair and revived the curl a bit with a combination of the Dove Style+Care Smooth & Shine Heat Protection Spray (pro tip: This also works as a light, leave-in conditioner, so it was great to revive some of the curl in her hair and boost shine), Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Hair Cream [$5.99] and Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray [$27],” Stephen explains.

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Polish and Perfect

Stephen continues: “Once the product was layered in, I switched out the concentrator on my GHD Air hair dryer for the GHD Air diffuser [$30], and diffused the hair in place until it was completely dry and ready for the night.”

Time to Shine

“I finished the look by smoothing TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Serum [$4.99] into the part area and a few inches down, followed by a generous amount of TRESemmé Compressed Micro-Mist Hair Spray Hold Level 2: Smooth [$4.99] all over,” Stephen says. “Once everything was set and dry, I sprayed Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist [$25] all over for a final boost of shine.”

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Photo: Christopher Polk (Getty Images for MTV)

The finished style was a sleek complement to Zendaya’s archival “Teacup” dress in leather by August Getty Atelier and statement-making “Kamentsa” earrings by Paula Mendoza.

And because Stephen is such a sport, she also answered one of our biggest questions of the evening, which is how did Zendaya sit down in that sculptural dress, let alone make it to the ceremony?

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Kind of comforting to know that that fashion statement was as complicated as it looked—and that Zendaya had a post-red-carpet costume change on deck, pairing her dramatic earring with a gorgeous off-the-shoulder, red tulle-and-tiered Carolina Herrera for her presenting duties at the awards ceremony.