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No Glam Squad? No Problem!

By Melissa Castellanos

Summer is here, bringing with it the heat and humidity that often causes unruly, frizzy hair.

The average working woman doesn't always have the time it takes to win the battle of the frizz, much less the budget for her own glam squad to do the dirty work.

What to do?

Celebrity stylist Orlando Pita - who has cut and styled Madonna, Janet Jackson and Gwyneth Patrow among others - has some tips for taming summer locks that won't cost the $800 he usually charges for a hair cut.

Photos: Pita's Hot Summer Hair Tips
Pita suggested three different hairstyles anyone can do: a loose and flowing wavy look, a new twist on the classic ponytail and a smooth and chic half-up hairdo.

One of his tricks is using one of the new ionic tourmaline curling irons, which does less damage to the hair than the traditional metal iron. There are several different brands on the market, including Pita's mini curling iron he designed with T3. His T3 line also includes a smoothing gel called Boost, a spray to add body called Plump, plus an ionic hair dryer.

Pita dresses up the traditional pony tail by first curling and teasing the lower section of the hair. Then he pulls that into a fluffy pony and wraps a section of hair around the rubber band to finish it off.

Click on the video below to check out all the styles:

The styles were all inspired by various fashion shows, such as Versace, Valentino and Christian Dior.

"I think that you have to take all of these hairstyles and all of these propositions that we have at shows and make them your own, make them to what works for you," Pita told "There's definitely enough to be inspired."

So why the $800 haircut?

In Pita's defense, he has over 20 years of experience and the price is comparable to the cost of his cuts when he worked with an agency prior to opening his own salon in New York called Orlo. His cuts include special attention to detail in an intimate setting sans an assembly line of hairstylists.

"It was a risk I took, (charging $800 for a haircut) but I thought 'this works or it doesn't, but I don't want to earn less money,'" Pita admitted. "I worked my way to this level, so hopefully people feel that it's worth it. My clients are obsessed with their hair. I think that luxury today - everybody has a little piece of it. It's what they care about and some people love for their hair to look good. They may not have a lot of money, but their hair looks good."

(Harpers Bazaar)
Pita recently transformed Gwyneth Paltrow, who's known for her long straight hair, for this month's cover of Harper's Baazar.

"Well, I have been working with Gwyneth for a long time now and I talked to her about cutting her hair a few times, but it wasn't the right time because of other commitments that she had or movie roles," Pita said. "We were at a photo shoot in February and she looked at her hair and she thought it was a little boring. I said maybe now's the time to cut it and we did."

"We chose a kind of hairstyle that's kind of a long layered bob. She wanted something that didn't look too clean and too perfect - she is the wife of a rock star. She'd rather have that image rather than a Hollywood starlet," Pita said.

Photos: Paris Fashionistas
Pita also appeared on an episode of "Sex and the City" called "The Real Me" and got to style fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker's famous wavy locks.

"Kevin Aucoin and I were chosen to be the hair and makeup team for a "Sex and the City" episode where Sarah Jessica Parker is a model in a charity show and she falls on the runway, "Pita said. "It was a very fun show to do. It was three days of work. We did all the models as well for the fashion show, so it was a lot of work."

"It (Sarah Jessica Parker's hair style) was inspired by a Versace show I did that season. It had a lot of volume on top with two pieces pulled back and a few rows of extensions. That was a very fun experience. She's lovely to work with."

Pita's hairstyles have also gained him critical acclaim in the art world.

While working at an Egyptian-inspired Christian Dior couture fashion show, John Galliano wanted Pita to create a square hairstyle for the runway models.

After three days Pita came up with his creation and blended in the square hair piece with the models' own hair, making a unique and eccentric look.

Pita was awarded the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum's "National Design Triennial: Design Life Now."

"It looked great and consequently I was chosen for the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian of Design Triennial," Pita gushed. "They have never had a hairstyle in their exhibit."

Pita, a New Jersey native of Cuban descent, has had quite a ride so far in the fashion world.

It all began by at age 14 when he gave his brother a hair cut. Pita said it was a disaster.

His grandmother gave him a second chance, and his hair cut for her was more of a success. With her encouragement Pita improved and kept at his craft throughout his high school days.

"It kind of started me on that path to try to perfect cutting hair, to learn more and more about it," Pita said. "I would just try to cut anyone's hair that I could convince. Then once I felt that I was half good enough, I started to charge, even if it was just ten dollars. I felt that once my haircuts started getting good, I didn't think that I should be giving them away for free."

After his brother helped him land a gig assisting a fashion photographer, he got an agent and then headed to Paris to start making a name for himself.

Needless to say, his hometown experience paid off overseas.

"The opportunity kind of came to me and I guess I had been preparing for it without knowing," Pita said.
By Melissa Castellanos

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