I'm "the girl with red curly hair." - Nikki McCauley
Hair Type: 3B with some 3A
Nikki McCauley, the daughter of an Irish Air Force Colonel father and Venezuelan mother, was born in Texas and lived all over the world before settling in Los Angeles to pursue her acting career.
To date, she has had numerous television achievements, including national commercials and spots on such shows as "The Office," "Veronica Mars" and "Ghost Whisperer." McCauley is active in the Los Angeles theater scene, and has still managed to find time to get her undergraduate degree in psychology from UCLA.
McCauley was very gracious to talk about her curly red hair with us (and with hair like hers...). All that business about actresses being difficult? Not McCauley. Her easy-going manner goes to prove that this star is on the rise.
NaturallyCurly: How and when did you start embracing your curls?
Nikki McCauley: I actually didn't start growing hair until I was 6 years old! My mom had to tape bows to my little red spikes until then. Little did we know I would grow to have so much hair and that it would be so curly! And, actually my hair didn't start to get curly until I was 14 and then it just kept getting curlier and curlier. At first I didn't know how to work with it, but once I started learning how to master the curl, it got to be a lot of fun! And it's crazy the response I get from it. They'll be days that I wake up and wish I had straight hair and then I'll get several adoring comments from strangers throughout the day—and I'll realize how lucky I am to be blessed with my locks.
NC: What is your current routine?
NM: Over the years I've tried out so many products that I can't even count... but the key has always been over-conditioning my hair and applying the product when my hair is super wet and then letting it dry naturally for a bit before finishing it off by drying it with a diffuser. Not using a towel to dry it after getting out of the shower has always worked well for me. I use different techniques depending on if I want it to be big and wild or tamed with perfect ringlets.
NC: What about your hair stylists?
NM: Finding the right stylist can be tricky... but I've found that having it cut while it's dry is the key. Living in Los Angeles, there are many expert stylists to choose from... but Byron Williams in Beverly Hills might be one of the best cuts I've ever had.
NC: What are your must-have products and tools?
NM: I've been using Miss Jessie's Quick Curls lately—and that has really helped on the days that I want my hair to be a bit more weighed down and more "commercial friendly." I also like Redken's Ringlet 07 and Iso Bouncy Cream. I use them together and then diffuse. At times that I don't want to use product and give my hair a bit of a break, I will use Wen's Fig Cleansing conditioner— and that's all I have to use. It gives my hair a natural style without product that can be helpful if I'm going to a shoot where they want to put my hair up.
Nikki McCauley and Elisha Cuthbert in a still from the pilot for ABC's "Happy Endings."
NC: What do you do at night time for your hair?
NM: At night I will apply argon oil to help with the ends, which can be a bit dry and brittle at times, and I'll put it up in a loose bun to avoid breakage throughout the night.
NC: What is the best thing about being curly?
NM: The best thing about having curly hair is that it's unique. I'm "the girl with red curly hair." It's also so much fun to try different things out with my hair. I have bangs that are long enough where I will at times wear them down a la Flashdance or put the bangs back for a more bohemian clean and fresh kind of look. Sometimes I will put it up in a high bun and make a little pompadour on the top for that rocker style. Or I'll put it up in a bun with curly bangs to get a '50s "I love Lucy" thing happenin'. I can also do a side part finger wave action in the front for a '20s look that can be nice for those "fancy" times. [Smiles.]
NC: What would you tell others to encouraging them to embrace their curls?
NM: For other gals out there with the curly locks... Experiment! Have fun with your hair! You're different and beautiful and you should embrace the uniqueness. Don't always tame the curls—get wild and crazy with them!
NC: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects.
NM: At the moment I'm working on an art/film project called "Make Your Own Happy" that I've created with a friend of mine. We're currently shooting a short film for the project. It's all about embracing happiness in life by using imagination and creativity. I'm really excited about it! You will be able to see the final product in a few weeks at MakeYourOwnHappy.com — and my curls will be in full effect, so check it out! I'm also working on a couple of writing projects: a comedy for television and a one woman show piece for the stage.
NC: As a working actress in mainstream Hollywood, I can only imagine the pressures you must experience to keep your hair long and straight. Tell us a little about that.
NM: I do feel the pressure of taming the curls at times and not making my hair "look so big." But for the most part people have been pretty accepting of my curls. In the past, when I've mentioned getting it permanently straightened to my agents, they've quickly put the kibosh on it. It's sort of my signature. It allows me to stand out from the masses of straight haired actors in Los Angeles. I also look like a totally different person with my hair straight... so much so that when I do wear it straight, people I know don't even recognize me. Which can be fun at times, but only temporarily. [Smiles.]