Hocus Pocus 2 Hair Secrets, Wigs, and Products Used on Set

True: “Hocus Pocus 2” is about dark magic and madness in Salem and eating face cream to look younger. There are always the Sanderson sisters and Billy Butcherson and, yes, a black flame candle. Also true: The film is the long-awaited sequel, 30 years later, to arguably the most beloved Halloween classic, which leaves tall, belted witch shoes to fill – a task that production, cast and crew have taken every detail seriously, including the hair.

While the aesthetics of each of the three Sanderson witches – Winifred, Sarah and Mary (played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, respectively) – have been intentionally retained with the same courtesy of their personal hairstylists, the head of the movie hair Karyn Alexander had plenty of room to play with styles from their teenage years, as well as newly added characters like Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) throughout the film.

Only this time, the sequel, which was directed by Anne Fletcher and is available to stream now on Disney+, introduced a handful of new storylines that required a bit of behind-the-scenes wizardry, hair doubles, and lots of wigs (150 , to be exact ). Here, Alexander breaks down all the movie magic that went into the “Hocus Pocus 2” hairstyles.

Creation of wigs for “Mini” Winifred, Sarah and Mary

HOCUS POCUS 2, from left: Nina Kitchen,Taylor Henderson, Juju Journey Brener, 2022. Disney+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

The original Sanderson sisters aren’t the only ones to watch in the sequel; there are also the teen versions starring Taylor Henderson as Winnie, Juju Journey Brener as Sarah, and Nina Kitchen as Mary. Some of the earlier scenes feature the mini-witches explaining why they turned out the way they did, and there was one prerequisite with the hair: it had to be consistent.

“We wanted them to be recognizable as soon as you see them — we wanted you to see Winnie walking through the crowd and know for sure that little redhead with all that fire is Winnie,” she says. “We have remained faithful to all their [hairstyle] silhouettes but tried to make them reflect the time period.”

Alexander adds that while all the young witches wore wigs, the same wig maker who made Bette Midler’s wigs gave the hair to the film’s head wig maker. Gretchen Evans to make one for little Winnie. “So her wig is almost exactly the same, just in miniature.”

The Surprising Secret to Realistic 1600s Hairstyles

Because Salem’s flashbacks to young witches were set in the 1600s, Fletcher’s direction with “Hocus Pocus 2” was to make the hair as time-accurate as possible. It took a bit of research and a lot of behind-the-scenes creativity: “They didn’t have the modern tools that we have today to style their hair and we wanted to stay true to the times,” says Alexander. “In the 1600s, they didn’t cut their hair with scissors, so [ends] were blunt and harder. The edges weren’t as refined because you were cutting them with a dull blade or knives.”

For specific styles, the team also used real techniques employed at the time, including Marcel Tongs to curl the hair instead of a modern curling iron as well as pieces of fabric to create realistic lived-in waves ( with the latter, she adds, “People used to wrap their hair in rolls of rag, or pieces of cloth, so they could sleep in it”). The team also incorporated paper weights to give certain looks a vintage feel, such as with Tony Hale’s character as the Reverend.

“With the city people, they’re dirty and rough; their hair isn’t clean, that’s why they wear beanies and caps,” says Alexander, meaning the team had to s rely on modern tricks of the trade to create that “dirty” hair effect. “I’ve used a lot of spray wax – that, and shaving cream. It’s hard to dull hair because every pomade or gel makes it shiny. Shaving cream is really good for dulling people’s hair. people; it makes hair matte. You can’t get the fancy lathers. It’s just plain old white barbershop shaving cream. I go with old school Gillette ($3) – all I can get multiples.

Hidden hair nods to witches

HOCUS POCUS 2, from left: Belissa Escobedo, Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, 2022. Disney+/Courtesy Everett Collection
In the new film, audiences are introduced to three new modern-day main characters – Becca, Lizzy and Cassie – who are all meant to represent the “new coven”. This detail was woven throughout the film in subtle Easter eggs: “When you look at them and their hair, there are colors and [details] in their costumes that mimic witches,” says Alexander.

That’s why Becca wears her hair curly and in a bun, like Winnie Sanderson, while Izzy has a high ponytail atop her head to mimic the exaggerated taper hairstyle worn by Mary Sanderson and Cassie wears her hair down during the most of the film as Sarah Sanderson. “When you see the silhouettes, you can see there’s a bit of it in the witches and the witches in them,” she says.

Throwbacks to “Hocus Pocus” Hair You May Have Missed

Like the original, some of the best hair and makeup moments come from the epic Halloween festival. It’s also where the film’s hairstylists got to have the most fun: “I had 12 hairstylists working on set for this scene and it was like, ‘Here’s a box of wigs, do whatever you want ‘”, she says. “We probably had 150 wigs every day we did this festival. It was our creative moment.”

Blink and you might miss all the subtle throwbacks to the original Halloween costumes from the first film – there’s a nod to Madonna’s conical bra and sleek ponytail, angel costumes and devil and the multiple outfits of Sister Sanderson. “We have a Marie Antoinette walking around wearing her wig because she’s so heavy she wouldn’t wear it all the time. It was like Halloween every day filming these scenes.”

Behind the making of the witch mother’s wig

HOCUS POCUS 2, Hannah Waddingham, 2022. Disney+ / Courtesy Everett CollectionImage source: Disney+ / Courtesy of Everett Collection
Another new character in the film is Mother Witch (Hannah Waddingham), who is unlike any other witch from Disney’s past. “The normal witch is always scary with very white hair or dark black hair – we wanted her to be ethereal,” Alexandra explains. “You thought she was beautiful but yet you were a little scared of her. You didn’t know where to go. Are you going to this woman or are you staying away from this woman? Will you love me? With her wig, Gretchen and I landed on this luminescent silvery purple lavender with a dark mottled root.

She adds, “Everything was custom hand dyed and then hand tied. We didn’t want it to look real, so the shade almost looks like an oil slick color. This is the most beautiful wig ever.”

The hair products they used the most on set

One of Alexander’s favorite products was the one the entire crew turned to throughout filming. “We used Unite Hair 7 Seconds Detangler Leave-In Conditioner ($28) on our wigs because you don’t wash as much as you would the hair,” she says. We did all the witch double wigs for body doubles so we had to keep them maintained and looking healthy. You would spray that at night and scrunch it up so you could go back and curl it in the morning.”

For Peak’s hair in particular, she liberally used Amika Power Hour Curl Refreshing Spray ($25) between scenes to give her curls a boost. “We used a lot of Amika products on set; the products are so light and really good.”

Image source: Matt Kennedy / © Disney+ / Courtesy of Everett Collection

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