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'American Gangster' actress on blond vs brunette

  • Story Highlights
  • Actress Carlo Gugino: Blondes have "different fun"
  • Keeping her hair blonde is more maintenance
  • She's had a butterfly tattoo on ankle since her teens

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By Jennifer Tung
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InStyle

(InStyle.com) -- As a brash, sexy Hollywood agent on HBO's "Entourage," Carla Gugino stopped at nothing to score a hot role for a client. Turns out she approaches her own career the same way, even if it means drastically altering her look.

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"With blond hair, I have more color in my face," says actress Carla Gugino.

"I've done extreme things," says the actress, who appears in "American Gangster" this month. "Sometimes I actually want to look harsher or a bit tired. I'll do anything that works for a part."

Case in point: Gugino, 36, recently bleached her hair for a movie. Life on the bright side is "fascinating," says Gugino, who slipped into a chestnut wig akin to her natural tresses for our shoot. "I don't know if blondes have more fun, but they have different fun. I'm embracing it."

What's most fun about being blond?

I can wear colors I could never wear before. I recently presented at the Tonys, and I wore a Reem Acra dress that I would never, ever get away with as a brunette -- a chartreuse green, yellowy olive color that would have just washed me out. But instead it was beautiful.

Have you changed makeup colors too?

I have a red lipstick that was better with dark hair, so I'm not using it as much.

What are your skin-care staples?

Don't Miss

Biologique Recherche has this toner with witch hazel and lactic acid, and a moisturizer with arnica and all these really healing herbs. For sunscreen I use Anthelios; it's the only one I've used and don't get brown spots. And I love Origins Eye Doctor. Epicuren makes a rich papaya-pineapple body lotion. I'm a moisture fanatic.

With your hair too?

I've been a chemist with my hair lately because being a blonde is much more high maintenance. I have to go every three weeks to get my roots done, and I've been using Artec White Violet shampoo a couple times a week to take out the brassiness. I also found this great Ojon restorative treatment. It's creamy and oily. You goop up your hair with it and leave it on for half an hour and rinse it off.

How do you usually style your hair?

I get out of the shower, spray on Arcona leave-in conditioner, and add a little bit of something creamy, like Kiehl's Silk Groom Creme. I scrunch it up a bit, and then I let it be.

Tell me about the butterfly tattoo on your ankle.

I've had it since I was 17. I knew it would have to be a symbol I could live with for the rest of my life, that I wouldn't look down and go, 'Ugh.' Since the butterfly is a symbol for transformation, I thought, as an actress, that's the kind of thing I want to be reminded of. I might get it recolored. I have had it half my life, so I figure it's time.

Get her look

Makeup

Makeup pro Genevieve Herr lined Gugino's eyes with greenish-black pencil and patted bright green shadow on the center of each lid. Then she blended the darker shade in the Laura Mercier Eye Colour Duo in Moss (left, $22; at Neiman Marcus) from top lashes to above creases, smoothed peach cream blush onto cheeks, and applied brownish-pink lipstick.

Hair

To re-create Gugino's normally wavy hair (left), stylist Hallie Bowman spiraled 1-inch sections of a wig around a curling iron. To style her blond locks (next page), Bowman worked Kérastase Créme Oléo-Curl mousse ($34; kerastase.com) into hair and dried with a diffuser. She applied Kiehl's Silk Groom Creme ($18; kiehls.com) for extra moisture and polished ends with a curling iron. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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